Traumafessions :: Mickster on Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”

One might ask himself or herself how a simple song could be traumatizing. Well picture this, you are eleven-years-old just beginning your 6th grade year of junior high, intimidated being in a new environment, and the next thing you know your “old battle ax” of a gym teacher queues up “Sexual Healing” by MARVIN GAYE as you exercise. At this time the gym class was segregated girls and boys did not mix (The only exception was when they taught square dancing. Yes, you read that correctly, square dancing). However, we were all in the same building. I was embarrassed beyond belief to be doing the daily calisthenics with lyrics such as “Baby I’m hot just like an oven. I need some loving” playing in the background. I could just feel the eyes of creepy 8th grade guys watching me. You know the guys that have flunked so many times they are old enough to drive to junior high. This was not an isolated incident. This song was played during our calisthenics many times that year. To this very day, if I hear the beginning lyrics, “Get up get up get up get up. Wake up wake up wake up wake up,” I scream and change the station if I am in the car. If I happen to be in a store when the song starts playing, I stifle my scream and leave immediately.  I suppose it is irrational after all these years to fear listening to this song, but I can’t help myself.

P.S.: That year was tough music wise for me because “Mickey” by TONI BASIL was a hit, and that was a whole other can of worms. People to this day think it is funny to refer to that song when I tell them my name.

UNK SEZ: Oh, Mickster you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind…sorry I could not resist. Seriously, Mickster you opened the trauma gates with the mere mention of gym class alone. Obviously physical torture is not enough for some gym teachers. There are many who feel the the need to utilize Abu Ghraib-style psychological break down methods as well. As Mr. Gaye himself sang “What’s going on?” Honestly, I can’t blame you for grudging on that nearly X-rated musical demand for immediate gratification. It’s like, simmer down, Mr. Gaye, wear green on Thursday much? Sheez. To be fair, poor Marvin’s tragic fate of being shot and killed by his brain tumur suffering father meant he never lived long enough to be introduced to the Divinyl’s take charge, DIY solution “I touch myself” Very sad, very sad indeed.

Name That Trauma :: Reader Carolyanne on Machine Gun Toting Pink Hippo

name that trauma!

I recently remembered a film from my childhood that did a fair amount of damage, and was hoping that it could possibly be resolved.  The movie was a messed up MUPPET SHOW type thing, complete with animal puppets.  However, the one scene that I can clearly remember is a large, pink puppet hippo going apeshit with a machine gun, and blowing the living nards off of all the other puppets.  I also sort of remember this war parody in the movie where puppet frogs shoot themselves in the head (looking back, I think it may have been a DEER HUNTER parody).  The final thing I remember was a puppet elephant was training these cute little baby furball things, and something fell and graphically squashed them.  It’s been bugging me for a while, mainly because I want to re-watch it and find out what upset me so much about it.


UNK SEZ: Dear Carolyanne, the movie you have described is most certainly MEET THE FEEBLES. The question is, (and I’ve never typed these words on this site before) what in the world were you doing watching that movie as a kid? Good Lordie, that movie, though hilarious and directed by THE LORD OF THE RINGSPETER JACKSON, is not suitable for anybody under the age of…heck, it’s really not ever suitable… that’s part of its charm. We are talking, after all, about a film whose big show stopping musical number is entitled “The Sodomy Song.” If those three scenes are all that you remember, than I say you got off easy! By the way, it turns out that JACKSON could not get a hold of blanks for that Hippo’s machine gun rampage so those are real bullets being shot from that gun! Now, go rent THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTEN for Pete’s sake!!!

The Peanut Butter Solution

AUNT JOHN SEZ: Kids, your Unkle Lancifer and I received a disturbing call from the Valley Forge Feline Military Boot Camp that our son Wally and ginger-furred stepson Gato Malo attend, and we have to dash off to some sort of parent/drill sergeant meeting. On such short notice, we did our best and managed to snag one the best babysitters Canada has to offer, our second cousin twice-removed, Miss Kitty LeClaw of KILLER KITTENS FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE. We trust that you will all be on your best behavior (I have marked the levels on my Peppermint Schnapps bottle) as Cousin Kitty discusses the Canadian traumatizer THE PEANUT BUTTER SOLUTION. Take it away Kitty!


Young Michael (MATHEW MACKAY) is the son of a scruffy, unemployed artist (MICHAEL HOGAN). As if that weren’t bad enough, the boy loses all his hair after he suffers a terrible fright while exploring an abandoned building in which two hobos recently died. His doctor could provide no real answers, and the wig his father bought for him wasn’t going to work, either. Just when Michael is about to give up hope, the two dead hobos (HELEN HUGHES and GRIFFITH BREWER) appear to him as benign ghosts, and supply him with a recipe that will restore his locks. The ingredients are simple: 1 really ripe banana, 5 dead flies, 1 rotten egg, 3 licorice leaves, a fistful of kitty litter, 3 Connie Crisps, 3 Crosbie Crackers, 9 spoons of soil, a glass of pepper’s fizz, and a spoonful of peanut butter – but not too much! Michael whips up a batch of the concoction, and when he wakes up the next morning, he is amazed to discover that the solution works. By mid-morning, he has more hair than a Volkswagen bus full of hippies! The solution works so well, in fact, that Michael’s friend Conrad (SILUCK SAYSANASY) borrows a little bit to add some flair to his nether regions.


Although Michael is pleased with his new head of hair, he soon realizes that something has gone horribly wrong. Now it won’t stop growing! After Michael and Conrad are suspended from school until they can get their respective manes under control, things take another turn for the worse: Michael goes missing amid a flurry of child abductions in the neighbourhood. The culprit is an eccentric art teacher, The Signor (MICHEL MAILLOT), who has devious designs on Michael’s hair. The kidnapped children are forced to work day and night constructing “magical” paint brushes made from hacked-off bits of Michael’s mop. Using the magical brushes, The Signor is able to paint scenes which literally come to life. Were it not for the help of his brainiac sister, Suzie (ALISON DARCY), and his friend Conrad, Michael might never have seen the light of day again. The Signor is tricked, and experiences a terrible fright when he ventures into a magical painting of the Ghost House. Conrad, empowered by the new-found machismo in his pants, takes credit for the brilliant scheme, and (presumably) lives happily, hairily ever after with his best friend.

  • Suzie’s futuristic computing machine
  • Conrad blasts one of Michael’s schoolyard hecklers: “If that was a wig, would he have dandruff?”
  • “Please, let me stay,” Michael pleads with his math teacher. “I want to be educated, not just hairy!”
  • Dream sequence in which Michael is attacked by a pack of German Shepherds who are attracted to his flowing, delicious hair
  • The film’s soundtrack features original material performed by Canadian chanteuse CELINE DION (pre-worldwide fortune and fame). “Michael’s Song” is my personal favourite

Traumafessions :: Reader Stutz on Friday the 13th

I was about 14 years old.  I used to babysit the kids who lived across the creek from me. The creek was large enough that I had to canoe across it, maybe 40 feet wide and about 6 to 7 feet deep.  I babysat these kids regularly, sometimes as late at 2:00 a.m.  I’d paddle over in the daylight, and I’d paddle back in the darkness.

I then made the poor choice of riding my bike to the neighborhood theater with my friend and watching FRIDAY THE 13TH.  Yes, we were underage, but it was the neighborhood theater and we knew all the ins and outs of sneaking in to R-rated movies.

The movie horrified me. But it didn’t really connect with me until that final scene where Jason comes out of the lake and pulls the lone survivor in.  That was it.  I was traumatized for life.

The next weekend I had to paddle over to watch those children.  The trip over was fine, in a sense.  It was daylight, but I still had Jason in the back of my mind.  I somehow convinced myself I would be able to paddle back without any issues.

1:30 a.m. approached and the parents came home.  It was time for me to go back to my home… in the canoe.

I walked to the canoe that was tied to the bank.  I looked to the black water.  I didn’t want to go out there.  I was terrified.  My senses were at full alert.  I could see the silhouette of my house.  The window to my parents bedroom was dimly lit as my parents always fell asleep with the T.V. on.  I hoped they would randomly look out the window to watch me, as if that could help.

I slowly crawled into the canoe.  I untied the rope and grabbed my paddle.  I stuck it in the water very slowly, and gently pulled myself through the water trying not to attract any attention.  I was half way to the dock.  Ripples of water projected from the paddle due to my hands shaking.  I was almost there.

I then heard a thud and felt something hit the canoe.  I was in tears. I looked into the water and saw a round black mass floating next to me. It was somebody’s head.  I was almost sure it was somebody’s head.

I poked it with the paddle and it just bobbed in the water.  I jabbed the paddle into the water and began to paddle home as fast as my arms could move.  I was frantic.  I pulled the canoe close enough to the dock for me to jump from the canoe.  I ran for the back door.  I didn’t even tie the canoe up as it floated back out to water.

I made it into my house.  I was still alive.  I went straight to my bedroom and sat on my bed, wiping my eyes, trying to regain control of my breathing.

The next day I used the rowboat to search for the canoe that had floated away.  I found it resting under some trees about one hundred yards away. After that I had my parents drive me to my babysitting jobs, or rode my bike until I was old enough to drive.  I never got back in that water after dark.  My nights of camping out on the dock with my fishing pole were over.  FRIDAY THE 13TH had ruined me.

Oh, and that head… it was a large piece of firewood that had slipped off of a neighbor’s dock.

UNK SEZ: Stutz, thank you so much for this beautifully written TRAUMAFESSION! I gotta say it kinda gives me the creeps. It reminds me of all the times I thought I heard a noise in the house or thought somebody was following me in the street, all the times my brain wickedly decided to erase the line between real life and all the movies I’ve seen and the books that I’ve read. Just remember, decapitated heads that turn into driftwood are fine, it’s driftwood that turns into decapitated heads that you have to watch out for!

UPDATE: Check out Stutz’s blog THE MONDAY REPORT!

Kinder-News :: Retro Slashers: The Blog!

retroslashers the blog

If you’re a horror fan you’re probably already well aware of John Klyza’s RETRO SLASHERS, a site that’s truly dedicated to all aspects of the genre. You can find stuff there that you won’t find anywhere else and Klyza is one guy who really knows what he’s talking about. Your Unkle Lancifer’s first ever stab at writing about horror took place over yonder at RETRO and without J.K.’s guidance and encouragement, I’m not saying I’d be a junkie whore, but I’d like to think I’d at least be an aspiring junkie whore. Over the years RETRO has taken on many forms and has had a couple revamps, the last one of which we reported to you on these pages. Its newest incarnation is a blog which promises to provide easier reader interaction and a steadier flow of posts. (You can read about the behind the scenes issues that put a damper on things there). Do yourself a favor and go see what’s cooking at the new RETRO SLASHERS BLOG but stand warned, many people step into the world of RETROSLASHERS, but not that many people step out!

Traumafessions :: Lene of I READ COMICS on “Disney’s Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House” LP

My parents were generous enough to buy records for me and my two older brothers. I don’t know why we got this record, but I can imagine it was for Halloween purposes: “Disney’s Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House.”

The cover alone is enough to scare any kid. Side One is a bunch of scary stories with effects which were OK but not traumatizing. It’s Side Two that terrorized me – it’s a collection of really fucking scary effects made by the top Foley artists and effects people at Disney – OF COURSE it’s going to be scary! There were human voice, animal sounds, wood creaks, wind, water drips, crashes – and they all seemed EVIL. ORSON WELLES would have been jealous. The fact that there’s no narration or anything made it even worse. Your imagination could fill in ANYTHING and in my case, it always did. The back cover has a warning that reads “Not intended for young, impressionable children from three to eight” – that was exactly my age range, and my brothers quickly learned that playing track one on side two (“Screams and Groans“) was the quickest way to send me running screaming to my room to hide under the covers with my fingers in my ears. My parents, of course, did nothing to stop this.

The trauma followed me to high school, when a friend of mine produced the same album from her collection. I couldn’t hide my reaction and she insisted on playing it, just to freak me out. I went outside where I couldn’t hear it and wouldn’t come back in till she turned it off. Later in life I needed to use the sounds on side two track ten (“Things in Space“, less scary Forbidden Planet-type noises) for a radio show but had to make everyone promise not to “accidentally” play any of the other tracks.

In Googling the album, I found a SITE where someone has uploaded the tracks. I turned the sound off on my computer before I clicked on the link in Google, just in case they’d set a track to play automatically. Will I click on any of the links, just to see if they still scare me? HELL NO.

By the way, I still have the original album in my collection, safely tucked in the back. I hope it doesn’t crawl up the stairs one night to terrorize me again. It just might, y’know.

I’d be interested to know if any other readers were traumatized by those bastards at Disney.

AUNT JOHN SEZ: Thanks Lene for the great audio TRAUMAFESSION! To hear more from Lene, literally, be sure to check out the podcasts that abound on her site I Read Comics.

Kinder-News :: An Interview With Artist Jim Horwat

You guys remember JIM HORWAT, he’s the artist who created the amazing FRIDAY THE 13TH pieces that we shared with you a little while back. He’s got some more amazing work which we present to you today, plus he was kind enough to allow us a quick interview so that we can get to know to know him and his work a little bit better (click images to enlarge)…


UNK: First off, we’d like to get a TRAUMAFESSION from you. What was the first film that you remember really scaring you as a child?

J.H.: The first film that scared me deeply as a child was SALO. I should probably add that I never actually saw this film as a child, or adult for that matter, nor do I have any desire to do so now or even in the future.

In the late ‘70s/early ‘80s I would go on delivery runs with my grandfather. He was a butcher in Morristown, New Jersey and he didn’t drive so we walked everywhere, which usually meant I rode on his shoulders. On our routes we would walk past some of the seedier blocks in town where there was obviously poverty and the early signs of the crack cocaine epidemic taking shape. I vividly recall a sleazy movie theatre in particular that had one of those gold box poster cases out front. Well, there was a poster in it once for the movie SALO with a photo of a little boy getting his tongue ripped out with pliers or something. I remember staring at this poster and it scared the living shit out of me. I must have been like 4 years old and I could tell that there was something evil about that image. It shook me up silently. I knew it wasn’t a “dentist” image. I knew that something bad was happening to that boy. My brain couldn’t process the concept of “torture” yet, but I was sensitive enough to get the chilling vibe of that movie. I think it scared me to realize that there are people in this world that will hurt little kids. That fricken’ poster in that sleazy grind-house display-case made a lasting impression on me. Clowns, monsters, ghosts etc. don’t really scare me, but stuff like that cuts deep.


UNK: Many who have seen your work that was posted on the site previously were impressed by the compositions. How much sketching or mapping out goes into these pieces?

J.H.: Quite a lot actually! -and thanks for the kind words! Yeah, my process is pretty intense -lots and lots of sketching, photocopying and reducing and cut-up and collage and tracing and steps backward to the photocopying stage all over again and again etc. I have manila folders for each project that are literally bulging with prep work. The FRIDAY THE 13TH Part 3 piece would be a prime example of this tedious process. The first two FRIDAY pieces went smooth as silk; they practically evolved by themselves with minimal effort, then the third came along and made sure I wasn’t getting over-confident with this. There were probably 7 or 8 roughs alone of that print.


UNK: Is it easier or harder to sell your horror-based work as opposed to your non-horror-based work?

J.H.: I really can’t say. Even with the accumulated experience I’ve had paying my dues and selling my artwork in the various subcultures, I truly believe that the more I think I know, the less I really know in the end. The business of art can be strange. Appreciators of art tend to have a life of unique experiences behind them, shaping what they like and don’t like to look at. I think this makes the businessman’s calculator quite frustrating when it comes to brass tacks sales of art. Art hits on complex emotions and in the end it forces us to accept that we are all individuals. I’m guessing, from a standard business school investment point of view, that this is scary stuff. It’s certainly a challenge and there’s a bit of an adrenaline rush when things go right because I understand how hard it really is, but in the end I honestly have no idea what might sell. I’m not afraid of failure and I try my best to live in the present. I just do my stuff. I’m thrilled that the horror-based work has taken off!

UNK: Besides the series that you have already covered are there any other horror franchises that you plan to cover? (Fingers crossed for HALLOWEEN).

J.H.: Hell yeah! I’ll supply the practical answer first. I am on the bill for the next Monster Mania convention in August down at the Crown Plaza in Cherry Hill, NJ so my plan is to complete some Nightmare on Elm Street pieces for this convention, being that ROBERT ENGLUND is the guest of honor there + all the cast reunion stuff they have planned. I may skip Part 2 for this series though because it means I won’t have to re-watch it.

I have an ambitious plan to work up a large scale MAD MAX/ROAD WARRIOR piece. There is so much amazing imagery and detail in the ROAD WARRIOR that I have been itching to cut my teeth on. Maybe people will see some humor in the concept with regards to the present gas crisis and all. I don’t know… that post-apocalyptic style has influenced so much stuff in pop culture, from Japanese Anime and action figures to old Motley Crue videos. I happen to dig it. So, yeah my pencils are probably gonna get a work out.

*If you’re hinting at John Carpenter’s original HALLOWEEN flick with JAIME LEE CURTIS, then I will definitely add that one to the future production list. (…and Part 2 of that series is actually not that bad!)


UNK: You’ve done the first POLTERGEIST, who do we have to kill to get you to do POLTERGEIST 3?

J.H.: Let’s pass on a human sacrifice and make it happen! I’ll have to brush up on that one though… dig up all the facts on the “curse”. Isn’t there a book out on that?

UNK:Do you ever look back and want to change/edit a finished work?

J.H.:Yes, absolutely- and then my girlfriend reminds me of the upcoming art shows we’ve got and the 27 half-finished projects waiting in the studio.


UNK: Any advice for other artists working with horror imagery?

J.H.:Be real to yourself. Don’t be ashamed of liking what you like. Have fun with your art because it shows in the end. When an artist is really passionate about a particular topic then it thrives in all the little artistic decisions they make. I guess it comes down to passion. Don’t be afraid to show it.

UNK: Thanks Jim, Your work is truly brilliant and we’ll make sure to stop by the Monster Mania Convention in August!


The Gate II


The original THE GATE is one heck of a movie. It’s aimed at a young audience but I doubt there’s many people out there of any age who could resist its charms. It’s genuinely funny, the effects are amazingly creative and the whole thing just bounces around like a superball. THE GATE II which shares the same director and the same writer, is a likable enough film, but it never comes close to reaching the frothy highs of it’s predecessor. In fact, it’s kinda depressing where the original is borderline giddy. It also goes against everything sequels are supposed to do by scaling things down instead of expanding into other territories. LOUIS TRIPP, who played the nerdy sidekick Terrence in the original GATE, is now playing the lead in this somber “monkey’s paw” tale. Terrence, using dark magic, tries to better his life but all of his wishes, after coming true, literally (and I do mean literally) turn to shit. While there was a bunch of little minion creatures scrambling around in the first picture, we are now allotted only one, and even though his first appearance is stellar, the effects in this movie seem to slide downward in quality as the film progresses. I still really enjoy the dark fantasy elements that abound that sometime recall PHANTASM, though honestly its climactic hell zone final scenes more closely resemble a TENACIOUS D video. The real saving grace is the cast. TRIPP is a nice change of pace for a leading man and the ubiquitous PAMELA SEGALL, who currently voices BOBBY on KING OF THE HILL, is adorable as hell. Even the two bad guy/bully-threats are appealing, especially SIMON REYNOLDS as the sympathetic hyena laughing Moe. Maybe it was his heart condition that got to me, but I actually found myself happy that he survives intact. In some ways THE GATE II perfectly reflects the awkward stage right after a joyful adolescence when life’s realities begin to rear their ugly heads. TRIPP‘s mother is dead, his friend’s house lies abandoned across the street and we learn that he came home recently to find his father with a gun in his mouth. All this is done rather sincerely but let’s face it, it’s not exactly the fun parade. More of a side installment or offshoot then a proper continuation, THE GATE II would be a nifty extra feature on the original movie’s DVD menu, but I can’t blame the die-hard fans of the first installment for being a little less then overwhelmed.

  • Hockey gear is used to handle the minion
  • Forcing the minion to get high and the subsequent automobile accident
  • Moe pays for his fancy snails and the moolah turns into a pile of shit
  • The RAY HARRYHAUSEN-inspired human sacrifice climax

Traumafessions :: Absinthe of Gloomy Sunday on Rubber Hands & Elevators

 

In our hometown mall there was always one corner that was a little darker, gloomier than the other and this corner housed our Woolworth’s store.  At Halloween time they put on the requisite window display and it was pretty tame considering.  But one year they put out a black velvet cloth and from under was creeping a hand.  No blood, no sharp implements nothing – but my sister saw me gazing at it with rapt attention and then began to tease me that the hand was going to follow me home and hide under my bed, the hand was going to get me. And after that I had months of nightmares where the hand was following me, the hand was hiding just out of my sight.  So one of the most traumatic moments of childhood had to do with the disembodied hand.

The 1974 movie EARTHQUAKE also did me in – I couldn’t ride in an elevator for a long time after watching this one.  In one scene they show people in an elevator during the quake and the cables break and it plunges them to their doom. As a special, extra-cheesy 1970’s effect they put big red splotches over the scene to ram home to the viewer that yes these people died, were mashed to bits, no more.  I rewatched the movie recently and was amused at how hokey the scene really was – but to a five year old, pure fear. 

UNK SEZ: Fellow LOTTD member Absinthe is the mastermind behind GLOOMY SUNDAY a brilliant spot that takes an exhaustive look at the world of Gothic romances. There’s always something new there and besides Absinthe’s penetrating observations, visitors are treated to an impressive catalog of those groovy gothic paperback covers of yesteryear. Add a little darkness to your day and drop by!
 

Traumafessions :: Reader Nat on “Maneater” by Hall & Oates

Absurd though it may sound, the Hall & Oates song “Maneater” traumatized me so much that I actually stopped listening to the radio. I used to listen to the radio all the time, but once that song came out, and once I heard it late at night (which, given my age at the time, was probably like 8 or 9pm), it freaked me out so badly that I had to enter a self-enforced radio silence for fear that the song might come on again. I was, of course, taking the lyrics too literally; my metaphor glands had not dropped yet.


UNK SEZ: Dear Nat: I know many people who claim to be scared of John Oates’ awesome mustache, but I have never heard of anyone being afraid of the smooth as velvet, blue-eyed soul, pop masterpiece “Maneater.” I always thought the song brought in the happy thoughts like NATASSIA KINSKI in PAUL SCHRADER‘s CAT PEOPLE (which was also released in 1982) or that awesome video game that looked like a shark’s face also entitled MANEATER. I do feel your pain though. I’ve mentioned before my on going adverse reaction to THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, but it seems your feeling towards “Maneater” more closely resembles my own for Paul McCartney and Wings’ horrifically spooky-toned song “Let ‘Em In“…you know, “Someone’s knocking on the door, somebody’s ringing the bell…do me a favor, open the door and let ’em in…” I remember hearing this song on my little transistor radio as a kid and being terrified by who might be behind said door (This being the seventies I was pretty sure it was Satan himself). Some nice youtuber made a mash-up of the song with a Beatles cartoon in which they are confronted by Frankenstein, the Wolfman and a bunch of other ghouls. Although it amounts to exactly zero in the sense making department, I think it perfectly illustrates what was going on inside my wee little brain at the time. (To be honest the song’s lazy marching beat still gives me the willies). To experience the creepy horror go HERE, otherwise you can always revisit your own unhappy place HERE. The sad news is, just like with my trauma song, you can be sure that “Maneater,” due to its popularity is never, ever, ever, going to go away!

UPDATE: The original WINGS‘ version of “Let Em In” is no longer scary to me now that I have witnessed BERT PARKS‘ performance of the same song at the 1976 Miss America Pageant. Only those who do not have residual LSD locked in their spinal cord should venture HERE!!!