Traumafessions :: Reader Bigwig on Struwwelpeter

I grew up in Pennsylvania German country just outside the influence of the Amish. We visited my grandparents, a stoic, Dutch farming couple with heavy Pennsylvania Dutch accents, weekly on a Sunday, along with other cousins, just enough to get a taste of the quiet farming life. We were mesmerized, yet horrified by a short book called “Struwwelpeter” that was stuffed into the bookcase, next to dusty Farmer’s Almanacs, and antiquated encyclopedias. It was pronounced by my Grandmother as “Schtribblepater”, and I remember her saying to “Pay mind” to it, which meant to read and learn from it.

The book rattled off a dozen or so short, illustrated poems that were meant to scare children into obedience, and to stay on the path of good hygiene. Don’t play with matches lest you incinerate; don’t go outside during a storm or you’ll blow away…those were the moral lessons taught at the expense of children’s lives.

The one tale that I can remember to this day, was little Suck-a-Thumb.

Little SAT was told by his mother not to pop that delicious thumb of his into his mouth while she went out shopping, because there was a tailor in the neighborhood that was rumored to get a little scissor-happy at the sight of such a disobedient youngster. No sooner does she leave, than the thumb goes in. The next picture and prose feature the long-legged scissor-man, who bounds into the room rather mechanically, like a cuckoo clock bird the second the hour changes, with a large pair of hedge-clippers, and cuts little SAT’s thumbs off, blood and all, before making a hasty egress.


But what I think drew us back again and again to marvel at the horror, was the Mother’s response upon her return to a bleeding, thumb-less child. “Well”, she says,” I knew it would happen”. And the last frame shows little SAT, in a thumb-less pose of regret and useless penitence.

That story would haunt me come bedtime, not only for the sheer violence of it all, coupled by the parental indifference, but also for the fact that to a child of the ‘70s, weaned on H.R Puffinstuff and the McDonaldland characters, a trip to our television-less grandparents was culture shock enough.

The book, which I thought even then to be 100 years old, was thick with stylization and verbiage fitting the 1800’s, and when placed next to genuine authentic reference materials used by my farming grandparents to predict planting seasons and crop rotation in a rather other-worldly fashion, gave room for just a modicum of doubt in my young mind as to if such atrocities could have been commonplace back then.

The trauma was not so much for the story, but for my strict Pennsylvania Dutch heritage in general.

UNK SEZ: Bigwig, what an amazing book! I have gathered from the remarkable resemblance between myself and the tailor in the illustration that your own Unkle Lancifer has lived previous lives! It seems my earlier incarnation was a stickler for manners too! Mindful kiddies should take heed and learn from the mistakes of those who fell before them. Read and learn from Struwwelpeter HERE!

mangles, the kindertrauma bookworm

Traumafessions :: Kinderpal Walt on “Ripper: When the PC Game Replaced B-movies”

Open scene, mid ninety-nineties. I was still in college, working at a local PC store and I got my hands on one of the first CD-ROMs on the block. The little 486 PC spun the disc with glee as my friends and family were awestruck to see a little 1-inch by 1-inch blurry, grainy, pixilated video of a woman in an Australian zoo talk about an all-too-cute koala bear. Technology wonder of wonders, what will they think of next!

Fast forward to 1996 and I not only graduate college, but to a faster PC, and an assistant manager job at a chain video game store, Software ETC, in one of the many glorious malls that pockmark the New Jersey landscape like craters on the moon. In the age of the Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn consoles and faster CD-ROM enabled PCs, game developers took proliferation of CD-based gaming to the horror genre, some making legends (Resident Evil) and some making the next great B-movie (Ripper) with a host of washed up actors doing hammy roles in front of green screens.

I can’t say that I ever remember playing Ripper, but it has stayed with me to this day. Why you ask? Was it the great performances by B-role actors like CHRISTOPHER WALKEN, BURGESS MEREDITH, KAREN ALLEN, DAVID PATRICK KELLY, JOHN RHYS-DAVIES, and JIMMIE WALKER? The awesome gameplay? The engaging storyline? No, it was the game trailer.

See, in the front window of our store were three TVs: two faced out to the mall and one faced into the store. They were hooked up to various game consoles and a VCR. One day the Take 2 Interactive representative came to the store (she was an aging hippie woman, kinda reminded me of a taller, fatter ZELDA RUBINSTEIN – I should have taken that as an omen) and handed me a VCR tape for their new “blockbuster” game called “Ripper.” CHRISTOPHER WALKEN is in it you know.” Oh, I’ll know. I’ll know all too well.

So I grab the tape, slide it in the VCR and hit play. I hear one of my favorite Blue Oyster Cult songs, and what was one of my favorite songs of all time, “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” “Great,” I thought to myself, “I love this song!” It was recently in my head as the great opening to THE STAND as the Captain Trips virus escapes. After sitting through the 3-4 minute trailer, I was more than happy to push this game to any unsuspecting shopper. Until…

You have to realize that these game trailer tapes would loop the same trailer over and over again. And over again. “Don’t Fear the Reaper” became ingrained in my head, the trailer memorized. Even to this day, I remember some of the (crappy) dialog from the trailer. And thanks to YouTube, I and everyone else can relive this horror from 1996. (Enjoy “Ripping” this to shreds in the comments.)

A mix of a bad movie and LAWNMOWER MAN (wait, those are the same thing), this is a 6 CD-ROM opus that even CHRISTOPHER WALKEN couldn’t make engaging. A review from 1996 called Ripper, “(T)he most disappointing game of 1996, ” and said “(T)he script itself is full of predictably awful dialog that includes new and exciting uses of the F-word in any pivotal scene.” Sounds like real B-movie fodder to me.

So I was 22 when this game trailer traumatized me, doesn’t mean it was any less damaging than Mister Rogers. I can’t enjoy “Don’t Fear the Reaper” anymore. All I see is CHRISTOPHER WALKEN in a dickie hat and BURGESS MEREDITH blathering about something. (I just remembered that CHRISTOPHER WALKEN is reunited with this song on SNL with the iconic “More Cowbell!” Funny how life is cyclical.)

“All our times have come. Here but now they’re gone…” The reaper can’t come soon enough.

UNK SEZ: Walt, thanks for bringing this abomination to our attention. Since you were confronted with this nightmare while you were in college, it’s not really technically Kindertraumatic material, but due to the presence of Kindertrauma legend DAVID PATRICK KELLY (Snakeman in DREAMSCAPE), it’s certainly of high Kindertrauma interest. Besides, we know that somewhere out there there must have been a kid who played this and we’re confident that their only reaction would be horror, confusion and debilitating ennui. Let’s face it, whoever cast this thing knew that they were doing the Devil’s bidding and any creation that can permanently sour a person to BLUE OYSTER CULT‘s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” should be feared.

Mr. Boogedy

AUNT JOHN SEZ: Kids, looks like your UNKLE LANCIFER and I have yet another parent/drill sergeant meeting at the esteemed Valley Forge Feline Military Boot Camp. Apparently, our ginger-furred stepson Gato Malo faces expulsion after disrupting the school’s semi-bi-annual competitive spaghetti eating contest. On such short notice, we manged to wrangle our step-nephew REDBOY of old-timey music blog Blues for the RedBoy into babysitting Kindertrauma Castle for the day. Please be on your best behavior while REDBOY discusses the Disney traumatizer MR. BOOGEDY. Take it away REDBOY!

Every child, it would seem, is destined for that one initial break from normalcy in which the security of their adolescent world is shaken to its very foundations by something which, while initially frightening, is, in hindsight, actually incredibly stupid.

Debate rages as to what purpose such developmental devices serve, whether or not it is to insulate the child mentally against the adversity of a difficult world or, as I believe, to teach the child that clowns, gnarly trees, ventriloquist dummies and people with spinal meningitis should be given a wide birth.

In spite of such consensus from the scientific community, that robot chick from SUPERMAN 3 still freaks me the hell out 20 years after the fact. I still find myself mildly disturbed at the thought of Augustus Gloop drowning in chocolate while a pack of lazy adults look on and I still find MR. BOOGEDY rather off-putting.

What? What do you mean Kindertrauma has no reference to MR. BOOGEDY?


At a time when Disney and their fascist regime of cartoon animals were less inclined to protect their intellectual property at knifepoint, somebody managed to drop the ball and let this little wart slip through to the development phase.

In the spirit of such forgotten properties as SONG OF THE SOUTH and THE BLACK CAULDRON, MR. BOOGEDY, while not overtly racist, would share SOUTH‘s same fate by virtue of its strangeness – an attribute not generally in keeping with the singing rodents and copyright lawyers which people the ‘Magic Kingdom’.

The general story of MR. BOOGEDY – first aired on network T.V. in 1986 – involves the Davis family (DAVID FAUSTINO, CHRISTY SWANSON, etc.) who move to the New England community of Lucifer Falls (Hmmm) only to find that their new home is haunted by several ghosts, including the title character: a devil-dealing, murdering, scar-faced magical ghost-pilgrim (?!?!?).

Having befriended the resident ghost of a little boy (a colonial era victim of Boogedy), the three Davis children, along with the help of JOHN ASTIN (awesome!), attempt to steal Boogedy’s magic cloak (on loan from the Devil, as seen in a weird psychedelic flashback), all the while trying to convince their irritatingly irresponsible parents that it is indeed ghosts leaving slimy footprints on the ceiling, and not just their imagination.

I know it must sound anything but frightening, and what with dancing mummies and the ole’ piano playing by itself gag, one could easily make that case, but to my still developing adolescent brain, the specter of the burnt faced, cackling quaker-oats-guy freaked me the hell out. Especially creepy were the scenes in which he didn’t even appear, rather his presence suggested by some prodigious off screen breathing, and P.O.V. shots as seen through outside windows and from behind basement shelving.

BOOGEDY proved popular enough to garner a sequel (BRIDE OF BOOGEDY), and it too managed some traumatic moments, including a possessed, levitating RICHARD MASUR floating down the hall screaming “Boogedy Boo!” in an over modulated voice. It wasn’t long after BRIDE OF BOOGEDY‘s premiere that Disney made a play to consolidate its wholesome image, canning its more controversial characters and slapping a singing side-kick onto every piece of computer generated crap they cranked out.

Suddenly dead children, Satan and possession were too good for the likes of Michael Eisner.

Upon second viewing, BOOGEDY, like most other traumatic children’s fare, does not hold up particularly well when it’s seams come to light, but the fact that it holds up at all given its rather short shift is an indication of just how strange it truly is. And just as Disney boasts it’s legendary vault in ‘Limited Time’ sales pushes, so too must there invariably be a broom closet in the bowels of the Magic Kingdom; a haunted place where MR. BOOGEDY, Uncle Remus and Disneyland’s accident reports are kept from prying eyes. Who knows, perhaps some day they will again come to light.

It’s a small world after-all.

A small, dark, terrible world.

Traum-mercial Break :: Reader Spinninmarty on Bands of Animals & Bic Pens

Exhibit A: This was a PSA that was shown mostly during Saturday and Sunday morning kids programming during the early to mid 80’s. A boy, wearing a T-shirt with picture of the old Universal Frankenstein on it (I somehow remember this detail), was hiking through a mountain pasture. He comes across a bear, a mountain goat, and some other animal, maybe a beaver, playing loud music on over-sized instruments. Please note these were mascot costume type animals. The kid yells at the animals asking what they’re doing. They answer that they want to start disrespecting nature the way that humans do, like “plaaaayyyiing nooiiissy muuusssiiic.” Imagine that last line being delivered by the crazy eyed mountain goat in a braying voice. The bear then says, “We like to litter” as he empties a trashcan on the kid’s head. The kid then tells the animals they shouldn’t behaving this way. This apparently was a mistake. “Oh, yeah!?!”, replied the bear. There’s a music sting and zoom in on the look of abject horror on the boy’s face. “Let’s get him!!!” And the beasts chase the boy down the mountain. I believe he gets away because the ad ends with said boy looking over hillside while the nice narrator from the National Parks Department, or Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, again emphasizes the importance of respecting the outdoors.

A few things to note: I’ve spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours in the woods as a kid. I’ve had the screech of a mountain lion race up my back from several feet away. I’ve had a nest of yellow jackets swarm up the leg of my Toughskins. I’ve seen Bigfoot. These would all pale in comparison to having three animals, that were clearly against God’s plan, confront me for the ecological sins of my forefathers. And even if they were just “guys in costumes”, who wants to run across that in the forest? I still get that “not right” vibe from Chuck E. Cheese, and he’s in a well populated area.

Does anyone else remember seeing this ad? It may have been a locally produced spot (the Pacific Northwest). My contemporaries have seemed to have blocked it out. And my wife is no help, seeing that Saturday morning television, much like sugar cereal and vacations involving amusement parks, were clearly verboten in her household.

Exhibit B: The second commercial is also from the early to mid 80’s. I believe that this one was for Bic Erasable Pens. A boy, who may have the kid who played Wormser in REVENGE OF THE NERDS, is walking to school talking about the benefits of his new Bic pen, as we all do. He is then confronted by a gang of bullies. He tries to deflect their harassment by informing them of the quality of his Bic. Impressed, the leader of the gang snatches the pen from the nerdy kid. The nerdy kid snatches it back, and with a few swipes, erases the other boy!!! The rest of his gang runs off screaming while Wormser smiles triumphantly at us.

Now what bothered me about this was that I feel I had just witnessed a murder. This is funny and/or supposed to make want to buy pens? Won’t this kid’s parents ask what happened to him? Will any of his friends tell what happened? Is Wormser a diabolical “Wish Child” like BILLY MUMY, or to a lesser extent JEREMY LICHT, from the TWILIGHT ZONE? Yeah, the kid may have been a jerk. But is that reason enough to have his 12-year-old self erased from existence?

Please let me know if anyone else remembers these, or has links to said clips.

UNK SEZ: Dear Spinninmarty, I feel your pain, I have exactly two haunting childhood commercial memories that I have not been able to track down. Referencing them to people only produces the sounds of crickets chirping. In the first, a girl stares blankly out a window at the rain. I think she is crying. Her mother comes up behind her and the girl says, “Mom, why am I so dumb?” and then her mother hugs her. I believe this is a commercial for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The second ad has a bunch of “Honeycomb Hideout”-type kids playing in a tree and they say, “Taking drugs when you’re not really sick…is REALLY sick!” It’s safe to assume that one was an anti-drug spot. I’ve checked youtube time and again for these two commercials but to no avail. Please someone out there in Interwebtown, put me and Spinny out of our misery by verifying the existence of these off-putting television oddities! In the meanwhile, I did find this Bic ad, as I was fruitlessly searching for Spininmarty’s traum-mercials, it will have to suffice for now…

UPDATE: SOLVED! see the amazing animal band HERE!

6 Films to Keep You Awake

If you remain unmoved by the recent airings of the diluted MASTERS OF HORROR series entitled FEAR ITSELF, 6 FILMS TO KEEP YOU AWAKE, the Spanish language equivalent, may be just what the mad doctor ordered. All the tales hold something of interest and happily the lion’s share boast themes of a truly Kindertraumatic nature. On a technical level, 6 FILMS consistently impresses by constantly delivering a too rare, rich theatrical vibe to the small screen. A bit of patience may be required with the more subtle and psychological of the stories, but all in all this half dozen set of variant views of the dark side provides the chills.

Doctor Ana Torres does the old bait and switch on pal Gloria when she offers her and her young daughter room and board in exchange for Gloria’s aid at her in-home medical practice. Gloria soon learns that not only is Ana carrying a torch for her, but that she also wants her to assist in providing secret abortions to boot. When Gloria herself becomes pregnant, Ana coaxes her into taking advantage of the house specialty with high anxiety and profound regret the result. The aborted fetus disappears, young daughter Vicky begins carting around a tin box and slimy residue is found on the attic stairs. Directed by NARCISCO IBANEZ SERRADOR (the classic WHO CAN KILL A CHILD?), BLAME throws the viewer off by pointing its finger in every conceivable direction until its final thought provoking, slightly frustrating scene.

An older man looks back on his youth and the part he played in the ostracism and tragic death of his first real love. This is a true blue ghost story in the PETER STRAUB vein, filled with some startling imagery and capped with an ending that grows creepier the more you think about it. Haunting in every sense of the word, SPECTRE director MATEO GIL (NOBODY KNOWS ANYBODY) proves the best way to slip a noose over the audience’s head is very quietly.

Think you’re tired of the old kid has make believe friends that just might be real storyline? What if I told you the kid’s make believe friend was THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE‘s Leatherface? This fascinating journey into the mind of a little girl who just may have seen one to many horror movies is a must see for genre fans. The less I give away about this superbly crafted, beautifully shot mind screw the better, but I’ll leave you with this, Leatherface is not the only icon who drops by…

I’m a sucker for X-mas horror, but I was taken aback by just how up my alley this segment turned out to be. I was pretty much sold from the beginning, which not only spoofs a cheesy zombie flick but also introduces us to a group of kids who appear to be the missing members of THE GOONIES. Making things all that much more irresistible is that the action takes place in 1985 and we’re surrounded by references to such things as THE A-TEAM, THE KARATE KID, the miniseries “V”, Princess Leia, and that blinking light game SIMON. The kids discover an escaped female convict trapped inside a hole in the woods and rather than aid her decide to exploit the situation to their advantage. When the crazed Santa costumed woman does finally make her way out of the hole, well, to quote one of the kids, “She’s got an axe and she’s pissed!” Amongst holiday horror flicks this is highly original and lots of fun. You can bet I’ll be watching it again once December comes around.

ALEX DE LA IGLESIA (DAY OF THE BEAST) is an exceptionally talented director and this particular tale showcases his strong suites well. This is a haunted house tale and like all good haunted house tales, the structure in question is really just a substitute for the interiors of the human mind. IGLESIA is able to inject potent doses of humor without diluting the terror as he peels back the wallpaper to reveal something akin to real madness. JAVIER GUTIERREZ and LENOR WATLING both turn in highly memorable performances as a couple whose new home subjects them (and their infant child) to domestic anguish levels not seen since STANLEY KUBRICK‘s THE SHINING, another must see.

One director I cannot get enough of is JAUME BALAGUERO ([REC]) and here he does not disappoint. MACARENA GOMEZ and ADRIA COLLADO are a young couple checking out an apartment listing who get unsnarled in a nightmarish trap of which there seems no escape. GOMEZ, who you may remember from DAGON, has a striking resemblance to horror icon BARBARA STEELE and frankly she’s impossible to take your eyes off of. Her performance along with that of NURIA GONZALEZ as the authentically frightening captor is something to behold. BALAGUERO‘s wonderful visuals are a given, but here he really showcases his deft hand at creating edge of your seat suspense.

If you’ve enjoyed recent Spanish language horror films like [REC], THE ORPHANAGE and PAN’S LABYRINTH this set is for you. I enjoyed all six of these productions and that’s a real rarity. Less gimmicky and more in touch with a real genuine sense of the uncanny than most popular horror, they actually may have the power to keep the viewer up late into the wee hours.

NOTE: There’s much more Kindertrauma fun to be found HERE!

Traumafessions :: Mr. Canacorn (and Absinthe) on Dot & the Kangaroo

I was going through my Netflix this evening and up popped DOT AND THE KANGAROO…immediately I got a jolt up my spine and my palms started sweating.  How could just seeing the box cover of this innocent sounding animated musical cause me so much strife?  Well, it all started back in the early ‘80s on cable television…

Some youngsters claim it was the monstrous Bunyip from DOT that gave them nightmares…but not me.  I’ve always loved monsters.  For me it was the Aboriginal tribe that Dot and her kangaroo pal spy on.

The way I remember it, the tribe was performing a hunting ceremony around a fire.  One tribesman was draped in a kangaroo skin and dancing around while the hunters advanced on him with boomerangs and spears.  The didgeridoo was droning on and on and the hunting dogs were howling at the moon….the hunters raised their weapons and the tribesman/kangaroo was actually sacrificed as Dot and her kangaroo watched in horror!   There was blood and screaming and a dying man draped in a freaking kangaroo hide thrashing around…it was horrible!  Then Dot and the kangaroo were attacked by the hunting dogs…Dear Christ, make it stop!  I watched the last bit of the movie huddled in the couch cushions too scared to look back at the screen until the next musical number.

How could this happen in a movie with singing koalas and platypuses?  Wasn’t ritualistic murder too much for children to handle?! *

That was it…I never watched DOT again.  And get this, every time I hear a freakin’ didgeridoo I think of that hollow eyed kangaroo skin wrapped around a bloody and broken Aborigine…creepy stuff.  I hate the didgeridoo…and Dot…and her stupid kangaroo.

*Apparently it was.  After typing my traumafession I hopped on over to YouTube to find the horrible scene that has haunted me for over 20 years (you can find it at the end of part 9 and beginning of part 10)…there’s no murder…but I could have sworn…

UNK SEZ: Take heart Mr. Canacorn, you are not the only one blindsided by the misleadingly child-friendly DOT, this came from our pal Absinthe of GLOOMY SUNDAY fame, who apparently DID find issue with the Bunyips you mentioned…

“It was one of the Dot movies – I still haven’t determined which one it was – they were Australian kids movies featuring animation and live action. I’m thinking it was either DOT AND THE KANGAROO or DOT AND THE KOALA but the scene that got me was there was some kind of Australian evil spirit in a cave. And I’m pretty fuzzy about the details but I know it really got me when I was younger and supposedly watching “safe” TV. This one was once again, endless nightmares and thinking the evil little aboriginal thingys were coming to get me…”

Now Absinthe, you may want to sit down (and bolt your window and doors) before you watch this next clip from DOT AND THE KANGAROO

The Awesome Mr. Canacorn can be found at AWESOMENESS FOR AWESOME’S SAKE and the lovely Absinthe haunts GLOOMY SUNDAY.

Traumafessions :: Professor Von Whiskersen on Happy Days & Tornadoes

Two of your previous Traumafessions have conspired to remind me of a fleeting terror of my own.

Sean of the Dead’s HAPPY DAYS story was terrifying to me as well.  As Mickster points out in her comment, I DID hide behind the couch every time I thought that headless figure in the rocker was about to appear.

Also I think Kurt tapped my brain with his memories of ancient weather alerts.  The 1974 Superoutbreak that Mickster mentions took the roof off of several houses in my neighborhood.  I wasn’t living there yet, but I saw pictures of the damage as a child.  Then the 1989 F4 Tornado touched down about a mile from my house.

But there was ANOTHER HAPPY DAYS episode (season 6, “Fearless Malph”) that stuck in my brain like an echo ever since.

That episode involved Ralph Malph’s pantophobia and a professor who hypnotized him into being (you guessed it) fearless.  Richie and Malph (and possibly Potsie) visited the Professor because Richie was working on some dumb article for his school newspaper.  While they were there, the Professor’s lab rats began to act all jittery, which Prof reads as a prediction for a Tornado to hit Milwaukee at PRECISELY 6:22 that evening.  What the hell??? How has the science of meteorology regressed so much since the ‘50s?  Anyway, this is the point when Malph is hypnotized, everyone runs off to Arnold’s to warn the gang of their impending doom, and then the tornado strikes and mayhem reigns supreme.  Everyone dies, the end.

But what really got me about this episode and what really made it resonate in my mind for all these years is that I watched it at home on a sunny summer day.  The kind of summer day that anyone from Alabama knows will turn black as pitch not long after lunch and then rain destruction down on you while you huddle in the bathtub or under the stairs.  And what do you know, not 30 minutes before this very episode of HAPPY DAYS aired, the weather alert sirens went off, the radio upstairs and the one on the T.V.  I’m pretty sure it was just a warning, because my father remained in his office upstairs working. However, seeing the names of surrounding counties scrolling at the bottom of the screen, and seeing the sky turn black outside my window while the kids from Milwaukee are pelted by debris on screen…well… I wasn’t familiar with the term “surreal” at the time, but I knew what it felt like.

I’m not scared of tornadoes like I was as a child anymore, and I’ll never think of them the same way.  They have passed beyond reality for me, into the realm of myth.  Now, a tornado watch/warning is something that piques my interest, like a good ghost story or stumbling across an old T.V. show on cable late at night.  I can’t not watch.

Traumafessions :: Reader Nat on Jaws 3(D)

Another terrifying childhood memory just came to me. (I say “just” with the implication that it came to me hours ago, and I’ve just now crawled back out from under my desk). It’s from… (wait for it)… JAWS 3.   I’m sure everyone has their traumatic JAWS moments, and I hope I find I’m not alone in being affected by the third chapter in the saga. Especially considering that the scene in question is one of the most laughable scenes ever filmed. Maybe it’s like SUPERMAN III: JAWS 3(D) is the cinematic equivalent of a steaming cup of liquid poo, but it came out at the right time for many of our generation, and was played frequently enough on cable as to be caught out of context and to stick in our stupid little minds. ‘Cause looking at it now, this movie is b-a-d, craptastic, but when I was young and impressionable, this following scene was responsible for many moments of terror. Any time I was in the pool, this is what would flash in my mind:

Awful, right? But, there’s something so eerie and unsettling about it, too. The way the shark just kinda glides towards you–not moving, just approaching. Almost like the gentlemen in that BUFFY episode, “Hush.” It’s so calm and malevolent and unnatural that it almost approaches the level of high art: an animal behaving in a very mechanical, false, alien way. (And I’m sure that’s what the filmmakers were going for. I mean, they had LOU GOSSETT, JR., after all, so it’s already practically an art flick.) Every time I was in a body of water, I would picture that shark slowly getting closer, and I could struggle and swim as fast as I could, but it would just. Eventually. Get. There.

Earlier: Nat’s not-so-fond memories of the VHS Cover of Fright Night and “Maneater” by Hall & Oates.

Name That Trauma :: Reader Wings on Freaky Cat-Loving Dude in a Castle

Here’s one I have had lurking in the recesses of my mind, always creeping me out. NO ONE, not even my movie-loving, quote-spouting brother has been able to place this flick.

I remember going to the drive-in as a kid (we went in the summer on weekends). This would have been in the 2nd half of the 70s or very early 80s. The movie bit that is stuck in my head involves some guy, a hermit or something, who lives alone in some far-off place, like an abandoned castle or something. Some young guy goes to see him or stumbles upon him, and they old guy there has dozens and dozens, if not hundreds of cats living in and around his old place.

That’s it. That is the nugget that has haunted my mind all these years. What was the freaky cat-loving dude DOING all alone out there? Why was the kid going to see him?

Help me!

Aunt John SEZ: Wings, what you have described sounds like a scene out of my day-to-day life with unrepentant cat fancier Unkle Lancifer and the fur ball covered floors of Kindertrauma Castle. Have you been peeking through our windows? That said, I am interested in knowing what this movie is… any guesses, dear readers?

UNK SEZ: Hold up there, not so fast A.J.. This sounds very much like a film that our beloved Tenebrous Kate reviewed a little while back called NIGHT OF A THOUSAND CATS! Wings do us a favor and check out Kate’s awesome review HERE and let us know if that is not the elusive film you’re hunting down. It sounds like a match to me! If it IS the correct film, than it just goes to prove my pet theory that everything a horror fan could possibly be searching for can usually be found at LOVE TRAIN FOR THE TENEBROUS EMPIRE!

Aunt John SEZ: NIGHT OF A THOUSAND CATS? Wait a minute, didn’t I just see clip of that movie over at CARRIE WHITE BURNS IN HELL? Better check that out too!