Kinder-News :: A Year in the Life

Hard to believe, but it was just one year ago today your Unkle Lancifer and I let down the drawbridge at Kindertrauma Castle and opened our virtual doors to the masses. What should have been a festive day of celebration complete with pony rides, face painting, balloon sculptures, and canned beer drinking has been overshadowed by a veritable fatwa issued against Unkle Lancifer by Waltons’ Mountain Extremists.

Sadly, dear readers, I am as serious as a heart attack. WALTONS’ fans DO NOT mince their words:

It is unbelievable the disgusting garbage and filth that is on the internet. This vulgar and obscene website should be eliminated!

This is absolutely the stupidest thing I have ever read!!!

Oh my God! How rude could this person get! Did you notice the author didn’t even have the guts to leave an area for a responds?

Your dear old Aunt John even catches some serious heat for our second, and equally as innocuous, post:

I saw that the person on there even took time out to make fun of Little House! I don’t mind someone constructively breaking down what they don’t like about an episode, but there’s no need in anyway, to go as far as that person obviously did in that article.


We hope you understand that due to these circumstances, we’ve had to cancel our scheduled gala celebration at the Castle. Currently the grounds are teaming with torch carrying WALTONS’ zealots committed to stopping anyone from entering or leaving the premises. The last time I took a peek from my terrace to watch the effigy of Unkle Lancifer burn, I was hit with several tomatoes and a well aimed glazed ham. Regardless, we’d like to extend our heart-felt thanks to all of our really great readers, TRAUMAFESSION contributors, colleagues, family, and friends for making this past year really special.

P.S.: Should we ever go missing, please send the police and cadaver dogs over to WALTONS’ MOUNTAIN to retrieve our remains.

Traumafessions :: Reader Raven on Mad Scientist Toys

I thought you might be interested in some of the freakiest toys I ever owned as a kid.

This one is the Mad Scientist Dissect-An-Alien playset.

And this one is the mother of them all: The Mad Scientist Monster Lab, where the whole purpose is to construct alien/monster skeletons that you covered with fake “monster flesh,” only to torture your creation by dipping him in a “pit of acid” where the flesh would dissolve and you’d be left with just the skeleton again.

While I LOVED this toy, I was absolutely terrified of the “Powdered Monster Flesh Remover” for fear of it dissolving my own skin. Obviously it couldn’t, but it even gave me nightmares about my pet cats somehow finding their way into it.

UNK SEZ: Raven, I remember these! I didn’t have them but I remember the commercials on T.V.! At the end of the television advert, a giant cartoon hand would come out and stamp all that proceeded as “TOO GROSS!” Thanks for sharing these great toys with us and as much as WE LOVE ALL Traumafessions, yours especially rules because it concerns the fate of your feline pals! (Did we ever mention Kindertrauma Castle is over run with cats?)

Traumafessions :: Reader John on “Who Goes There?”

I saw an article on your site in GEEK MONTHLY and decided to check it out. There’s lots of fun to be had, and I’m still reading it even now, but I did want to respond to your article on THE THING. Because as good as the movie is, it will never hold a candle to the original short story (“Who Goes There?” by JOHN W. CAMPBELL JR.), which I read as a child and which terrified me like nothing else. It’s an absolutely gripping read, tense and claustrophobic in a way that even CARPENTER‘s excellent (and faithful) film can’t match.

The most terrifying thing about it was that after I finished reading it and went to bed for the night, a friend of mine stopped by our house. He didn’t want to wake my parents, but he did want to see if I was awake and up for sneaking out, so he tapped on my window and whispered, “John? John, are you there?” through the curtains. Needless to say, I didn’t respond, primarily because I was sure that saying anything or even moving would result in being devoured by a shape-shifting monster.

UNK SEZ: John, thanks for reminding me just how great and effective “Who Goes There?” really is. I read it in my youth as well. In fact, before JOHN CARPENTER’s THE THING was released in theaters, FANGORIA magazine held a contest asking readers to draw THE THING based solely on the description provided by CAMPBELL‘s text. The young Unkle Lancifer worked diligently in his Trapper Keeper and produced a work that, by rights, should have changed the history of art forever. (I had just discovered a revolutionary shading technique that involved smearing pencil lines with my eraser!) I’m not sure what exactly happened, but for some reason I DID NOT win that contest. I have developed many conspiracy theories over the years. Did the editors of FANGORIA decide that my work was so astounding that I was clearly a seasoned professional with far too many awards already under my belt and therefore disqualified me?? Did my postman, having entered the contest as well, destroy my submission in order to secure his own unwarranted victory? Was JOHN CARPENTER himself involved? Perhaps he was concerned that after seeing my illustration audiences would find his film somehow inadequate! Or was it the government? Maybe THEY stepped in and destroyed my masterpiece because it was a far too convincing a depiction of an alien life form and could potentially blow the lid off their decades long U.F.O. cover-up! One things for sure, “Who Goes There?” is one story that really can really produce paranoia!

P.S.: Thanks to the beyond excellent OUTPOST 31, I have found the winning submissions to the obviously rigged FANGORIA “contest.” If you look below you will discover evidence that concludes, without a shadow of a doubt, that I have been robbed! FANGORIA, if you’re reading this, it’s never to late too make amends. Simply print a retraction in your next issue that states that you acknowledge the fact that you made a HORRIBLE, HORRIBBLE, MISTAKE!

NOTE: For even more horrible mistakes related to THE THING go HERE.

Traumafessions :: Reader Turnidoff on ALIEN’s Facehugger

ALIEN was the first real horror film my parents allowed me to watch. My mother saw it in the theater when she was eight months pregnant with my sister. That kind of freaked her out. I always heard stories about the “chest-burster” scene and my imagination would run wild with horrifying visuals. A few years later it aired on broadcast T.V. I was about 9 at the time, and my parents only let me watch up to the part where the facehugger dies and JOHN HURT wakes up. Conveniently, there was a commercial break right before the infamous scene, so they sent me to bed.

At that time, in my mind, the alien wasn’t the 8-foot, phallic-headed monster we all know and love, it was the spidery facehugger. That’s what I thought popped out of Cane’s chest and picked of the crew systematically one by one. I had to imagine what the rest of the movie was like with this facehugger killing all the crew.

The next day I drew a comic book called “ALIEN 2!” The plot was simple: The Facehugger escapes the ship and falls to Earth.HAL LINDEN from BARNEY MILLER fame was a beat cop who stumbles upon the facehugger who wakes up and starts destroying the city… and the only one who can stop it is, HAL LINDEN of course.

When I finally saw the entire film a few years later, I wasn’t disappointed. As a matter of fact, I was floored. It has become one of my top favorites of all time.

I guess it just goes to show you that sometimes your imagination is not always better than the real thing.

UNK SEZ: Turnidoff, do not sell your vision of a HAL LINDEN starring ALIEN sequel short. Although JAMES CAMERON‘s take is very difficult to top, yours, if made as you envisioned it, would certainly not be the worst ALIEN sequel in existence. I also think it is very generous of you to want to assist Mr. LINDEN‘s jump from the small screen into multiplexes. I always thought his mustache was made to be seen larger than life, on the big screen. In fact, now that you mention it, HAL‘s ‘stache just may be the absolute perfect foil for a wayward facehugger!

NOTE: TV GUIDE ad from HERE, ALIEN toys from HERE.

Earlier: Turnidoff’s take on MADAME.

The House on Sorority Row (1983)


For a film that begins in flashback mode and whose action ignites with a prank gone wrong, THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW is a relentlessly original slash excursion and easily one of the best of its kind. The plot may sound familiar, a group of sorority sisters being offed one by one by someone they wronged, but the execution is blow-you-away slick and suspenseful. Unlike most prank gone wrong flicks, the crime here is a recent one and the looming specter of discovery by authorities helps to add yet another level of anxiety. It’s no surprise to learn that director MARK ROSMAN at one time worked alongside BRIAN De PALMA for the potential victims here in no way have clean hands. ROSMAN, credited with the script as well, also knows a thing or two about keeping a viewer on their toes and questioning everything. Who is responsible for the escalating body count and why is always frustratingly just out of reach.

As many interesting queries as the movie raises the biggest one is how did the lead actress KATHRYN McNEIL (also of MONKEY SHINES) escape major A-list stardom? She looks pretty incredible on film and she exudes a regal ferocity that should have had her stealing parts from SIGOURNEY WEAVER or at least NICOLE KIDMAN. As the lone voice of reason amongst her pack, some of what she is required to say and do is a bit hokey by today’s standards, but that’s part of her charm. She comes off as worlds, or at least decades, removed from her very-eighties cohorts. All in all you could not ask for a better lead in a film like this. The viewer can’t help but to follow her like a puppy.

The most fascinating thing about H.O.S.R. to me is how it subtly gets darker and more twisted with each scene so that by the end you can’t believe you are watching the same film you began with. Early scenes are bright with chirpy birds and corny music, and then eventually you end up in the grimmest of Gothic arenas surrounded by a darkly grandiose score (not to mention very creepy clown wallpaper). There is even a side step into SUSPIRIA-like neon psychedelic dream imagery. As a whole, the movie is like one of those sped up film shorts where you watch fruit rot right before your eyes.

H.O.S.R. is less concerned with its character’s sexuality then most slashers (although the requisite “bad girl” does know her way around a water bed and crankin’ up a jack-in-the-box means certain death), but the themes it does focus on are just as common. Wrongs from the past resurface just like the corpse that won’t stay submerged in the swimming pool and forced accountability is the order of the day. Authority figures are routinely stifling or duplicitous and when we are granted access to the dorm’s hidden attic room, we are shown symbol after symbol representing the false happy facade of childhood. Although there’s not much new ground broken here, it’s hard to cite many of its contemporaries that present these ideas with the same amount of grace and aplomb.

My only gripes would be with the slightly off dubbing of the wicked cane-carrying housemother Mrs. Slater (LOIS KELSO HUNT) and I hate to say it, the open ending which many people adore. I admit it is legitimately classy in a BLACK CHRISTMAS (’74) kind of way, but the film has worked itself up into such an incredible crescendo at this point that, to me, it feels like being pushed out of a car at high speed. The latter part of the film, when it has come down solely to McNEIL and the killer (who is now donning the most horrific harlequin/jester outfit you have ever seen) is just TOO GOOD and should have gone on for at least another 15 minutes. (I would even sacrifice the awesome new wave party band FOUR OUT OF FIVE DOCTORS to make this happen!)

H.O.S.R. was a huge financial success that made almost twenty-five times its budget back. Why there was never a sequel (preferably one that takes place right after the events like HALLOWEEN II) I’ll never know. Without giving away the identity of the killer, I’d just like to say that he or she could have been a serious contender as an indelible horror icon. I personally would buy every action figure, t-shirt and poster they could produce. On the other hand, maybe that’s just what makes this masked killer so uniquely powerful, rather than overexposure and tangled story lines we have an ambiguous, mysterious threat that for all these years has remained securely hidden in the shadows. Your mind can have a field day filling in the blanks and perhaps that’s the point. This scary jester may have not made it into big screen movie sequels, but maybe at the end of the day, starring in an actual nightmare or two is the more dignified gig.

NOTE: This review is in conjuncture with DINNER WITH MAX JENKE, for another take on THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW, stop by and visit HERE.

Name That Trauma :: Reader Emilee on Little Girl vs. Mirror Monster

Hi, I am so glad I found out about your site!

When I was little I saw this terrifying movie that gave me nightmares for years, and I have been trying to figure it out for 10 years. My friends think I’m crazy. It was probably either late ‘80′ or early ‘90s. The only part I can really remember is a little girl being chased by a big brown monster with horns or something, and she is in her room and the monster is in the mirror.

The mirror is one of those old long oval mirrors that stands on its own. I know it’s vague. I think the little girl had dark brown hair. At first, I thought it was the trippy version of ALICE IN WONDERLAND that came out in ’85, but I have watched it and that’s not it.

The girl and the mirror are totally different.

I think I may have seen this other movie around the same time. If you can help me, I will not know how to thank you. It’s killing me that I can’t figure out what movie I saw.

Please help!!

UNK SEZ: Emilee, I’m not sure about this one. At first I thought it was MIRROR MIRROR (1990) based on your description of the mirror, but I think the beast in that movie is more of the scraggily hag variety. Then I thought of RIDLEY SCOTT’S LEGEND where the beast in question does have horns and the girl (MIA SARAH), though not a little girl, has dark hair. The beast indeed enters through a mirror at one point in that movie, but from what you’ve said I get the idea that the action takes place in a more traditional bedroom rather than the fantasy world depicted in LEGEND. You can watch that scene HERE. Let me know if that could possibly be the one you’re looking for, otherwise I have to throw it out to our readers to assist! In the meanwhile, through my research, I did discover that a very similar occurrence as the one you mentioned once befell upon SESAME STREET‘s Grover who took his own monstrous mirror confrontation in absolute stride…

Name That Trauma :: Kinderpal Absinthe of Gloomy Sunday on a Girl Drawn and Quartered by a Big Rig

I came in on my father watching a movie and sat down with him.  I was coming in mid-movie so I don’t know the whole plot but there was a guy and his girlfriend and a psycho bad guy that was after them.  The bad guy kidnaps the girlfriend and the hero goes after her, he catches up to them in some kind of parking lot at night.  The girl is now chained to the back of a huge semi truck by her legs – her arms are chained to some kind of fence or pipe coming out of the ground.  Bad guy watches it all from his side mirror and keeps laughing, smiling and revving the engine of the truck.  Good guy is pleading with him and finally tries to get closer to free his girlfriend, bad guy stomps on the gas and the truck screeches away amidst the girl’s screams.  Now they didn’t show the scene of her getting yanked apart, they just cut to the bad guy and the good guy but I was so bothered by the whole thing.

I kept asking my dad, “Is she okay, what happened to her, he didn’t pull her arms off right?”

My dad finally told me to go and play in my room so I never saw the end of that movie but I had dreams later of that same scene and it has haunted me all this time.

UNK SEZ: This grizzly act can only be the work of RUTGER HAUER! Absinthe, your pop must have been watching 1986’s THE HITCHER. What a crazy scene huh? I’m still kind of shocked. That was JENNIFER JASON LEIGH getting yanked apart and C.THOMAS HOWELL was the guy who had to stand by and watch it happen. It seemed good ol’ J.J.L.‘s acceptance into the final girl club was as good as written in stone, but maybe her application got lost in the mail or something. As disturbing and as counter intuitive to horror tropes as this scene is, you can be thankful that your young mind missed out on the way THE HITCHER serves up french fries…talk about finger licking good!

Traumafessions :: Reader Brian on the Carol Burnett Show

There was this episode of THE CAROL BURNETT where they show her being sucked down a bathtub drain. They show her slinking all through the drainpipes. I had to be three or four when I saw this. It took my parents months to even get me in a bathtub to take a bath without screaming my bloody head off. Even to this day, knowing rationally that it can’t happen, I get that weird feeling around tub drains.