Kindertrauma Funhouse :: Frayed Contest!

It’s Friday again and time for another exciting episode of Kindertrauma Funhouse! You’ll notice that the comments section is closed, that’s because today we have a special prize to be awarded! Whoever identifies the most movies from the ten images below will win a copy of the brand new slasher film FRAYED! Now, this copy has been opened and watched exactly once by me but I promise it is in good condition. Do you have what it takes to be the first on your block (provided you don’t live on my block) to check out this fine film? Good luck, kiddies! Send your answers to The winner will be announced later tonight!- Unk L

UPDATE: Answers revealed… comments section OPEN!

Traumafessions :: Reader Bigwig on Fat Albert ep. “Busted”

Hey Aunt and Unk:

FAT ALBERT AND THE COSBY KIDS was always a main staple of Saturday mornings, with good ole’ Albert becoming the moralistic voice of reason countering the bad decisions of his cronies.

“You shouldn’t pick on little Ginny, just because she’s deaf! Hey Hey Hey!”

But somewhere down the line, there was an episode where they just happened to wind up in a stolen car, and were given a tour of a Philadelphia prison in an attempt to be SCARED STRAIGHT by the police. I’m not kidding. I had read a post earlier this year about a gun violence FAT ALBERT episode. I would wager this came from the same “unsyndicated, no holds barred” season.

Does anyone remember how out of place and unsettling this was? Granted there was no profanity, but it was certainly not something for a 6 year old, and I doubt teenagers were the target audience of the show.

I remember my sister and I transfixed by this prison house of horrors as depicted in a trustworthy happy cartoon, listening to the cacklings and howls of the pedophiles and psychopaths.

When the psycho inmate lusts over Albert, “Mmm… give me the BIG one..” like he’s some kind of plump New Year’s ham, I think it sealed the deal that we were going to keep on the straight and narrow.

So I supposed it worked, Mr. COSBY; thanks for the nightmares!

All the best,


Name That Trauma :: Reader Jamie B. on a Head Driller & Parent Killers

Do any of these sound familiar?

1. Horror film from the ‘80s or possibly early ‘90s. Throughout the movie people are terrorized by a man with a huge drill on his head. I remember the last scene vividly. The main character thinks he has woken from the nightmare and it’s all over, but he’s still dreaming. He might wake again two more times? The room is full of neon blues and greens and all the walls are at odd angles, like in a fun house. The drill man rips through the floor at the end, laughing maniacally. That high-pitched drill sound! Yeeeaugh. The fright it still gives me!

2. This must have been an episode of TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE / OUTERLIMITS / CREEPSHOW or something from the late ’80s/early ’90s. Children are secretly communicating with aliens, plotting a parenticide. The adults are completely oblivious, because their plans look like play. Parents are murdered in the end. This chills my bones just thinking about it.

Your site is spectacular! I hope someone knows these…

Thanks a million,


Traumafessions :: Reader Chuckles on Return of the Living Dead

I really enjoy the site. Keep up the good work.

Anyhow, I suppose that as a young child, I was exceptionally sensitive and was repeatedly trauma’d by 1970s pop culture: the cover of the Queen album News of the World; those huge monsters that ate people on the MUPPET SHOW; the trailer for THE DEVIL’S RAIN (which ran before some thing much more mundane at the drive-in); and of course my cousin Roger’s thoughtful description of PHANTASM which I really didn’t understand but caused me to steal and bury my neighbor’s silver sphere garden decoration.

However, I must (somewhat shamefully) admit that the mightiest trauma didn’t come down until I was 12 or 13 years old. I was told by some of the older kids on the block that I should see this hi-larious movie called RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. Now, I’ve seen the film a few times as an adult and it is pretty damned witty, but the kids on my block forgot to mention that the film could also be regarded as being UTTERLY HORRIFYING by a kid that was afraid of (certain) Muppets. I was doing O.K. until the “tar-man” zombie showed up. After that it was zero chuckles and pure white knuckles.

There was something about the RETURN zombies that really shook me up. These zombies were so much like living people that their acts of cannibalism seemed much more terrible. Freddy’s slow transformation from loving boyfriend to brain-craving zombie really underscored the point. Further, although they were much more human than other zombies, they were essentially unstoppable, which made me feel helpless. Finally, they wanted to eat living human brains, which greatly bothered me for reasons that I still don’t fully understand to this day.

My viewing of RETURN began a new phase in my life that lasted for years. I would not go near a cemetery and memorized the locations of every one in town so that I could plan my bicycle rides accordingly. Same with funeral homes, natch. Hospitals were nearly as taboo, as I knew that corpses were kept somewhere therein.

I was very uncompromising about my new extreme phobia. A friend of mine lived a couple of houses away from a cemetery, so he was scratched off my buddy list. My grandma lived near a gigantic military cemetery, and although I could not opt out, I counted the seconds until we left during each visit.

Nightmares about a full-scale zombie uprising were the norm. Looking back, these were really the catalyst that kept the trauma rolling along. I clearly recall waking from these night terrors covered in sweat and spending the rest of the night looking outside my bedroom window, anticipating the moment when that first decaying shambler would appear under the streetlights.

At some point my zombie-phobia simply faded and as I grew older I came to enjoy all things zombie. I’m sure a shrink could bill a few grand dissecting how I embraced my fears and wanted to connect with my childhood and blah, blah, blah. Unfortunately, zombies have of late become so overexposed that for the first time in my life I’m becoming finding them to be somewhat boring….

Oh well. All good things must one day end.

Maybe I’ll steal a decorative silver ball and bury it for old time’s sake.


FRAYED starts off with a bang, subjecting the viewer to what has to be the most brutal on-camera bludgeoning this side of IRREVERSIBLE. We’re watching a home video of a child’s birthday party and although little Kurt Baker’s behavior has been consistently atrocious throughout the festivities; the murder of his mother with a baseball bat really takes the cake. Needless to say, it’s off to the funny farm with Kurt, where he shall sit in a chair and think about his actions for thirteen years whilst giving kid sis some time to adjust to normalcy before his inevitable homecoming. Yep, the springboard applied here is Slasher Movie 101, harking back to pep-pep HALLOWEEN but don’t get too cozy kids, the playing field may look familiar, but there are curve balls up ahead.

Here is a movie that is well aware of its audience’s expectations and remarkably uses them to its advantage without condescension. You never have to think twice about whether there are real fans of horror driving this rig. The atmosphere is spot on and the scares well orchestrated, even the timing, lax by today’s standards, rings true of a more patient early eighties hack and slash. Perhaps most importantly the masked killer himself is a successful ode, although it should be said that his lumbering stride and rag doll silhouette favors MADMAN more than MYERS.

On the downside FRAYED may be a bit imprudent with showing some of its cards too early in the game, although it hardly alters the level of suspense, I felt I was privy to a particular reveal way before I should have been. That said, FRAYED can afford to be generous with the dispensing of information because as it turns out, it has more than one trick up its sleeve. Some of the performances might leave something to be desired, but the pivotal ones (particularly TONY DOUPE as Kurt’s sheriff father) are right on the money. All lapses considered, this is still a damn sleek looking independent production that follows through on its mission to honor a specific type of film while adding modern flourishes and a more in-depth psychological under current.

The real break down goes like this: the first kill made me wince, an appearance of the killer in a window mid way through the film made me jolt upright and the ultimate conclusion had me thinking: “Holy crap!” If that’s not time well spent I don’t know what is. If you are a classic horror fan I think you will enjoy FRAYED, and if you are a slasher fan, you just might love it.

Traumafessions :: Reader Jenna P. on VHS Covers & Simplicity Sewing

I just found your site today, and it’s great.

Around 1987, when I was 5 years old, I have very distinct memories of being in the video store with my mother. I didn’t look at the children’s movies though. She would always find me in the horror section, looking at the back of the VHS movies. I remember one picture in particular, a woman in a bathtub holding a toaster. I’m thinking there had to be another picture, such as a leg sticking out of the tub, and the toaster was next to it, maybe. I have no idea what this movie was (I doubt I was a very good reader at 5 anyway), but I don’t remember being scared of the picture, just interested. I enjoyed the back of other movies too; I do remember THE THING, MONKEY SHINES, and a movie about flesh eating ants. I’m pretty sure this is where my fascination with death began. I believe the term is death hag. I can view death pictures, like Nikki Catsouras, and there’s no problem. It’s pictures like the entry on MR. SARDONICUS that terrify me, to this day, at 26 years old.

Another thing that scared me to death was the cover of one of my mother’s Simplicity Sewing magazines; I’m guessing from late ‘80s/early ‘70s. The picture was of a young woman with long brown hair (no bangs of course), her mouth was making a small O shape, and her hand was up in front of her. The fingers on her hand turned into a pair of scissors, a thimble…a little rolly wheel thing on her middle finger (this was in front of/below the O of her mouth). The mouth shape and the fact that her fingers “became” scissors is what scared me. Early Photoshop I guess. I would beg my mom to make that face and then it would freak me out and I would make her stop. Funny. I found that picture online once but unfortunately I can’t find it again. I hope I find it before I have a kid so I can scare her with it.

Also the usual fare: Wicked Witch in the WIZARD OF OZ (actually, the monkeys), Chuckie, FIRE IN THE SKY, and IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS are the movies that really got to me, that I lost sleep over or slept with the light on. Today, of course, I love horror movies, esp. zombies. I think we can all agree the scariest part is when the characters lose the local T.V. and radio stations. At that point, you’re on your own. The end is nigh, huh? This is why I keep a shotgun under my bed and drive an SUV.

I sure wonder about that toaster lady, though.

LAST MINUTE UPDATE: Hey, look! Aunt John somehow found that cover!

Name That Trauma :: Reader Lars K. on an Artist Stalked by Satan

Dear Kindertrauma,

First of all, let me tell you guys you rock! Love the site! As an artist and designer I get a lot of inspiration from obscure movies and T.V. such as the ones you write about and your site always rocks some cool shit.

Second , I have kind of a kinder-trauma that I would love to hear if you could shed some light on. I’m Danish, so I have no idea whether this thing has been on American T.V. I’m sure it’s not a Danish production, but maybe European.

I only remember it vaguely, but I believe it’s a claymation short about an artist who paints the devil (maybe as part of a mural in a church), and then the devil comes to life and chases the artist!

I don’t remember the ending, but it made quite an impression me – maybe, because as I said, I’m an artist myself.

All the best,

Lars K.

Home Movie

There is something really wrong with the Poe children (real life siblings AMBER JOY and AUSTIN WILLIAMS): they don’t talk much, they show cruelty towards small animals, and they are getting sent home from school for biting people. Father (NEAR DARK’s ADRIAN PASDAR) thinks religion is the answer while mom (CADY McCLAIN) votes for psychotherapy. Meanwhile, as matters escalate it’s clear to the audience that both parents regardless of their beliefs, really worship at the altar of denial.

HOME MOVIE is one of those found footage films like THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, CLOVERFIELD and [REC] that places the viewer smack dab in the action thanks to the notion that some people like filming things more than they like staying alive. It is fascinating in places, frustrating in others and I think one’s enjoyment of it will probably be determined by how tightly they cling to the whole “this is reality” thing.

Personally I’m torn, I love this film’s cryptic foreshadowing and its refusal to identify the origin of the evil involved, and yet parts of it feel like a cheat. For example, the parents seem incapable of retaining any knowledge of previous insurrections on the part of their children. If your kids killed the goldfish, moved on to frogs and then graduated to crucifying the cat, wouldn’t it be logical to keep them away from the family dog? On the other hand, this may be the only movie I’ll ever get to see that features ADRIAN PASDAR in a pink bunny suit, so like I said…torn like NATALLIE IMBRUGLIA.

I think there is a strong story here that deserves better than having to slavishly touch base with the whole “fake reality” trope at regular intervals. Those who enjoy pointing out puppet strings can have a field day ripping apart the incongruities that abound. Better time is spent perhaps appreciating the legitimate creep factor and the subtle psychological game play, which is ultimately a great deal more interesting. I have to say as much as I didn’t buy the film’s central conceit; there are certainly scenes that really work fantastically at getting into your brain and staying there like a bad jingle (or an ice cream truck tune).

HOME MOVIE is effective enough to stand out from the crowd, but for maximum enjoyment it might be a good idea to take a leap of faith in regard to its fuzzy logic. It may not be able to convince you that it is “real,” but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was persuasive enough to have some parents out there locking their bedroom doors at night anyway.