Name That Trauma :: Reader Bigwig on a Crazy Crater and Cursed Kids

Hi Aunt and Unc….

I was hoping one of you trauma-ites may be able to piece this one together..

This harkens back to the late ‘70s early ‘80s, and reminds me of a NIGHT GALLERY re-run, although I can’t put a name on the episode(s), nor can I find it when I search. I think there were multiple short stories told in the same hour or half hour. Of course we may have watched a few shows back to back as kids staying up too late for our own good and there is a chance they are unrelated.

What makes this difficult is the trauma comes from the story I know the least about.

Trauma Story: Creepy Smoke-filled Hole

The show is in color.

There is a hole in the ground, in a field. It’s spring or summer, and there’s a big tree nearby. The hole is bigger than a grave…maybe about 20 feet in diameter. The hole is filled with a thick smoke/haze, like dry ice, which fills it to grass line. You have no idea how deep it is. It is in the tall grass, and no one knows what’s at the bottom of it, although awful sounds can be heard. . I think a kid finds it, and goes back to tell someone.

A man either climbs down and back up, or falls in, and when he gets out he is wide-eyed, babbling, and certifiably insane.

That isn’t the end, but it’s as far as I got that fateful night….I’d love to know where I can see this through to its conclusion, now that I am all brave, and have the option of a pause button. If it helps, the entire vignette was about this hole, it’s not part of a larger story.

If it is helpful, I remember more about the short that preceded this one, although The Hole had me terrified far more, since I didn’t stay up to find out what was in it, or perhaps we never found out, making it even worse.

Precluding Story: Doomed Teens

A group of teens are somehow privy to the prognostication of a fortune teller, or gypsy. Maybe they are cursed by her. Her enigmatic foreboding (paraphrased) statement is, “One by land; two by air.” Two of the three guys in the group are killed, one in a land related death, the other is involved in some death at the airport. The girlfriend of last remaining kid is frantic as she hears the news, and rushes to her boyfriend’s home. Landlady/Mom says she just missed him; he’s going……skydiving!

Can anybody help me out?

Reader Bigwig

UPDATE: NAME THAT TRAUMA SOLVED! Extra special thanks and a round of high fives are in order for eggplantq who knew that Reader Bigwig was talking about 1973’s ENCOUNTER WITH THE UNKNOWN.

Name That Trauma :: Reader Jackie M. on Costumed Criminals

My question is about a T.V. movie that aired in the U.S. sometime between ’85-’89. A group of male criminals in Halloween costumes (a Santa Claus, a bird of some sort, maybe a turtle) are hiding out or digging in a tunnel and then going after people. I vaguely remember them ringing someone’s door bell then killing them. It is night when they are running around and I think there is snow on the ground. If someone can solve this they are amazing!



AUNT JOHN SEZ: Jackie, unless there is another movie with hardened criminals decked out in costumes, I am pretty sure you are thinking of the Australian export FORTRESS which played ad nauseum on basic cable in the mid-to-late ’80s.

Andrew Koenig vs. The Fog

How sad the news about the suicide of actor ANDREW KOENIG (and so soon after the suicide of fashion designer ALEXANDER McQUEEN, who one would think had everything.) ANDREW was the son of WALTER KOENING (STAR TREK’s Chekov) and many of us grew up knowing him as Mike’s pal “Boner” on GROWING PAINS. By the way, I’ve already noticed some people on line are jumping at the chance to make jokes about this man’s death and it really makes my stomach turn. Maybe the world really is as ugly as ANDREW must have imagined. Wait, I shouldn’t say that, the world isn’t ugly at all, it’s people who sometimes are.

I just want to say to any readers out there of any age who might be finding themselves thinking about suicide, to stop putting energy into that thought RIGHT NOW. I know things can seem bleak at some points in our lives and if you’re dealing with depression, as KOENIG obviously was, it can appear downright impossible. I’m not trying to Wilson Phillips you here but things will change.

Because I can only view the universe through the goggles of the horror genre, let me use THE FOG as an analogy for the times that darkness and despair enters our lives. I am of course referring to JOHN CARPENTER’s classic and not the indefensible remake. (Chin up, RUPERT WAINWRIGHT, I was perfectly courteous toward STIGMATA.) When the fog rolls in uninvited it not only allows worm-faced ghost zombies to knock on our doors but it literally clouds our vision. The everyday things we find comfort in disappear from view. The thing that is imperative to remember is that the fog does indeed roll out of town. It may seem like the world will never go back to normal, but indeed it will. You need to find the nearest lighthouse, climb up on top and wait it out like Stevie Wayne. Don’t be afraid to give one of those ghouls a good whack with their own hook either. You might find your plight lasting longer than the one night of horror suffered the citizens of Antonio Bay but trust me, the ghastlies will at some point exhaust themselves and disperse.

Folks will tell you to seek help from friends and loved ones but most likely, if you’re feeling this way, you’ve already found little solace in that area. My advice is loose yourself or hideout in the arts until the coast is clear. I don’t care if it’s reading, writing, painting, listening to music, playing video games or (the most effective cure all) watching movies. These things will never let you down and they will always be there for you when you need them. It would be irresponsible for me not to also say that professional help is a Google away and that you just might have some bad chemicals doing the Macarena in your brain but in my opinion, they have yet to invent a pill as powerful as art.

Listen I know, as a teenager I remember thinking about telling life “You can’t fire me, I quit!” on several occasions but I’m so glad now that I kept passing those open windows. (There’s a good book to read, THE HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE.) If I had bit the big one I would have missed MORRISSEY’s solo career, seven seasons of BUFFY, the re-imaging of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, GOD OF WAR on PS2, HALLOWEEN H20, THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY, THE GOON, and oh hells no… MY BLOODY VALENTINE in 3-D!?! Plus a zillion other great things including five cats and Aunt John (I’m sorry I can’t guarantee an Aunt John for everyone who sticks this ride out, I wish I could.)

The point is, things change at the drop of a dime; things won’t always look the way they do now. I know life can seem like an actual horror movie sometimes but maybe if you hang on tight like Stevie, you’ll never have to endure a sequel to what’s currently rocking your boat. Take care of yourself kids, regardless of what you may have heard, every life is equally important and whatever you do, watch out for the fog!

“I don’t know what happened to Antonio Bay tonight. Something came out of the fog and tried to destroy us. In one moment, it vanished. But if this has been anything but a nightmare, and if we don’t wake up to find ourselves safe in our beds, it could come again. To the ships at sea who can hear my voice, look across the water, into the darkness. Look for the fog.”

The Treasure of the Four Crowns

Hold on now here, howza come, as long as I’ve lived I’ve never stumbled across THE TREASURE OF THE FOUR CROWNS? More importantly why has nobody ever mentioned it to me? Is it because it’s a terrible film? Have we met dear readers? What do I care from terrible, it’s just boring stuff I can’t stand. THE TREASURE OF THE FOUR CROWNS is never boring, well, maybe a little but it’s mostly not boring and it’s got the greatest ending ever…scratch that TWO of the greatest endings ever. Here’s one of them…(Careful, this isn’t so much a “spoiler” as the climax of the film…)

Did you see that guy’s head spin?!? Did you hear that ENNIO MORRICONE score?!? You don’t know how much I’d enjoy flamethrowers for arms! If God truly loved me he’d give me at least one flamethrower arm!

I must have seen the video box for this at some point, why did I pass it up? I guess it must have just looked like just another lame Indiana Jones rip-off to me; which it is, but honestly, pound for pound I think I enjoyed it better than the last two Indy flicks. It’s fun, it’s crazy, stupid, dumb fun and it makes zero sense and did I mention it was in 3-D? Well, originally it was. By the way, are there any lucky people out there who got to see this in the theater way back in ‘83? I want to shake your hand. (provided flames aren’t pouring out of it.)

Maybe the reason this one flew past my radar Riley was because it was hatched by the same mind as COMIN’ AT YA! (Spaghetti western star TONY ANTHONY). That film, which is regarded as the kickoff to the eighties 3-D revival, I did see in the theater as a kid and I have to say I was not too crazy about it. (Was I supposed to be stunned by 3-D beans being poured on my head?) I guess it’s possible that I may have avoided this one for that association alone, but CROWNS is soooo much better than COMIN’ AT YA!

The opening of the movie is pretty spectacular too, check this out (and get ready to duck!)…

Stop lying and admit that you want to own that Jacket. I don’t blame you, I love it too. You can’t imagine how bad the dubbing is in this, I adore bad dubbing.

A friend of mine (it could happen) has a large collection of 3-D movies and I recently got to see T.T.O.T.F.C. with the red/blue anaglyph glasses. That was cool, and I’m glad I did, but considering that this was originally presented with the same 3-D technology as FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH PART 3, I’m thinking it must have been really damn incredible to view in the theater. Man, if only there was some way to properly recreate such things at home…

Let me ruin everything for you by revealing that TREASURE has an epilogue that is completely insane that involves a monster coming out of a swamp for no reason whatsoever. Do you have red/blue 3-D glasses too? Go grab them, I’ll wait,… check this out… if I had my way every film for the rest of time would end this exact same way….

How awesome is that? Did you fall out of your chair? People can yack as much as they want about technology stifling artistry. As far as I’m concerned they can yack ‘till the cows come home as long as the cows come home in 3-D!

I’m so happy 3-D is making a comeback because I personally never voted for it to scram. Sure every once in a while you get burned by a METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN but it it’s worth it for every SPACEHUNTER: ADVENTURES IN THE FORBIDDEN ZONE. As long as we’re on the subject, how’s about that floating severed arm in JAWS 3-D? Oh, if only life were in 3-D….oh, wait…it is.

Name That Trauma :: Reader Liam on a Barred Bed

Congratulations – Kindertrauma is an AWESOME site! Here’s my half-remembered trauma:

Sometime in the late ’80s/early ’90s I saw a scene on UK television; (I think) a man was on a bed, possibly a four-poster, and somehow bars appeared from the sides of the bed turning it into a big cage. I think the bars shot up from the edges of the bed, but I’m not sure.

A very hazy memory, but it scared the crap out of me at the time. If anyone can name this film or T.V. show that would be amazing.



The Sender

I’ve seen the THE SENDER so many times that its multiple gaffs stick out like Sissy Hankshaw’s thumbs, yet I’m compelled to return to it again and again. I blame its exceptional cast and unique (especially for 1982) tone. How do I describe this strange, somber, anomaly? The best I could ever do was A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: THE DREAM WARRIORS (or better yet, 1988’s BAD DREAMS) as directed by IGMAR BERGMAN. I should point out though that THE SENDER played with the smudging of lines between dreams and reality before our fedora wearing pal Freddy ever did and that our director here is ROGER CHRISTIAN, who will later curse the world (or bless the world if you’re a bad movie fan) with the very less than BERGMAN-esque BATTLEFIELD EARTH.

KATHRYN HARROLD (who you might remember from NIGHTWING and the RICHARD LYNCH starring television movie VAMPIRE) stars as Dr. Gail Farmer, a woman who finds herself captivated by a recent admittance to the psychiatric hospital where she works. The patient known simply as John Doe #83 (ZELIJKO IVANEK) is an amnesiac who recently attempted a dramatic public suicide and just so happens to have the pesky habit of projecting his nightmares into people’s heads. I’m not talking about “It’s the day of the big math test and I forgot to wear pants!” kind of nightmares, I’m talking about the “Whaddya know, the refrigerator is swarming with cockroaches and a rat just crawled out of my mouth!” variety.

The doctor/patient relationship in the center of the film is absorbing enough to steer your attention away from many of the film’s imperfections. IVANEK is a convincing outcast with a believable supernatural aura (decades later he will be tapped to play a high ranking Vampire in HBO’s TRUE BLOOD) and HARROLD has an earthy, nurturing demeanor that makes me assume flowers bloom whenever she’s in the vicinity. As John Doe’s past begins to materialize so does his creepy, about as much fun as a barrel of dead monkeys, Bible quoting smother-mother ( a memorably melancholy SHIRLEY NIGHT). Dr. Gail has to basically re-parent the young man to defuse his demons as his telepathic “sending” is apparently all tied up in apron strings. Don’t feel left out, emotionless carved in stone fathers, you’re represented by shock therapy enthusiast Dr. Denman (PAUL FREEMAN a.k.a. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK’s bad boy Belloq) In other words, this is horror made for TEARS FOR FEARS fans.

Though not entirely seamless, this is some legit, classy, acne-free cinema. You know I love my garish neon eighties horror movies but THE SENDER, with its muted, mostly beige color palette and candle lit climax, has a timeless quality that I find comforting. I poked a bit of fun at director ROGER CHRISTIAN’s TRAVOLT-ing Sci-Fi train wreck but let’s not forget the guy was also the art director for the endlessly influential ALIEN too. THE SENDER’s cinematographer ROGER PRATT went on to BRAZIL and 12 MONKEYS and the standout score is from the guy who did ANGEL HEART and LABYRINTH (TREVOR JONES).

THE SENDER’s noble, non-pandering stance insured that exactly one cricket bought a ticket to see it in the theaters. Over the years it has gathered a cult of followers but this ambiguous oddity I suppose, for some people, will always fall into the neither fish nor foul pile. (You know the drill, gorehounds hate chin music and eggheads tsk-tsk decapitations…what’s a stylish thriller with both to do?) As you can tell, I have plenty of room in my heart for a problem like THE SENDER, its body count may end up being a blasphemous zero but it contains the only car chase scene I’ve ever found even remotely entertaining. In fact, I’d say it’s downright hypnotic.

Name That Trauma :: Reader Amy D. on a Tragic Tunnel


I’m wondering if anyone remembers this movie, I saw it when I was really little probably 5 or 6, I can remember this movie scaring me and it’s always been in the back of my mind but I can’t place it, it’s some kind of kids movie.

A girl is playing in her front yard, it’s back in time because she and her parents are wearing old fashioned clothes, dresses down to their ankles. Some men come across them and take them hostage, there’s a shoot out with the bad guys and the family inside and someone else outside. There’s a secret passage in the fireplace I think it was where you could climb into a tunnel. The father sneaks towards the secret opening and is shot, the mother rushes to him and is also shot, then the daughter rushes to the mother.

The next part I remember is one of the bad guys and the girl climbing into the tunnel, the girl runs away ahead of him and she suddenly screams and disappears from sight, I think it’s years later and there’s this mystery as to what happened to this girl.

My next memory is of another girl in modern time running down the same passage and falling but a guy catches her or pulls her up before she falls, they both look down and see the skeleton of the girl who fell years before, and I think the guy says something like now we know what happened to _________. He says her name I think. I’m pretty sure this was the end of the movie.

Any ideas? I can still very vividly remember the little girl falling while trying to escape and her parents being shot in the crossfire and collapsing. I would love to know the name of this movie. I’d appreciate any ideas. Thanks!

UPDATE: NAME THAT TRAUMA SOLVED! The unstoppable Senski got it with 1983’s MYSTERY MANSION!

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Horror fans often times disagree about what they find frightening. I’d like to ask though, is there anyone out there who is not mortified by TOBE HOOPER’s THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE? I mean, I know I’m old school so you have to fill me in kids, is it possible to watch that movie and not be freaked? To me it’s pretty much the cinematic definition of the word horror. I can understand someone not enjoying it, it can be a shrieky headache, and I can understand someone not finding it absolutely convincing or perhaps a tad too comical, but it is unquestionably horrifying, no? Come on, a lady is shoved on to a meat hook for Christ’s sake.

Cannibals, chainsaws, rotting corpses, a lampshade made out of human skin… what’s not to be disturbed by? Still, even with all of those obvious sources of terror flopping around there is something within the film that fills me with an even more intense feeling of dread. I can handle the physical pain and humiliation on display. It’s the uncanny elements that unbalance me; the ominous horoscopes, the solar flares, the feeling that the universe is collapsing in on our travelers. Again, I am old school. What’s it like to see this movie when your childhood did not take place in the seventies? Are such people free from the full intensity of CHAINSAW‘s morbid grip?

The thing that scares the hell out of me in T.C.M. is not the ogre known as Leatherface but the fact that it is a journey backwards to a place that is now dead. Sally Hardesty (MARILYN BURNS) and her wheelchair bound brother Franklin (PAUL A. PARTAIN) are essentially guiding their friends on a tour of their lost, corroded youth. Before they are ever aware of the vicious madness of Leatherface and company, they explore the once livable now dilapidated home of their grandparents. Sally laughs off the fact that she once slept in the crumbling shell but from where the pouty Franklin sits, his chair unable to course the terrain, her squeals of delight sound like (and foreshadow) squeals of anguish. It’s almost as if they have stumbled into some kind of Langolier-chewed history that’s disintegrating beneath them. They truly can’t go home again…there are spiders living there now.

Which brings me to the moment that inexplicably sticks out for me in the film. Sally and Franklin’s pal Kirk (WILLIAM VAIL) wanders ahead of the group and enters a room. In an upper corner near the ceiling, he finds a nest of seething and scattering daddy long leg spiders. Trust me here, I’m not one to be squeamish about spiders (they’re adorable), but there’s something about this bit that gets under my skin. It’s almost like an animated scribble, a growing negative space or a thousand cracks forming and the scratching, clattery sound applied over top of the visual is so other worldly sinister and so wildly exaggerated that it chills me to the bone. I’m sure that in the real world a psycho with a chainsaw is more upsetting than a nest of spiders, but in the real world a nest of spiders is polite enough not to act like a LOVECRAFTian tear in the universe.

Maybe I see too much in that mass of spiders or maybe it’s the potential absence of anything being there at all that riles me. Do they simply remind me of the daddy long legs I used to encounter on my back porch when I was little (and by encounter I mean rip the legs off of)? Leatherface is ultimately human and no matter what his efforts he’ll end up eventually just like his grandfather, barely able to lift a hammer. I guess to me those spiders say that time itself is the bigger monster carving through Texas and that it’s a monster that no one can outrun.

Name That Trauma :: Reader Kirsty D. on a Possessed Person With Lumpy Looking Skin

I posted a post yesterday on the IMDb I Need To Know board, asking if anybody knew what the name of this movie was, but nobody answered. All I remember is a dark haired young man getting possessed or turning evil, and getting lumpy looking skin. There’s a scene where he goes under the kitchen sink and while he’s under there he sees a hand hanging from the top.

In one scene he’s chasing some older woman in the house, I think in the basement, and she tries to run away from him from on one side but then runs into him on the other. It was like a scene in EVIL DEAD 2 when Ash was possessed. AMITYVILLE 2 came on T.V. a couple years back, and I thought for sure that it was the movie, but these scenes weren’t in it. I saw it when I was about 3 or 4, it’s a distant memory and those are the only scenes I remember.

Just wanted to see if anybody out there can name this movie, I know it’s really vague.

Thanks in advance.

UPDATE: NAME THAT TRAUMA SOLVED! After further investigation, it was AMITYVILLE 2.