Traumafessions :: Reader Denise C. on Tommy

First off, I LOVE this site. It has brought back some long lost memories for me.

I was a child of the early days of cable and was able to watch whatever I wanted. So needless to say I have quite a few traumas to share as the ’70s was a pretty wild era for movies. For now I give you this one.

Let’s see I must have been 7 or 8.

My Trauma?


Just typing the words to this freaky rock opera gives me the chills. I recall the Acid Queen with flashes of a skeleton and snake. The weird uncle and pedophile cousin with the torture tools. ELTON JOHN with super high platforms and the TV vomiting out beans in a white bedroom with ANN MARGARET “bathing” in it yuck!! Just typing this out I feel the need to take a long hot shower. All I can say is this movie made me feel dirty and violated. I may not be spot on in my memories as I REFUSE to watch this ever again.

And yes I have seen THE WALL and loved it.

Name That Trauma :: Reader Courtney on a Killed Cleaner

Greetings and salutations, Kindertrauma!

Long time lurker, first time poster here … anywho, I used to watch USA UP ALL NIGHT in the late ’80’s when I was 11 or 12. My parents were remote control Nazis (somehow they didn’t have a problem with their little angel reading STEPHEN KING as a child, but R-rated movies were off limits!), but I’d sneak out after they went to bed. How USA was able to play such classics as ZOMBI or DEMONS 2 on basic cable is beyond me.

This movie has been driving me nuts for a ridiculous amount of time (like, YEARS). It was set in a high school. There was some kind of slasher/serial killer involved, who had a goofy laugh. The school lab may have been involved. At the end, you see a janitor’s bucket-on-wheels thingie being pushed, and it looks like the janitor from the back. Then you hear the killer’s crazed giggle, and you know the janitor is dead … cue end credits.

Does this ring any bells? It’s probably from the early ’80’s.

By the way, your site is amazing. You’re doing a real public service. By which I mean I lurk about when I should be doing homework.

Thanks a ton,


UPDATE: NAME THAT TRAUMA SOLVED! Reader magired moves to the head of the class for being the first one with a hand up for RETURN TO HORROR HIGH!

Scream Pretty Peggy

I usually liken the winters spent in Kindertrauma Castle with THE SHINING. You know, unavoidable cabin fever, highly repetitive writing and the occasional Big Wheel ride. This past winter though, sheesh, that analogy just won’t cut it. Winter 2010 was more like JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING, more Antarctica than Colorado. Beards were grown, long johns were worn and as we fond ourselves surrounded by suspicious pets, paranoia reigned. The only alleviation from the madness was found in roller-skating to STEVIE WONDER tunes, whiskey and the occasional video chess game (well more like UNCHARTED 2 than chess, but you get the idea). And yes, I admit it, mysterious shredded clothes were discovered and somebody ended up tied to a chair. Let’s not talk about the noose, “I’m all better now.”

I tell you this because last week when spring finally frickin’ sprung it was time to get the hell out of this stinkin’ shoebox! How could we though, we had just discovered SCREAM PRETTY PEGGY on VEOH (thanks to readers Mike & Senski) and it simply had to be viewed at once, what to do?

Then I had an idea of Blair Warner magnitude. Since we were locked into watching SCREAM PRETTY PEGGY on the laptop anyway why not take it into the backyard and watch it outside under the stars? A.J. groused like a man in love with his couch but I insisted. I needed to get outside before my head popped off and grew lobster legs!

Kids, do you know that watching T.V. in the backyard is the best, most fun thing on Earth? You can drink beer freely and they have something called oxygen there. If your brain is made of Play-doh like mine is, you can even imagine that you are at the drive in! It’s easy, just pretend that you’re as big as a matchbook and that you’re sitting on the space key of your computer. Naturally, the more experience you have beating reality into submission the easier this trick will work for you. Good luck and remember to turn back to normal size after the show!

Now on to the movie, one of the first things that I noticed while watching this one was how much of a fan I WAS NOT of Peggy. I had just seen actress SIAN BARBARA ALLEN in YOU’LL LIKE MY MOTHER and found her tolerable enough so I’m assuming it’s the way the character is written. I’m sorry, but if the first thing I learn about you as a person is that you CUT IN LINE, our relationship is pretty much null and void. I thought momentarily that Peggy and I could be pals when she said she was looking for a “lighthouse keeping job” as that too is my dream. Turns out she didn’t say, “lighthouse keeping,” she said, “light – housekeeping.” Oh, Peggy, you and I haven’t a chance.

You see, I have your number Peggy, I’ve encountered your type before! You feign helplessness to get your foot in the door and then suddenly you own the place. Your too easy grin, your phony self deprecation, do you think I was born yesterday Peg? You are obnoxious and pushy and that is why I’ve re-titled your film SCRAM PUSHY PEGGY!

I have a hard time believing anyone would hire Peggy but get hired she does; I guess it helps when you’re willing to sell your services for 75 cents an hour (an amount that shrewd, manipulative Peggy jacks up to 1.65 within minutes of arrival.) Peggy is hired by famous sculpture Jeffrey Elliot (TED BESSELL, THAT GIRL’s ever patient Donald) who lives with his mother Mrs. Elliot (some lady called BETTE DAVIS). The audience is aware that the Elliots are hiding secrets almost instantly and Peggy, who’s not the brightest peg on the Lite Brite board, has a notion too. FREE ADVICE: If you have a horrendous, odious secret you’re trying to keep, a secret so dark and twisted that discovery of it will land you a lifetime gig in Sing-Sing do your own “light-housekeeping.” Don’t allow strangers into your web, fool! There’s a reason why everything in Kindertrauma Castle is covered in fur balls and on the fritz!

Although more cliché ridden than a thousand hipsters, there are several elements to this 1973 made-for-television movie that raise its ass above the chaff; the killer in a long flowing nightie with disheveled hair is tops for one. The image is not used enough but it’s grand and slasher worthy. Check out TERROR OUT OF THE SKY (1978)’s TOVAH FELDSHUH’s opening kill it’s pretty good (incidentally, TOVAH did the voice over work as “grown-up Jane” in SILVER BULLET. Man, I wish she got the part of Peggy.) In addition, I LOVE the evil red sculptures that Jeff creates; they’re these gigantic molten creations and they steal every scene they’re in (plus they’d look great in the backyard.)

Then there’s BETTE DAVIS, it may be the gay gene talking but you’re more likely to look away from a UFO landing than her. I know A.J. has a penchant for her because he has a soft spot for snide, irascible misanthropes (don’t ask me how I know that) but I dig her because she never fails to remind me of MARTIN SHORT. Some feel that DAVIS has little to do in this movie but I think that’s kind of the beauty part. More often than not she is just propped up on a bed, handed a teacup filled with hooch and prodded to squawk lines like “Leave…this…house!,” “You don’t…be-long here!,” and “You’re…(pause)…fired!”

SCREAM PRETTY PEGGY is generally bland and predictable but speckled with splinters of semi-greatness. I’m sure its final revelation held some kind of scandalamity power back in the day but to contemporary audiences, it’s the second most overused “twist” right behind “P.S., you’re already dead!” Still one does not look a DAVIS cameo in the mouth and I have to admit my abhorrence toward the title character made it a particularly fun movie to bark and throw imaginary jujubes at. That’s another great thing about watching movies outside; what better way to announce to the neighbors that their cruel summer of bad eighties music noise pollution is right around the corner? I know it’s rude to subject innocent ears to archaic pop tunes but at least I don’t cut in line.

Name That Trauma :: Prospero of Caliban’s Revenge on an Aborted Burning

Prospero here from Caliban’s Revenge. Love your site and visit it every day and finally decided to see if you can help me figure this one out. When I was a kid, I caught this scene on T.V. in the early ‘70s:

A young girl (maybe 12) in ’50s or ’60s clothing is tied to a stake atop a pile of wood while a friend stands by. The girl tied at the stake is begging her friend to burn her at the stake, because she is sure she’s a witch. The horrified friend refuses, no matter how much the girl begs her.

The scene was played very seriously, with ominous music. I think my mother may have made me change the channel, because I have no idea what happened next. I don’t know if this was a scene from a movie or a T.V. show, but it’s stuck with me all these years. I would love to know what it’s from so I can maybe revisit it and see what happens next.

Keep up the great work!

Name That Trauma :: Reader Jeremy on Vampire Pools

Off the bat, I want to say I love your website…I was lucky enough to figure out one traumatic scene from childhood on my own (the head coming out of the table in THE MANITOU), but this one is still nagging at me…

It was the end of a movie I saw when I was about 9 years old…a woman was being chased by a vampire (or Satanist?), who cornered her in an empty in-ground pool. As I remember it, she was saved by the sheriff, but then he locked her in a cell; as it turned out, the whole town were vampires (or something like that), and the movie ended with a freeze frame of her screaming.

It’s hard to say why I found it so scary at the time, I think part of it was the low budget film quality-it looked like it was shot on super-8, which gave it a cinéma vérité kind of feeling-but I’d really like to see it again now. Any ideas?



Thanks to sumo1964 for pointing us towards WARLOCK MOON (a.k.a. BLOODY SPA)!

Traumafessions :: Kinderpal Senski of Heart in a Jar on Frankie Stein & His Ghouls

When my parents would go on a shopping trip and I’d have to stay with a baby-sitter, they’d always bring me back some kind of present, either a book or a record or both. When I was five, they purchased an LP that became one of my favorites as a child – “Monster Melodies” by Frankie Stein and His Ghouls!

Not an awful lot is known about the group, but during the mid ’60s, within the space of seven months, they banged out 5 albums of fairly decent surf rock, with all the hot dances of the time – Frug, Hully Gully, Twist, Swim, Mashed Potato – represented, with song titles like “In a Groovy Grave,” “Knives and Lovers,” and “Ain’t Got No Body.” But the real selling point for the records were the eerie sound effects that were scattered through all the tracks – screams, moans, chains rattling, maniacal laughter. In most cases they were just silly fun, but there was one voice that showed up frequently with chilling demands to “Twisssst…..Twissssssssst….TWISSSSSST!!!” (I’ve checked other boards about Frankie, and it seems there were more than a few who were creeped out by that voice.) They’ve since come to be prized by DJs, who love to throw some Frankie into the mix at Halloween. QUENTIN TARANTINO, do you know about these?

But the music is not the focus of this Traumafession. After I got my first taste of Frankie, I wanted more, and eventually in a late 60s cut-out bin (God, I miss those!) I found a copy of another of his albums – “Ghoul Music.”

Now my parents bought it for me, and I don’t think I gave the cover too much mind at first. But once I got it home, I couldn’t stop looking at it, and it really began to get under my skin. I saw the jacket art two ways: 1) The different-colored claw belonged to someone – or something – else, and it was pulling back the flesh around the eye socket and making it bleed, or more disturbingly, 2) That was the ghoul’s own hand, and it was performing a horrible act of self-mutilation. I’d say that, within a month, I had my parents throw the record jacket away, and I kept both of my Frankie albums in the same sleeve. To this day, the concept of eye trauma really gets to me.

In 2006 a company called Groovy Grinds re-released “Ghoul Music” as a CD with Stein’s “Shock! Terror! Fear!” – and when I bought a copy, I flipped the CD booklet so that the “Ghoul” art was on the inside!

Thanks, guys – hope you’re doing well!



UNK SEZ: Thank YOU Senski! Is there anything better than a fresh traumafession from our pal Senski? What a great way to start the weekend! Remember kids you can take advantage of Senski’s wit and wisdom whenever you please by dropping by HEART IN A JAR!

Robert Culp In Spectre!

ROBERT CULP passed away yesterday at the age of 79. Although he gained notoriety for his work alongside BILL COSBY in I SPY, most of my generation may more fondly recall his presence in THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO where he partnered up with WILLIAM KATT (CARRIE, HOUSE). CULP also appeared in the classic HARLAN ELLISON penned episode of THE OUTER LIMITSThe Glass Hand” and the (kindertraumatic) television pilot SPECTRE. Produced by GENE RODDENBERRY, SPECTRE starred CULP as William Sebastion an occult detective who travels to England to uncover a satanic cult. Much as in the case of 1973’s THE NORLISS TAPES, SPECTRE left a lasting impression on those who caught it on television regardless of the fact that it failed to go to series. (Interestingly, in England, SPECTRE, with the help of a few added scenes of nudity, played theaters.)

HEADS UP: I’m not sure how long it will be there but currently you can catch SPECTRE on YouTube HERE. Why not honor this beloved actor’s passing by checking it out. Besides spying a young JOHN HURT (ALIEN), you’ll also notice that the relationship between CULP‘s Sebastian and GIG YOUNG’s Dr. Ham Hamilton not only tips a hat toward Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson, but paves some road for the future Mulder & Scully!

The House That Would Not Die

AARON SPELLING produced television movies don’t grow on trees. Well, actually I guess they kind of do but I for one have never met one I didn’t like. You may have to take my reviews of seventies T.V. movies with a grain of salt kids because I’m just a big push over for them. I watched THE HOUSE THAT WOULD NOT DIE (1970) at around five in the morning and what can I say, I was as happy as a clam who just married a pig in slop. Yes it’s as hokey as your grandma’s doily and about as provocative as a READER’s DIGEST cover, but it has magical time traveling power! The melodramatic music, the over estimation of the effectiveness of slo-mo, the canned wind sound effects, the cocoa and copper hues and the general graininess of it all, was somehow able to successfully transport your Unk back a couple decades. The only thing missing was my mother yelling downstairs to tell me to “Turn that off and go to bed!”

THE HOUSE THAT WOULD NOT DIE is based on a novel called AIMEE COME HOME by popular supernatural author BARBARA MICHAELS. It stars the one and only BARBARA STANWYCK as Ruth Bennet, a lady whose hairdo looks just like a bowl of popcorn and so I made a bowl of popcorn. Ruth has inherited a creepy house which she moves into along with her niece Sarah (hooray, it’s KITTY WINN from THE EXORCIST!) Both ladies immediately land age appropriate boyfriends and then decide to have a séance. The séance is a success because the spirit world is indeed contacted but also a disaster because a couple of the participants are left possessed by ghosts. Sarah is possessed by some girl named Aimee and Ruth’s sexily named boyfriend Pat McDougal (RICHARD EGAN), is possessed by Aimee’s pissed off Dad. What is the secret of this house that won’t die? Like most secrets the answer lies beyond a false wall in the basement. I have no idea why people don’t check there first!

I have to say this movie with all its talk about Revolutionary War era ghosts got my hopes up that there might be an appearance by the FUNKY PHANTOM but alas he never showed. Instead, what we get is a painting that keeps falling into the fireplace and a front row seat to hapless Ruth being manhandled by her possessed boyfriend and strangled by her possessed niece. Additionally, an inordinate amount of time is spent in the town’s “Hall of Records.” Again people, forget the Hall of Records! The secret is always in the basement, what do you think basements are for? THE HOUSE THAT WOULD NOT DIE’s scares may be softer than bunny fur but it’s got a general spooky atmosphere that works nonetheless. (I know perfectly well that it would have scared the crap out of me as a kid.) Ruth’s nightmares of Sarah calling for help are particularly eerie.

The climax which involves EGAN’s possession momentarily upgrading to super bananas is short lived but convincing enough thanks to the fact that EGAN is kind of scary even when not being host to a contentious ghost. Gorehounds and folks under 70 may want to run in the opposite direction of this one but if you’re up for quiet granny scares this just might be the hooch for your hot toddy. Grab a shawl.

NOTE: Any shame I may have felt for enjoying this creaky chestnut has been erased by finding out it was directed by JOHN LLEWELLYN MOXEY, the same guy who made CITY OF THE DEAD a.k.a. HORROR HOTEL (1960) one of my favorite black and white horror films . If you’re looking for something to do today… watch HOUSE HERE and HOTEL HERE! Or you can come clean out my garage; I’ll pay ya a quarter!