UNK SEZ: Eegad, we almost went through the entire Halloween season with out playing Aunt John's Jukebox! That's not right! It's a Kindertrauma tradition! Luckily Aunt John dug up the clip above just in time for All Hollow's Eve! We hope that all of our readers have a spectacular Halloween this year! Thanks for all the support and remember to eat things your dentist would not approve of and to cause random acts of mischief whenever possible! Stay safe!
It's time to go trick-or-treating again but why waste your time on houses that don't deliver? Here are twelve horror homes that we recommend avoiding!
12. HOUSE OF WAX
This place? The only "candy" they hand out are those wax soda bottles with colored juice inside. Unless you are a fan of those things, don't bother.
11. CREEPSHOW Billy's House
Don't be fooled by the pumpkin in the window! Billy's dad is cranky and not such a fan of horror in general.
10. HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES
Props go to the Firefly family for their year round commitment to Halloween decorations but unless you have time to sit through an amateur variety show, it's not worth the trouble.
9. HELL NIGHT (Garth Manor)
One two many Gorks. 'Nuff said.
8. TRICK 'R TREAT (Steven's house)
I should probably warn you about Principal Wilkins' house because he and his son Billy are liable to carve your decapitated head like a pumpkin but instead, I say stay away from Mr. Kreeg's place because he thinks generic peppermints are passable as treats!
7. THE HAUNTING (Hill House)
This place is far off the beaten track and once there nobody will be around if you need help. No one lives any nearer than town. No one will come any nearer than that. In the night. In the dark.
6. HALLOWEEN (The Myers house)
The place has been abandoned for years and not only will you not get any candy, you may bit hit by a stray rock thrown by an angry mob of Haddonfield locals!
5. FRIDAY THE 13th part 2 (Jason's shack)
Yes, hillbilly Jason has THE BEST Halloween centerpiece for his table in the form of the rotting decapitated head of his mother but other than that the place is still a shack and the candy he hands out is super low end (Mary Janes)!
4. PSYCHO 2 (The Bates house)
Speaking of dead mothers, you might as well skip Norman's house when trick or treating too. Not only are the front stairs a bitch to climb, but who in their right mind hands out toasted cheese sandwiches for treats?
3. POLTERGEIST (The Freeling house)
This house folded up into itself and then disappeared into another dimension and with no front door to knock on, it's really a waste of valuable trick or treating time.
2. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
This place offers the opposite of candy because the opposite of candy is being shoved on a meat hook. Am I wrong?
1. CARRIE (The White House)
Talk about evil! Rather than candy, Margaret White hands out Chick tracts!
BONUS TIP: If you find you've eaten too much Halloween candy this year just stop by THE CHANGELING (1980) house on November first! Nothing burns calories faster than running away from a ghost powered wheelchair!
Okay, this isn't your standard trauma but it's been bugging me for years. It's the major pop culture mystery memory that I've never been able to solve, so maybe someone here can help!
Anyway, this is in the early '60s (probably '65 or earlier), and I'm visiting my grandmother's house. For some reason am horribly sick and kind of delusional/hallucinating (and somewhere around 5-8 years old). In the afternoon I remember seeing a T.V. show that's remained in my brain and I can't figure out what it was or why I remember it.
What I do remember is some kids (maybe two to four boys in the 10-15 year old range) on a raft in a river or a marshy area. I have the idea that they've accidentally traveled back in time. I think (this is very tentative) that maybe they were in a natural history museum and entered an exhibit and found themselves transformed back into prehistoric time. There might be dinosaurs. One of them is blaming another for getting them into that mess. I think it was in black and white (I think my grandmother had color T.V. at the time).
I think it was a series or serial of the kind they had on MICKEY MOUSE CLUB or later on THE BANANA SPLITS. I sort of remember seeing it more than once but that one awful afternoon when I was really sick stands out. So it's related to trauma even if it didn't really cause it.
Would be really grateful for any help in tracking this thing down.
UPDATE: NAME THAT TRAUMA SOLVED! Special thanks to reader tychoanomaly for naming it with JOURNEY TO THE BEGINNING OF TIME.
AUNT JOHN SEZ: Kids, gather around and give a big Kindertrauma welcome to Carole Lanham, author of the forthcoming must-read "The Whisper Jar." More on her new book in a minute, as Carole has kindly agreed to share with us her very own traumafession!
Take it away Carole:
It was going to be the greatest night ever. My friend Tammy and I had decided to camp in a tent in her backyard. We hammered down the stakes and shoved our pillows in through the zipper, and then we made a dangerous mistake. Instead of climbing into our sleeping bags while things were all rosy, we sat down to watch an episode of NIGHT GALLERY with Tammy's mom. The Doll, it was called. It goes without saying that dark tents and dolls with scary teeth make for terrible bedfellows. Alas, we were only about ten years old at the time (ever notice how many traumafessions feature kids who are about ten years old?) and so we had yet to learn that rather important life lesson.
"Don't worry," Tammy's mom said, after ROD SERLING and a levitating oil painting of a rag doll with a skull melting out of its head had bid us a decidedly troubling goodnight. "Dolls almost never bite." With an encouraging shove, she sent us out the backdoor, turned off the light, and left us to face the forbidding black triangle of our tent alone.
We couldn't stop thinking about it, of course. Couldn't get the mascara-smeared eyes of The Doll out of our heads to save our souls! We turned on a radio, hoping for some relief, but the DJ, swear to God, was talking about a possible Big Foot sighting. Big foot! This was distracting at least, but not in a good way. There was nothing to do but click on our flashlights and take a trip around the block. Someone had to ensure that there were no creatures with big feet and/or crazy-haired dolls prowling about the neighborhood.
When we got back in the tent, we felt safer and started saying things to each other like, "This is the life, eh?" and "That Eric Brown sure is cute!" but it's hard to enjoy a cozy sleeping bag and a good crush when you're under the spell of a creepy doll. Next thing we know, strange shadows are circling our tent and there is a weird sound not unlike the sound of the clacking teeth of The Doll. We huddled together, our brains swimming with the NIGHT GALLERY theme music and vivid images of fez hats, fireplace pokers, and doll-bitten skin dancing before our eyes in the wonderful world of color. The clacking clacked closer. After much panicked deliberation over how we might transform our supply of Doritos and tampons into a proper weapon, the clacking dissolved into the stupid girlie giggles of the stupid neighbor boys.
That was one long night.
Sad to say, I had not learned my lesson about dolls yet. Many years later, writer Richard Matheson tried to teach me once and for all, by way of KAREN BLACK.
The film was called TRILOGY OF TERROR and the first two stories were mysterious and fun, but for my money they might just as well have dropped the trilogy and the of and called it straight up singular terror since the last segment is the one that makes grown men wet their pants. It's definitely the one that sticks.
I had never seen this film until recently so you'd think I'd be wiser this time around. Well, I wasn't dumb enough to plan a camp-out for that same night, that's for sure, but I did sit down to watch the movie with my kids just as a storm was moving in.
Come bedtime, my daughter (about ten at the time) had no better luck forgetting the doll in this movie than I did forgetting the one on NIGHT GALLERY. Throw in the fact that she's scared stiff of thunderstorms even on a Pixar night and it's probably clear why I should keep away from bad dolls at all cost. Not a wink of sleep was had by either of us, and if you've ever seen the Zuni fetish doll in this movie, you know why. Without meaning to do it, I had given my daughter her own dolly traumafession.
Don't let the cover of this movie fool you. It looks like the font is the scariest thing about it so that's probably why I ignored the thunder and turned it on. Matheson changed the name of his doll story from Prey to Amelia when he wrote the script, to go along with the fact that KAREN BLACK was playing a different woman in each of the three segments. Prey says it better. Even as an adult, I huddled up with my family, wincing and jumping as Amelia and the doll had showdowns in the bathtub and the oven and the living room. There's a missing carving knife that provides for a lot of suspense, and a horrifying bit involving a suitcase that for some reason made me squirm more than all the rest. There are no real special effects to speak of but the film holds up because the story is truly terrifying.
After all this time, you would think I'd know better than to play with dolls, but I'm afraid I still have a thing for them. I'm planning a scary doll give-away when my book comes out and this is purely due to the fact that I was damaged all those years ago by people like Algernon Blackwood, who wrote the short story that The Doll was based on, and Richard Matheson's Prey. Scary stuff!
AUNT JOHN SEZ: Thanks for sharing that Carole. I feel your trauma as my own kid sister suffers from extreme pediophobia, a condition I might have used to my advantage on numerous occasions when we were kids. But I digress… I really want to talk about Carole's new book "The Whisper Jar" (available Monday, October 31st in print or pre-order now, in electronic format via Morrigan Books).
Just in time for Halloween, "The Whisper Jar" is an anthology of seven short stories and two poems which all feature, in Kindertrauma parlance, traumatots grappling with the supernatural and the mundane. As Unkle Lancifer will be the first to attest, I have a very limited attention span and the idea of reading for pleasure is a luxury I rarely enjoy since I can't sit still long enough. I am the fidgety type who can barely make it through a movie without having to check email, smoke a cigarette, or, well, fall asleep.
Such was not the case when I embarked on "The Whisper Jar." As evidenced by her traumafession above, Carole knows how to turn a phrase, if you will, and I was sucked right into her fantastic world of slightly-off child protagonists. Some are dealing with sibling vampires; some are vying for the undivided attention of a pixie; and one has to come to the heart-breaking realization that nuns at her orphanage were less than truthful about her lineage. Honestly, Flannery O'Conner came to mind when I read the orphanage story "The Blue Word." There is a definite moment of grace, and the final path to salvation is nothing short of heart breaking.
One last thing about Carole's collection; "Maxwell Treat's Museum of Torture for Young Girls and Boys" seriously begs for a small or silver screen adaptation. There is a powerful overarching theme of parental loss and Carole places her tragically displaced protagonist with one of the quirkiest families ever, one that includes three brothers who have the gumption to erect a museum devoted to archaic torture devices and two parents who fully support them in this endeavor. I want to live there!
I've been a fan of your site for a few months now. Name That Trauma is definitely my favorite section. I've had this on my mind for a while now, and finally broke down and decided to submit this one.
I think it came out in the early 1980s, and may have been an After-School Special, or maybe a kids show on HBO or Showtime. It didn't scare me or anything, but it stuck in my head for some reason because it was a little bit disturbing. I'm hoping this is an easy one:
There were two kids involved, a boy and a girl, maybe around 10 years old. They had a shrunken head and a pan flute, and I think there may have been bongo drums too. The kids would play these instruments and the shrunken head would come to life and talk to them. I have no idea what the plot was.
Please help me out here.
— Merk H.
UPDATE: NAME THAT TRAUMA SOLVED! Kudos to reader Barry Meyer for stepping up to the plate with THE BOY WITH TWO HEADS (aka CHICO THE RAINMAKER)!
The black curtain opens up on an autumn breeze knocking DEAN CUNDEY's camera out of a tree. "The Chordettes" facetiously beg Mr. Sandman to deliver Ben Tramer but that high school dream is doomed to be crushed between a parked van and a speeding police car, only his perfect teeth survive the explosion. We have been promised "More of the Night He Came Home" and "The Nightmare Isn't Over!" but this direct continuation begins by putting its workman boots on the wrong feet. Shot seven (?) times, "The Shape" falls into the Doyle front yard rather than the back. It takes three years for a town to change in one moment. This is bizarre-o Haddonfield where razors hide in apples and your sister wears a wig. Everything is familiar but not exactly right.
We may have strayed off the path but who doesn't want to be here? Long monolithic shadows lay all over the place, crappy paper decorations abound and suburban backstreets transform into mazes lit only by the occasional orange glow of an expertly carved jack-o-lantern. Costumed tykes gallop the streets at whatever odd hour it may be and every radio and TV set is tuned to a horror station. Is there an impromptu carnival forming or is that an angry mob? There's no need for murderer at large Michael Myers to loom in the background. Inspired by the evening's showing of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, he walks deliberately center stage, a floating white death skull with albatross commitment. Slippery blood is about to poor. It's later than we think.
Oh Haddonfield, earlier this evening, three years ago, you where the epitome of good wholesome small town values, my how you have fallen. Sheriff Hackett, your daughter is dead and you are the last to know. You'll be no help tonight. Just go home. Mr. and Mrs. Strode, I once had faith in you. Why can you not be reached by phone? You must have heard what's going on; don't you wonder where Laurie is? "I told you I'm not your mother!" Why the harsh angry tone? What's the point of having a secret adoption when you're going to drag your young daughter to the sanitarium to visit her unknown sibling anyway? Are these literal flashbacks or symbolic dreams? Oh Haddonfield, why have you washed your hands of your children? Why do you trust your infants to be watched by nurses who exit their posts in order to have sex in therapeutic hot tubs with undesirable pot smoking ambulance drivers? The Doctor is in…toxicated! Get it together town!
At the end of the day (or night), HALLOWEEN II is too stuffed with jolly holiday paraphernalia not to sink into and enjoy, though critics who take it to task for its shallow shuffle have a point. Yep, more bloodshed abounds than in the prudent original but its reputation for gore mongering is relative and exaggerated. The film's strong suite is its Achilles' heel and that would be its Tiger-Beat infatuation with killer Michael. Myers will never cut quite such an impressive form as he does here, but there's no room in the spotlight for anyone else. The cards are stacked in his favor to such a degree that every other character seems chained to an invisible radiator. The cops are not allowed to act as cops would, the hospital staff is not allowed to function as humans might and heroine Laurie Strode is drugged and denied not only her right to fight but also her personality as well; her soul replaced by random snapshot images of her connection to her attacker, her voice crushed down to a whine. We should give her a break though, she must be exhausted.
Maybe it's best that Laurie sat this one out. HALLOWEEN II may not be the clean pure classic that the original is but as resume material for Michael's future work as a horror icon, it's certainly persuasive. Parts of it feel no deeper than an adolescent power fantasy, an oversized action figure crashing through shoeboxes to crush smaller dolls but where it may fail on a storytelling front, it still captures the rowdy spirit of the night securely.
Once upon a time I thought that the original HALLOWEENs 1& II were intertwined, two perfect bookends thicker than thieves. Now each year the two movies siblings grow further apart. The elder child (I) is still my pride and joy while the younger (2) is a delinquent I'm prone to make excuses for. One is thoughtful and sharp and the other is willfully crass but direct. For me it's easy to pick a favorite but so what? Who needs a world of perfect movies? The important thing is both share the same esteem for the 31st of October and Halloween is just as much a time for callow tricks as it is for tasty treats.
Hi there! Huge new fan and have been devouring the site greedily.
OK..I looked and looked and couldn't seem to find this one..so I am wondering if you can Name This Trauma:
It's pretty vague, but I was so traumatized by a scene in a seventies film that involves a woman swimming in a pool who attempts to come up for air and finds she cannot. Like there is glass over the top of the pool.
MY BIG FEAR. Gah. I still have nightmares.
I could have SWORN it was BURNT OFFERINGS and slogged my way through what should have been a great film but was instead…less than amazing, and didn't find the scene. Unless in my frustration I passed it….
UNK SEZ: Thanks Jhone! Although many horror films contain death scenes involving swimming pools I think I know just the one you are looking for. 1978's THE LEGACY (which stars SAM ELLIOT and a bunch of people who aren't SAM ELLIOT) features just such a trauma scene! Check out the clip below!
I've run this one by the folks at IMDb a while back and I don't think they came up with the correct answer. This is probably the best spot to solve it because I THINK it might be a made-for-TV movie, and you guys are so good at solving those.
Back in the early '80s there was something that played on TV that I was only able to catch a small bit of. We were at my grandparents and they only had antennae TV here in Canada, so it couldn't have been too avant garde. It also played within a fairly early time bracket (late afternoon or early evening) so that's what makes me think it was possibly a replay of a made-for-TV movie movie.
Anyway, there was a scene where two men are digging up a grave with a lady in it. They were interested in taking the ring she had on her finger. As they're doing so, she wakes up, there's a REALLY awkward moment shared among them, and then one of the men slams a pic-ax (or something) into her chest. I was so young and the recollection is so foggy, but it seems to me that she was wearing a gold turban or dress. I also remember my grandmother commenting on how good she looked considering she'd been buried in a grave, so she wasn't a rotted corpse. I also don't think she had any fangs because I never once thought she was a vampire (but it sure sounds like vampire stuff).
Any help on this one?
It's been a while since I've recommended something on Netflix Streaming so let's fix that. I noticed the other day while throwing some titles into my queue that they've recently acquired the underrated, in my eyes, CLOSE YOUR EYES from 2002 (has it really been almost ten years?). This is a movie that really surprised me both in content and in the fact that it didn't garner more attention. Scratch that, maybe I'm not so surprised that CLOSE YOUR EYES failed to make a significant mark. It's one of those movies that is too gruesome for the serious crowd and too serious for the gruesome crowd and like many movies that refuse to court a specific audience, it failed to find a seat when the musical chairs music stopped. People tend to love or hate it and my theory is that's because it sets up a very believable reality only to turn it on its head and not everybody can make the leap from the everyday to the fantastic mid-film. Personally I love to be taken off guard when a carefully constructed game board is flipped.
Policewoman Janet Losey (SHIRLEY HENDERSON) is so impressed with the abilities of her hypnotherapist Michael Strother (GORAN VISNJIC) that she solicits his help with a child who escaped the clutches of a deranged serial killer. The little girl (SOPHIE STUCKEY of the equally underrated THE DARK) was found with a strange tattoo and that is the only lead as the experience has left her mute. While his traumatized subject is hypnotized, Strother is able to enter her subconscious as if it were another world. Some of these alternate reality zones are a bit dated looking but it allows for some pretty cool ALTERED STATES/DREAMSCAPE type stuff to occur and I'm always into that. The first part of the film plays like a London based psychological detective story (think PRIME SUSPECT) but once the truth begins to emerge, we get some pretty heavy occult action (think BROTHERHOOD OF SATAN). I won't say more about that latter development so that you can discover that twisted angle yourself but suffice to say CLOSE is not afraid to get crazy dark.
I have to applaud the performances and the chemistry between the film's two leads. Easy to watch VISNJIC brings to mind GREGORY PECK in SPELLBOUND and HENDERSON is sorta like JENNIFER JASON LEIGH doing Clarice Starling with the help of a smoking habit and big SINEAD O'CONNOR doe-eyes. Their romance-free simpatico relationship is as refreshing as it is strangely endearing and it's nice to see the novel gender reversal of HENDERSON being the aggressive cop and VISNJIC taking on the sensitive, put-upon psychic. If you dig mysteries, serial killer thrillers, ARGENTO-like obsessions with architecture or season four of TRUE BLOOD (big bad FIONA SHAW swipes a few scenes in CLOSE too!) you should give this a viewing. I've seen it a couple times now and besides a few wonky CGI effects and a stray random clichÃ© or three, I think it's a clever, bracing mind-screw that one could easily get lost in if they allow themselves to.