Name That Trauma :: Richard of Doomed Moviethon on a Vampire Dad

To the Kindertraumoids,

Hey, it’s Richard from DOOMED MOVIETHON and CINEMA SOMNAMBULIST. I am looking for a vampire movie and I was wondering if you guys and/or your army of rad Kindertraumatized people could help. The movie starts with a gentleman (perhaps in flashback?) burying each member of his family as they die from a mysterious illness. One night, his wife (or maybe child, I can’t quite recall) returns from the grave as a vampire. This family member tries to kill him and he defends himself by either staking or beheading them (or both). Then he proceeds to dig up his entire family and off them one by one by staking and beheading (or both). I believe this is how the film in question begins.

It gets complicated because I want to say a) this is a Hammer Studios production and b) the patriarch is PETER CUSHING but this may not be so. This film might not be either of those things. In fact, limiting it to those two criteria might be what’s screwing me up. However, I’m pretty sure it was a period piece, featured British or European actors, and was either ’60s or ’70s.

And this film did in fact traumatize me (in my kinder form) as it were. After watching this, I had a nightmare that my dad was a vampire and he was trying to kill my sister. The saddest part was coming to the decision that it was time to kill my dad by either staking him or setting him on fire. Please don’t send this to Dr. Freud. Thanks! I hope you all can help me find this piece of disturbed childhood.

UNK SEZ: Always good to hear from you Richard! I’m not feeling 100% on this but I was thinking if we substitute your possible PETER CUSHING with BORIS KARLOFF it could be the segment of BAVA‘s BLACK SABBATH entitled ” The Wurdalak.” The frightening father, beheadings and vampire child all fit. There’s a better description HERE or you can check it on YouTube HERE.

I’m not completely confident on this one, so if anybody else out there has an idea please tell us in the comments and remember to visit Richard over at DOOMED MOVIETHON and CINEMA SOMNAMBULIST soon!

Book Report :: Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy!

One of the more fascinating websites you’ll ever encounter is AWFUL LIBRARY BOOKS, a joint hosted by librarians and dedicated to the discussion of which books are ready for that big library in the sky. I’ve now rummaged through the entire place and I’m sure to return again. If you are prone to nostalgia like I am, you’ll probably feel the same way. I can’t decide if it is beneficial or detrimental that our disposable culture tends to quickly cover over embarrassing mistakes with fresh new ones, but it’s nice to know that the local library erases the chalk board at a less frequent rate and we can still discover nearly forgotten trash treasures there (at least before they get weeded!) Personally, I think THE MORK AND MINDY STORY will always be relevant but time marches forward and I suppose each generation gets the MORK AND MINDY they deserve.

During my mostly pleasant and often humorous perusal of AWFUL, I came across one book that takes the cake in the Kindertraumatic nightmare department and so I had to share it with all of you. The book is entitled DON’T MAKE ME GO BACK, MOMMY: A CHILD’S BOOK OF SATANIC RITUAL ABUSE and holy cow what were the people responsible for this thing thinking? I won’t even get into the issue of whether Satanic cults like the one described are real (on the documented abuse front, Satanists are certainly lagging behind the Catholic church) because even if they did exist, how would this book ever help rather than terrify an abused child further? Even in the warped reality described, if you suspect your kid has been involved in something so heinous you may want to take more productive actions then reading them a bed time story about the horrors they have experienced. Even giving it the benefit of the doubt, the chance that this book helped more kids than it needlessly freaked out is roughly nil.

I guess I have to understand that this was published in 1990, landing on Earth smack in the middle of the Satanic Panic craze that was sweeping the nation like a precursor to the Macarena. Secret Satanic cults hiding in the woodwork have become less popular in the media these days but it looks like child abuse in all its multitude of forms is chugging along as always. I guess that is to be expected when time and resources are wasted chasing phantoms rather than dealing with harsh reality. I know I needn’t give something so out to lunch the time of day, but this book even has the nerve to try and drag Halloween into the scapegoat pyre! Not cool.

We joke around a lot about the stuff that unintentionally made it harder for us to sleep as kids around here. In most cases it involves misinterpreting innocent things or maybe overestimating our own bravery when it came to absorbing scary stuff at a young age. I’ve always contended that there is a healthy side to such fears, that they are an important part of learning to process and overcome intimidating obstacles. This book, on the other hand, is another thing altogether. This is fucked up. Not only is it irresponsible and poorly done, it strikes me as the type of thing that causes the type of anguish it’s pretending to salve. I have to give it some credit though, when designated “do-gooders” on a mission add to the Kindertrauma archives, they sure do leave everybody else (even those purposely working in the field of horror) in the dust.

Burial Ground (1981)

If you watch horror movies all year ‘round to begin with, how in the world do you amp up your Halloween viewing pleasure for the month of October? One way I kick things up a notch is by shamelessly watching movies that are extra goofy. BURIAL GROUND: THE NIGHTS OF TERROR is just such a movie. It really is relentlessly daffy and how evil am I for subjecting an unsuspecting Aunt John to it sans warning or explanation? Aunt John asked what year it was from and I guessed ‘73 (I was way off ‘81) not really my fault.

The plot is about as complex as a HENRY comic strip: a professor with a wise beard discovers how to raise the dead. He invites some friends to his cool mansion to talk about his find except he’s already been eaten by zombies and soon they will be too. The entire movie consists of his unfortunate guests failing miserably at escaping peril. Folks cannot even cut across the lawn without stepping in an inconceivably placed bear trap and the only thing missing really is the BENNY HILL theme song. It’s a bad day for the living and a good day for the stunningly resourceful dead. Normally a good zombie movie will make me morbidly depressed, but this one is like a semi-creepy day at the beach.

No post concerning BURIAL GROUND would be complete without singling out scene-stealer extraordinaire PETER BARK. At roughly the age of 26, the diminutive BARK portrays a young child named Michael whose affection for his mother is disturbingly enthusiastic to say the least. The portrayal is lifted to the sublime with the aid of an absolutely unconvincing adult actor supplying his dubbed, puppet show voice. Even if you think you have no interest in seeing BURIAL GROUND, I assure you that once BARK enters the picture that there is no turning around. Even Aunt John rode the film out to its “Did that really just happen?” conclusion.

BURIAL GROUND is above (or below) understanding, speculation or critism. It only wants to bring you joy. It also showcases some of my favorite zombies of all time. The make-up person sort of went with the idea that if something is painted black, then it is invisible to the human eye (even in broad daylight) and I honor this delusion. (At least that’s why I think that some of our zombie pals have black make-up on their noses beneath their masks?)

In any case, I think this calls for a zombie beauty pageant! Check out these teeth that resemble no teeth that ever existed! Look at that crazy hair! How about those cutting edge burlap fashions? Vote for your favorite zombie below and check out this movie if you want to have fun. Trust me, its the only zombie movie in existence whose BARK is better than its bite!

Name That Trauma :: Reader Thunderknight on a Slain Salesman

Hey Lance and John

How about a Name That Trauma about a one hour special (could be based on a book) about a boy and girl locked in a library and all I can remember is the first story was about a traveling salesman (maybe the name Mr. Pym) and he ends up dead and buried behind a barn or house of a family he encounters?

Maybe a book salesman…Bibles, etc…not sure, but it seemed like the mid ‘80s (could be older)…and kinda creepy.

Any help will be appreciated!

By the way…keep up the Funhouse, I love trying to guess my favorite horror movie scenes.

Take care,

Thunderknight!

Kinder-News :: Daggers Short Film Festival!

Hey, where do you live? Do you live near the city called New York? If so then you should go to the short film festival DAGGERS! You can see the award-winning horror musical THE LEGEND OF BEAVER DAM there, plus a whole bunch of other cool stuff! If you can’t go this Thursday, October 20th do not cry because the same festival will play again on Saturday the 22!! You should do it to get in the Halloween mood! DAGGERS was put together by Kindertrauma pal PETER GUTIERREZ so there is no possible way it won’t be awesome. To learn more details just jump into HERE and please watch the trailer below because it is the funniest thing in the world.

Name That Trauma :: Reader Robert S. on an Supernatural Secretary

Just discovered your website and I love it! I’ve been devouring the “Name That Trauma!” entries, and of course, I have one. I remember seeing this movie as a teen in the late ’70s/early ’80s on a Sunday morning horror T.V. movie showcase, although the movie must have come from the ’60s or late ’50s.

It was an anthology movie with several segments. The one segment I remember concerned a police captain and his sergeant investigating a strange series of murders seemingly committed by a supernatural being such as a vampire or werewolf. They key in on one suspect and congratulate themselves when he is arrested or killed near the segment’s end, just before it’s revealed to the audience, but not the police, the supernatural being actually committing the murders is the police captain’s somewhat mousy, eyeglasses-wearing female secretary.

I hope this sounds familiar to someone at your website. I’ve scoured books on horror film to no avail.

Thanks again for the opportunity to write in, and I’ll be reading more of the website!

Robert S.

The Thing (2011)

Rats, it started to rain on me as I trekked the half-mile or so to the theater to see the new THE THING! “That’s O.K.,” I thought; I need to be cleansed of my unreal expectations. This was a big 30 years in the making deal to me! I started to think back to my anticipation for HALLOWEEN 4 way back in 1988. I felt so lucky. It had seemed like that franchise was dead after Part 3 (another favorite) had screwed the shamrock and killed the pooch in the court of public opinion. It was so nice to be able to visit Haddonfield again!

I’m sorry, but I love sequels (& prequels). I know I’m not supposed to. I believe in episodic storytelling and I adore the familiarity. If my ALIEN box set had one lone movie in it, I would never stop crying. Some HALLOWEENs are better than others but who cares, I want more! To some people the FRIDAYs seem to go on forever but to me, it’s fewer hours than one single season of BUFFY! I want more! I don’t need or like perfection and a satisfying cinematic experience is a privilege not a right. I’m a horror fan, part of that means rolling the dice and taking the good with the bad. If I went by consensus on what was considered “good” half my DVD collection would disappear. I’ll never, ever say, “I want my two hours back!” because I never ever will. I go to the movies because I don’t want those two hours in the first place.

Aww, why’d I have to think back to HALLOWEEN 4? Those were the good old days. I believe I found out about that movie’s existence from the poster hanging outside the theater. I had not read casting news, set reports and every tiny detail before I saw it. I was not reminded on a daily basis that it was a constructed product. I believed it to be real. When I went in that theater door, I was walking into Illinois. I didn’t sit through the movie with a demon on my shoulder pointing out every discrepancy. My purpose was not to assign it the label of “good” or “bad” and I was oblivious to what anybody else thought. I had exactly one friend who liked horror as I did. No big debates. It seemed pretty obvious what was cool and what was dull. I guess we rated movies back then by the volume of the enthusiastic chatter afterwards or how frightening the walk home was…

BTW: The walk home from AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON was terrifying, we had to go through the woods and the walk home from POLTERGEIST was spooky as shit, but that’s because we chose to cut through a graveyard…

Hey, I know people grow up (sorta-ish). I know my brain needs to take a larger leap these days to land in the awesome zone. There’s a big difference between maturity and cynicism though and I wonder how much I’m holding myself back from really enjoying myself at the movies these days and I’m wondering who I’m doing that holding back for.

What if I dropped all my fucking baggage before I saw THE THING? What if I entered the theater like I would at 13? What if I shut off the Internet in my fucking head? What if the termites stopped eating the wood? Nobody has to know. This is between me and the movie screen. What if instead of resisting THE THING’s every advance like a coy prom date, I went with the flow? I might even egg THE THING on a bit. “That’s right THE THING right there.” Hey, it’s my ten bucks. Might as well get into it.

THE THING (2011) impresses me early on by playing MEN AT WORK’s “Who Can it Be Now?” as a reference to “Who Goes There?’ the science fiction novella that all THING movies are based on. I’m sorry but that’s clever. I’m also appreciative of the serious attempt to mimic CARPENTER’s ‘82 film visually and with MORRICONE’s lifted score.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t crazy about the idea of switching to a beardless lead, but this Kate Lloyd (MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD) person grew on me. There’s no effort to prove her to be either sexy or ass-kicky, she’s here to be the voice of caution and reason and I approve. I have to laugh thinking of HALLOWEEN 4 again and how a year later its sequel HALLOWEEN 5 wasn’t capable of the type of continuity found in this prequel made THIRTY years after it’s predecessor. Anyone who suggests that 2011’s THING is a thoughtless cash grab with no effort behind it is not looking very closely.

Much of the action in this version echoes CARPENTER’s. Logically it doesn’t seem very realistic that the exact same events would take place in the same way but who knows. We’re witnessing the birth of Armageddon; LOVECRAFT-ian beasts are breaking into our world. Perhaps the fates have decided that these exact events will continue to take place until such time as they take hold. It’s O.K. with me; I’m a slasher fan, so the idea of hitting the same cues a couple times is not alien to me. “All this has happened before and all this will happen again.”

We get a different version of the blood test scene from ‘82. It is learned that THE THING cannot duplicate inorganic material so if you have fillings in your teeth you are deemed safe. Paranoia is alive and nobody is to be trusted or believed. “Not all of us are human.” One not mentioned enough aspect of CARPENTER’s version that is alive and kicking here is the idea that it is dangerous to go against yourself and fall into the imagined safety of the group. In other words, to align yourself with the majority to prove you are not one of “them” is a good way to become one of “them.”

At the time of its release, one of the biggest complaints about CARPENTER’s THE THING was its use of special effects and ironically, an updated version of that debate is stuck to this version’s shoe as well. If you took out “special effects” in a review of the ‘82 version and replaced it with “CGI” the criticisms for both films read almost the same. I do agree that some of the CGI in this movie is handled poorly especially toward the end of the film, but I’ll live. At the end of the day it ALL looks more convincing than JAMIE LEE CURTIS’ wig in HALLOWEEN II.

Truth is ROB BOTTIN’s contributions in the ‘82 version of THE THING are basically the VAN GOGHs of cinema effects. It’s not going to happen again. Period. I’m sorry, I don’t like it any better than you do but a masterpiece is a masterpiece because it is a rarity. The CGI in the 2011 version is further testament to BOTTIN’s remarkable genius and the fact that computers will never improve on the work of a brilliant man at the top of his game. Think of CGI as THE THING that can’t duplicate BOTTIN. Let’s not mourn our loss, let’s celebrate what once was and move on. Pour some beer on the lawn.

2011’s THE THING tries hard. It doesn’t always succeed. Unlike many remakes and sequels though, it has a discernable affection for the film it’s attempting to emulate. I didn’t need or want to venture into the crashed ship near the end but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I got goose bumps as the film closed with scenes that mirrored the opening of CARPENTER’s. Dudes, you get to see how the axe got in the door, who the suicidal frozen radio guy was and the origin of the burnt split face monster! I can’t believe others weren’t as thrilled as me to see all that stuff. I’m beginning to feel like I AM LEGEND.

It’s all good. I make myself happy imaging some die-hard fan of 1951’s THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD checking out the 1982 version in the theater and leaving shaking his fists at the sky. “What have they done?!” I know how it feels, the ELM STREET remake made me bang my head against a wall for hours. Everybody hurts.

I enjoyed this THING though. In fact, if I was sent to a desert island and I could only bring two versions of THE THING with me I’d leave the 1951 version behind! Isn’t that awful? I must have trashy taste. Well, it’s my taste and the mob has not completely gotten me yet. Hey, this is a rambly post! I love rambly posts because it means I’m free from the zillions of invisible eyes that judge me! I guess my experiment of leaving the world behind as I walked into the movie really worked! I’m going to do it again and nobody can stop me!

NOTE: Thanks to FILMFATHER for alerting me to the video below! If you’ve already seen it, well, then…watch it again!

Name That Trauma :: Reader Jai on an Unrequited Inner-Office Love Short

Hi Kindertrauma,

I am trying to find the name of a movie or short from about 1989-1990 sometime (give or take.)

It had a guy always professing his love for a co-worker. This female co-worker always shoots him down. Turns out the guy actually can’t say he hates anyone or they turn in to a puppet. These two are off somewhere together, not sure why, but It turns out the woman can’t say she loves anyone or they turn into a puppet as well. So of course she loved him all along, but could not tell him.

It wasn’t long, so I am guessing it was a short film.

Please help me remember what this was from!!!

Jai

UPDATE: NAME THAT TRAUMA SOLVED! Special thanks to reader Rhiannon Joy for naming it with the REALLY WEIRD TALES (1987) segment “I’ll Die Loving.”