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Entries from November 2011

Name That Trauma :: Reader Adrienne D. on Ripley’s Believe It or Not

November 20th, 2011 · 3 Comments

I have a memory of one of the episodes of RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT with JACK PALANCE. I was very young and my whole family was watching it at my grandmother’s. In this episode I have a vague memory of one of the stories of people being burnt in a fire, and a very old house was haunted. Someone in the same episode had knowledge of where one of the otherworldly inhabitants put a key down a well; the key was discovered later by a crew digging up the well. If this makes any sense to anyone and they can find the episode, I would appreciate it.

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Tags: Name That Trauma!

Name That Trauma :: Reader Brad H. on a Forbidden Room

November 19th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Dearest Kindertraumatics,

I saw a film as a kid and the only scene I remember is that there was a group of people at a house and seems like they had been warned to stay out of a certain room. One of them went into it and ended up walking in circles, staring up at the light bulb, in a trance. That’s all I remember and it’s been bothering me for 25 years. I know it’s not much to go on but if anyone would know it’ll be you guys.



UNK SEZ: Brad H, I think (hope) I’ve got this covered! This sounds like one of my favorites and it’s a bit of a kindertrauma for me too even though I saw it when I was much older. I’m thinking it must be the segment from SCREAMS OF A WINTER NIGHT entitled “The Green Light”. In it a bunch of frat guys dare each other to stay in an old abandoned house and end up eerily hypnotized and swarming under a green light bulb like crazed moths. Read my review HERE and check out the clip(s) below!

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Aunt John’s Eyeball Funhouse

November 18th, 2011 · 20 Comments

UNK SEZ: Your poor, long suffering under-appreciated AUNT JOHN is recovering from eye surgery today so this eye-centric funhouse is dedicated to him! Make sure you send AUNT JOHN‘s eyeball some good vibes today because without those peepers this joint would not exist!

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Tags: Kindertrauma Funhouse

The Attic (1980)

November 17th, 2011 · 4 Comments

If you want to meet two of my favorite characters in the world of horror then you must watch producer/writer GEORGE (GAMES, RUBY) EDWARDS‘ lone directorial effort THE ATTIC. I can’t get enough of meek, noodle-legged ticking-time bomb Louise Elmore (Oscar-nominated CARRIE SNODGRESS in one of her best roles) and her snidely, cantankerous wheelchair-bound pop Wendell (Oscar winning dynamo RAY MILLAND throwing superfluous logs on my fan-fire.) I love observing their mutually draining and detrimental shackle bond twice as much as they appear to hate experiencing it. Interestingly this dysfunctional duo made an earlier appearance portrayed by different actors in 1973’s THE KILLING KIND. I’m forever grateful that TONY CRECHEALES and GEORGE EDWARDS who wrote both films found the two worthy of closer examination as in my world, these characters are welcome to sit at the same rotting picnic table as Baby Jane and Norman Bates.

Like Baby J. and Norman my ATTIC pals are trapped in the molasses of their own minds. The passing of time alone is horror enough for these under inflated floats that failed to keep up with the parade. Librarian lush Louise, once set to propel away from her father’s critical eye instead finds herself eking out scraps of purpose as his unappreciated caretaker, a punishment she bestowed upon herself for the crime of being abandoned at the altar. Although she dreams of escape, she is as tethered to her past as her father is to his chair. Her only release is found in hidden hooch, vivid murderous fantasies, one night flings with sailors, the occasional failed arson attempt and her ever-expanding monkey collection. Mercifully, she does meet a new friend (RUTH COX) who inspires her to break her routine but the introduction of light into Louise’s dark corner of the world illuminates a few truths she might have been better not to know. THE ATTIC is as tragic as anything can be that involves monkeys.

Some folks accuse THE ATTIC of not being a horror film at all but I say it only illustrates that the genre is less rigid than it is given credit for. Maybe there is little to no blood spill and maybe the few dry kills take place off screen, but that doesn’t dilute the general awfulness that befalls our tipsy protagonist. Released in 1980, during the height of the slasher boom, THE ATTIC is particularly and perhaps purposefully out of touch with the times; a fact made all the more clear when Louise attends a slasher film within the course of the film.

Late to the party though it may be, THE ATTIC and Louise are more in step with the spooky spinster flicks that came in the wake of WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? Which makes sense considering our characters first appeared in a movie by CURTIS HARINGTON the director of both WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH HELEN? and WHOEVER SLEW AUNTY ROO? It’s not the best pedigree if you’re looking to court a teen audience, but I like being reminded that once upon a time folks thought it was just as frightening to loose your mind as your head.

If I’m making THE ATTIC sound overly dowdy and maudlin then I’m not explaining it right. It’s actually one of the funniest movies in the world to me partially due to its intentional black humor and partially due to its high-pitched melodrama. I can’t help thinking that cult classics HAROLD AND MAUDE and WHERE’S POPPA? were of equal influence as the previously mentioned horror films as THE ATTIC shares those films affection for morbid levity, suspicion of parental authority and utilizing mellow seventies music as a Greek chorus to back up the action on screen.

Even though the film is humorous (and how could any movie that pairs an ape in a sailor suit against a grouchy MILLAND not be?) when it decides to nosedive into the well of horror, it does so with knowing assurance. Our final moments spent with Louise before the curtain falls are both uber-gothic and catastrophic. Perhaps, it’s all more creepy than actually scary, but that will depend on how frightening you find the idea of a life misspent crushing oneself to suit the whims of another. To me, horror doesn’t get much scarier than that.

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Tags: General Horror · My own personal Jesus

Name That Trauma :: Reader Kelly G. on a Maggot Filled Teddybear

November 16th, 2011 · 5 Comments

When I was about 7 years old, I was watching T.V. and I thought the movie was about a leprechaun who wanted the family’s gold. But I was so scared I kept changing the channel back and forth. It’s definitely not one of the LEPRECHAUN movies. For all I know this could have been two separate things, but it’s been bugging me for years.

There was a scene where a girl lays down on her bed and goes to reach for her teddy bear and it bursts open and maggots come out. I’m not the only one who remembers something similar. Might have seen the same thing, but I’m not sure that it is from GOOSEBUMPS. I’m guessing late ’90s or earlier.

Thank you!

Kelly G.

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Name That Trauma :: Reader James L. on a Pesky Puppet

November 15th, 2011 · 6 Comments

Okay… So I can’t remember a lot about this movie, but I saw it on T.V. when I was about 7-9 years old and the puppet in it scared the hell out of me. It wasn’t even a horror movie, it was a family film!

The puppet looks like some sort of cat/dog or mammal in a cartoony style. I don’t recall ever seeing his legs, but they could possibly have been shown. (Most likely without his top half in the shot.)

He has the ability to appear random places and pop out of anywhere like cupboards, trash cans, lockers etc… just general holes/crevices/places the camera can’t see into fully, so it gives the illusion that he disappears into some weird Narnia place like all the good creepy monster puppets.

The puppet is a good guy and helps this kid for some reason, or maybe the kid is helping him? …I just remember, he wasn’t the bad guy/villain in the movie.

So the kid in this movie plays baseball or some type of sport because I remember a scene in which he was in the changing rooms in his uniform talking to the creepy puppet that had popped out of a dirty laundry basket or something.

There is another part I remember… The villains/bad guys in the movie that want to capture the puppet for some reason unknown, are in a magic shop or some place that happened to have an ancient scroll depicting the puppet in ancient Egypt, canoeing down the river Nile with the pyramids in the background.

This is all I remember of the movie, I hope somebody can help me! Thanks in advance!

James L.

UPDATE: NAME THAT TRAUMA SOLVED! Special thanks to reader Matthew Hurwitz for naming it with MUNCHIE.

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Name That Trauma :: Reader Mike M. on a Psycho Pianist

November 14th, 2011 · 5 Comments

Dear Kindertrauma:

How’re you doing, folks? I’d like to track down a movie I saw a bit of as a kid that burned into my brain. The movie, as I recall, was an “Orlac’s Hands” kind of thing, with a brilliant pianist who somehow loses the ability to play… which of course makes him a dangerous psychopath who goes off with the slightest provocation. He goes to call on somebody, all normal and not-crazy-acting, and the only person at home is a little All-American kid of about 8 or 10. The kid says that the person the injured -hand/former pianist guy is looking for is out, and the kid and the pianist sit down at the piano in the living room to kill time until the person in question comes home.

This is a very, very, bad idea.

The kid plays the piano, and does a pretty good job tickling the ivories. Then the formerly brilliant pianist tries to play, and botches it. The kid says, “Gee, you’re not very good, Mister!” Whereupon, the former pianist grabs the kid’s hands in his own and crushes them, gibbering and shouting about how great he used to be, and the kid is screaming, screaming, screaming at the top of his lungs and the camera is tight on kid’s face in agony. We cut to the next scene, the cops are there, and it turns out the kid died from his injuries.

It was a very cheap-looking, black and white number with a low-rent, 1950s vibe. Any help you guys could provide would be huge.


Mike M.

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Name That Trauma :: Reader Goorlap on a Suburban Sorceress & A Mutant Mutt

November 13th, 2011 · 6 Comments

I will give you a short description of the movies I’m looking for.

Movie 1:

A creepy ’60s or ’70s (maybe ’80s) film where an evil telepathic woman or woman involved with black magic lives in a creepy house on an average street and never goes out. Her husband does everything for her, and there’s a young woman involved (I think it’s the “good guy” of the movie).

In the end, an old man steps into his car, the car catches fire, and we see the man stepping out of it on fire and falling on the road. And that’s the end of the movie.

Movie 2:

An ’80s or ’90s movie about a dog that went through some kinda genetic experiment in a laboratory. The dog escapes and becomes member of a typical American family, living in a suburban street.

The dog is very protective towards the family.

If I remember correctly, there is a fight between the dog and people in the laboratory, somewhere in the middle of the movie.

The movie ends with a dog giving birth, and the puppy’s looking like the dog that was experimented on.

So, I hope you guys can help me out with these two movies.

Thanks in advance!


UNK SEZ: Hopefully one of our astute readers can help you with the first movie you mentioned Goorlap! I’m not sure about that one but I do think the second film might be WATCHERS (1988) based on a novel by DEAN KOONTZ and starring the one and only COREY HAIM!

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Name That Trauma :: Reader Mason on a Bathroom Hag

November 12th, 2011 · 3 Comments

Thanks so much for your help with my last name that trauma, but I’ve got another one for you.

When I was younger I remember seeing something on the television that’s haunted me for many years.

My memories are a little fuzzy but I’ll try to explain it as best as I can:

A little boy is in the bathroom and there’s this old woman (in my memories, she’s a ‘hag’ but I’m not sure if that’s just what I think of her as or if they referred to her as that) in the bathroom of a house. She’s sitting, possibly naked, in the bath and this little boy walks in.

I think he screams and tries to tell his parents, who are downstairs, but they don’t believe him. He goes back into the bathroom and she scratches him all over. The scene sticking most in my mind was of the little boy standing over a railing looking down at his parents in a living room, I believe there may be stairs at one side of the room leading from where he is to where they are. I think he’s bleeding and looks pretty bad.

As I said, my memories are fuzzy so I’m not sure about this one, but I definitely know it’s not something I dreamed this time.

I hope somebody can help.


UNK SEZ: Thanks Mason! I’m guessing what you’re looking for may be the television adaptation of STEPHEN KING‘s THE SHINING (1997). In that version little Danny comes face to face with a hag-ghoul in the bathroom. The confrontation takes place in the book but was only implied in the KUBRICK (1980) version. Hopefully the clip below will look familiar!

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Kindertrauma Funhouse

November 11th, 2011 · 12 Comments

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Tags: Kindertrauma Funhouse