I have a memory of a movie that, I have to admit, I'm not even sure if it is a scary movie or not, because I didn't see the actual movie. But it was striking and has stuck with me. I figured some of your readers who have seen so many horror movies can help me out on this one, if it exists. It was either the beginning or end of the movie, when they show "starring" etc., but I do believe it was the beginning.
Probably an '80s or '90s movie. They showed a close up/ pan of a painting/art work that was rather "folksy" in nature, I remember a lot of haystacks and perhaps Halloween themed houses/children. And then there was the music, I think it was "I'm Your Boogie Man" by Kc and the Sunshine Band. Or maybe some other song by them. Then the movie started and I had to go. The art work creeped me, especially with the disco song with it, I thought what is coming next? I have looked up the obvious Boogie Man movies on YouTube that I could find, but no luck with that. Can anyone end this mystery for me? Was it all a dream brought on by copious amounts of candy, bringing back memories of Fall, Halloween, and my brother's hatred of Disco… Disco Sucks!
— Janet H.
UNK SEZ: Janet, I'm happy to tell you that the fates have sent you to the correct place! I know that movie well, it's a pet fave that I've seen several times. That is the opening credit sequence to THE LAST SUPPER, a black comedy from 1995 about a group of liberals who decide murder might not be so bad provided you select the right victim. I too was very struck by those paintings, I think they're beautiful and unlike your brother, I even like the disco music! Check out the beginning of the YouTube clip below and thanks for the spot on description!
No single event can top the lasting trauma induced by my childhood viewing of THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, that film scared me so bad that it rearranged my chromosomes. However other events, smaller in individual scope but horribly disturbing in cumulative effect, deserve to be mentioned. Specifically, I confess my lasting, great fear of 1970's album covers.
In the â€˜70s, album cover art was kind of a big deal. The cover for an LP was huge by today's standards and it presented a big canvas upon which the music and graphic artists could express themselves. In the race to make album covers memorable, the art quickly turned very weird. Parents would buy those albums and put them into their groovy record cabinets where they were inevitably discovered by curious tykes like me who would spend the next years trying to erase their psychedelic, grotesque and demonic images from our minds:
I have mentioned the first offender before: Queen's "News of the World." This one belonged to my aunt. Absolutely great album. Murderous cover. The interior fold-out was ten-times worse though, with its depiction of bug-eyed people fleeing the giant killer robot.
The Eagles – "Hotel California". Part of my parent's collection. This one is kinda controversial, because pretty much everyone denies that there is a screaming, illuminated face in the lower left-hand window of the "hotel" on the cover of this album. Whatever – I saw that screaming face right away the first time that inspected the album.The fact that no one else could apparently see it made everything that much worse.
Black Sabbath – "Black Sabbath." My uncle had this one. Ozzy and co. managed to scare the world into believing that Black Sabbath was in league with the Devil. This album cover convinced me that Ozzy WAS the Devil.
The Rolling Stones – "Goat's Head Soup." This was a fairly popular album and I'm surprised that more people don't recall being scared by the bizarre image of Mick Jagger's smiling head in a bag on the cover. This album made me consider the awful possibility that something called "goat's head soup" actually existed and that kids somewhere were being forced to eat it.
Funkadelic – "Maggot Brain." My uncle's collection. Hmmm. Screaming woman buried up to her neck a la MOTEL HELL. That's nice. The back cover dispelled any hope that the poor woman got out of there alive. I would remain wary of funk for years.
Elton John – "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy." Not outright terrifying, but filled with lots of disturbing, freakish details. I was also intimidated when Elton John appeared on THE MUPPET SHOW. And on talk shows. Ok, Elton John just generally freaked me out.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but definitely hits many of the worst cases. I'll leave it to my fellow Traumaniacs to fill us in on any horrors from the record cabinet that I left out.
My very first video store was called "Hollywood Video" and it was located at the King of Prussia mall. It was a tiny place as home video was still in its infancy. The horror section was about the size of a closet door. I've always been fond of bragging that I watched every horror tape that was available but I realize now that is not true and I have been exaggerating all these years. The truth is that I could never bring myself to watch a film called DEMENTED (1980)!
A major reason for that is because DEMENTED is a rape movie but unlike say, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE it doesn't have nearly the reputation to push me into enduring it. In fact, when I worked at a video store years and years later I bought a used copy of DEMENTED for the place and I still never watched it- even for free. I suppose my main reason for resisting mostly involves the photos on the back, particularly one of the rapists wearing ghoulish masks. There's also a photo of the attack in progress with a couple guys wearing stockings on their heads. There is nothing scarier than a stocking on the head. I'm reminded of both THE BOOGEY MAN (1980) and the SALLY STRUTHERS' TV movie A GUN IN THE HOUSE (1981) both of which freaked me out at around the same time.
Another thing that unnerved me about the box for DEMENTED was the fact that it was pink! There's something twisted about using such a bright color in juncture with something horror related. Who would do such a thing? For a while DEMENTED was available on Netflix Streaming but it seems to have disappeared into the ether once again. Maybe that's for the best. Though I have to say, watching the trailer now makes me think that the movie is probably too amateurish to be taken quite so seriously by me. Has my aversion been unwarranted all these years? I sorta love the synth-y soundtrack! In any case, the box still gives me the creeps.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day kids! Do not go outside tonight the streets will be filled with drunks! Instead, put on something green and stay indoors and watch the SYFY channel! Tonight they are premiering a brand new horror flick inspired by the holiday entitled LEPRECHAUN'S REVENGE! What makes this movie so promising is the fact that the one and only DREW DAYWALT directed it. Drew has directed many a fine horror short including the perennial "The Easter Bunny is Eating My Candy!" and "There's No Such Thing!" which actually happens to be dedicated to Kindertrauma! (You can even read a traumafession from good ol' Drew HERE!)
With DAYWALT pulling the strings, LEPRECHAUN'S REVENGE is sure to be monstrous good fun so make sure you catch it. Go buy some beer and prepare. SYFY is even going to show the first three unrelated WARWICK DAVIS LEPRECHAUN flicks so that you can make a night out of it! Check out the teaser trailer for DREW'S flick below and remember it premiers at nine. Don't miss it! It's sure to sham-rock!
Today's puzzle is all about THE UNSEEN! Click on the above image, jump to the game board and find ten differences between the two images! The reason we're all about THE UNSEEN today is because tonight Kindertrauma is co-sponsoring a showing of this under-seen 1980 classic! If you can get to New York, NY we'd love to see you there! It's at 10:30pm, it's just ten clams and it'll be at 92Y TRIBECA (More info HERE.)
If you can't make it to the movie, here's another way you can support Kindertrauma! This site has been nominated for best blog over at the RONDO HATTON AWARDS and we need your vote! You don't have to fill out the entire form to enter. You can just pick Kindertrauma in the category it's nominated in (HERE)! While we're pimping and promoting anyway, make sure you "like" Kindertrauma on Facebook TOO!
And remember to send in your traumafessions! We want to know what scared you as a kid! Don't worry if the film that rocked your world has been covered here before, we want to hear YOUR story! Don't remember the title? That's what "Name That Trauma" is for! Just between you, me and the lamp post, many of the other blogs nominated for the RONDO rely on mob money, child slave labor and the pulverized bones of nearly extinct animals to operate, but we don't, we rely on wonderful folks like YOU!
By the time I was 5 or 6, I had already seen Psycho, House of Wax, and House on Haunted Hill (the originals of course!) One night, Psycho was on a double bill with the Brian DePalma classic Carrie on TBS Superstation. My mom decided to let me stay up and watch it, figuring, I guess, if he can make it through Psycho, he can make it through Carrie.
WRONG! I was fine up until Margaret White drags her poor child, Carrie, into the dark prayer closet. What caused me to run out the room screaming was that St. Sebastian statue in there with Carrie. The way its horrified green/yellow-ish eyes looked into your soul, judging you…the candle light flickering…the organ music! It was just too much! I HATED organ music as a child. There was nothing scarier.
I need to start watching more animation. Movies in general are stellar transportation out of my dilapidated noggin but it seems animated movies have the power to drop me off at a bus stop happily even farther away from my home. Was I just hanging out with a bunch of talking animals? I could get used to that. Inspired by a reader's comment in one of our posts (Thanks Drew Bludd!), I jumped into THE SECRET OF NIMH, a film I caught back in the day on cable that I didn't recall too much about. Now, I think anybody at any age should be able to enjoy SECRET but I don't think I made the best audience at whatever age I encountered it the first time. Back then I was probably thinking animation suited a younger crowd while still being too immature to appreciate the incredible level of artistry present. Currently I'm flattened and floored by the accomplishment that is THE SECRET OF NIMH. What a beautiful thing. Everybody who works in animation out there who keeps the tradition alive, my grateful eyeballs salute you. (You won't catch me disparaging computer animation though on account of HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON alone validates its existence.)
I can't comment on how good an adaptation SECRET is of the book it's based on because I have not read it (yet!) but I can say that if I would drink all the colors in this movie if I could. There may be some flaws in that certain story elements are fuzzier than necessary and things are a bit too conveniently mended by magic in the end but I'm starting to believe that flaws are what keep art from becoming stagnant and dull. SECRET is perhaps dark but it's a beautiful kind of dark and darkness here only serves to brighten the positive light that it frames.
I'm sure some kids could easily get wigged out by the hideous monster spider that appears but without said spider, how could we fully marvel at the bravery of heroine Mrs. Brisby? Brisby is my favorite type of hero. She's not looking for trouble and she's in no way on an ego trip trying to prove her pluck. She simply does what must be done. The dilemma here is that there's a tractor coming that will flatten her house but she can't move her youngest kid because he's sick as a dog; harrowing scene after harrowing scene ensue. I'm telling ya, watching Brisby face an assortment of intimidating obstacles to reach her goal makes for some surprisingly suspenseful fare. If it wasn't for Jonsey, I think Brisby and ALIEN's Lt. Ripley would make great pals.
Another thing that makes Mrs. Brisby a special rodent is the fact that she is voiced by ELIZABETH HARTMAN and it's the last film credit of her career. HARTMAN was nominated for an Oscar for her film debut in A PATCH OF BLUE and at the time, she was the youngest person ever to be nominated. I'm most familiar with her due to her work in that exceptional CLINT EASTWOOD flick THE BEGUILED and for the NIGHT GALLERY episode she appears in called "The Dark Boy." Sadly, mental health issues hounded this great actress and while her popularity declined, she became a recluse and eventually took her own life by jumping out a fifth story window. How's that for depressing? Other folks that lend their voice talents are DOM DeLUISE as a bumbling crow and JOHN CARADINE as threatening but knowledgeable owl. SECRET is also the first film credit for both SHANNEN DOHERTY and WIL WEATON. Yep, it's true that this movie is heavier than the usual kid friendly fare but therein lies its power.
I suppose it's no surprise that I'm all for more challenging, less candy-coated fare for children and it's not because of a secret self-serving plan to harvest more traumafessions in the future, I swear! Fact is, the world can be a rather horrible place and as much as it would be nice to keep children in the dark about that fact as long as possible, allowing them to safely process that idea before it becomes obvious, I believe, buffers the jolt. I'm no parent but I can readily recall what it was like to be a kid and thank God I had the darker side of cinema to let me know that what darkness was in my life was not exclusively attached to me.
The important thing here is not the level of threat that confronts Brisby but the level of courage and determination she exudes while confronting those threats. Maybe that seems like no big deal but considering the fate of the troubled woman who voiced her, it's important to remember that the difference between plowing forward regardless of what ugliness appears and giving up is in fact, gargantuan.
I am trying to find the title to a fire safety film that was filmed in the late 1960s, and I saw it in 1976. It shows an entire family of four being killed in a house fire, with only the dog surviving.
Do you know the name of this film? I think it is a good film to really drive home the importance of smoke detectors.
UNK SEZ: Thanks Tom! I could not find your fire safety film myself but I did stumble across this PSA starring the great VINCENT PRICE! I'm surprised we've never gotten a traumafession for this one so I'm posting it here while we search for your NTT!
Thank you so much for your awesome website. It is such a brilliant idea and endlessly entertaining. I helped name a trauma (Celia: Child of Terror) and someone else's submission helped me find one of my own traumas that I've been searching for (the Living Dolls short from USA Saturday Nightmares). I've also found out about so many great movies from the kindertrauma community that not even my endless perusals of the Psychotronic Video guides could help me come up with.
Well it's time I submitted my trauma and hope somebody knows what the heck I'm talking about. I so hope to finally find this movie that has been gnawing at the edge of my subconscious for almost 20 years now. I saw probably the first half at a slumber party when I was about 9 or 10. This would have been the early '90s but the movie looked older, possibly late seventies/early '80s. It was in color and I believe it was rated R. I used the rating as my excuse for why I ran out of the room when I got scared. I told the other girls I wasn't allowed to watch R-rated movies and I didn't want to get in trouble.
As far as the plot goes, I believe it was about a family of four (mom, dad, two boys) and one of the children was evil. I only remember two scenes. One was a car driving down a dusty road. I know that is not very descriptive but it sticks out in my mind for some reason. I want to say that scene was followed by a crash but I can't be sure. The other scene I remember was of the family eating dinner. The evil brother somehow made it so the family's food was covered in maggots or mold or something else gross. The non-evil brother was telling the evil one to stop and the parents seemed to be less freaked out than they should have been. That's it. Thats all I remember. I hope someone can help. Also, I know it sounds a lot like Cathy's Curse, with the car crash and the kid making the food gross but it definitely wasn't. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I hope it makes it to the site.
— Elizabeth M.
UNK SEZ: Thanks Elizabeth! I'm afraid I don't know the answer to this but I bet one of our savvy readers does! It's funny that you should send this Name That Trauma in now as I have been recently semi-obsessed with the rotting food trope! It started when I was watching GRAVE ENCOUNTERS in which there is a scene that involves a container of food supplies which is suddenly found rotting and filled with worms. It instantly reminded me of CATHY'S CURSE and I thought maybe I should compile a list of horror movies that involve rotting food. I did not get very far, so I'm going to put this out to Kindertrauma readers; even if you don't know the answer to Elizabeth's query can you name some more movies that have a rotting food scene in them?
Here's what I got so far…
CATHY'S CURSE (1977)
THE CURSE (1987)
THE LOST BOYS
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5: THE DREAM CHILD
GRAVE ENCOUNTERS (2011)