Happy Birthday Kindertrauma!

It’s the last day of September and that means it’s Kindertrauma’s birthday. We usually allow the date to pass without any horn tooting but this year is different because it’s our big fifth anniversary! Yep, it was precisely half a decade ago that the very first Kindertrauma post appeared! Fittingly our inaugural subject matter concerned a birthday, the birthday of one Elizabeth Walton as depicted in an episode of THE WALTONS entitled “The Changeling”. Looking back, the “article” itself is nothing more than an annoyingly flippant, poorly illustrated, sketchy synopsis but hey, ya gotta start somewhere! We may have been wet (soaked) behind the ears but nobody can accuse us of ever being confused about what we wanted to focus on. Let everybody else feign coolness and pretend that their attraction to the genre is due their being so brave, dark and counterculture. We knew the unspoken truth; that inside every insatiable horror fan there was a kid with his hands covering his eyes begging for the light to be left on.

Or maybe that’s just me. I was 11 when “The Changeling” first aired on October 26, 1978. I had been dabbling with horror movies for some time and had no reason to think that the pre-Halloween episode would be anything I couldn’t handle. Right I was…for the most part. Floating rocking chairs and inexplicable walking dolls were relatively benign occurrences and it was not as if anybody was physically harmed or that things didn’t go back to normal when the episode closed. Yet still…the creeps. There was something WRONG with Elizabeth Walton. For so long she was the cute, youngest, adored child and then suddenly she wasn’t. It was if growing older made all her inadequacies rise to the surface. She became a magnet for cruddy things and as a kid getting older, I related. My older brothers were developing new interests that left me in the dust and my parents began looking at me like I broke a vase with every step I took. Like Elizabeth, I didn’t want to grow up. From what I could tell, it sucked. It wasn’t the piano playing by itself that freaked me out, it was the fact that I identified with the alienation poor Elizabeth couldn’t scrape off her shoe. If she was cursed then I was cursed too. I was a little over twice as old as this website and I wasn’t worried ghosts would harm me so much as I dreaded they might expose me as deficient and rotten to the core. Good times.

Anyway, It wasn’t long before we started getting some baffling heavy-traffic connected to our very first post! Yay! People must like what we’re doing! Sadly and yet somewhat hilariously, trailing the links back to their source exposed the opposite appraisal. Fans of THE WALTONS were outraged! The WALTONS board was NOT having Kindertrauma. “It is unbelievable the disgusting garbage and filth that is on the internet. This vulgar and obscene website should be eliminated!” Huh? What now? “It is by far the worst thing I have ever read.” Really? “Oh my God! How rude could this person get!” Rude? I reread the article a billion times trying to decipher what spurred the umbrage but to no avail. Geez, maybe I really was just a bad apple and like Elizabeth’s poltergeists, only true WALTONS fans could sniff me out!

But wait, there’s another story connected to our first post that I think tells a larger truth about Kindertrauma and serves eleven-year-old me some redemption as well. I had a very difficult time finding an image to accompany that first piece. There was nothing on YouTube, at the time, to capture and Google came up all kinds of empty-handed…

I had about given up when I came across something strange. It was an artist’s installation based on the episode. It involved a person lying in bed next to a TV that showed Elizabeth’s rag doll walking about in a loop. Wow “The Changeling” inspired somebody else as much as me and I was able to grab a shot of the doll via the tiny video! Fast forward three plus years and Kindertrauma begins receiving encouraging emails from one STACY PERSHALL (Buy her book!). We became quick friends as she was obviously a kindred spirit and eventually she even came to visit. While talking about the shows that left a mark on our youth the subject of “The Changeling” reared its head. As it turned out, my new pal STACY was the very person who made that installation I encountered years before and inadvertently had a hand in our original post. Point being, enraged WALTONS fans or no, Kindertrauma’s existence had permanently altered the way I viewed “The Changeling.” Maybe there was something strange and weird and off about Elizabeth but I was dead wrong in thinking she (or I) was alone.

So here is where I thank everybody who ever contributed to and has supported Kindertrauma over the years. I started a list of names but it truly would be impossibly long and I can’t stand the idea of leaving anybody out. You all know who you are and we acknowledge and are proud of the fact that we’d be nothing without you.

I’d also like to thank our readers and commenters for being so remarkably consistent in respecting each others opinions and personal experiences and keeping this joint a drama-free zone, It’s really an anomaly on the internet and quite impressive for such a “vulgar and obscene” website! Happy Birthday to us and Happy Birthday to ALL of you. Stay tuned. And check back often. Tomorrow is October first and we’ve only just begun.

It’s a Horror to Know You:: Ryan Clark of Thrill Me!

It’s a Horror to Know You: Ryan Clark of Thrill Me! (http://thrill-me.blogspot.com)

1. What is the first film that ever scared you?

It’s difficult to recall, but I’m going to say Frankenstein (1931). I had seen The Ghost of Frankenstein prior to watching the original, but I think I handled that one pretty well. When my mom finally bought the original on VHS for me, the main thing keeping me from watching it was the commercial at the beginning for the Universal Monsters Classic Collection and the clip it showed of the monster’s hand rising from the slab as the good doctor yells, “It’s alive!” I actually brought the movie to Catholic school (!) and convinced my first grade teacher to let us watch it in class to help me conquer my fear. It didn’t work, though, because I was shaking so badly in my seat that she took out the tape. Eventually, I worked up the nerve to watch it at home, and I was fine.

2. What is the last film that scared you?

I don’t get scared by films very often anymore, but A Serbian Film filled with me a sense of dread that I haven’t felt in a long time. The tone of it disturbed me more than the disgusting acts.

3. Name three horror movies that you believe are underrated.

Okay, I’m gonna pick three that are TRULY underrated:

The Premonition (1976) – Bizarre supernatural horror film with a wacked-out, terrifying performance by the late Richard Lynch as a psychotic mime and a nice turn from Ellen Barber as a mentally ill mother who kidnaps her daughter (All in the Family’s Danielle Brisebois) from her foster parents. I can’t figure out why this film is rated so low. It’s a little cheesy (if you think that’s a valid criticism – I don’t) but it has wonderful atmosphere akin to Let’s Scare Jessica to Death and Don’t Look Now.

I Know Who Killed Me (2007) – I know, I know… Maybe this belongs on the next list, but I don’t care. I don’t hate Lindsay Lohan like most people, so I’ve got nothing against this unique, giallo-esque gore thriller. The lighting is exquisite, the score is highly reminiscent of Bernard Herrmann, and Lohan really isn’t bad at all. I wish she’d get her act together and make more movies like this one.

The Headless Eyes (1971) – I genuinely enjoy this piece of trash. It’s probably the allure of sleazy 70s NYC that draws me in, and it’s way grittier than even Maniac could ever hope to be. The opening scene alone is brilliant: a thief gets his eye poked out with a spoon and yells “My EYE!!!! Aaarhhhhhrrrgg!!!” on a loop as he staggers into the street with his eye dangling by a thread and people crowd around him. Classic.

4. Name three horror movies that you enjoy against your better judgment.

Breeders (1986) – For me, this beats out Troll 2 as the best worst movie ever made. It’s about an alien’s attempt to take over the world by raping virgins – except the “virgins” all look like they belong in 80s adult movies. A big-haired feminist doctor and a clueless detective are on the alien’s slimy trail, and they play it so seriously that every line of dialogue is gold.

Scream for Help (1984) – I just reviewed this one for my blog. I really think it should become a cult movie on the level of Rocky Horror, because it’s so delightfully over-the-top in every way, yet there was genuine talent involved behind-the-scenes, so it’s alternately engaging and mind-boggling.

Pieces (1982) – What can I say about Pieces that hasn’t been said before? So many great and hilarious scenes, but for me it’s all about Lynda Day George repeatedly screaming “BAAAAAASTAAARD!!!!” at the sky.

5. Send us to five places on the Internet !

Final Girl.

Doomed Moviethon.

Trailers from Hell.

Hysteria Lives.

And the Facebook page for the book I’m working on, Blood Among the Stars: The Making of “Carrie” (HERE).

“Oh, That’s Them-The Little Horrors!” (Guest Post by Peter Gutierrez)

I know it took place earlier this month, still at some remove from Halloween, but I can’t help feeling that the new DVD release of Hammer House of Horror must be one of the genre’s home video highlights of the season, maybe the year. Synapse Films has done its typical bang-up job in terms of the transfer, with the result that this 1980 TV series (it ran for but a single season) now looks and sounds better than ever.

Does that mean it’s so pristine that it has lost some of its late-‘70s feel? Hardly. In fact, I think the overall me-decade vibe and its particular brand of horror is one of the main virtues of the series, at least for anyone who’s savvy enough to be a regular Kindertrauma reader. And of course a big part of that period’s aesthetic was its depiction of children in all their creepy, other-ly glory.

Perhaps the best known episode of Hammer House of Horror in this regard is “Children of the Full Moon.” Despite its title telegraphing the monster du jour, the story still manages to go places that you don’t see coming—and very nasty places at that. The kids themselves are the very image of courteous British youngsters, apart, of course, from all those eerie off-screen noises they make. “Oh, that’s them—the little horrors,” exclaims Diana Dors, part of a memorable performance that plays exquisitely with the Kindly Maternal archetype. Ultimately, the kids aren’t central to the actual action but, interestingly, they become increasingly important to the episode’s themes about the nature of humans and animals and how we ignore any overlap at our own peril.

Another notable episode also seems to make its lone child character fairly tangential to the main plot. At first, that is. By the conclusion of “The House That Bled to Death,” however, there can be no doubt regarding that character’s importance; in fact, what makes the lurid script so brilliant is the way that the narrative kind of ignores her because that means that the audience does as well… until she comes back to haunt us. Well, I don’t mean haunt us literally—or wait, maybe I do: I’m being coy because I don’t want to give away too much. And for that same reason I certainly don’t want to dwell too much on a scene at a kids’ birthday party that may be the most celebrated sequence of the entire series. In terms of sheer logic, sure, what happens is more than a bit nonsensical, but that just adds to the fun.

My favorite episode that features kids prominently, and one of my favorites overall, has to be “Growing Pains.” Honestly, though, I can’t tell how many of its neat psychological effects are intentional and how many are the result of some storytelling incoherence mixed with paranormal elements drawn from the making-up-the-rules-as-we-go-along school. But who cares? The episode sports tragic deaths (that might still prompt giggles), weird science, stuffed animals, and a supremely ambiguous, and therefore effective, turn by child actor Matthew Blakstad. “Growing Pains” thus feels like The Turn of the Screw filtered through schlock… which is precisely what makes it so wonderful.

Of course the series has plenty of reasons for one to like it apart from its kid-centric episodes. “The Silent Scream,” with Peter Cushing and Brian Cox, is justifiably praised for its unnerving originality, and I’m personally quite fond of the demented surrealism of “Rude Awakening.” But check out the thirteen episodes for yourself, and discover your own favorite. You really can’t go wrong.

Peter Gutiérrez writes on horror for Rue Morgue and Firefox News, and blogs on film and pop culture for School Library Journal.

Traumafession:: Reader Dirk on Astrid Lindgren’s “Rupp Rupel”

Hello, dear traumapeople!

I don`t know, how popular the other works of Astrid Lindgren, the author of “Pippi Longstockings” are in the english speaking world, but here in Germany they are very common. So everybody likes this nice grandma and her stories about innocent times from Sveden, right? She would never traumatise anyone, right?

Well… Although her fantasy Novels are sometimes really dark, it was a pictured book, that really scared me as a child: “Rupp Rüpel – das grausigste Gespenst aus Smaland” (something like “Rupp Rude – the most horrible ghost of Smaland”) as it was called in german. Looks harmless, isn`t it?

Wrapped in a story from the author’s childhood, is the tale of the eponymous ghost: A rude troublemaker, who wants to scare the vicar, dresses as a ghost and dies from shock, when his coat is stuck in the churchdoor, because he thinks, it’s a real ghost “or even the hand of the Lord himself, who wants to punish him for his deed”. His frozen body stands on the churchyard for hundreds of years, till a tough woman makes a bet to carry him at night into a tavern. She does it and wins, but when she brings him back, he clinches his icy hands around her neck and forces her to bring him to the vicar’s grave, where he apologies and gets salvation… while the woman goes insane. Happy Ending!

Very classic mix of two famous ghost stories, we’ve often seen in “Twilight Zone” or “Hellboy”. That would’nt be the problem, even for a child. The problem were the illustrations by Ilon Wikland: Rupp’s prank as a ghost, the frozen corpse at the tavern and the gruesome grip of undead hands.

Some time ago a friend told me, that she got also traumatised by it in her childhood and still got the book. So I could get an update of his gruesomeness. – Maybe out there at the internet are more victims of Smaland’s most horrible ghost?



Traumafessions:: Reader S. on The Twilight Zone Movie and Garbage Pail Kid Cards

First of all,

I have just discovered Kindertrauma, and I have to say, as a kid who got spooked quite a bit from watching too many scary movies/t.v. shows, I love the idea behind this website! I also should admit that I found it through a very random google search. I wanted to find the name of a television show that I used to watch as a child (at first I thought it was a 90s adaptation of the Twilight Zone), and, because of my lucky search engine abilities, I was brought to Kindertrauma. I found out the show was called Amazing Stories and the episode that traumatized me was an episode called “Thanksgiving.”

Anywhoodle, I figure I might as well share some of my childhood scares. One was not actually a t.v. show, but it was a stupid collection of cards. I believe they were called Garbage Pail Kids, and I found them when I was about nine years old. After my father’s breakup from a woman he had been with prior to marrying my mother, I accidentally ended up with a tub of those damned screwed up collectible cards which belonged to his ex-girlfriends demented fourteen year old son (no relation). I was going through the tub expecting it to contain my seemingly innocent Pokemon cards, but instead I found THESE screwed up images of mutilated babies in a toy card form. It made me sick to my stomach after finding a few. Needless to say, the awkward harbored feelings towards the family my father had been a part of before mine was made more awkward after I found those obscene cards.

Secondly, the movie that really screwed with my head as a kid was The Twilight Zone Movie that came out in the 80s. It was this scene…

Anyways, thank you for being a wealth of information about scary crap from when we were kids. Hopefully my traumas are relatable for some other inner child needing closure!



Traum-mercial Break:: Fragile Childhood

UNK SEZ: Chances are you’ve come across this Finish commercial floating around the internet recently but just in case you hadn’t I thought I’d throw an anchor on it here. Even if it didn’t feature a hideous clown and a monstrous Santa this spot designed to raise awareness to the plight of children with alcohol abusing parents would still be destined for kindertrauma infamy. Not only creepy and disturbing, it effectively captures with images alone, the private hell a dependent child experiences shackled to an unstable guardian. It’s also an uncomfortable reminder of just how thin the line between horror films and the real world can be for some kids. Thanks to Brother Bill & Jennifer Y. for making sure we were aware of it!

Kinder-Spotlight:: Scare U!

UNK SEZ: Here’s something you kids may enjoy! Our new kinderpal Beverly over at THE SCARE HOUSE (One of America’s top haunted Houses stationed in good ol’ Pittsburgh PA.) gave us a tip about a video series they are doing called SCARE U! It’s a project after our own heart as it examines what scares people and why. The first segment is on clowns (Very Kindertraumatic) and an upcoming installment will concern dolls (likewise). Cooler still, there will be a new video presented every Wednesday till Halloween! Check out their Youtube channel HERE to keep up to date! Thanks for the decapitated heads up Bev!

Season of the Funhouse!

UNK SEZ: Thanks to the folks at SCREAM FACTORY, this past Tuesday saw the release of HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH on Blu-ray! To celebrate, here is a special H3 puzzle! Can you put these images in their correct order? The first and last are correct (A=1 and O=15) but in what order should the others go? If figuring this out gives you the same type of headache putting this together gave me, feel free to guess!

One random lucky commenter is going to win a set of five SCREAM FACTORY buttons! You’ll get HALLOWEENs 2 & 3, TERROR TRAIN, THEY LIVE and fittingly, THE FUNHOUSE! Good luck!!!

It’s a Horror to Know You:: Captain Cruella of the Carnivorous Cadavers!

It’s a Horror to Know You: Captain Cruella of the Carnivorous Cadavers of Cruella’s Crypt!

1. What is the first film that ever scared you?

This is a real toss up. I’d have to say it was Jaws or Hellraiser II. Both of which my mother let me watch when I was ridiculously young, ( Thanks Mom!) I wouldn’t set foot in any body of water unless I could see the bottom and even then a, “dun dun, dun dun, dun dun” would get me running out of the pool faster than a fly to rancid meat.

2. What is the last film that scared you?

It takes a lot to scare me, I mean I AM the Captain of an undead Army, however…. I would say the last movie I saw that really gave me pause was Prometheus. The movie was beautifully atmospheric and foreboding. I’m also one of those alien conspiracy theory nuts and the thought of alien life decimating the earth with viruses and general doom isn’t something too far off from what I really think is a very real possibility.

3. Name three Horror movies that you believe are underrated.

1. Candyman – because who didn’t see that movie as a kid and say it in a mirror just to freak yourself out?

2. Maniac – it’s gross, it’s over the top and I’ve never viewed mannequins in quite the same way.

3. Jeepers Creepers – another film where something as simple as a corn field in the middle of the night during one of those haunted hayrides in October just screams, “EVIL”

4. Name three horror movies that you enjoy against your better judgment.


1. Amityville II. It is so epically retarded, it’s good!

2. Troll II ( I see a pattern of two here) This needs ZERO explanation.

3. Night Train to Terror – because every horror movie should have a catchy dance and song segway.

5. Send us to five places on the Internet!

T Shirt Bordello.

The Vault of Horror.

Zombie Terrorist Targets.

Love Train For The Tenebrous Empire!

Monster Island Resort.