It’s a Horror to Know You:: Mike of Swords & Dorkery!

It’s a Horror to Know You: Mike of Swords & Dorkery!

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

The first movie I remember being scared by is Rikki-Tikki-Tavi (“If you move, I strike; if you don’t move, I strike!”). Hey, I was like 4.

The first horror movie I saw in a theater was Poltergeist, and for a ten year old that was scary sh*t.

2. What is the last film that scared you?

The remake of The Hills Have Eyes. The sense of peril was sustained really well.

The scariest thing in a movie for me, though, is still the brief flashes of white fright masks in The Exorcist, maybe because I somehow didn’t notice them the first time I watched the movie but now I spend the whole time viewing it waiting for those little flashes.

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

Martin. Everyone talks about Romero’s zombie films but this was such a punch in the gut when I first saw it I can’t believe more people haven’t seen it.

The Prophecy (1979). Not a great movie but better than it’s rated and almost forgotten because of all the other movies with the same title. I read the book after seeing it and would say the movie does the book justice, which is maybe damning it with faint praise, but still I give it credit for trying to have a message as well as scares and decent characterization.

Blood on Satan’s Claws. A bit better than a run-of-the-mill Hammer production, this one has a great atmosphere and builds a sense of dread that is only slightly spoiled by the rushed ending.

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

Motel Hell – probably the first slasher I ever saw, and although it is seriously goofy in parts, there is a sincerity to the production that demands respect. I doubt it would hold up so well to repeated viewings and I’ve only actually watched snippets in the last 30 years.

Versus – if that counts as horror. Incredibly stupid but still fun all the way through.

Acolytes – the writing could have been better but it has its moments.

5. Send us to five places on the Internet!

Not all of these are horror-related but most have some scary/creepy stuff alongside interesting tidbits your readers might enjoy.

Halloween Movie Marathon – a collection of creepy images.

Yog Blogsoth– mostly drawings based on HPL.

Cyclopeatron – a kaleidoscope of crazy science fantasy and D&D.

Aldeboran – the blog of a great comic-style artist with a seriously disturbed aesthetic.

Skulls in the Stars – physics + horror + more.

It’s a Horror to Know You:: Chloe of Old Horrors Renewed!

It’s a Horror to Know You: Chloe of Old Horrors Renewed!

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

It must have been The Little Mermaid. Ursula terrified me from the moment I saw her and I spent most of the film cowering behind my grandmother’s sofa.

2. What is the last film that scared you?

The Innkeepers! The ending had me pausing the film so I could breath.

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

1. Sauna. I don’t know if it was the film’s small distribution and it just slipped under everyone’s radars, but I’d love to more people to see it and discuss it.

2. Blood Creek. Joel Schumacher has a bad reputation from the Batman films, but I found it was scary, crazy and interesting.

3. The Mothman Prophecies. Not too sure if you could say this was a true horror film, but Indrid Cold’s pretty damn creepy.

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

1. 13 Ghosts, because it’s just fun.

2. In The Mouth Of Madness, which suffers from having a lot of good ideas and Sam Neill but not forming a structure with them.

3. End Of Days, for Gabriel Bryne playing the Devil.

5. Send us to five places on the Internet!

1. Folk Horror – one of my favourite niche genres.

2. Junta Juliel’s Culture Shock – Sean Gill’s reviews are well-written and passionate.

3. I’m Into Survival – This is the horror movie blog of A Softer World writer Joey Comeau.

4. A Podcast To The Curious – A couple of guys discussing the ghost stories of M R James. They’re always funny and thought-provoking.

5. Stale Popcorn – I’ve always found Glenn’s Scream By Scream series interesting and fun.

Traumafessions :: Andrew D. on Out of This World, The Serpent and the Rainbow & The Gate

Hi! I just discovered the website today and after checking it out for a bit, it is great. one specific creepy point from my youth involves the show Out of This World. I specifically remember one horrible episode involving some kind of person-sized puppet or doll. it was just really creepy looking, along with the way it moved. It is such a vague memory at this point. I have no idea how I could track down a clip of it or find a picture

While I was writing this I remembered two films that messed me up as a kid that I did not see already mentioned on the site that much.

First was Serpent and the Rainbow. I was probably like 7 or 8 when I first watched it at my grandmother’s house. so many amazing scenes. So incredibly creepy to me.

Second was The Gate. I think I was around the same age when I saw this one on TV. I could not remember the name of it until just recently. I only remembered specific scenes; one was a red phone melting. I have no idea why that stuck with me so, but it did. Also, there was a scene in either this or Serpent involving a person being dragged down through a tunnel filled with arms, continually pulling them down. I tried to find pictures of the scene to pinpoint which film, but I could not find them. I rewatched this one recently and loved seeing it again, having those faint memories be revitalized. I also love the whole playing the metal record backward satanic stuff in it that I did not remember from before. Well that is all for now.


Andrew D.

P.S. Sh*t, I just realized the tunnel of arms was Labyrinth. I could have sworn though that one of those two had a similar scene…

Resident Evil Funhouse!

RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION opens today! Can you believe Alice (MILLA JOVOVICH) has been kicking ass for ten years now? I can’t claim to be the most devoted fan of the series but I’ve gotta give props when they are due. I enjoyed the last two installments better than the first two and how often can one say that about an aging franchise? Flaws noted, RESIDENT EVIL threw zombies back on the big screen before they became ubiquitous and even though I don’t always understand what is going on in a RESIDENT EVIL picture, I gotta say, MILLA is pretty awesome. Additionally, I would like to shake RESIDENT EVIL‘s hand for never resorting to using numbers in any of the sequel titles! In honor of all that, below are four pairs of images from the previous installments with THREE discrepancies in each! Can you find them before the Umbrella Corporation sics a contaminated undead dog on you? Good luck!





Name That Trauma!:: Reader Reader Jim Y. on Dastardly Department Store Dogs and a Psycho Skunk

Greetings Kindertrauma!

First let me congratulate you on having such a cool and informative website! I have spent many hours going through the entire Name That Trauma and Traumafession archives and haven’t seen anything on these two ’70s made-for-t.v. movies. The first one involves a man who goes into a big department store to buy his daughter a doll for her birthday. He goes into the bathroom right as the intercom is announcing closing time. He is mugged in the bathroom and knocked unconscious then dragged into a stall. A few minutes later a security guard checks the bathroom and sees no one. The man awakes to find he’s been locked in the store with several guard dogs running loose in the store. The rest of the movie has him fighting for his life as these guard dogs want to rip him to pieces.

The second one involves a family living in a cabin far out in the country.The dad gets bitten by a rabid skunk. For some reason they are not able to get to the nearest town for help. The dad tells his family to chain him to a pole outside so he can’t hurt them if he goes rabid. The scene that scared me the most is when the dad is hallucinating and the bushes start to shake and all of the sudden this skunk roars out of the bushes and straight for his face! That scared the bejesus out of me! Anyway, if anybody knows what these movies are, I’m dying to know.

Great site, keep up the good work!

UNK SEZ: So glad you are enjoying the site and what an awesome “Name That Trauma!” Two animal-centric TV movies from the seventies, what’s not to love? I’m happy to tell you that I happen to know the identity of both! The first is called TRAPPED and it’s from 1973 and stars JAMES BROLIN.

The second one you mentioned is called A CRY IN THE WILDERNESS, it’s from 1974 and stars GEORGE KENNEDY. I’ve never seen that one but I’m thinking I’d enjoy it because I’m a big fan of both GEORGE KENNEDY and skunks, even when they are rabid!

It’s a Horror to Know You: Brian Solomon of The Vault of Horror!

It’s a Horror to Know You: Brian Solomon of The Vault of Horror!

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

It was either the Hammer film Lust for a Vampire, or the original made-for-TV Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. I watched a lot of horror on TV as a small child (big shock!) Back then there was plenty of Hammer on weekend afternoons in syndication, and Lust for a Vampire was the first one I remember watching. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is a movie that, while maybe not excellent by any means, scared the living hell out of me as a kid. And for years in the pre-Internet age, I went around as an older person not even knowing whether I had really seen it, or if I had just dreamed it.

2. What is the last film that scared you?

Prometheus had some pretty terrifying moments.Visually, it’s so vast and haunting, with such unforgettable imagery. And just the concept itself is so completely unnerving.

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

1. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie. Also known as The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue. This was a zombie flick that came out in the decade in between Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, and doesn’t get the credit it deserves for helping to shape the subgenre.

2. The Last Man on Earth. Still the greatest film adaptation of Matheson’s I Am Legend, and another pioneer of the modern zombie subgenre.

3. Grapes of Death. Only the French could come up with a movie in which a zombie plague is spread by contaminated wine. Jean Rollin’s finest.

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

1. TerrorVision. A guilty pleasure from my ’80s VHS childhood.

2. Troll 2. This one almost goes without saying.

3. Saw. It catches a lot of flak, but the original film in the series is an innovative, well-shot, well written and well acted horror film. It shouldn’t be judged by the diminished returns of the sequels.

5. Send us to five places on the Internet!

1. Classic Horror Film Board.

2. Cruella’s Crypt!

3. The Art of Manliness.

4. Proof of a Benevolent God. (my Tumblr page!)

5. Day of the Woman.

The Amityville Horror (2005)

I was flipping through channels the other day and I came across the original AMITYVILLE HORROR, precisely the scene where a nauseated nun, having just fled 112 Ocean Avenue, pulls her car to the side of the road, opens the door and heartily vomits. Naturally I was trapped watching the rest of the film to its conclusion, even while that meant suffering through commercial breaks brazenly more nightmarish than the movie itself. Truth is, the 1979 cinematic depiction of the alleged haunting will always be slightly lackluster compared to my pungent memories of lying on a shag carpet and braving the book. I do adore the actors involved (KIDDER & BROLIN) but not how the astonishing events in the film unfold as if they were routine chores. Time is kind to movies from the seventies though, and now I find even the static scenes hold fragments of my youth I had forgotten. Am I imagining the strange depressive drabness that hangs over the film or am I mixing the movie up with my own recollections of the time period in which it was shot? Yikes, how familiar is that puke green wallpaper?

Later that night I decided I needed to see the 2005 remake again. Once upon a time, the gritty preview trailers had convinced me that it would right the wrongs of the first attempt but I was newly left somewhat entertained yet duly disappointed. Again I appreciated the company (RYAN REYNOLDS has some convincing bite, MELISSA GEORGE is heartbreaking and aw look it’s lil’ CHLOE GRACE MORETZ!) but in this take, things are so off the charts fantastical and excessive in places that it hangs toward spook show burlesque. There appears to be phantom hands flying out of every corner and who needs CGI flies? Oh, and don’t get me started on turning Jodi the pig into a then-trendy ghost girl, it’s blasphemy. Not that the super-slick version doesn’t have its strong suites, the revamped house is impressively intimidating and the Indian head television test pattern routine is semi-genius. (Plus I’m bestowing it the award for “Best Use of a Roof in a Horror Film Since HALLOWEEN 4!”) I’ve got a hunch there’s a superior film hiding under the heaps of tension dissolving subterfuge. If I could just grab some scissors and lop off every annoying chic-edit and brown-nosing jump scare I’m sure I could find it.

One shot I wouldn’t touch comes near the end when for a millisecond an unidentified figure is shown through the front door crossing the lawn. It’s subtle and bewildering and it’s a welcome respite from all the wanton showboating. I’d share a screenshot, but it’s so vague that it’s impossible to capture. I tried.

Who needs words though? All you have to do to fully understand the differences in approach of the two AMITYVILLE flicks is check out a side to side comparison of the way the hapless babysitter who gets locked in the closet is presented… nuff’ said.

If you’re keeping score that’s two movies based on the same story and I’d say both are passable and neither are as good as they could be. (PART II: THE POSSESSION remains the best in the series and that’s because it’s not afraid to lose its mind.) So my question is, why do I remain so infatuated? Why do I keep returning to this same address when I know I’m never fully satisfied with what I find there? As an adult, I don’t even buy that the place was truly haunted anymore so why don’t I move on? So much of my original gullibility was chained to my need to believe that part of religions function was to dispose of evil but now that I essentially believe the opposite is true, most of the tale turns to dust. I can now distinguish the difference between windows and evil eyes so why does that house keep staring at me!!!

Then it hit me, much like the foolish HEIDI KLUM, I had been battling my damaged hair from the WRONG END! Religion needed to take a hike, what role did it play in the drama besides as a failed remedy? No seriously, religion, “GET OUT!” as usual, ya just muddy the waters! Also, all you ghosts? Disappear. If you’re not going to actually do anything that can be recorded, vamoose! Now we’re the heart of the house and I get it now. Do you know what’s scarier than hearing bossy voices, getting welts on your hands, finding strange cubbyholes and suffering swarms of houseflies? I do! I know something scarier! How about having a trusted member of your family grab a shotgun and blow the brains out of you and the rest of your family while you sleep? The flies, the ghost swine, the Devil & God are idle bystanders; the horror of Amityville is the horror of domestic violence.

In DANSE MACABRE, STEPHEN KING cites “economic unease” as a timely factor responsible for the tales’ popularity and while that’s probably true, I’d blame at least some of its staying power on a demon similar to the one that steered his THE SHINING. Children relate to the fear that their parents might change faces and crush them and parents squirm at the thought that they could snap and clobber their offspring. No such events occur in either Amityville telling, but the threat that the family’s paternal anchor could repeat the original slaughter (whether via possession or not – who cares when you’re dead?) stalks every hall. (Thank you, supernatural forces. Your services here are no longer required.)

Remove the magical “evil” and THE AMITYVILLE HORROR is still the ultimate American nightmare. By rights, when one moves up in the world and achieves a higher standard of living, happiness and contentment are promised to follow. Only in the case of the Lutz family (whose dream becomes accessible thanks to another family’s tragedy) some kind of cosmic error has occurred because having more brings them dysfunction and unhappiness rather than joy. Shoo away all the superstition (and the merited anxiety that the church might abandon you when things get hairy) and we have a story about a family that can’t enjoy their good fortune because mom’s second husband is a moody dickweed with a potentially lethal temper. (That may not have been the case in reality, but it comes across in both films. In fact, the real George Lutz attempted to sue the remake for depicting him among other things, hacking up the family dog.)

For all the wild distractions of the redo it may hit the crux of the problem with a sharper blade. An attempt is made to tag blame on a phantom catch-all villain but who needs invisible bad guys when you’ve got George? After being called an idiot by her husband for realizing that they are “losing each other” and refusing to be satiated by “everything they ever wanted,” Kathy vocalizes the essential truth; Yep, it’s an amazing property but it has no worth if the family itself disintegrates. What good is achieving a dream when you are too filled with hate to enjoy it? Suggesting that happiness can’t be bought (or won at the expense of others) makes her a traitor in George’s eyes.

Maybe THE AMITYVILLE HORROR remains relevant not because of its success as a ghost story, but because of its success as a cautionary fable about hanging your “high hopes” on a house rather than the people inside it. If after all is said and done, under the floorboards, what we’re talking about is the realization that living under the threat of violence can turn even the dreamiest home into a doorway to hell, then sadly it’s not based on “A” true story, but many. People can argue the authenticity ‘til the cows (and the invisible pigs) come home, ghosts or no ghosts, there’s enough horror under this roof to go around.

It’s a Horror to Know You: Jeff Nelson – Marketing Director (Scream Factory / Shout Factory)

It’s a Horror to Know You: Jeff Nelson – Marketing Director (Scream Factory / Shout Factory)

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

That would be the first horror film I ever saw: The original Halloween. I was very unprepared as a nine-year when I watched it on TV in 1981 on NBC (yes, I’m dating myself). It didn’t matter that it was edited, I had nightmares for months because of “The Shape” and couldn’t stop hearing that classic piano-tinkling theme in my head. I do have to thank the universe for starting off my love of horror films with a real classic because when the shock finally wore off, it prompted me to seek out more thrills. Before I knew it, I was daring myself to watch all sorts of terrors like Alligator, Poltergeist, Jaws 2, When a Stranger Calls, The Amityville Horror, Carrie and The Fog (my all-time favorite).

2. What is the last film that scared you?

Insidious really freaked me out. I literally had my hands my front of face during certain scenes. The last two Paranormal Activity sequels worked me up too.

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

Tough question. I’d have to go with Wes Craven’s Deadly Blessing (1981), the Lee Grant hospital slasher Visiting Hours (1982) and the totally fucked up The Sentinel (1977). Honorable mention: Curtains (1983)

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

Just three huh?? That’s way too hard to narrow down but God help me I love Eyes of a Stranger (1981) with Lauren Tewes, Night School (1981) with Rachel Ward and Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982). Honorable mention: Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

5. Send us to five places on the Internet!

The official Scream Factory Facebook Page (of course!)

DVD Talk.

Home Theater Forum.

DVD Drive-in