Traumafession:: Dustin in Minnesota on Mr. Yuck

Here is a PSA that used to absolutely terrify me in the 1970s – Mr. Yuk. It got to be a love/hate kind of thing, where I’d wait for this commercial to come on that would scare me and send me out of the room. Though I did think it was pretty cool when our local poison control center came to our school and gave us some awesome Mr. Yuk stickers to place on poisons in our home!

I love reliving my childhood terrors on your site, and discovering others I hadn’t known. Cheers.

Dustin in Minnesota

Excision (2012)

Check out this bright idea of mine: I thought I might clobber the post holiday blues by watching one of the year’s best reviewed horror flicks, EXCISION! Now, I knew perfectly well that it wasn’t a light comedy but I assumed as long as it was well made, it would lift my spirits. That was not the case. There I was skipping down a candy-colored suburbia believing I was safe in some quirky movie zone somewhere between offbeat character studies MAY and WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE, when suddenly I noticed the shadow of a wrecking ball circling around me. Egad! That’s not a sweater writer/director RICHARD BATES JR. is knitting me…it’s a noose! I should have gotten a clue from all the blood-soaked dream sequences that pepper the film but since they vaguely resembled music videos by THE FLOCK OF SEAGULLS, I was lulled. Instead of rejuvenation, I was served devastation and when the closing credits mercifully showed up to sweep the aisles in my head, I was left choosing between going to bed and going into the backyard to dig a grave with an accompanying high dive platform on the side.

EXCISION is about a young malcontent named Pauline (ANNALYNNE McCORD) who has delusions of becoming a surgeon. She’s fascinated by the human body but doesn’t comprehend the training and talent required. It’s as if she believes she can just dream herself into being the person she wants to be and who can say they weren’t guilty of that as a teen (or older)? Pauline is genuinely difficult and wonderfully aggressive and she’s a welcome break from the usual demure hair-twirling wallflower/outsider. It’s hard not to be compassionate towards her when she overhears her own mother admitting that she finds her “impossible to love” but mom’s got a point too, her kid acts like a hallucination from MARTYRS. The one relationship that appears to be Pauline’s most likely bridge towards connecting with humanity is the one she shares with her loyal younger sister Grace who has cystic fibrosis. It becomes clearer that Pauline’s tortured behavior is strongly connected to her difficulty in processing her sister’s illness and the idea that the one person who doesn’t scorn her may not be around for long. Her attempt at rectifying the situation is a thing of pure horror.

I’m always going to have a soft spot for challenging protagonists, so this movie worked for me. I wouldn’t recommend it though for anyone who was not in the mood for being deeply disturbed. In any case, one thing that’s indisputable is the stellar work from the cast. First off, McCORD is fantastic as Pauline. If I were more familiar with her previous roles, I’m sure I’d be in even more awe of her transformation but as it stands I’m seriously impressed. There are wonderful turns too by highly watchable folks like JOHN WATERS, RAY WISE, MARLEE MATLIN, MALCOLM McDOWELL & ROGER BART. Now, see how much space I left? That’s because I want plenty of room to gush about TRACI LORDS as mother Phyllis. LORDS is truly outstanding in this movie. I don’t mean good for TRACI LORDS, I mean she could stand right next to the very best in her field here. What could have so easily have been the standard ice queen role, LORDS lifts to another realm, displaying a multitude of levels you might not expect. She killed me and I have to say, “Bravo.” Now, EXCISION, here is your “Good Job!” sticker, thank you very much, kindly get out of my head!

Traumafessions:: Jamie L. on the CBS Radio News Sounder

I grew up in a very informed household; my parents regularly watched local and national news several times a day and the radio was always on during the day while my mom watched me. In the 70’s we primarily listened to a local AM station that was a CBS affiliate. Every hour I was warned of impending doom by the news sounder that came on before the reporter started reading (the exact news sounder is at 1:14 in the Youtube link).

When I heard that sound, I knew bad things were getting ready to be told: serial killers, cattle mutilations, hijackings, mass shootings, bombings, and the worst of all – gorillas (guerillas) killing people somewhere in a tropical hell. To a 5 or 6 year old, that news sounder, and the dread that always followed, warned me to never go to big cities, airports, or foreign countries. Other than the ominous storm warnings from the National Weather Service, which have been covered already on the site, nothing else came close to producing this kind of trauma in me.

Again, the specific sounder is at 1:14. Thank you for an outstanding and very needed website.

Jamie L.

Name that trauma:: Dustin in Minnesota on a Chilling HBO Short

Greetings! Discovered your site while looking up memories from my childhood and now have it bookmarked.

There is a short I remember airing on HBO in the early 1980s — it wasn’t terrifying, but it was a little chilling. It involved a violinist who kept driving past a mansion that she couldn’t get out of her mind. Eventually she noticed it was for sale and decided to check it out, and the butler told her the house was haunted. She said that that didn’t bother her, and he said something to the effect of “Why should it? You’re the one who haunts it.” The violinist’s jaw dropped and the film faded out.

I haven’t been able to find this one anywhere, and like I said it wasn’t terrifying, but it was chilling in the same way that childhood ghost stories were. Does anyone remember this film short, and more importantly, what it was called?

Thanks much!

Dustin in Minnesota

Texas Chainsaw 3-D (2013)

Wow. Did I really just witness that? I don’t know what to say. TEXAS CHAINSAW 3-D is dumber than a sack of hammers. It’s so hilariously punch drunk that it left me giddy. I believe it’s magically moronic and if you can add numbers together, you’ll agree. I could go on and on with everything that’s ridiculously wrong with this movie but I decree today that if paid screenwriters are allowed to slack off so brazenly then certainly unpaid me can too! O.K, you and I both know that I enjoyed every shoddy second of it. It made me giggle like vandalism and I can’t help it if I have a chronic fetish for “research” scenes. The one in this movie is phenomenal in its redundancy. They cut back and forth to the final dolt reading the same information over and over again as giant random words appear on screen. It goes on forever and how am I supposed to resist that?

Sorry if that makes no sense, but I ‘m suffering from a contact high from over exposure to incomprehensibleness. Whatever. In the new world order this film is heralding, sense has no place. This movie is an insulting outrage and it’s also probably the most endearingly daffy horror sequel since FRIDAY THE 13TH: PART 7: THE NEW BLOOD. Save your dignity and stay home or gather your worst friends and go observe what’s destined to become a highly quotable (“Do your thing, cuz!”, “Ladies make-up? What a fruitcake!”) camp classic. I’ll be over here cackling like a lunatic wondering if I dreamt the whole thing and counting the days until I can force poor long suffering Aunt John to watch this heap at home. Oh geez, now I know exactly how Sally felt at the end of the original film! It’s all so horrible that I can’t stop laughing. But at least I got away! Didn’t I?

Traumafession:: Gary S. on Little Shop of Horrors

First off, I love your site. It’s strangely comforting knowing a lot of images that scared me as a kid scared so many others too. The Jumanji posting about the plant made me think of Little Shop of Horrors with Rick Moranis. The full-grown plant scared the crap out of me and to this day I don’t like the shot when the camera seems to zoom all the way inside the plant’s mouth. The little plants that seemed to grow off it just added to my fright. Getting eaten by a plant like that became my worst nightmare. Those puppets were masterfully crafted. My fear of this movie confused me for years because it’s a musical and so light-hearted most of the time that I didn’t perceive it as a horror. I think immersion therapy helped me get over this movie but I will still flinch a little if I put it on t.v.

Gary S.