Movie Matchmaker Mania

I say it’s time for some spring fever inspired double features! Not long after writing THIS post on the love affair between THE BIRDS and THE FOG I received an invitation to their wedding. That’s when I knew that I should become a Movie Matchmaker! Movies don’t need to be spinsters! There’s a lid for every pot and a clamshell for every VHS tape! Some of these pair ups might sound odd but that’s the way love goes and until I am proven as wrong on this as I am about everything else, let’s give me the benefit of the doubt!


Everybody’s mother coos over the possibly of ALMODOVAR’s latest getting hitched to EYES WITHOUT A FACE (LES YEUX SANS VISAGE, 1960). The similarities are obvious, but where’s the spark? I see THE SKIN with the younger, less French, much sleazier MANSION OF THE DOOMED (1976). I know MANSION doesn’t have the best reputation but I say all that’s keeping this ugly duckling from becoming a swan is a is a simple makeover/remaster.


The first time I met JOHN DIES AT THE END all I could think about was SOULKEEPER. Then again, I’m always thinking about SOULKEEPER. It’s not every day that you go on an adventure where there is no limit to what can take place. I don’t necessarily see these two surreal buddy flicks going for the long haul but they’ll certainly have fun while it lasts.


What? Big man on campus THE EVIL DEAD 2 going out with wilting wallflower SCREAMS OF A WINTER’S NIGHT? How’s exactly is that gonna work? Trust me; folks are always underestimating EVIL DEAD’s big broken heart. It’s really just a break-up movie with decapitations. SCREAMS may seem timid by comparison but I dare you to say that in a room lit by one single green light bulb! There’s an old saying that goes, “A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where shall they live?” In this case, the answer couldn’t be clearer, they shall live in a cabin in the woods!

THE KINDRED (1987) meet LEVIATHAN (1989)

If anybody needs love it’s giant, indiscernibly shaped fish monsters. If you watch these two flicks back to back, you can pretend that the monster from THE KINDRED survives to become the whatchamacallit from LEVIATHAN. I don’t know how you’ll explain AMANDA PAYS who appears in both movies changing her name from Melissa to Elizabeth, but I always go with that incognito witness protection jazz.


You know THE BOOGENS is just dying to be seen as Lovecraftian so why don’t you allow it just one damn day in the sun? O.K. here’s my logic, everyone seems to be in universal agreement that THE BOOGEN’s big Achilles heal is its presentation of its titular creatures. Fine. It just so happens that NECRONOMICON has the opposite problem, the special effects are stellar but chunks of the movie are lackluster. In the anthology’s best segment “Whispers” you get a slew of slippery, Lovecraft-y, and subterranean bone crunchers who would make just fine BOOGENS if only they didn’t fly. It’s not exactly a match made in heaven but it’s totally symbiotic. So I say, “Good luck, you two slimy, crazy kids!”

PIN (1988) meet MAY (2002)

It takes May (ANGELA BETTIS) a whole movie to learn what Leon (DAVID HEWLETT) gleans at a young age; people who need people are the luckiest people in the world and people who need people who aren’t actually people may want to keep that personality trait to themselves. These two were made for each other.


I know you’re thinking VIDEODROME is better suited for HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH, what with their shared fondness for deadly televisions but the reality is, H3 has a serious drinking problem and I don’t see VIDEODROME putting up with that. Besides, VIDEODROME is more concerned with subjugation than annihilation, the idea that media and technology may lessen one’s humanity bit by digital bit. The notion that we’re all cattle for manipulative corporations is something that THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WOMAN would likely get behind. What’s the difference between being miniaturized and forced to live in a doll house and developing an orifice in your abdomen obliged to accept whatever anyone wants to shove in it? Either way, you’re somebody’s plaything. Both films end on the empty promise that their main sufferers shall rise to higher things but we all know there’s a limit to what Galaxy Glue can fix.

Name That Trauma:: Reader Ashley M. on a Smelly Attic Corpse

This is a little off topic because it wasn’t exactly traumatic and I was an adult; BUT, I have been trying to figure out this book for years to no avail. It was incredibly eerie and unlike anything I have read. It’s a novel from the ‘90s, Irish I believe, or possibly taking place in Ireland. A woman who works at a grocery store comes home to find her boyfriend has committed suicide. She is pretty much numb and just doesn’t want to deal with it, so she takes his body to the attic and promptly forgets about it. After a while, she begins to notice a smell and remembers his body is in the attic. She then chops him up and takes his body parts to a little island in a lake, where she buries him then camps for awhile. That’s about all I remember. I picked it up at a library in the late ‘90s from the new releases table.

Thanks for any help!

Name That Trauma :: Reader Eldon G.B. on a Talkative Black & White Lake

Hello there,

I saw a movie when I was maybe 9 or 10 years old, back in the mid to late 70s on tv, and I’d like to know the title. Unfortunately I only have one vague scene to recall, where this woman is sitting looking into this lake and there are voices talking to her from it; I think it was in front of this English mansion on this big estate. That’s all I have. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

UNK SEZ: Greetings Eldon! I suppose this could be many movies but my bet is on one of my favorites, JACK CLAYTON‘s THE INNOCENTS (1961) which is based on THE TURN OF THE SCREW by HENRY JAMES! There are several highly memorable scenes that take place by a lake and your mansion on a large estate fits snuggly too! I couldn’t find an exact scene on YouTube but I’m sure Miss Giddens (DEBORAH KERR) hears a ghostly voice calling out “Flora,” the name of one of the children she’s looking after, too! Check out the clip I did find below and let us know if it looks familiar!

Name That Trauma :: Reader Jan on a Book Featuring a Frightening Fungi

Dear Kindertrauma,

I love your page! I discovered it, when I was searching for one of my deepest Kindertraumas with “The Peanut Butter Incident“!

Probably you will not able to help me, as I grew up in Germany, but this Kindertrauma is haunting me for years, so it’s worth a shot and probably the book was translated to German anyway!

I am looking for a book of horror stories for children, I read in the ’80s. Especially one story I cannot forget. It’s about a man who somehow enters an abandoned ship which is covered by a strange grey mushroom. On deck he also notices huge piles of the plant. One day he discovers a small spot on his finger where the mushroom started to grow on him. He cuts the spot on his finger, but the next day it regrew even bigger. The guy has got nothing to eat so eventually he starts eating the mushroom. At the end of the story his whole body is covered with the mushroom and he starts to realize that the huge piles on the boat used to be humans.

All I remember of the other stories is one about a guy who is an aspiring assassin, who is tricked into switching bodies with an old man. All stories where really scary and I would like to hold that book in my hands once again. I guess it was crucial to my deep obsession with horror related stuff.

Thank you so much and keep up the good work,


UNK SEZ: Jan, I’m glad you found us! I may not be able to identify the exact anthology you’re looking for but hopefully I can narrow your search! If I’m not jumping to conclusions, I’m suspecting the mushroom short story is WILLIAM HOPE HODGSON‘s THE VOICE IN THE NIGHT. It’s the same tale that inspired the Japanese film MATANGO which is known as ATTACK OF THE MUSHROOM PEOPLE here in the states. You can read the story HERE! I hope it’s the right one and that you are one step closer to your trauma-treasure!

Sunday Streaming:: The Eclipse (2009)

There are many fine things in this world that are simply not built to obtain universal appeal. Maybe it’s more important to concern ourselves not with how many people appreciate something, but the depth of the feeling of those who do. I can tell you with certainty that not everybody is going to get/enjoy THE ECLIPSE (2009) but I guarantee a few folks are going to think it’s outstanding. If you are interested in the supernatural that should aid in your affection for it and if you’ve got some Irish in your blood, well that won’t hurt either. Can you withstand a romantic drama that features adult characters? Do you have patience? Do you mind the quiet? Do you like to read? Yeses to these questions will come in handy. You might also be required to be the type of person who can live with not everything being identified, tagged and put away in the proper drawer. Most urgently though, I suspect you’d better believe in ghosts. Hopefully you’ve even encountered one or two.

The haunted looking CIARAN HINDS (THERE WILL BE BLOOD) plays a widower knee deep in grief whose job it is to chauffer authors about a small seaside town during a literary festival. Lately he’s been seeing spooky apparitions and so he cozies up to a novelist (IBEN HJEJLE) whose writing suggests she’d be less skeptical than most. She’s got some baggage too, most notably a lecherous, drunk hook up (AIDAN QUINN) that she can’t seem to scrape off her shoe. Basically we’ve got a four-sided love triangle with one of those sides being already dead. I love this cast. CIABRAN breaks your heart and HJEJLE should be in so many more movies. I kept thinking that I knew her somehow and yes, I do; I met her in HIGH FIDELITY and MIFUNE years ago and then we totally lost touch. Do you know who has aged well? AIDAN QUINN. Here he’s playing against type as a belligerent miscreant and he’s surprisingly successful at being repellent!

Here’s something else I should confess. There is a scare in this movie that knocked my unsuspecting boots off. I can’t promise it’ll have the same effect on you, but it really, truly got to me. Maybe I was taken off guard because the movie is so generally hushed and melancholic or maybe it was just really late at night. Perhaps I was somewhat hypnotized by HJEJLE’s character reading out loud a finely tuned description of how the mind reacts when facing the dead. I don’t want to spoil the shock for those who might be susceptible too, but a big heap of the credit falls on the way the music is handled. You are sort of surrounded by soaring angelic chanting that abruptly transforms into a horrific banshee shriek and it’s like a marching band walking on your grave. I felt like somebody poured a tub of ice water down the back of my shirt and the sensation stuck around. I know, now I’ve got your expectations up and you’ll watch it and be bored out of your skull. Sorry about that but even if your hair does not turn as white as mine did, you may still find this worthwhile. But again, only if you like ghosts stories and only if you can stand the quiet.

Traumafession:: Ben Sher of Eyes of Ben Sher on Waxwork’s VHS Box

Every horror fan of a certain age talks about it. The thrill of the VHS covers in the horror section at the video store. They were so deliciously unlike anything that existed in life that you couldn’t imagine what sorts of evil magic those tapes contained. The first image that drew me to the horror section was actually a “New Release” poster on the wall for the movie Waxwork (1988, Anthony Hickox). I was enchanted by the image of a redheaded little person in a tuxedo standing in front of a huge door filled with screaming heads. The image seemed strange and yet familiar, unnerving and yet comforting, as though I had experienced it in another life.

I realize that I must have started renting horror movies before I knew how to read, because I remember pointing to the poster and asking my mother to read me the title and the movie’s tagline: “Stop on by and give the afterlife a try.” I wanted to, desperately. The idea of a doorway that opened to a world filled with formal wear, screaming heads, weird lighting, and hot pink credits fonts appealed to me then as much as it does now. I insisted on renting it, and miraculously, my mother obliged.

When I watched the film, I was actually disappointed. I’ve now seen it multiple times and I still can’t remember what it’s about. Something about Zach Galligan and Deborah Foreman going to a wax museum in the middle of the night and entering the exhibits. Waxwork proved to be a rite of passage that every young horror nerd must go through: I learned that the image on the cover doesn’t always take place in the film. I didn’t like it, but I would be forced to experience it again and again.

Ironically, even though Waxwork disappointed me because it did not feature a scene in which a redheaded little person opened a gigantic door to a wild and wonderful world of strange, sublimely beautiful faces and weird lighting, that is precisely what Waxwork‘s poster, and the video store, did for me. They welcomed me in to the wild and wonderful world of horror movies, a world in which you could find anything you wanted and needed.

More of Ben’s video store memories HERE!

Traumafession:: Dustin in Minnesota on Escape From Alcatraz’s Self Mutilation

While scouring through IMDB during my lunch break, I recalled another film that “traumatized” me as a youngster: 1979’s “Escape from Alcatraz” starring Clint Eastwood.

The part that scared (scarred?) me was when the inmate artist “Doc” chops off his fingers after his painting privileges were revoked. I could watch a murder onscreen without flinching (much, anyway), but for some reason his stone-faced self mutilation really freaked me out. The funny thing is that for years I would mentally place this scene into another Clint Eastwood film, “Bronco Billy“. I was convinced that when they visited the asylum, Geoffrey Lewis chopped off his fingers. And THERE is an interesting idea for a YouTube mashup, if anyone with the video skills wants to piece it together.

Thanks again!

Dustin in Minnesota