Happy Memorial Day and Kinder- Hiatus Alert!

Hope everybody out there is having an excellent Memorial Day! I have to give you a warning that things may be a little quiet around here for an undetermined amount of time. Here’s the thing, we are moving out of the Kindertrauma Kastle! Don’t worry we found some place older and darker and bigger and better! It even has a vestibule, the only thing I ever wanted! I decree that we will never move again and that I shall grow old and die at this new address! Isn’t that cool?

The rub is that there is so much packing etcetera to do that I need to focus and laser style. I’m going to be as nervous as a hermit crab between shells until we are in our new abode with all the hatches battened down! I’ll certainly post any and all traumafessions and “Name That Traumas!” that come in, but our reviews and regular features like Friday Funhouse and Sunday Streaming will have to be put on hold. Those suffering from acute trauma withdrawal are invited to explore our extensive archives and to LIKE us on Facebook HERE! Hang tight! We’ll be back to haunting the internet at full capacity before too long!

Sunday Streaming:: Dear Dead Delilah (1972)

The picture quality of this copy of DEAR DEAD DELILAH leaves something to be desired. Hey, at least it’s “overexposed, scratchy horrendous” rather than “millionth generation murky ghost horrendous”! What are you gonna do? It’s the only version available and chances are more than likely that it’s going to stay that way. DVD companies are far too busy putting out the trillionth edition of something you already have five copies of to concern themselves with something like this! DEAR DEAD is weird, scraggly and hokey as hell. Not everybody is going to care for it. The cool thing is that if you just watch five minutes of it, you’ll be able to determine whether the screechy song it’s singing is for you or not. Rough as it is around the edges, JOHN (THE FURY) FARRIS’ underappreciated proto-slasher does contain some spectacularly gruesome murders, not to mention an above par cast and some rather unforgettable closing credits. Watch below and for more gush-yapping, read my full review HERE!

Traumafession:: Psychonator on Tales of the Wizard of Oz

Hi everyone at Kindertrauma, Psychonator here,

I’ve followed this blog for years and have contributed to solving a few Name That Traumas. I thought I’d share a kindertrauma of my own. I was a sickly kid and would contract the flu at least three times during the long Michigan winters. I also had (have) a very vivid imagination (my brother called me “impressionable,” a term he got off of the back of the “Disney’s Sounds of the Haunted House” which creeped the bejesus out of me.) But I digress.

Being home-bound, a latch key kid, I’d entertain myself between bouts of vomitting by watching day time TV. There was one particular cartoon (this would’ve been mid to late sixties) that set with me wrong. It was “Tales of the Wizard of OZ.” Totally creepy. Every episode was frought with downbeat drama. All the characters were drawn in a surreal, unnatural way, especially for this time period. The “Munchkins,” if I recall correctly, looked like fat rain drops with arms and legs. For some reason, I always watched this when I was sick; so, sort of like only ever having drank Seven Up when I was sick, this cartoon (and the taste of Seven Up) cannot be seperated from the light headed feeling of a high fever and the seasick feeling of a sour stomach!

The theme song is uber creepy to me to this day. The background music harkins back to the appearance of the wicked witch from the classic movie (not such a good choice, IMHO). The first scene shows the Tin Man pulling a prank on the Cowardly Lion, punching him in the kisser and making him cry. I think I need a Zoloft.

American Gothic (1988)

If anyone ever asks me to name an underrated horror heroine, remind me that I want to say Cynthia (SARAH TORGOV) from AMERICAN GOTHIC (1988). It’s not hard to guess why she’s never gained much traction with the horror crowd; she’s not butch, bookish or boob-centric. In fact, she starts out as kind of a drip. It’s not where you begin but where you are going that matters though and glum Cynthia is going to the best place of all…crazy town!

When we first meet her, she is being released from a mental hospital! Is there a better time to meet a person? It’s no wonder she’s a mess and a half, it turns out she’s committed the ultimate blunder! One day she was giving her baby a bath when the phone rang and she just left for a second and then…zoinks! That’s some pretty heavy baggage and that’s why I don’t give my cats baths. In the interest of taking it easy and getting her mind off the fact that she killed her baby so that she could answer a stupid telephone call, Cynthia jumps in a plane with a bunch of people she has no business being friends with and takes a trip! Only God must truly hate Cynthia because he places her plane down onto an island whose inhabitants are super counterproductive to her recovery.

Talk about your island of misfit toys. There’s fair weather religious nut Pa (a fire breathing ROD STEIGER), prudent Charleston fan Ma (a hard not to love YVONNE DeCARLO) and their three less than adorable moppets: Fanny, Woody and Teddy (JANET WRIGHT, the legendary MICHAEL J.POLLARD and WILLIAM HOOTKINS, respectively). The kids are pushing fifty but act like they are twelve and please remember this was released in 1988 way before Facebook made such behavior the norm. Cynthia’s pals make the deadly mistake of scoffing the backwards ways on display while I only wish I could book a weekend stay. No cars, no lights, no motorcars… not a single luxury, unless you consider having a giant swing next to a cliff so that can you push people to their doom a luxury, which I do. If Cynthia would open her eyes maybe she could learn something here. As somebody who is having trouble letting go of the past she might take note of how that same approach to life has hardly benefited her demented hosts. Are these frozen-in-time, perpetually stunted human defects her future if she doesn’t get a grip? Yes. In the meantime her snotty friends must die one by one in increasingly gratifying ways.

(Kinda spoiler-y) Perhaps the only reason that Cynthia survives longer than her buddies is that darling Fanny takes a liking to her. Cynthia’s emotional state so closely mirrors the family’s folie a cinq that she glides smoothly into ponytail-enhanced Stockholm syndrome. This is a great turn of events…for me! What nobody has bargained for is that Cynthia’s secret power is insanity and Fanny owns the exact key to click her switch to berserker mode…oh you know, you might have one around the house too… a dried up baby corpse! Cynthia’s resulting transformation is better than your average slasher-chick metamorphosis from dishrag to ShamWow. It’s as if a crazed understudy has pirated the part. It’s not the first or last time a horror character has switched sides mid-game but it’s one of the few times where it’s handled in a way where it makes absolute sense. Ultimately Cynthia is not playing on any team. What’s she’s raging against is the same thing Pa renounces when he’s presented with the death of his own offspring, the absence of a higher power who cares enough to stop such horrible things from happening.

Fittingly JOHN (INCUBUS) HOUGH’s AMERICAN GOTHIC borrows freely from the classic horrors that walked before it while indulging in whatever eighties excesses it cares to. Although it’s a kissing cousin to many films from PSYCHO to THE BABY to MOTEL HELL to maybe even JOHN WATER’S PINK FLAMINGOS, it probably shares its strongest kinship to WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? In both cases we’re dealing with eccentric outsider characters that are somewhat comical on the surface and downright tragic at their core. As amusing as AMERICAN GOTHIC’s billowing black comedy antics often are, it’s only one hopscotch jump away from hitting upon something deeper. When it’s not dealing with infant death and the questioning of God, it puts forth a generational clash between old and new ways that exaggerated though it may be, is recognizable as a true American constant. This movie has more than its share of mentally ill oddballs bouncing around yet in the end, it seems the big baddie looming in the shadows might be cruel, heartless time itself and the ambivalent way it tends to make mincemeat out of those who lag behind. It’s not the scariest movie in the world but this is one baby you should not throw out with the bathwater! I’m sorry; I just had to do that.

Name That Trauma:: Atys of Demon Tribe Hollow on a Creaky Record and a Hitchcock Murder Confession

Dear Unk!

I can’t tell you how long I’ve loved your site, but it’s been quite a while now, and I can’t stay quiet any longer! May I submit for your approval my own (two!) Traumafessions?

First one is sure to confound and confuse, as it’s about as obscure as I think one can get. It was a childrens’ record album released about 30 years ago that concerned the noises a house makes. I believe its purpose was to reassure young people that the creeks and groans one might hear at night were not, in fact, perpetuated by spirits of those long dead. Of course, all that did for me was present the potentiality that they might easily be mistaken for such.

Now, in my late thirties, I *want* to hear this evidence of a proper haunting, though three decades ago, of course, I was quite terrified of the idea. Anyway, all I have for anyone to go on is the fact that I think the record was one of those “plastidiscs” or whatever. (You know, the floppy, colorful kind.) It had a colorful, illustrated jacket, depicting I think a young boy and his dog with a cutaway of the support beams of an average 70’s home.

But alas, my memory of this is very, very foggy, indeed. Hence, any help at all would be immensely appreciated, without a doubt.

And there is just one more thing that will likely be far easier to unearth. That is, an old “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” episode that began with a man admitting his role as a murderer. All I remember is this character looking straight on into the camera, discussing his dastardly deed in somewhat shady detail, and ending with the line “That’s right, I’m a murderer.”

Please, please someone tell me what episode this could be, for I’m nearly more desperate to find this out than the “noises a house makes” record.

Name That Trauma:: James Y. on a Curly-Haired, Murderous Mom

I just discovered your site when I was researching a sci-fi/horror flick I remembered being traumatized by when I was a kid (turned out to be Strange Invaders—you know which scene I’m talking about), so I was hoping you might be able to help me figure out another obscure trauma.

I’m afraid the details are sketchy since I was probably 4 or 5 when I saw it. It was on cable, probably HBO, in the early-’80s. I remember late one night happening upon the end of either a movie or a short film in which a mother with short curly brown hair I believe had killed her family and, at the point I tuned, was in a life and death struggle with her teenage son on the stairs, trying to stab him with a kitchen knife, which he wrests away from her and proceeds to stab her with in self defense. Of course she pops up for one last scare, screaming bloody hell, forcing him to finish her off.

It was chock full o’blood and screams and quite disturbing. Naturally, I must know the name so I can track down a copy to watch in full.

Thanks in advance,

James Y.

Traumafession:: Antonio Augusto of Cinema Parasita on Reverend Kane and Bob

Hi there, dear folks at Kindertrauma

My name is Antonio Augusto, I’m from Brazil and a regular reader of your amazing blog. So many awesome posts and traumas I totally identify with. One of my biggest kindertraumas is probably the reverend Henry Kane from Poltergeist II. I saw it when I was very little and couldn’t sleep for MONTHS thinking about him. And more recently in my life, a really big trauma is BOB from Twin Peaks.

UNK SEZ: Thanks for the traumafession Antonio and for letting us know about Cinema Parasita! I don’t speak Portuguese but I like what see! Nice work!