Best of Halloween Clip Show Grab Bag

Name That Trauma:: Roger L. on a Mummified Granny in the Wall

Hello, folks,

This is one I’ve been tracking down for years. It’s in the mid ’70s and I was maybe 15 and watching what I thought was a made-for-TV movie. It was a mystery with a detective and a girl sneaks into the house of a suspect one dark night and notices that the moulding along the top of the room didn’t match the other 3 walls and realized there was a false wall built in.

They broke through it to find what they thought was hidden evidence (or something hiding behind it), with axes or hammers. But behind the wall they found grandma (?), mummified, wrapped in plastic and apparently buried there decades ago. Actually sitting in a rocking chair, sideways. (“She wanted to be buried here in her own home.”) It was a horrific scene and I remember it not being so much a clue as just back story for the eventual suspect. The rest of the film was more a straight forward procedural (I think!). I’m not even sure I watched it to the end so I never got closure that way either!

Certainly influenced by Argento (Deep Red) and Psycho, not even sure if it was an episode of Night Stalker (although I’ve looked through synopses of those and never discovered a mention of this). I have the feeling it is American rather than an Italian giallo dubbed for TV play.

Does this ring a bell for anyone?

Thanks in advance,

Roger L.

Name That Trauma:: Sebastian L. on a Green-Faced Alien Principal

Hi there! I have a Name That Trauma that I’m hoping someone might be able to help me out with.

From what I recall, it was an episode of a TV series that aired around the mid-90’s. It was live action, and was about a boy who noticed something strange about the adults at his school. I believe he suspected that they were being abducted by aliens, or being replaced by them, Body-Snatchers-style, and I think he was particularly concerned about his principal. The scene that totally creeped me out was when the boy was summoned to the principal’s office. He walked in, and the “principal” started scolding him in this slow, creepy voice. Something to the effect of he shouldn’t stick his nose where it doesn’t belong. The whole time he was talking, he was holding a newspaper in front of his face, but after a few moments of suspense, he put down the newspaper, revealing a green alien face! Absolutely terrifying (at least, for seven year old me)!

I think it may have been an episode of a kids’ anthology horror/fantasy show, like Goosebumps or Are You Afraid of the Dark? Here in Canada, we also had a show called Incredible Story Studio, which was supposedly based on story ideas sent in by kids (disturbingly, they were almost always more unsettling than anything on Goosebumps or Are You Afraid of the Dark). If it is in fact an episode of one of these shows, or one like it, I’m sure it wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it was. But it’s the first jump scare I remember…and a pretty effective one at that!

P.S. Your website is brilliant!

– Sebastian

Traumafession:: Melody M. on The Blob (1988)

I have a trauma that I’ve been unable to escape for twenty-three years of my life, and I still can’t watch the movie where it originated: the 1988 remake of The Blob.

I was three years old, and at the time the only TV we had was in the living room, so if my parents wanted to watch a movie they would kick me off of cartoons and watch whatever they wanted, barring the consequences. One of our local channels would run a movie every Friday night, and one night they were showing The Blob.

Now, I was into creepy stuff back then. My dad was a fanatic for old sci-fi movies, so I had already seen stuff like Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers and IT! The Terror From Beyond Space. I foolishly thought that if I could handle those movies, I could handle this one, so I snuggled up next to my dad in his armchair, prepared to be entertained.

And then along comes Paul (I think that was his name…not going to look it up for fear of coming across pictures) getting melted into a screaming, thrashing gooey mess, and my childlike innocence is forever marred. I don’t think I’ve experienced real terror from watching a movie before or since. I had nightmares for FIVE YEARS afterward. Five years. And I still can’t watch that stupid movie without reverting back to my three year-old self; I tried when I was fourteen, thinking that I could probably handle it now, since I loved movies like An American Werewolf in London and John Carpenter’s The Thing. I WAS WRONG. The whole time I was waiting for that scene to come on, my heart was racing and a rising sense of panic was growing in my chest. And when it finally reared its gruesome head, I ran crying from the room, covering my ears so I wouldn’t be able to hear it, while everyone else in the room laughed at how goofy and schlocky it was.

So, now I’m forever afraid of a relatively silly gorefest from the ’80s with moderately good special effects and somewhat goofy acting. Thanks, Dad.

Sunday Viewing:: The Old Dark House (1932)

I’m cleaning off my desktop. There are dozens and dozens of posts I never finished all over the place. Here’s a scrap about THE OLD DARK HOUSE….

JAMES WHALESTHE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932) is officially horror comfort viewing for me. It may not be the director of FRANKENSTEIN and BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN’s greatest work but I’m thinking it may be my first pick of his to take to a desert island with me. When it calls my name, it’s like a little prayer and it feels like home! Which is odd because it’s not like I grew up with it, it was considered lost forever and I believe debuted on VHS for the first time back in 2000. Since then I think I’ve watched it on a nearly yearly basis because it makes me feel as snug as a bug in a rug for some reason.”

And that’s as far as I got. I didn’t know what else to say. When we moved into our new home I christened the place with my VHS copy of this baby. I love the atmosphere, the characters, the humor, the underling dread of madness and decrepitude and the incredibly corny and unrealistic love story it has the nerve to try to pull off. Check out the scene where the old crone curses the pretty young girl that one day she too will be old. How right she is! That young lady is GLORIA STUART who ended up being the old lady in TITANIC! Anyway, I guess I’ve just been more in the mood for watching things than yacking about them lately and that’s why my desktop is such a mess. You could and should watch THE OLD DARK HOUSE below. The picture on YouTube is so much better than my tape and it’s perfect for getting ready for Halloween…

Name That Trauma:: Dexterpie on a Black & White Shapeshifting Witch

Hello Kindertrauma,

I’m trying to find a movie that I saw as a child. It had two witches in it. The ugly witch was good and the pretty witch was bad. The pretty witch could turn into animals and ended up burning the ugly witch’s house down. I’m pretty sure the movie was in black and white. Any help would be appreciated, I’ve been looking a long time!

Viewing Party:: The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t (1979)

Let’s watch a Halloween special right now! It’s called THE HALLOWEEN THAT ALMOST WASN’T and you can read my ancient review HERE. Please ignore the title “THE NIGHT THAT DRACULA SAVED THE WORLD” when it appears on screen! Some dope changed it to that in order to boost VHS sales and it’s a travesty that tramples upon (and illustrates the necessity of) this groundbreaking masterpiece’s feminist message.

Traumafessions:: Piotr W. on the Flashback Wolf Invasion in Mr. Inkblot’s Academy

Hello there, Kindertrauma!

My name is Piotr and I’ve written to you once before, asking for help with naming a trauma. This time, I’d like to make a traumafession regarding certain Polish movie that was a huge trauma for me… and, from what I’ve heard, quite a lot of people of my generation.

The movie is 1983’s “Akademia Pana Kleksa” (“Mr Inkblot’s Academy“). It’s a movie (based on a book) about a magician named Pan Kleks (Mr. Inkblot) and his magical academy for boys. It’s a very good movie and a source of very fond memories for Poles who were kids in the 1980s. Aside from certain section, that is… A section about wolves.

See, part of the story is a flashback taking place in a fairy tale kingdom. The flashback concerns a young prince who, foolishly, shoots a wolf when travelling through a forest. The wolf in question turns out to have been a king of all the wolves… and his death causes a bloody retribution: an invasion of wolves, who overrun the kingdom, siege the capital and, eventually, kill the young prince’s whole family.

Sounds ghastly? I’d say yes, even to our adult minds. Then imagine, if you will, what it was like for children. Who were actually *shown* the whole story on the screen. Just imagine scenes with legions of wolf-headed troops walking with torches, howling, their eyes flashing… with a hard-rock soundtrack booming from the speakers. This stuff was horror-movie level of scary… Believe me, a lot of people of my generation name this sections of “Academy” as the scariest thing of their childhood.

I’ve done some searching and I found the particular scene posted on Youtube. See for yourself:

A curious fact: the song that plays in the background was composed for this movie by TSA, an important Polish hard rock band.

Well, here’s a traumafession for you!


Piotr W.

Name That Trauma:: Amanda M. W. on a Soft Spoken Possible Psychopath’s Cable Access Show

I’ve tried tracking down this New York public access show from the late 70s/80s. I’ve tried EVERYTHING. Every person I know that resides in NY, a TV oddity collector and even posted on reddit. No luck. This is my last ditch effort. If you can’t help me, I totally understand.

In 07′ I was visiting a friend who lived in Manhattan. He didn’t have cable. Just rabbit ears and a piss poor signal. While he was at work, I came across this public access station. They were showing a marathon of this cable access show. I’d date it around 70s/80s. The host was this rather average built man. Probably 30s. His name was John. Most of it was filmed in what appeared to be his mother’s faux wood paneling basement (complete with dead bodies I’m sure). He would go around NY and find these really strange people to interview. One had a doll collection. One read poetry in a park?? I don’t know. I was mesmerized. I was terrified. He was so creepy. He was soft spoken but you KNEW he’d cut you in a second. My friend who eventually came home from work, sat on his crappy futon with me..watching this..totally amazed.

I don’t know if you can be of any help to me..or even want to. But any suggestions or even a “no dice..we don’t help people’ is fine. I just really want to find out what the hell I was watching.

Thanks in advance!

Traumafession:: Reader Lorraine on Mouse Hunt

So, Kindertrauma, we meet again. I get a feeling that I’ll be submitting to your site quite a bit. Sure, there might have been little one time episodes like crying at Twister and Dante’s Peak, scurrying back to bed like a bat out of Hell after witnessing a guy’s back split open… But there’s no scene in any movie that has affected me more than this. It is the scene that I blame for my emetophobia (fear of vomiting). Yeah, I’m talking about Mouse Hunt.

Let’s describe the scene as quickly as possible. I don’t want to ruin my dinner.That scene where the mayor accidentally eats a cockroach, finds out about it, vomits it up, and dies? UGH. I’m shuddering just typing this. That scene, that DAMN SCENE. Oh, how it scarred me for life! Ever since seeing that scene, just thinking about someone throwing up gives me so many unwanted conflicting feelings. It makes me feel like throwing up, but the idea of throwing up absolutely terrifies me. Someone throws up in the room? I have to leave as quickly as possible. I can’t leave? I retreat to the farthest corner of the room and attempt to cover both my mouth and ears at the same time. Afterwards, I will not be satisfied until I’ve almost given myself prune fingers from washing my hands. I am also extremely paranoid about any sickness of this type. If I know that a person has been sick or has been in a house with sickness going around, I will avoid them like the plague until I am certain the coast is clear. It may sound awful, but I just can’t help it. The idea of vomiting just affects me that much.

And you know why? It’s because of Mouse Hunt. Thank you, Mouse Hunt! You scarred me for life, and I owe it completely to you!