Name That Trauma:: Bdwilcox on a Co-worker’s Underground Insect Aliens

This Traumafession comes from a co-worker. He has been seeking out a movie, a single clip of which has been burned into his psyche for decades now, but all his Google-fu has come up short. He said it’s a post WW2 ‘Earth invaded by aliens’ B-movie in black and white that was released around the same time as the original ‘The Blob’. In the movie, the first time the hapless Earthlings glimpse the alien invaders it’s on a black and white closed-circuit TV in the subway and the aliens resemble grasshoppers or cockroaches. That’s it, that’s all he remembers. Please help him solve this mysteria othopterae.



UNK SEZ: I think I got it! I had no idea and then it hit me like a ton of bricks! I think your co-worker must be talking about QUATERMASS AND THE PIT which is rife with both subways and grasshopper aliens! If he saw it in black and white then it must have been the 1958 TV version rather than the 1967 theatrical color version from HAMMER (AKA FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH). Let us know if your co-worker recognizes the video below!

Name That Trauma:: Reader D. B. on a Voodoo Fire Starter

OK, so I’ve got one thats been haunting me for twenty years of so. I remember watching this particular trauma on TV in the early nineties. Maybe ’92?

All I remember is a little kid playing with a voodoo doll. I want to say the kid started using the voodoo doll after seeing parents fornicating. – I could be wrong on the motive. I remember the action escalating to a point where the man was set on fire. I’ve had very vivid memories of this particular nightmare, but have never been able to place this movie or TV episode.

I know this isnt much to go on, but it’s all my fading memory has given me to work with. I’ve been a genre fan as far as I can remember and this movie or TV show has yet to cross my path twice.

Any help would be appreciated!

Kindertrauma Interview:: Paul “T.J.” Kelman of the Horror Classic “My Bloody Valentine” (1981)

my bloody valentine

KINDERTRAUMA: What is the first movie that ever scared you?

PAUL KELMAN: Ha! Good one! It was “Curse of Frankenstein,” 1957 Hammer Films with Peter Cushing playing the Doctor! I was around 8 or 9 years old. It was my first horror movie! My Father took me and I spent most of the time slumped down below the seat in front of me, peeking up every little while! It really terrified me! I had dreams about it for days after. The Monster was so horrible looking! I can still remember how scared I was.

Since then I’ve seen the original, Boris Karloff, Frankenstein of 1931 by Universal, and the subsequent ones he did and other versions as well. Then I read the book by Mary Shelley! I’ve always been intrigued and fascinated with the “Monster” or “Creature” as he is called in the book. And after reading it, Frankenstein became one of my heroes! In the book he is intelligent and sensitive and speaks eloquently about his plight. But he is consumed with the grief and anger from not being accepted by humanity and most of all by his ‘father’, his ‘creator’, Dr. Frankenstein. His feelings eventually drive him mad. He realizes he is hated, useless, without roots, without family, an “abomination”, a “monster.” He is without a father, without God, without love. He is lost.

It’s the story of each of us looking for meaning and our purpose in this life, and our common humanity. Without these fundamental needs being fulfilled and realized, we become like a monster to ourselves and to others. That’s the story Mary Shelley wrote. That is Frankenstein. It’s a great book, a great story. And it’s spawned some wonderful horror films!

KT: What is the last film that scared you?

PK: Well I don’t get ‘scared’ anymore! (laughing) Having done films I look at special effects and CGI. I see the artifice. I was also in the virtual reality industry for around a decade, so I have a good grounding as to what can be done with computer generated reality, especially in three dimensions. But I still get excited and allow myself to be taken in, especially if it’s well done.

I don’t get scared, too old for that. But I do get ‘spooked’ sometimes! I like films that spook me! Even if they’re a little raw as a finished product. It’s how a film uses your imagination in concert with a new or macabre concept that achieves that. Recently I saw a macabre psychological and gory vision in a film called, American Mary (2012, Canadian) starring Katharine Isabelle and written and directed by The Soska Sisters!

It’s a pretty wild film centering on a young female student surgeon who stumbles into a career in illegal “body modifications.” Macabre and strangely engrossing. Liked it! It had a spookiness about it because of what was behind this girl’s motivation. Her obsession with it just kept growing out of control. The film was a little choppy and inconsistent but I thought it was very good despite that.

KT: What is your fondest memory from working on MY BLOODY VALENTINE?

PK: I think it was when we got to hang out with real miners and they took us down to the “Face” in a real working mine at Glace Bay in Nova Scotia, an Island Province in the East coast of Canada. We were crouched down in this low tunnel only about twelve feet wide and five feet high. A tight fit. The Giant Drill bit took up five feet in width! We stood along side it as it drilled into the Face, black coal dust flying into our goggled faces! One miner hosing tons of water on the bit to cool it down! The noise was deafening and one wrong move and the massive Drill blades would shred you! Talk about a dangerous job! Some of these guys had been miners for thirty years! Most had sons who also worked the mine. The work was passed down through generations.

I learned to respect these men. They were crazy brave and they felt they were doing a service to people by mining coal which heated homes and provided energy. Nowadays we look at coal as an outdated mode of energy and a hazard to mankind. Anyway, the point being is it gave me and the other actors a real sense of what it was to be a miner so we could play one. The camaraderie, how they watched each other’s backs, the importance of family and the honor code of a miner all served to inform our roles in the movie. I like to think of them as, “Coal Cowboys”!

The other thing that I remember most is the talent, energy and commitment of the cast! It was like working with an ensemble. There was this raw almost amateur enthusiasm to make every scene work! There were some real pros like Don Francks (Sheriff Newby), Patricia Hamilton (Mabel) and Jack Van Evera (Happy).

Then there were Keith Knight (Hollis), Alf Humphries (Howard) and I as “T.J.”, who’d worked together before in another Paramount release, GAS, which was a crazy comedy. But we’d only done a few films. The rest of the cast had done a little film work at best. So it was quite the mix. Yet everyone, once they got on the set, became pros with equal talent, dedication and devotion to their work! That was special and I think it showed in the final film and is part of what makes the film different from other horror/slasher films especially in the 1980’s! The characters had genuineness about them and the audience could relate and care about them! I do think it’s a major part in what has made the film last this long.

KT: What is your least favorite memory from working on MY BLOODY VALENTINE?

PK: Well, there wasn’t anything specific. I can say though that it was a tough shoot. We shot the whole film in about seven weeks, which was ambitious for a rather complex shoot. For me there were a lot of action scenes like the fight with shovel vs. pickaxe between “TJ” and “Axel” (Neil Affleck) especially difficult on a speeding rail car! And having a mine ceiling cave on our heads, “Sarah”(Lori Hallier) and I. And then all of us climbing a vertical steel ladder slippery with mine grease and flowing water! Really the most challenging was just the fact that we were shooting in a mine in the first place. Riding open air wooden mine cars barreling down a mine shaft at what felt like 40 mph in the pitch dark with only our head lamps for light isn’t for the faint of heart!

Even though it was no longer a working mine it still was a real mine! You see, if gases build up from the various compounds in the rock they can be toxic and if ignited by a heat source like a hot movie lamp — kaboom! We only had to evacuate once due to gas build up. But when you’re six-hundred feet down and below the ocean because it’s a coastal mine, and your only exit is the “Cage” (the mine shaft elevator) it takes a long time to get everyone out to safety! (Laughing)

Oh! I do have a ‘least favorite memory’! I just remembered! Some of us were cigarette smokers at the time, I’ve since stopped smoking, and being in a mine the only thing we could do, so as not to blow up the place was — chew tobacco! Just like real miners do! “Redman Chewing Tobacco”! Now chewing that black gunk can be dangerous because if you so much as swallow some of the goo in your mouth, you are going to get real sick and puke your guts out! That’s why you’re always spitting black viscous gobs everywhere! Real manly stuff! I actually liked the taste after a while but spitting black all the time was, well, disgusting. Good for the character though! It was an added touch of realism!

KT: MY BLOODY VALENTINE is now considered to be one of the best slasher films of its era. Many of us are shocked that there was never a sequel. If you were approached either back then or now to reprise your role as T.J., would you accept the offer?

PK: You’re kidding right? Of course I’d do it! But I never thought by any stretch of the imagination that the work I did in that movie was special or even good. I can say it was an ‘honest’ performance but nowhere near what I could bring to a role now as an actor. It’s been thirty-three years after all. I’ve walked a few miles since then. I’d be lying if I said that I ever expected MBV81 would become a ‘Cult Horror Classic’! I’d really all but forgot about it until a year or so ago. We did have a special screening with the cast at a theatre in Toronto a few years back and the place was packed. But I figured it was a one-time deal. Then about a year ago it started with a few fans finding me on Facebook.

Over that time my Page has developed a constituency of MBV81 Fans! They seem to be from all over the globe young and old! At first I was amused, then surprised and bemused and then something happened. They started talking about what they thought about the film, about me and the horror genre. I realized it really meant something to them and they humbled me with their sincerity and their generosity! They taught me the value of the film and even my work in it! And they showed me how to really value and care about them as an audience and as individuals. It’ been a wonderful experience getting to know them and to share all this with them. And now there are hundreds of fans on the Page and steadily growing! It’s ‘public’ so anyone who wants to can join. They only need send me a “Friend Request” and I’ll confirm.

So here I am at age 64, thirty-three years after the fact, a small “c” celebrity because of MBV81. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned from the fans about the movie and the genre. I’ve always loved horror and sci-fi but they, the fans, have turned it into a passion. I’ve always geeked out with action figures from movies and TV,cartoons and even have stuffed animals. I have Fankenstein, Godzilla, Alien and Spiderman as well as Star Trek figures — big Star Trek Fan! I have a ‘Cat in the Hat‘, Popeye and Olive, several Betty Boops and even a 4ft high stuffed Mickey Mouse! “They’re my friends!” (from ’Blade Runner‘).

To get back to your question. You mentioned “Sequel.” So many people ask me why there’s not been a sequel? I can’t answer that. But what I can say is that in this life, I’m a writer. And I know some pretty talented fans that can write. And I’ve been gathering ideas from the fan base asking them what they think they want to see in a sequel! So I wouldn’t be surprised that in the coming year . . .

KT: Thanks Paul, It’s an honor!

PK: Anytime. My pleasure entirely!

Sunday Viewing:: Shock Treatment (1981)

I’m guilty of not properly appreciating SHOCK TREATMENT until now. I own it on VHS only because it is one of those KEY videos with the rainbow stripes on the side and I love those because you can line them up and they look so pretty and can you believe I’m not forced to take medication? I have not given this one much of a thought since I saw it as a teen and I think I thought it was just weird back then. I also seem to recall a brief time period where my younger brother was very into the soundtrack and played it everyday and so, by no fault of my own, I partially know all of the songs because they poured through my wall.

Anyway, I decided to watch SHOCK TREATMENT the other night because the tape was in my face and I’ve decided I like it better than THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW which I’m guilty of not liking quite as much as I’m clearly supposed to. My preference is easily explained by the presence of JESSICA HARPER. Is anyone more beautiful than Jessica Harper? Beauty gets a bad rap these days because magazines are psychotic but I don’t think there is anything wrong in noting when someone is visually appealing. It’s kinda what art is all about. Well, some art. Also my ears are fond of HARPER’s deep voice and now I want to watch PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE right this second.

I’m pretending that SHOCK TREATMENT is a sequel to equally colorful SUSPIRIA rather than a sequel to ROCKY HORROR. I have decided that at the end of SUSPIRIA, Suzy Bannion has lost her mind and so she hallucinates that her name is Janet and she’s in a new wave musical. It could happen. Plus that makes more sense than MOTHER OF TEARS. You need a little SHOCK TREATMENT below.

Twice Dead (1988)

I don’t know why I listen to my brain so much. It’s often wrong and it hasn’t exactly proven itself an ally in the past. If I could fire my brain I would because it’s shady and pretends to know stuff it doesn’t. Or maybe it’s just confused? Here is an example of my brain feeding me false information that I was eventually able to disprove thanks to one second of research. Once upon a time I bought a DVD of THE EVIL (1978) because THE EVIL is my friend. It was a double-feature type affair that also sported TWICE DEAD (1988). But my brain told me I didn’t care about that one because I saw it before and found it unlikable. In fact, it brought back sorry memories of a creepy summer indoors breathing stale air and watching pale movies during the day and not knowing anything or anyone.

Then the other day I was fondling my THE EVIL DVD like a miser and I happened to read the back of the case because sometimes I accidentally read things when I’m bored. Hey, what now? I had never seen this TWICE DEAD before! What was I thinking of? It wasn’t easy but I was able to track down the title I had confused it with. REST IN PIECES (1987)! Why did my brain think these two were the same movie when they are not? It’s the guy on the cover art! In both cases he’s all dead-looking and smashing out of something. It was REST IN PIECES that gave me a bumper vibe strong enough to last decades. Oh sorry, poor innocent TWICE DEAD, my goof. Oh, hooray, I thought, now I have a new eighties horror flick to watch! It’s like finding a 20-dollar bill in an old coat!

Fast forward and I really liked TWICE DEAD. It’s a totally different thing than that other movie (REST IN PIECES) that I wanted to forget about (and now secretly want to see again in order to torture myself). TWICE is about a nice, down on their luck family who inherits a haunted house but can’t worry too much about their ghost because a laughable band of punk rockers want the house too and are the more pressing issue. This is kind of like HOUSE (1986) smashed up with THE NEW KIDS (1985) but it’s also like KILLER PARTY (1986) because it cannot decide what kind of movie it wants to be and yet is somehow entertaining anyway. The implausibility factor is excessively high, so much so that I’m grateful that I didn’t see this movie at a younger age when I might have cared. Lately I believe reality has already ruined reality and it shouldn’t be allowed to ruin movies too.

What helps make TWICE DEAD’s unfocused storytelling so forgivable is its fetching cast. NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3’s BROOKE “Andale!” BUNDY is ma, THE ROOKIES’ SAM MELVILLE is dad and the brother and sister are portrayed by THE BRAIN’s amiable TOM BRESNAHAN and NIGHT OF THE CREEPS’ adorable JILL WHITLOW. Never underestimate the power of the WHITLOW. Her charming presence makes me even more confused about this film’s relatively low profile. I’m going to blame that cover art again. No matter how fancy and 3-D you make the smashing glass, a goofy guy with a moustache jumping out of a mirror is never going to sell a film. Why not exploit the awesomely cheesed-out punker thugs instead or the ominous mansion? Ah, don’t listen to me. What does my brain know?

TWICE DEAD was written and directed by BERT L. DRAGIN who pulled the same duties for the also slippery to categorize SUMMER CAMP NIGHTMARE (1987). I remember being disappointed by that one because it wasn’t the clear-cut horror flick its box art suggested. Maybe I’ll give it another chance now that I’m less likely to mind the blurring of the line. However, if the cast isn’t as likable as the one in TWICE, it could be a bumpy bus ride. Anyway, this DVD of mine with THE EVIL and TWICE DEAD double feature on it? I now like it twice as much as I did before. I wonder what other falsely accused ‘80s flicks are hiding in my shelves.

NOTE: I’m even going to forgive TWICE DEAD its deplorable cat murder which is not an easy thing for me to do…

Name That Trauma :: Reader Sonny W. on Supernatural Spanish Siblings

Hey Guys,

Have had this one rolling around my head for a while and thought I might be able to find it but no luck so far so am turning it over to the experts.

This may be a combo of memories that I’ve created one movie with but I think I have the majority of details right. I saw this one night as I was half asleep and wanted to track it down to watch the whole thing.

The following may or may not be true:

  • Recent-”ish” movie from say within the last 10 or 15 years
  • I think it may have been Spanish or Mexican in origin. If not the male and female lead were both Hispanic
  • Involves a family who come under attack by paranormal sources
  • There is a daughter who is maybe 15 or 16 and the son is 11 or 12. I think the son may be seeing things or have some other contact with the paranormal and the Dad either doesn’t believe him or doesn’t want to believe him. The sister either believes him or sees these things as well
  • At the end I think there is some sort of confrontation involving the kids and Mom against the Dad

Again, these memories are all very vague and half of them might have been dreams I had while falling asleep/waking up while this was on. Sorry it’s not much to go on but hopefully I’ve got a few things right to identify it with.

Thanks for any help and thanks again for the great website, for someone like myself who grew up in the ’70s/’80s, it is truly a treasure chest of horror nostalgia.

— Sonny W.

Sunday Viewing:: Heavenly Bodies (1984)

I think we should all break out of prison today and watch the Canadian dance epic HEAVENLY BODIES (1984). The powers that be won’t let me embed it so you’ll have to view it HERE.

Don’t worry you’re not cheating on horror movies too much because HEAVENLY BODIES stars MY BLOODY VALENTINE‘s CYNTHIA DALE and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME‘s RICHARD REBIERE. In fact, it was even directed by the guy who played Virginia “Ginnny” Wainwright’s dad (LAWRENCE DANE)! After your life has been transformed by HEAVENLY BODIES make sure you “like” its sparkly Facebook page HERE!