Traumafession:: Whitsbrain on The Bullwinkle Show Intro

A self-admittedly odd “scared you for life” story…

This piece of music and accompanying video will immediately send a cold shiver through my entire body. My reaction to it has been the same since I was a little kid. I’ll get goosebumps if I hear it and if it gets stuck in my head, it will give me the willies no matter where I am. Middle of the day, at work, at home, in the car, grocery store…it doesn’t matter. And yes I know, there’s NOTHING outwardly scary about it!

Over the years, I’ve tried listening to it, nearly torturing myself to get used to it (or over it) but my natural reaction to it is freaky. I don’t know if something about the animation in tandem with the theme bothers me…it’s beyond strange. Maybe something bad happened to me when I was very young while it was playing. I have no clue.

And the silliest thing about it is, I can watch Bullwinkle all day long and actually enjoy it. But if I listen to the theme and see this video…instant shudders.

I’m ice cold right now just thinking about it. I can hardly bring myself to paste the link:

Traumatized since childhood,


Name That Trauma:: Scott D. on a Rock Man Who Dissolves in the Ocean

Your website is awesome!

That said … I remember a movie that was probably shown on WLVI 56’s Creature Double Feature in the ’80s (Boston area). It involved a man who was turned into rock somehow. I remember he was sort of a brown color. At the end, he walks into the ocean and the sea water dissolves him. I could have sworn it was called “The Rock Man,” but I can’t find any movie similar to that plot and title. Can someone help?



UNK SEZ: Thanks Scott! I’m probably wrong on this but I keep seeing 1966’s IT with RODDY McDOWALL in my mind’s eye. It doesn’t quite fit your description but it’s got a brown rock golem guy in it and I’m pretty sure at the end he takes a dip in the ocean. I’m just guessing so if any of our readers have any other ideas please do let us know! The trailer for IT is below…

Traumafession:: Unk on Count Iblis & War of the Gods

I’ve probably mentioned before that I enjoy movies and shows that take place in a snowy setting. I’m only half kidding when I say that I believe they allow my eyeballs to air condition the inside of my head. Recently (while waiting for that slow poke CURTAINS DVD to arrive!) I decided that I’d get a quick snow fix by taking in the BATTLESTER GALACTICA (original series) episode “The Gun on Ice Planet Zero” because the only thing better than an ice planet is an ice planet with a robot dog running around on it. I know it’s really just a chimp in a costume but that hardly makes it any less adorable, unless of course, you think about how it was probably no fun for the chimp, who I hope was at least handsomely paid with bananas. Anyway, while watching this snowy episode I began to remember that there was another GALACTICA episode that kinda freaked me out as a kid and so I skipped ahead and watched that episode right afterward. It’s called “War of the Gods” and like “Ice Planet,” it’s a hearty two-parter, though alas it’s sadly snow free and low on chimps.

In this episode a bunch of pilots go missing so our intrepid heroes Starbuck, Apollo and Sheba investigate a planet that looks like California filmed in infrared. There they discover a massive crashed ship and an imposing fellow named Count Iblis who speaks in a grandiose manner and has a shifty glint in his eye. They take him back to the Galactica and that’s where he really starts acting smarmy, telling everybody what they want to hear, making huge promises to all who will listen and even putting the moves on Sheba who is easily half his age.

Perhaps due to having recently experienced an epic holocaust that nearly wiped out the entire human race that was caused by one duplicitous dude’s flimflam, Apollo’s not exactly itching to buy the space equivalent of swampland in Florida. He goes back to the planet they found Iblis on to investigate the wreckage further and is followed by Starbuck and Sheba and a pissed off-Iblis. What Apollo finds in the ship’s mangled debris is never shown but it’s obviously damning evidence against smooth taking Iblis who is particularly loath to have Sheba learn his true colors.

As Apollo begins to out Iblis with other names that he is known to go by, including “Prince of Darkness,” Iblis decides maybe he’ll just kill Sheba to shut him up and curse Apollo’s conscience forever. As he shoots some kind of magic death ray out of his hand towards Sheba, Apollo being Apollo jumps in front of it to save her and is killed himself (What!?!). Seeing his buddy dead throws Starbuck into a heart-wrenching rage that still makes me verklempt and he begins wildly blasting at Iblis and the gunfire reveals Iblis’ real face and it’s a pig face. Yep, a demonic pig face. The effect hasn’t held up very well but neither have I, so I guess we’re even.

Back as a kid in the seventies, I had much to worry about. Would I get that Lego set I wanted for Christmas? (Nope). Would I be good at sports? (Nope). Would I excel at school? (Nope). Was my awkwardness a phase that I’d grow out of? (Nope). Would I become possessed by the Devil? (Still pending). It sounds pretty dumb now but back then Satan was ubiquitous and inescapable and looking back it didn’t help matters that those I looked up to and believed in made it pretty clear he was a valid concern. I remembered feeling somewhat betrayed, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA was where I went to get away from such worries. Satanic phantoms were for horror movies and Sunday school; what were they doing here on my favorite show?

Kid-me needn’t to have gotten so wigged out though, as this episode really knows how to clean up a mess; by the time the end credits rolled I was able to jump into bed with no worries. Starbuck and Sheba put Apollo’s dead (Still, what!?!) body in a shuttle and began their sad journey back to Galactica and on the way there, they encounter what looks like a giant sparkling chandelier that welcomes them aboard and bleaches all their clothes a pristine white. The place is crawling with calmingly mellow angel/aliens who are super wise and considerate and very open about not being big fans of Iblis.

They show Starbuck and Sheba Apollo’s dead body and Sheba starts to loose it because she figured what transpired had to be a nightmare. The kindly angel people tell her that she’s the one who was meant to be pushing up daisies on account of her being bamboozled and ask her if she would trade her life for his (Oh no, now I’m getting all verklempt again). Sheba and Starbuck are both like, “Hells yea! We’d switch places with Apollo in a heartbeat because he’s so awesome and we love him.” And so the angels bring Apollo back to life and they don’t even make the other two drop dead as payment because it’s like WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and they just wanted to test them to see if they were assholes or not. So everything works out great, the aliens erase the entire incident from everybody’s head so that nobody has to deal with the ramifications and then to be extra friendly, they shove the coordinates of Earth in their noggins instead. So basically, bite it, Count Iblis.

Look at me trying to sound flip when in actuality I was riveted the entire time and sincerely moved. The tale of good vs. evil, of the temptation to sell out what you value for shortcuts and empty promises and learning that only through selflessness can you regain all that you’ve lost must be as old as the hills but maybe there’s a reason for that. People can say whatever they want about this show, that it’s corny or too kid friendly or too reliant on special effects and is overall simplistic when compared to the more complex re-imaging but simply seeing the expression of awe and gratitude on Sheba’s face when Apollo is resurrected is enough for me.

We sometimes (i.e., always and especially lately) live in a terrible, frightening world. There are plenty of secret pig faces (e.g., politicians, religious leaders) selling pie in the sky dreams if only you hand over your humanity. But as any chandelier worth its crystal can tell you, it’s really our bonds with each other that matter. So again I must say bite it, Count Iblis, you wretched pig face. But I should add that actual pigs are nice and by many accounts as smart as dogs. I’m going vegan or at least I’m not buying a bacon bowl anytime soon.

Note: There’s another trauma lurking inside this trauma, a memory of an even younger me having to go a couple doors down to a strange family’s house to memorize Bible verse and being paid in useless colored ribbons for my efforts. The head of the household was a motorcycle enthusiast (and a cop?) and a poster hung on the wall of their garage depicting a guy on a cycle saying something like, “So what if I’m a male chauvinist pig?” and yes, you guessed it, he had a pig’s face. It was a very disturbing image and frankly these people’s entire house smelt funny and why am I not surprised my parents were fine with leaving me in the care of total (and strange smelling) strangers as long as it meant my being out of their way for a while? I swear anybody who survived being a kid in the seventies deserves a reward and not a useless colored ribbon either. Maybe a Lego set.

Traumafession:: Writergirrrrl on the poster art for It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive

My mother worked at a video store when I was still in the single digits and some of my fondest childhood memories are from the days I spent hanging out with her at work. I used to spend hours perusing the horror section, silently daring myself to turn the boxes over and look at the gory stills on the back. My mom did the ordering and I absolutely lived for the days she would bring home Manhattan phone book sized catalogs full of poster art. The one that has always lodged most firmly in my brain was It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive , with the bassinet on a tropical beach and that twisted claw reaching out. It drives me crazy that I never managed to see that movie!

The movie snobs of the world look down on us horror junkies. They dismiss horror films, especially the slashers, as cheap, derivative and brainless. And many of them are. But what most people don’t realize is that there are memories attached to these films for a lot of us. My mother loves telling me the story of how she way staying up with my grandfather when he was dying of lung cancer and he woke from his heavily medicated state to catch her watching John Carpenter‘s version of The Thing. He cussed her out in French (my grandparents were Canadian) for watching something so disgusting, but wound up staying awake to finish it with her. So, yeah, many – if not most – horror movies are gross and dumb, especially the recent ones. But every once in a while you come across a good one, one that makes you leave a light on when you go to bed and run back from the bathroom like when you were a kid. Sometimes it’s not even the whole movie, just one scene or a particular image.

Name That Trauma:: Suzanne D. on a Submerged Crane Quarry Monster

Okay, I’ve got one for you that’s been driving me crazy for years. I think it may have originally been a Disney movie, back when Disney wasn’t afraid of going to the darkside from time to time. It had to come from the early ’80s, based on when I remember seeing it. The plot involved a monster living in the bottom of a water-filled quarry. All I really remember about this, other than the fact that it really scared me as a kid, was that the monster turned out to be a crane (of the mechanical type, not the bird). I know the lead character was a little boy. My warped memory keeps turning the kid into Barrett Oliver, even though I know it wasn’t him. If you or any of your followers could ID this film for me, I would be most grateful. I’ve been trying to remember for over twenty years and I just can’t come up with a title!


UNK SEZ: Thanks for writing in, Suzanne. I do believe that I’ve found what you are looking for. It stars E.T.‘s Henry Thomas and was released in 1986. It’s known as FROG DREAMING in its native Australia, THE GO-KIDS in the United Kingdom and here in the states it went by THE QUEST. I’m happy to tell you that it’s available on YouTube so you can revisit your kindertrauma below!

Traumafession:: Senski on a Seat Belt Public Service Announcement

Well, it’s been over two years since I posted about two PSAs that left an indelible mark upon my wee psyche but they stubbornly remain unearthed. I’ve since found some internet confirmation on the former’s creepiness, with one additional detail; a solemn narrator who repeatedly intoned, “Someone left their keys in the car…” So to spur your readers into digging once again on my behalf, I offer this PSA from the same period (I swear this and the joyriding one would often air in succession) that is sublimely eerie – and to the best of my knowledge it has never appeared on Kindertrauma!

The stentorian tones of Jack Webb take a whole minute (doesn’t that seem long today?) to warn viewers of the dangers of forgetting to use seat belts while driving. Some unsettling flutter-cut editing flashes forward to revealing the painful consequences for three negligent drivers – I always expected the guy on the beach to be shown in a casket – but it’s the sound effect that pushes this one into trauma territory for me. It’s a tympani roll, but one that’s cut off in mid-crescendo and not allowed to naturally trail off. Even the best percussionist couldn’t recreate this tone, and by pulling the plug on the roll, it stops the viewer short. Not unlike a car crash…

Judging from the comments this has received on YouTube, it seems to have made the same impression on others of my era. And that lady was so nice to brew a pot of coffee for us; so sad what happened to her..


Name That Trauma :: Reader Rae M. on a Scary Train Riding Rabbit

Hey there,

When I was a kid, we had this unmarked VHS tape, and on it, was a short Christmas film. It was the ‘80s. All I can remember, and my brother too (up until a few years ago, I thought I had conjured up this nightmare, until one day we discovered we both remember the movie) is a 6-foot something man in a big old white bunny suit, ears erect, black eyes, pink tongue I think, and it was riding out of the side of a big old black steam railroad train.

It looked like a shitty winter, grey snow scattered around the ground but otherwise you just saw trees behind the passing train. And then you ended up in the North Pole. But that’s all we remember; this scary, ominous, huge bunny. And I could swear it was not meant to be cute.

Ring any bells??

We’ve been trying to debunk this for years.

Thanks for your time,

— Rae M.

Curtains (1983)

Do you remember that Chris Rock joke where he took folks to task for bragging, “I take care of my kids” by countering, “You’re supposed to take care of your kids”? That’s been playing in my head every time I see a review talking about how swell CURTAINS (1983) looks now that it’s been rescued from the VHS (or sloppy ECHO BRIDGE 4 pack) gutter and hosed down for DVD and Blu-Ray. I mean, it’s supposed to look better, right? How could it not? Of course, that was simply the shruggy shawl I had to wear to keep myself warm while I waited for MY COPY to get its slothy molasses ass to my goddamn door and no CURTAINS, don’t bother with excuses and no you can’t have a drink, put your feet up or decompress from your apparently epic journey from the warehouse, shut up and get in my TV!!! Geez, nice of you to drop by. Remember me? The guy you curled up next to when you were feeling all dejected all those years ago on late night cable long before half the viewers you’ve been bonking lately were even born? Wow, for a cult film that barely hobbled its way to the screen due to behind the scenes production problems, you’re really feeling good about yourself lately, aren’t you? I see now you’re considered a classic. How nice for you.

All right, I admit it, now that I have watched my lackadaisical, blowing on its nails, unapologetically tardy copy of CURTAINS, the universe is back in order and I can see exactly what all of the hubbub is about. It’s like this, you can own a worthwhile piece of art but if it’s on the floor covered in dust in a dark room you’re never going to be able to appreciate it fully. Sometimes all a painting needs is for somebody to dust it off, put it in a complimentary frame and hang it in a well-lit space and then voila- it’s a revelation. That’s basically what SYNAPSE FILMS has done with this release. In my book, the laurels still belong to the artist(s) rather than the presenter but SYNAPSE deserves praise for making sure that the incredibly patient fans of this film were not disappointed (and by disappointed I mean storming SYNAPSE headquarters with pitchforks.) CURTAINS’ unique voice is yesterday’s news to its fans but you gotta give respect to this company for handing it a bullhorn and turning up the mic.

Yes, it turns out that CURTAINS, more than your average film, opens up like a flower when it’s getting the sunlight it deserves. That’s because it derives much of its power from its visuals, in a way you’d never know if you’ve only seen what I think we can now refer to as ‘the mud version.’ Who knew CURTAINS was not supposed to be drenched in mud? It’s actually supposed to be drenched in snow, startling white oppressive snow and rain, somber, grey disquieting rain but nope, not mud.

When a movie relies so heavily on its mise-en-scene to cast its moody spell, it deserves if not requires the simple leg up of a decent picture. I’m not going to throw out my VHS copy anytime soon but only because it makes a fine paperweight and I believe it might come in handy squashing the fly I’m currently at war with, otherwise… we’re through. Oh and how about seeing something in its proper ratio rather than all squashed up? CURTAINS does this clever signature scene transition business that involves an actual curtain on screen being pushed aside to provide a sort of wipe. On VHS, it barely registers and only sort of works and now it’s all kinds of lovely awesome and high-five worthy glorious.

Then there’s the infamous ice skating scene which could quite easily be yanked right out the movie and stand successfully on its own as one of the best horror shorts ever made. It’s really incredible. If there was indeed a sensibility clash between the film’s director and producer, I’m on team whoever is responsible for the skating scene.

Our story is about a bunch of young pretty actresses competing with each other for a part once promised to a slightly more mature (you’re welcome SAMANTHA EGGAR) woman who is not happy with being shoved aside. You’d be resentful too if you placed yourself in a mental institution to research a role only to find out that you’ve been unwittingly complicit in your own putting out to pasture. The skating scene, besides being one of the sharpest and most lyrical stalk and slash set pieces ever put to film, works as a perfect little snow globe encapsulating the movies’ themes concerning the specter of aging and the fleeting solace of youth and beauty. You know, that old conveyer belt towards impending death that we call existence.

Christie (LESLEH DONALDSON) goes out on the ice to listen to some tunes, rejoice in her physical talents and hopefully get her mind off of the fact that she attempted to up her chances of winning a coveted role by sleeping with an egomaniacal ice-eyed director (JOHN VERNON) the previous evening. When her music suddenly dies she checks the batteries in her tape player and they fall into the snow and that’s when Christie spies the most curious thing- a doll hand! She pulls the pouty toy out of the ice and it’s as if she’s staring back at her youth. Who might abandon this glaring international symbol of childhood innocence out here in the cold unforgiving world? Maybe she’s lost more than her batteries.

As Christie becomes mesmerized with the quickly growing creepy plaything, she is blinded to what is sinisterly sliding on blades up beside her. Dressed head to toe in black wearing an ugly old hag mask with scraggily withered hair and wielding a harvesting sickle, here comes death! Oh sure, this is a slasher/mystery and we’re supposed to desire to identify who is behind the mask and what their motivations are but frankly, it doesn’t matter, this bit works as a simple, undiluted representation of horror. It’s so pure it could be a mural on a cave.

CURTAINS gets a lot of grief for being disjointed and smudgy in places and in some ways the new DVD can enhance its dueling identities. You end up with this melodramatic yet melancholy base layer with blindsiding splotches of vibrant color almost hovering over it, never fully blending in. But to me, that’s awesome in a contrasting collage type way and the best of both worlds, really. There are plenty of hanging threads and jagged edges and pieces that don’t quit fit, simple scars of the rough terrain this movie that was nearly abandoned was fated to endure. What’s left standing though is this one of a kind strangely enthralling peculiarity whose major crime is wanting to be smart and artsy and taken seriously until the time came that it changed its mind and wanted to be flashy and frightening too. So sue it. Personally, I can only take off my hat and bow before the spirited audacity of attempting an air of sophistication while featuring a decapitated head in a toilet.

Speaking of flashy and frightening, thanks to this new presentation, the famous murder on skates scene may have found some fresh competition itself in the most memorable moment department. Suddenly now with lines sharpened, its neon lights injected with color and its shadow pools deepened the climactic prop room chase now appears like an understudy poised to grab the spotlight. Nah, maybe not. The ice skating scene always wins.

One last thing though, I have to point out that no matter if it’s on VHS, Beta, laserdisc, DVD, Blu-ray or whatever they come up with next, the cast of CURTAINS has always been phenomenal in any format and a gargantuan reason this film has its loyal fan base. JOHN VERNON and SAMANTHA EGGAR are amazing together and it’s a crime against theater that they never, to my knowledge did “WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOLF?” And then there’s LESLEH DONALDSON who lights up whatever film she’s in even if it’s a killer rat movie. But I have to say after my most recent viewing of CURTAINS I realize now, without a shadow of a doubt, that LYNNE GRIFFIN really OWNS this movie. She’s fantastic. She starts out all quirky and self effacing and then there’s this scene where she looses her patience and shows this whole other side to herself and she kills it. I’m telling you, LYNNE stole a scene right out from under VERNON’s nose and then, by gosh, she went and swiped one away from EGGAR too and folks that can’t be easy!

If you never liked this movie this is your chance to like it, if you liked this movie this is your chance to love it and it you loved this movie, chances are you already own this revamped game-changer version and very likely got a chance to check it out long before me. How nice for you.

Name That Trauma :: Reader Joe S. on a Vengeful Hunting Trip Gone Wrong.

Hi all:

I have a Name that Trauma that I’ve always been wanting to send but have been too lazy to type it up and send it. Anyway, I can’t remember if this was an actual movie or perhaps just a short on a show like NIGHT GALLERY. I remember watching it back with my uncle in about the early ’80s and then remembered one of my friends talking about it, so I know it existed and wasn’t a fever dream.

Here’s what I remember:

It starts with a group of friends going hunting and then one of them mistakenly shoots someone from a different hunting party, a small firefight ensues and a couple of members on both sides are shot. I think the rest of the movie (short?) entails this group of hunting buddies trying to convince some of their other friends to go back with them next year to try to take out the rest of the other hunting party for revenge.

The friends end up humoring them and go with them the next year thinking nothing was going to happen. But of course, when they get there and end up at the river where the first event happened, trap doors open up on the other side and men pop out and starting shooting at them…and then I swear, I even remember there being a tank that they uncovered that started shooting at them.

That’s about all I can remember from it, if anyone can help me that’d be awesome because it’s been bugging me for years!

— Joe S.