Name That Trauma:: Suzie on a Cross-Dressing Killer

Hello kindertrauma!

Your website is amazing. I can nose around for hours. I’ve got one for you that’s been really bugging me. I saw this on TV in the early to mid ’80s, so I think it was an episode of a TV show or a TV movie (we didn’t have any movie channels). I really just remember the end … it was a male serial killer who dressed as a woman and lured a man back to a room (might have been posing as a prostitute, I can’t remember, and I think it was a hotel room or the man’s apartment). The killer/woman was blonde (aren’t they always??). (S)he brings the man (I think he was a business man) back to the room, then excuses herself to the bathroom, where she proceeds to peel off her disguise. This was the part I remember as really creepy! Off comes the wig, the dress, the make-up…. and there stands a man in a dark shirt and pants, with dark hair and small black eyes (a little reminiscent of Anthony Perkins actually). He then pulls out a long knife, that I remember as almost like an ice pick. The killer finally emerges from the bathroom, and somehow manages to sneak up on the victim and stabs him repeatedly with the knife. The details here are hazy …. but a cop (or team of cops) is chasing the killer, and tracks him down … and I think soon after this encounter in the room the killer is cornered in an alley by the cops and is killed. He may have gotten back in disguise at that point.

I just have no idea what this episode or movie is! No familiar actors, and I can’t picture the cop or detective who was tracking the killer. I’m pretty sure I’d recognize the actor who plays the killer, but from various googling I can’t find it. Any idea?



Name That Trauma :: Reader Maddie on a Table Top Torture

Hey Kindertrauma,

My name is Maddie, I’ve just turned 18 and I recently discovered your website. I read something online that got me thinking about traumatic experiences from our childhoods that we either can’t remember or block out. I’m especially interested in disturbing media/cinema moments from childhood, so I’ve really enjoyed your website, but I also have a few of my own that I was hoping you could help me with.

I was watching a movie with my family as a kid, and one of the very first scenes (it seems like it was within the first ten minutes of the movie) was one of I guess, torture. There was a man on a table in a fire-lit room, with someone either beating or stabbing him, and his whole body like jerking and convulsing at the same time. I only have a vague memory because it’s been like 15 years since I saw the scene, but I clearly remember being disturbed by the visual effects and especially the convulsions that the man on the table (I feel like he was either not wearing a shirt or naked as well) was having.

Anyways, up until today, I had a vague memory of the movie being “Legend” but I found the movie online today and the scene I was so horrified by as a kid was nowhere to be found, and I ended up just watching 90 minutes of Tom Cruise make a horrified face through his long, dirty hair.

I would love your help in finding out what movie it was from, or if it was some sort of alternate scene from “Legend,” and if it was possible to find a clip of just that scene, I would be so grateful. I can’t give any more details about the movie, or confirm that it was “Legend” since I had to leave the room immediately and never saw it again, although I did see online that there is a torture scene in some versions of the movie, but I can’t seem to find it.

Thank you so much!

Name That Trauma: Katy H. on a Skin Rotting Mummy & a Kid Killing Vamp


Love your website and I have two different movies that I saw as a kid that I am trying to figure out.

1. Saw this movie with my dad but cannot remember the name and was so traumatized that I didn’t watch the whole movie. What I remember is that it is about a mummy, it must be late 70’s, early 80’s. The scene I recall is that there was a mummy that was uncovered by archeologists and it was taken to a research center or university or something and there was a young student that touched the corpse causing the skin on his fingers to rot like leprosy. I can’t find the actual title to the movie to find out what happened to the student!

2. I think I saw this on television, one of those Saturday afternoon horror films. This was probably made around the time of Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter and was in the same style but was not that movie. It looked like the Vampire Barnabas show with the 60’s hair and the Technicolor sound stages. The scene I remember is two young boys who follow a female vampire into a forest to a tree ??? or cave and she kills them and the next scene I think they are in coffins with bite marks. It was very creepy but I can’t recall a title or anything else about the movie.

Hope you can help, thanks!

Ten Hulu Horrors for Halloween

If you have a computer you can watch horror movies any damn time you please and for free! Well, actually you will pay in patience as you endure some dumb commercials periodically but you should know by now how to tune such things out and hide inside your happy place until they are over. Some of these are obvious and some of these have nothing to do with the holiday and some of these might not look their best but they’re all mostly good and they all have the power to get you in the Halloween spirit if you let them.


This one would be easy to pass by on Hulu as it is presented by the eternally lovely ELVIRA, who might admit to you herself, doesn’t always present the finest of films. Anyway, ELVIRA’s not here, I am (I can hear those disappointed groans telepathically) and I’m here to say this movie is tippity tops. In this rare Spanish film shot in English, LILLI PALMER stars as a head mistress at a boarding school that is not a fan of her cherished son messing with the female students. Naturally folks start getting killed but you’ll never guess the twists including one that still shocks me to this very day. Director Narciso Ibanez Serrador truly delivers on the atmosphere and even though it’s going to take me a while to memorize his name, I simply have to because he also directed the kindertrauma classic WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? (Not to mention the opening segment of 6 FILMS TO KEEP YOU AWAKE– which I’m itching to watch again soon). Many a year ago, I had the hardest time finding this movie and had to send out for a very crappy bootleg so please honor my previous struggle by watching it for free!


I’m not sure if this is LUCIO FULCI’s greatest movie but I’m leaning toward it being my favorite of his. It’s got all the surreal bizarreness and grubby goriness of his best flicks but in addition to that, it’s soooo much fun and leaves you feeling fresh as a daisy rather than vaguely off kilter and therefore offers itself to more casual viewing. Let’s just say that if THE SHINING made the horrible mistake of having a baby with CATHY’S CURSE, the resulting offspring wailing for instant institutionalization would be something like this. That’s not a dig. THBTC is wildly silly, awkwardly dubbed and mad as a million hatters for sure and yet, it’s so damn beautiful in its cool gothic greyness. There’s nothing quite like it, except maybe GHOSTHOUSE (1988) which was filmed in the same creepy abode. Too bad that’s not on Hulu, what a great double feature that would make.


Do me a favor and jump back in time to this review HERE. It will tell you all you need to know about my undying appreciation of this superior slasher.


Did you just get back from reading my ancient HOUSE ON SORRORITY ROW review? Don’t take off your hat just yet. I don’t mean to be a taskmaster but do you think you could click HERE and save me the trouble of reiterating why SPELLBINDER had to take out a restraining order against me? You’re a peach.


I know this Halloween set classic is a no-brainer and I don’t mean to insult you by including it here but just in case there may be anyone out there who has yet to accept Angela’s invite, I just have to say do so now and plan to do so forever. It seems impossible that a movie can be as hilarious as this is and still provide plenty of creeps but no matter how many times I return, I can count on being a little freaked out. I’m not even talking about the famous lipstick in boob bit- I’m referring to the overall claustrophobic, rats-in-a maze mood it conjures up so well. People tend to dismiss movies that are this much fun as frivolous guilty pleasures but I don’t think a few chuckles erase the fact that there’s something legitimately scary going on here too. The build up to the supernatural shenanigans is so expertly done that the pay off is pure gold and I say if your Halloween doesn’t include a little BAUHAUS, well you’re doing it wrong.


This seems like another too obvious choice except please note I’m specifically talking about the remake (GEORGE ROMERO’s classic is available on Hulu too though, if you are so inclined). I caught this one in the cinema back in the day and I was thoroughly impressed and was then taken aback to learn it had received mostly negative reviews. Looking back I should not have been surprised as it was bound to catch flack for being a remake alone. That’s so sad because a color redo was inevitable and TOM SAVINI‘s modernized telling does a great job of respecting its predecessor while still bringing something fresh to the table. Our old pal Barbara, who was rightfully suffering severe shock in the original and largely dazed, is suddenly wide-awake and ready to throw down. Actress PATRICIA TALLMAN portrays Barbara in a way that she’s not magically infallible to serve the story but authentically grounded and convincingly capable. Personally, I’ll never forget the opening confrontation that includes the premiere dead dude getting stabbed by one of those wire flower corsages meant for a grave and then continuing to stalk with it dangling off of him. I thought that was one clever way to announce that the film would be adding some new flourishes all its own. If you are a purist who has been avoiding watching this baby due to your loyalty to the original…stop.

COLD PREY (2006)

Dear COLD PREY, if anyone ever tries to tell you that you are not perfect please cram a pick axe in their face for me. Every year my love for you grows stronger and stronger and I just want thank you for being you (while still hitting every beloved slasher trope I crave). You are everything I ever wanted. You have a fiercely charismatic lead with believable bonds to those around her, a horrifically menacing maniac who somehow inspires slivers of sympathy, true nail-gnawing suspense and perhaps most importantly, folks getting drunk in an abandoned ski lodge (which is my idea of heaven on Earth). You seem to really care about me too because you spawned an equal sequel and a third prequel that I did not think was anywhere near as bad as some pretended it was. There is no reason why I should have to wait until winter to visit you, no reason at all. Never change. Eskimo kisses.


Once upon a time I thought THE CHILDREN was a terrible movie simply because it was not as good as the one I imagined in my head after being bombarded by its TV spots as a wee lad. Now I realize that it’s still pretty terrible but wonderfully so. One would think that having a bus load of kids drive through a nuclear cloud to become zombie-like killers would be enough but somebody involved also had the brilliant idea of having the kids’ nails turn black and the tykes kill by way of radioactive hugs (while being immune to shotgun blasts and stoppable only after their hands are lopped off). That’s just so crazy that it just might work! Or maybe not- but the fun is in the fact that they carried on anyway. Another bonus is learning that Harry Manfredini is nearly as lazy as myself and recycled much of his score from the same year’s FRIDAY THE 13TH. Bonkers though it may be, there are some surprisingly striking images that appear now and then and sense be damned, an eerie vibe impervious to reason.

INFERNO (1980)

ARGENTO does a lot of crappy stuff (mostly lately) and he does a lot of interesting stuff (mostly everything) and he even does some stone cold, indisputable genius stuff (mostly between 1975 and 1985). INFERNO falls into that last category. In fact INFERNO was the first movie of his I ever saw followed by CREEPERS (aka Phenomena) and then SUSPIRIA if you can imagine such a thing. Anyway INFERNO haunted me for so long after I saw it. I could not stop thinking of the underwater scene in which Rose (Irene Miracle) plunges into a hole in the floor to collect some fallen keys. It’s so mesmerizing and I seriously think ARGENTO might be a witch himself and this is a perfect spell. The whole movie is exquisite with perhaps the momentary exception of a late in the flick skeleton of death costume that doesn’t quit work. Just talking about INFERNO makes me feel like I’m walking backward into a semi-dream state. My suggestion is to never question what this movie is telling you, just nod and follow it wherever it leads you.

THE HOLE (2009)

Aw, good ol’ JOE DANTE sure knows how to make a movie. This PG-13 flick is about three young folks who face their fears and it’s got just the right balance of fun and frights to make it perfect for Halloween viewing. Read my full review over HERE so that I can be finished this list and get to carving a pumpkin or something.

Extra 10 Bonus: On Hulu you’ll also find such fine nuggets as: THE EVIL DEAD (1981), THE PROWLER (1981), INTRUDER (1989), C.H.U.D. (1984) FROM BEYOND (1986), FRANKENHOOKER (1990), BASKETCASE 2 (1990), LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE (1974), HORROR EXPRESS (1972) GINGER SNAPS (2001) and so much more- go explore!

Name That Trauma:: KI Simpson on an Animated Short Based on Eugene Field’s The Duel

Hello, I have a memory of a short that scared me as a kid that I have yet to find hard evidence of online. It aired on Nick Jr. in the early or mid-’90s, and it was an animated retelling of the poem The Duel. It was just the poem said to some simple animation, but the quiet voice and tense atmosphere made it very frightening. I originally thought it must have been on Grimm’s Fairy Tale Classics (there’s a TV Tropes entry stating it was, that was actually written by me), but researching the show further it did not seem to have short segments in the episodes. If anyone could identify this I would really appreciate it, thank you for your help. – KI Simpson

Traumafession:: Mickster on Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldanda Story

This past summer, I was waiting for a couple to come pick up my old sofa and love seat they had bought. In my boredom, I started scanning the options on YouTube to kill the time. I stumbled upon Victims for Victims and decided to watch it. I know I watched Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story when it originally aired back in November of 1984, but I must have blocked out the intensity of a key scene in the movie. It was not long before the previously mentioned intense scene appeared. The scene lasted no longer than 2 minutes, but it felt like an eternity. I felt like a helpless onlooker as the stalker stabbed Ms. Saldana repeatedly. It made me sick to see that people just stood by as she was screaming, “He’s killing me! He’s killing me!” without lifting a hand to help her. I imagine some of the people were in a state of shock, but there were tons of people just watching it happen.

Thankfully, a man delivering water sprang into action, and stopped the attacker. Once the waterman stopped the would-be murderer, Ms. Saldana stumbled back to her apartment in a harrowing point of view shot. It is uncomfortable, to say the least, to hear Theresa struggle for air as she arrived at her apartment door, while her husband, played by Adrian Zmed, looked on in horror. No wonder my little thirteen-year-old mind blocked out this horrific scene! Just writing about it now is giving me chill bumps! Watch the scene here if you dare, but remember, you cannot un-see it!

Traumafession:: Derek S. on Stand By Me (1986)

As a child, I was scared of most things. I had nightmares regularly as well as sleepless nights due to them. One movie had the biggest effect on me however, giving me nightmares for almost a month after seeing it. Sadly, that movie wasn’t a movie intended to scare anyone despite it being based on a Stephen King story. That movie? STAND BY ME.

Yes, the coming of age story involving a group of friends in search of a dead body was a weekend VHS rental that my dad picked up while my mom had to take a trip out of town. It was a movie about kids getting into trouble, so my dad didn’t think it would be an issue despite the R rating. And for the most part, he was right.

I enjoyed the story of Gordie, Vern, Teddy and Chris trying to search out that thing they’ve not seen before, their troubles with Kiefer Sutherland and his crew, even the junkyard dog. I absolutely thought the tale of the barforama was hilarious despite being an easy vomiter myself. The scene that took it over the edge though was when the boys were in the water and realize that they are set upon by leeches, ending with Gordie passing out after removing a bloody leech from his underwear area.

Leeches haunted me for weeks afterward whenever I closed my eyes. Had dreams of them coming after me, like hungry vampires. My parents tried everything to get me over them, even explaining how leeches used to be used by doctors to clean wounds. Eventually the fear faded. Getting over that fear though helped me overcome others and turned me into the horror nut that I am now.

YouTube Alert:: The Trouble with Miss Switch (1980)

Halloween is coming up swiftly so stop messing around and get in the mood by diving into the best ABC WEEKEND SPECIAL ever known, THE TROUBLE WITH MISS SWITCH (1980). Featuring some of the greatest voice talents of all time (JANET WALDO, JUNE FORAY, NANCY McKEON), and showcasing the most impressive animation this side of THUNDARR THE BARBARIAN, discriminating viewers should have no trouble being enthralled out of their gourds by THE TROUBLE WITH MISS SWITCH.

Come for the talking cat, stay for the terrifying “comput-o-witch”! When it’s over, you’re sure to feel your life is over too but fear not, the characters you have fallen in love with return in the outstanding equal-sequal, MISS SWITCH TO THE RESCUE (1982).