Name That Trauma:: Joshua K. on a Purse Full of Bees

I was wondering if anyone recognized this film or television show. It was clearly filmed in the ’80s. In the scene, a woman’s purse is nabbed by two men, who proceed to take it into an elevator while making their escape. When they open the purse, it proves to be full of bees, which sting the men. I believe one man drops over dead, while the other runs out of the elevator and into the streets, getting hit by a car. Can anyone guess where this is from?

Sunday Streaming:: Looking For Mr. Goodbar (1977)

1977’s LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR may not be a horror film but it certainly left me with a feeling that most horror films neglect to convey and that feeling is actual horror. I used to think maybe I was just ill prepared and taken off guard when I first viewed it many eons ago but a recent revisit convinced me that knowledge of its eventual destination not only fails to dilute the impact but actually adds to the sense of dread. It’s got a very seventies, borderline stalling pace but I have a feeling that spending so much down time with DIANE KEATON’s wonderfully flawed character as she takes one step forward and two steps back in her journey toward self-discovery/destruction is what makes the film’s final chime echo so loudly.

In any case, I feel it is my duty to inform all of those interested that for what I’m sure will be a very limited time, you can catch RICHARD (IN COLD BLOOD) BROOKS’ LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR on YouTube. If you have even the slightest interest in checking it out this may be your last chance. It’s not available on DVD and due to, I’m guessing, music rights issues, it may never be and even if you shell out some big bucks for a VHS tape, it will look like crap. Yes! Check it out; this not long for this world, YouTube version is all crispy clean and letterboxed! So perfect for ruining your day! You’re welcome!

Sunday Viewing:: Freeway (1996)

Hey look! Currently for the price of free we can all watch MATTHEW BRIGHT’s hilariously off the wall and endearingly offensive ode to little Red Riding Hood, 1996’s FREEWAY on HULU. Yay and aw, I’ll never forget that one time I was working at a video store and we got in a VHS screener and it had a double feature of AMITYVILLE DOLLHOUSE and FREEWAY on it. Of course I brought it home exclusively for AMITYVILLE DOLLHOUSE because the title promised both AMITYVILLE and a DOLLHOUSE and those are both places I want to live in. Luckily, I gave FREEWAY a chance too, even though I’m sure it was more out of laziness regarding turning the VCR off than it was about my having an open and inquisitive mind. As I recall I was in love not long after the opening credits were done.

In any case I think this is a perfect pick for Sunday Streaming as one can certainly get the wrong idea about this movie by its title, cover art and the two main leads. I know the idea of watching SUTHERLAND and WITHERSPOON drive around in a car seems like some kind of torture but SUTHERLAND is creepily menacing enough and WITHERSPOON is effervescently kick-ass cuckoo enough to make you forget all of their future, seemingly smitten with themselves baggage- I swear!

It certainly doesn’t hurt that they are accompanied by what may be the greatest cast ever assembled. Holy crap, you get the stupendously squirrelly AMANDA PLUMMER (SATAN’S LITTLE HELPER), the terrifically tarantulan DAN HEDAYA (ALIEN 3), the horrendously underappreciated chameleon ALANNA UBACH (THE BRADY BUNCH MOVIE), America’s skyscraping sweetheart BROOKE SHIELDS (ALICE SWEET ALICE), the legendary SYDNEY LASSICK (THE UNSEEN) and most importantly, an early antsy and unhinged performance by the late great BRITTANY MURPHY (CHERRY FALLS) among others. Buckle up and pack a lunch, this is a must see for anyone who enjoys movies that are not afraid to go off the beaten path to reach their destination.

Traumafession:: Senski on Gold Key Comics and Gloomy Sunday Suicides

I’ve written before about how comic books were my gateway drug into the harder horror of movies, television and literature. While my parents would buy funny cartoon animal titles for me when I was all of two, it wasn’t until I turned six and made my initial forays into fright with comics from Gold Key (formerly Dell, often referred to as Western Publishing). They had a trio of terror titles: Ripley’s Believe It or Not! (presumably true tales of ghosts, demons, uncanny occurrences), The Twilight Zone (stories that would not have been out of place on Rod Serling’s classic series) and Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery. That book started life in 1962 as Thriller, undergoing a name change for its third issue after the cancellation of the TV namesake. “Tales of Mystery” was somewhat of an undersell and a misnomer, as most stories dealt with giant monsters and hideous aliens that would not have been out of place in a 1950’s Creature Feature. The three books were great gobs of fun, all managing nearly two decades of publishing life (no small feat for a comic book.) With their sophisticated painted covers, they looked classy on the newsstand next to their Marvel and DC counterparts.

The Gold Key titles did not bear the voluntary Comics Code Authority seal due to an implicit agreement publishers had that their content would be both benign and educational. Other Disney characters and licensed TV franchises could be found between the pages of Gold Key comics, and certainly Donald Duck and Gunsmoke would never offend, right? (This self-policing was spotty on occasion. The 1970 cover of BKToM #32 featured a gorgeous canvas of the living dead emerging from the sea; the Code strictly forbade the depiction of zombies, and Code-stamped Marvel/DC would never have been able to get away with such artwork.)

As to that “educational” element…all three horror titles featured a text page that was devoted to the exploration of strange real life phenomena; ESP, weird weather, ghosts in the White House, etc. Kids were expected to read, dammit, and the Gold Key titles delivered a lot of bang for only 15 cents.

Which brings me to the point of this Traumafession…

Published in the Fall of 1968, Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery #24 was only my second issue of the title, and I was already quite hooked (with that stunning George Wilson cover painting, who wouldn’t be?). But the text page for that issue was not only educational, it was deeply unnerving. Entitled “Melody of Death,” it told the history of the tune “Gloomy Sunday,” which soon after its creation had become known as the “Hungarian Suicide Song” due to its legendary propensity to inspire self-destruction in those who heard it. The song was composed by Rezső Seress in 1933 but didn’t achieve notoriety until recorded by Billie Holiday in 1941. It has been rumored to be a factor in dozens of suicides worldwide; indeed, its vocal version was banned by the BBC for its fear of contributing to public depression, a ban that was in place until 2002!

Well, that was terrifying to me. Imagine a song that held such malevolent power! And the fact that it was not readily hearable on the public airwaves only gave credence to the legend. I became that little boy in the article who was happily bicycling along, enjoying life, only to encounter the strains of “Gloomy Sunday”…and fling myself into the river! How could such evil be allowed to exist in the world? And the ultra-creepy accompanying illustration (by Joe Certa, who would fittingly go on to draw Barnabas Collins and cohorts for Gold Key’s Dark Shadows) didn’t help matters. That poor woman!

As fate would have it, I never heard a version of “Gloomy Sunday” until 1984, when ex-J. Geils Band vocalist Peter Wolf released his first solo LP “Lights Out,” but by then I was quite sanguine over the affair and wondered what the fuss was all about. And now, thanks to the wonders of YouTube, we can hear numerous cover versions by everyone from Ray Charles to Björk. But they all pale in comparison to what my childhood imagination concocted…all from the pages of a comic book.

Oh, and composer Rezső Seress? He died in 1968 – the year I read this article.


Sunday Viewing:: Savage Lust aka Deadly Manor (1989)

This one is borderline stinky but I feel like it’s been far too long since we’ve watched a movie in which a gaggle of young folk take a trip to an isolated place to be killed off one by one by a crazed maniac. SAVAGE LOVE aka DEADLY MANOR is not as consistently entertaining as say, ICED, DEMON WIND or THE MUTILATOR but it has some enjoyable flashes here and there if you scrounge. The all too familiar opening is worthwhile as you anticipate the possibilities and adjust to the idea that none of the characters are capable of speaking like a normal human and the climax after the killer is revealed is wonderfully off its rocker; there just happens to be a half hour in the middle where you might have to slap yourself to stay awake. It’s worth the torture though because there is a comedy relief guy who is incredibly unfunny, the soundtrack sounds like it was provided by “Keyboard Cat” and you get to walk away feeling smarter than anyone who would stay the night in a abandoned house with empty coffins in the basement, a closet stuffed with scalps, scrapbooks filled with photos of dead bodies and a blood stained car crash shrine in the backyard. It’s far too dark and far too bloodless for sure and yet it’s not without a spooky setting and you have to give the killer props for working a white Laura Brannigan-style “Self Control” mask to semi creepy effect. Give it a try and feel free to curse my name later. I can take it.

Name That Trauma:: Xaero on a Purple Puppet Swallowed by a Whale

Hi, it’s Xaero again. I’m the one from way back who was traumatized by the hamster in acid on Celebrity Deathmatch. There’s something even more elusive bothering me this time. I’m not sure if you guys accept old 90’s edutainment games as traumatizes but that’s exactly what’s been bothering me.

I want to say this game was based off of a TV show because there were live-action puppet clips interspersed with the games and craft ideas. I recall there being a lighthouse and a purple or maybe white bird puppet. The scene in question that traumatized me at a very young age (now I just find it cool and want to see it again) was the purple bird had somehow gotten swallowed whole by a whale and was singing a song in its stereotypically cartoony ribcage stomach. I want to say the song was slower paced. If it helps any, the types of games were all ocean-related (I remember one where you had to dodge 3 electric eels to grab a treasure) and two of the crafts were “Ugfuzz” (A kind of egg-carton and lint monster) and “Dinosaur Eggs” (Basically nasty, vinegar-soaked Easter eggs).

I search through my storage nearly every weekend and can never find it. I’ve never seen a computer game as a NTT before and it appears my own mother has gotten rid of it at one of her garage sales. If anyone, anyone at all could help me find out what this was, or what show the clip was from, I would be eternally grateful.

Name That Trauma:: XX on an Cook Cracking Egg

I am wondering if you could help me find this clip. I remember some time between 1983 and 2000 there was a Sci-Fi channel ad for the channel that featured a cook and an egg. There is an old song playing in the background and some of the lyrics were “On stormy sea”… The cook nervously takes an egg out of the fridge and places it on the counter and starts to chop something up. The egg wobbles on the edge of the counter and he has a look of horror as the egg falls to the floor. He tries to catch it but falters and then the guy falls to pieces instead of the egg.

Did this exist or did I imagine it? I would love to see this short clip again. Thanks for the help.