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Entries from September 2015

Kinterview :: Randi Allen of Cathy’s Curse!!!

September 30th, 2015 · 4 Comments

Anyone who follows these pages regularly surely knows that your Unkle Lacifer is a sworn lifelong member of the CATHY’S CURSE fan club. In fact, early on Kindertrauma was quick to honor its star RANDI ALLEN with the highly coveted (just go with it) title of Official Traumatot right ‘round HERE! Today being Kindertrauma’s eighth birthday (we don’t look a day over 5), I am proud to present to you with what’s going to go down in my books as my favorite kindertrauma post of all time! Yes, it’s an interview with Cathy herself, RANDI ALLEN! And I even got a Traumafession out of her! Yay!

UNK: Our website Kindertrauma is always interested in what films scared people as kids so my first question is…

What is the first movie or TV show that you remember being scared by as a kid?

RANDI: The first movie that scared me was The Wizard Of Oz.

UNK: What is you favorite memory about the filming of Cathy’s Curse?

RANDI: Favorite memory on set – being found, sitting on an elevated platform, unable to get down, while the crew was eating lunch.

UNK: What is your least favorite memory about Cathy’s Curse?

RANDI: My least favorite memory is contact lenses – Cathy’s eyes were supposed to glow, but I could not tolerate the contact lenses on my eyes.

UNK: I’m really curious about the film’s release. Did you guys have a premiere party?

RANDI: Cathy’s Curse premiere party was held in Old Montreal, in a beautiful Italian restaurant. We sat with the director Eddie Matalon and everyone, the crew was there.

UNK: I know you have at least one daughter. Has she seen Cathy’s Curse and if so, how does she feel about it?

RANDI: We have 2 daughters, born in 1992 & 1994, who believe Cathy’s Curse, and their mother, is hilarious.

UNK: Although Cathy’s Curse as a film has its shortcomings, you are really good in it and had clear talent. Did you have any desire to be in another film?

RANDI: Did I wish to be in another film? No. My brother Bryce, who is also in the movie, and I worked solely to support our single mother.

UNK: Halloween is coming up soon, what horror film would you recommend if any?

RANDI: Cabin In The Woods is my favorite horror movie to date. However, my husband and I went out as an “Amazing Race” couple last year!

UNK: Dear RANDI, it was an honor to get to talk to you! I think I’m going to enjoy CATHY’S CURSE even more now (if that’s at all possible) knowing that you are such a cool and good-hearted person, with a wonderful family, a great sense of humor and excellent taste in movies! You will always be royalty around these parts and you have made our eighth birthday the best ever!

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Tags: Kinder-Spotlight · Kinterview

Five Underrated Flicks By Madamoiselle Macabre

September 28th, 2015 · 5 Comments

My devotion to Kindertrauma verges on the Squeaky Fromme-like. I was initially drawn in by the witty, insightful movie reviews but became impressed by the interaction from other bloggers, trauma addicts and movie fans. Kindertrauma is the film club I wish had existed when I was in college.

It even inspired me to start my own dark corner of the internet, DESCENT INTO MADNESS.

Thanks to Kindertrauma, I have discovered many new favorite movies and books (SCISSORS jumps to mind, and I am eternally grateful to this website for introducing me to Kier-la Janisse’s HOUSE OF PSYCHOTIC WOMEN). I would like to express my appreciation by submitting my own FIVE UNDERRATED list.

And since I am lifelong Southerner, how about five underrated flicks set in the South?

FRAILTY (2001)

I’m a native Texan, so I’ll start there. Having grown up in a family more dysfunctional than the Manson Family, I’m a difficult person to frighten, but I still can’t watch FRAILTY without getting chills. I’m envious I did not write its brilliant screenplay (by BRENT HANLEY) myself. With mental illness, an Old Testament God, a tormented father, ax murders, a child locked in a storm cellar, an obsession with sin and salvation and bodies buried in a rose garden, FRAILTY is Southern Gothic at its finest. It gets extra points for also featuring the ever-underrated POWERS BOOTHE. And kudos to BILL PAXTON for not only turning in a layered, outstanding performance as the eerily nameless Dad, but for evoking just the right East Texas atmosphere (and from Los Angeles locations at that!).

ALL THE KIND STRANGERS (1974)

This one is one of my Wallpaper Movies (ie I frequently have it playing in the background) as it contains all the elements I find as comforting as an oversized sweater and a hot cup of tea: it’s a ‘70s made-for-TV-movie drenched in creepy atmosphere, and features not only a family of homicidal Tennessee backwoods teens with a twisted sense of family values but also STACY KEACH and SAMANTHA EGGAR! Hey, I’d want to kidnap them and make them be my parents, too!

BLOOD SALVAGE (1990)

I know the praises of this one have been sung elsewhere on the pages of Kindertrauma, but I want to reiterate its greatness here. My love for the Peach State overfloweth and therefore I have a special affection for horror movies set in Georgia. It’s a lovably demented homage to THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and THE HILLS HAVE EYES. I may be alone in this but I actually think it more deftly combines horror and twisted humor than similarly-themed MOTEL HOTEL. Atlanta master thespian and Cates Pickle spokesman DANNY NELSON is outstanding as Jake, the scripture-quoting, homicidal populist patriarch. And no, I did not forget JOHN SAXON.

SCALPEL (1977)

Like BLOOD SALVAGE, SCALPEL was also shot in the Atlanta area and has woefully not been released on DVD. It’s a deliciously sleazy potboiler featuring ROBERT LANSING as a homicidal, megalomaniacal plastic surgeon and a laundry list of Southern Gothic tropes such as familial dysfunction, warped sexuality (in this case it’s latent incestuous obsession – YUCK), a scheme for a coveted inheritance, mental illness and jazz funerals. Crystal-eyed JUDITH CHAPMAN is terrific in a dual role, but my personal favorite is ARLEN DEAN SNYDER as the eccentric and suspicious Uncle Bradley.

THE BEGUILED (1971) and SOUTHERN COMFORT (1981)

Though neither are traditionally classified as horror movies, I think both deserve mentioning here as I think both do a better job of eliciting a sense of dread and foreboding than many other films in the genre. A great number of my favorite films take place in Louisiana and these are no exception. There’s just no place quite like Louisiana: the culture, the folklore, the food and it’s filled with insane people who want to be your best friend. Some denounce it for its poor educational system, but the way I see it, Louisiana is that beautiful delinquent who doesn’t give a damn, smokes behind the school and pushes the student council president down the stairs. With its foreboding atmosphere, decaying mansion, dark secrets, sexual repression and tortured, neurotic heroines, THE BEGUILED is pure Southern Gothic. Watching it will give you the same feeling you get from reading a book of Edgar Allan Poe short stories. Even better, it features a cast of complex and flawed female characters. GERALDINE PAGE, ELIZABETH HARTMAN, and MAE MERCER particularly give amazing performances. The first time I watched it, I felt haunted for days, in particular by the look on MS. HARTMAN’S face in the final scene.

And once again, I may be in the minority, but I prefer SOUTHERN COMFORT to the similarly-themed DELIVERANCE. It perfectly captures the beauty and menace of the Louisiana swamps and I can’t think of many scenes more suspenseful than the climactic scene in the Cajun village. And don’t get me started on the lovely score by RY COODER. POWERS BOOTHE as sarcastic, chain-smoking transplanted Texan Charlie Hardin may be one of my all-time favorite movie characters too.

Small sidebar: To my horror, thanks to the recent Sunday Streaming post about it, I realized I used to live in the same town where THE LAST SLUMBER PARTY was filmed. Metairie, Louisiana: strange suburban wasteland of strip malls, drive-through daiquiri stands, mafia real estate and, scariest of all, Dave Treen supporters.

And now, how about a lagniappe for your trouble?

HOME SICK (2007)

I know a lot of people don’t understand why, but I love Alabama. Zelda Fitzgerald, Kate Jackson, Harper Lee and Tallulah Bankhead are from there, how can it not be awesome? I’ll admit, when I first gave the DVD of HOME SICK a spin back in 2008, I didn’t care for it. Either I was in a bad mood or I’m becoming increasingly warped and misanthropic, because now this gleefully mean-spirited, bat-shit crazy low-budget wonder warms my dark heart. It’s imaginative, surreal and has a sick sense of humor. Picture a combination of CLERKS, GUMMO, the mania of THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and strong dashes of giallo and you will not be far off the mark. I think the nihilistic twenty-something pasty-faced weirdoes working dead-end minimum wage jobs (in the grocery store, the school cafeteria, the funeral parlor) and spending their off time drinking too much beer and watching EVIL DEAD TRAP II reminded me of my post-graduate nihilism.

A scene featuring a coked-out TIFFANY SHEPIS and her recently murdered mother is jaw-dropping to say the least, but MATT LERO as the abrasive Tim and BRANDON CARROLL as the unhinged Devin stand out in a cast of unknowns. But wait, I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet: the force of nature known as TOM TOWLES as unrepentant redneck and chili fanatic Uncle Johnny. We sadly lost Mr. Towles this year. By all accounts he was a really funny, nice guy and always attacked every role with gusto. I think my initial dissatisfaction with HOME SICK was due to the fact that he’s not in more of the movie because every scene he’s in crackles with deranged electricity. Also features BILL MOSELEY as grinning maniac, Mr. Suitcase.

Pleasant nightmares,
Madamoiselle Macabre

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Tags: Where is the Love? Five Underrated Flicks

Sunday Streaming:: The Midnight Hour (1985)

September 27th, 2015 · No Comments

In the autumn a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of watching THE MIDNIGHT HOUR (1985) on YouTube…

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

Stephen King Funhouse

September 25th, 2015 · 6 Comments

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Tags: Kindertrauma Funhouse

Traumafession:: Troy Z (Stickmann) on Magic Sneakers (1969)

September 23rd, 2015 · 2 Comments

Oh, man. Can’t believe I found this: I must have been about 4 or 5 when I stumbled upon this being shown in a darkened corner of a public library in San Jose. If I can recall that little detail from so long ago, you just KNOW it has to have nationwide Kindertrauma appeal to your readership. I recall that I arrived about a third of the way through its screening, just before the “Blue Man” (who I recalled as a vampire) started chasing the kid across the hillside. It was quickly established that the kid was effectively immune from attack, but that didn’t make his enveloping into the villain’s cape or being menaced with a hand arching over a large box any less terrifying to my little preschool brain.

Troy Z (stickmann)

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Tags: Traumafessions

Sunday Streaming:: Five Netflix Horror Notables

September 20th, 2015 · 2 Comments

When we first started doing “Sunday Streaming” posts years ago, it was all about picks you could find on Netflix Streaming. Then somewhere along the line I started worrying that not everybody had Netflix Streaming and so the focus switched to YouTube and freebies on Hulu. This week I say we jump back on the Netflix wagon because it’s been a while and I figure the important thing is getting the titles out there. If you don’t have Netflix Streaming, keep your eyes peeled for these…

House at the End of Time (2013)

I’m going to blame my not being able to shake this Venezuelan haunted house flick for the existence of this entire post. If you dig ghost movies or mysteries, this is a must see that is likely to become a new favorite. There’s something genuinely haunting about this flick and what’s even more stunning is just how moving it ends up being. Check it out. It left me feeling like I’d just finished a hearty book.

Starry Eyes (2014)

I can’t help taking high praise for an indie horror film with a grain of skeptical salt. I get the feeling that reviewers are overly generous and more interested in patting themselves on the back for their noble support than being forthright. Starry Eyes though, actually deserves any and all praise it gets. It fascinating, circling the drain, character study about false hope and self-obliteration and it has the power to disturb you right down to the marrow of your bones.

Housebound (2014)

The less you know about this fun flick from New Zealand concerning a snotty girl confined to a house full of secrets, the better. Most of the joy here comes from never being able to pin anything down and having your expectations turned on their head at every turn. My hat’s off to any movie that can pull off being hilarious without losing the steam of its scares and this rollicking coaster ride does just that. Watch it on Netflix but do yourself a favor and order a hard copy too just in case it disappears. I’d say this a keeper worth more than a few visits.

Late Phases (2014)

As a rule, you should probably watch anything that stars Nick (STAKE LAND) Damici because he could possibly be the coolest person who ever lived and I decree, the lone heir apparent to Charles Bronson. On paper, LATE PHASES is almost too good to be true. It’s a werewolf movie that takes place in a retirement village directed by the guy who did HERE COMES THE DEVIL and not only does our man Damici play a blind war vet with an adorable seeing eye dog, the film also sports the likes of Ethan Embry, Lance (HALLOWEEN II) Guest, Tom (MONSTER SQUAD) Noonan, Rutanya (AMITYVILLE 2) Alda and Tina Louise. It’s not nearly as fierce of a beast as it could have been but that cast, especially the Damici, make it well worth taking a bite out of.

Creep (2014)

I thought maybe I hated this movie but then I realized it was just insanely overrated and presented in an aggressively misleading way. It’s weird and uncomfortable at times but I think my day-to-day life is more horrifying than the concept of being hired to do a job and having high-end whiskey thrown at me by a guy who is trying too hard to be my friend. CREEP isn’t my idea of horror; it’s more of a cross between a parody of OLD JOY (2006) and a budget remake of THE CABLE GUY (1996). It has a few unsettling moments but they’re pretty much doused by how unconvincing it all is. Still, it’s memorable and Marc Duplass is amusingly shameless and there’s enough quotable lines to reference to easily earn it a comfortable corner on the cult couch.

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

Food of the Gods Funhouse

September 18th, 2015 · 3 Comments

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Tags: Kindertrauma Funhouse

Facebook Apocalypse 2015

September 16th, 2015 · 16 Comments

If any of you fine folks follow the Kindertrauma fan page on Facebook or have friended my Unkle Lancifer profile, you may have noticed that they both recently up and disappeared. What happened was, Facebook had an issue with Unkle Lancifer not being my “real” name and as the Kindertrauma page was set up by that account, it was assassinated too. Both, by the way, were created before such a rule existed. If you rely on Facebook to alert you to new Kindertrauma posts, I’m sorry, that won’t be happening anymore. So far, from what I can see our readership has not taken a major dive since this occurred and it’s pretty obvious Facebook was only showing the updates to a fraction of our followers anyway in some lame attempt to get us to pay for them to “boost” their visibility. Frankly, on more than a few occasions, I wondered if posting flyers on telephone poles would be more effective.

I have tried everything to fix the situation and it’s basically like having brunch with the monolith from 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. I’ve sent them I.D., as requested, and explained that “Unkle Lancifer” is a nick name/alias/pen name all to no avail. All I have received in return are automated emails designed to look like they are from a human when clearly they are not (and I’m the phony?) They refuse to even acknowledge my grievance until I present them with ID that says “Unkle Lancifer” and of course, nothing like that exists. Their only excuse for that random Draconian practice is, “We take your online security seriously’’ which is funny coming from the people who badger me for days about items that I happened to glance at on Ebay or Amazon earlier in the week. Robot-cookie-dudes, I looked up that DEATH SPA DVD merely to see if it existed, not because I wanted it (well, maybe I do want it but that’s not the point- nor is it FB’s business).

This steamroller of a policy has already gotten Facebook on many a drag queen’s shit list and it’s not hard to see why (more HERE). There are a myriad of reasons why a person may want to use a name other than the one they were born with and many of them far outweigh, in legitimacy, whatever this spurious policy is allegedly trying to accomplish.

My incentive, I admit, was not fueled by a necessity, as I just wanted to present a horror host type persona a’la DR. SHOCK or ELVIRA. There was absolutely nothing conniving or deceitful about that action so it’s weird that Facebook provides more wiggle room for hate groups than it does a nostalgic movie site designed to provide entertainment (for free I might add). Even if Facebook does come to provide an actual solution (rather than an empty apology) to the drag community, there’s no way to be certain that it will revive my Facebook account (which is ironic considering I’ve often been mistaken for “Richie” JANE MARCH’s male persona in COLOR OF NIGHT (1994). Ooops…spoiler alert).

Furthermore, I don’t know how many hoops I even want to jump through for this Facebook thing. In a rare instance of my taste not coinciding with that of the average shut-in, I’ve never been much of a fan. Some think of it as a necessary evil but I’ve come to call it by its real name “The Ego Pit of Flaming Insecurities.” On the plus side, it does showcase some of the most adorable animals in the world but on the minus side, nothing has been responsible for lessening my view of humanity more. I mean it’s basically VIDEODROME. Right? How is it not exactly, precisely and literally (give it a rest, word police) VIDEODROME?

Maybe that’s a little harsh. I know some people who get a lot of positive use from it. It’s just never been a comfortable fit for me. I guess I’ve always had some weird instinctive aversion to hive chatter and anything that operates like a mind control parasite invasion from outer space.

I don’t know. Does Kindertrauma even need Facebook? We existed before without it and I feel like those were the salad days. I know theoretically you are supposed to desire the largest following possible but I’m more than fine with the clubhouse vibe going on here. The few times a post of ours has been picked up by a larger horror site on Facebook and I have gotten to see the types of comments a more popular joint attracts all I can think is, “Thank God I don’t have to digest that type of nonsense regularly.”

Anyway, I’m leaving it up to you readers. If you enjoy the convenience of being alerted to our updates via Facebook, I’ll just open a new account under my “real” name and we can have it there for that purpose alone. Sure, it’ll sting to start over at zero friends but I can’t pretend I’ve never experienced that wonderful sensation before. Let me know. I can go either way. I quit smoking 7 months ago (!) after 25 plus years and if I can quit that, I can drop Facebook quicker than a Christmas tree in January.

Plus the idea of never having to rate the worth of our output again by how many folks deign to “like” it in the Thunderdome kind of thrills me. Not that discovering that Facebook had left my cake out in the rain didn’t hurt, it did. We lost a ton. There was a lot of original content (that I’m praying we backed up) and all of the great comments we got from our readers over the years are now gone (Not to play favorites, but I took a screenshot of Nancy Allen’s comment, so that’s safe).

What kills me the most though is that in the early days we posted so many pictures of the stray kittens we adopted (as duplicitous fiends do) and although we’re sure to have saved them elsewhere, I’ll miss having them in the timeline order they occurred. I even went through all the five stages of grief: DENIAL (it’s a mistake); ANGER (cue MADELINE KAHN flaming head CLUE (1985) gif!); BARGAINING (You can throw out the account that I use to connect with my family if I can have KT’s back!); DEPRESSION (I own every album by THE CURE and I’m not afraid to use them); and finally ACCEPTANCE (We’ll live and hey, don’t they let you post pictures on Twitter these days?).

I’ll keep you guys posted and in the meantime here is our TWITTER that you can follow for updates. I realize that’s probably just another head sprouting from the same dragon but at least when it breathes fire on you, it does it in 140 puffs or less and doesn’t try to charge you for the privilege.

Most importantly we’re HERE, as in here at Kindertrauma.com. This is our home and these are our pink walls and around these parts my name is Unkle Lancifer and my husband goes by Aunt John. If that’s a problem you know where the door is (it’s that pointy “back” button at the top left corner). Everybody else; “nuestra casa es su casa.” If you want to talk scary movies or creepy stuff on TV or anything that freaked you out as a kid and made you the horror fan you are today– we’ve got you covered. I guarantee you’ll see stuff here you won’t see anywhere else. We’ll keep coming back as long as you guys keep coming back and maybe, probably, even longer. Honestly I’ve always pegged Facebook being to blogs as the freeway was to the Bates Motel, so don’t be surprised if this place only gets more interesting.

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Tags: #kindertweet · @auntie_john · @Unkle_Lancifer · If Loving Nancy Allen is Wrong... I Don't Want to Be Right! · The Teaches of Peaches

Five Underrated Flicks by Mathew A.

September 14th, 2015 · 1 Comment

Yo, Kindertrauma pals! It’s been some time since I last wrote about underrated horror flicks (I submitted 3 picks HERE a few years ago), but your recent Labor Day list inspired me and got me thinking about some horror movies that just don’t get the love they deserve. As always, I completely understand that it’s all in the eye of the beholder, and you might clutch your pearls at some of these being described as “underrated”, but, in the end, it’s just one simple horror fan’s opinion. Now, let’s grab a rusty, blood-stained garden spade and dig in!

Boogeyman 2 (2007)

I totally get why people dislike the first one; it’s boring, not scary IN THE LEAST, and has absolutely nothing special to offer. The second one, on the other hand, was a huge surprise for me. It made its arrival direct-to-DVD with little fanfare in 2007, and, as I recall, has nothing really to do with the first film. Perhaps zero expectations helped with this, or perhaps I just love Renee O’Connor (yep, she who played Gabrielle in the sorely missed Xena TV series), but I found this to be a blast. It basically plays like an old-school slasher where patients walk around a mental hospital and get picked off in gruesome ways. It’s all rather simple, and I LOVE simplicity when it comes to these movies. It also has Tobin Bell of Saw fame playing a creep-tastic psychiatrist.

Snow White: A Tale of Terror (1997)

Not sure if “underrated” is the correct term to use here, honestly. Perhaps it’s just not as well-known in horror circles. Either way, this hauntingly beautiful yet gruesome take on the familiar story brings the horror in quite heavy doses. Let’s be honest here, the original Brothers Grimm tale is pretty horrific, and certainly nothing like the popular Disney version. Sigourney Weaver is chilling as the evil stepmother, and the dark themes from the fairy tale are all intact. Also, did I mention how stunning this film looks? It’s a purdy one, that’s for sure.

Dead Silence (2007)

This might shock you, but I actually prefer this over director James Wan’s more popular films, such as Insidious or The Conjuring. I can’t say that it’s super scary, but pretty much any movie with creepy dolls or ventriloquist dummies gets an automatic pass from me. And I make NO APOLOGIES for that. The visuals in this thing are insane, especially that ending! Again, it very well might be a case of style over substance, but I simply can’t help it. Gotta call it as I see it, and I love what I see here. Also, let’s give it up to Donnie Wahlberg, an always welcome (at least by me) presence in these genre films.

Valentine (2001)

This slasher came out right as the late ‘90s teen horror fad was dying out (see below for more on that). Clearly, judging by how this film was received, most people were perfectly fine with that. I’m pretty sure even I recall finding the whole thing a little “eh” when I first saw it in theaters. I was also in high school at the time, so what the hell did I know? Viewing it years later, I have a newfound appreciation. It’s actually a pretty cool slasher, very old-school by design, and I absolutely love the killer’s mask. Remember how I mentioned I love simplicity in horror films? I also have a weakness when it comes to slashers. Horror films were moving away from slashers during this period and towards those with more supernatural elements and Asian horror remakes. We also had a glut of those movies where the killer ended up being a figment of the protagonist’s psyche, or some such psychobabble. When all is said and done, all I really want is an actual, flesh-and-blood killer with a decent motive. Too much to ask?

I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), Disturbing Behavior (1998), and Urban Legend (1998)

OK, OK, I know… I’m cheating here and I don’t care. In my opinion, these 3 films, among others, get unfairly criticized and lumped in with the various Scream knock-offs of the mid-to-late ‘90s. Well, I think they’re great. Horror fans tend to snub their noses at horror flicks from this time period, but I have mostly fond memories. IKWYDLS and Urban Legend are pretty straightforward slashers with memorable villains and decent kills, while Disturbing Behavior has a more teen-thriller vibe with some science fiction elements for good measure. Another positive for me with these flicks: they all have plots that remind me of those R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike teen horror novels that were so popular back in the day.

I don’t mind if you judge me. Perhaps one day I will look back at this list and judge myself. But for now, I think I’m going to go dust off my copy of Urban Legend and get lost in a time when all we needed to enjoy a horror flick was a killer in a parka with a sharp axe and a fixation with Tara Reid. Rock on, fellow horror fans!

~ Matthew A.

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Tags: Where is the Love? Five Underrated Flicks

Sunday Streaming: Frightmare (1983)

September 13th, 2015 · 6 Comments

Often I’ve revisited a movie that I wasn’t too keen on originally to find that I have a new fondness for it. In the case of 1983’s FRIGHTMARE, nearly the opposite is true. It bowled me over upon first view and now I think that was more of a right place, right time sort of thing. It just goes to show you how outside factors can really influence a person’s feelings about something and how the old thumbs up or thumbs down, “good” or “bad” system of rating movies (or anything) is pretty dumb (or at least shortsighted and limiting).

If I remember correctly, I saw FRIGHTMARE sort of spur of the moment. My Dad took my brothers and I to see some action movie (I’m picturing BLUE THUNDER in my head but I could be wrong) and once we got to the theater, I saw the poster for FRIGHTMARE and naturally had a strong pull toward that instead. (No shade toward BLUE THUNDER intended). Somehow I was able to finagle my way into seeing FRIGHTMARE by myself while everybody else bonded over explosions in the theater next door. Seeing any horror movie in the theater was pretty exciting in those days but there was something especially thrilling and liberating about seeing one by myself. It felt like a fence had been trampled over and I was standing over a cliff and if I leaned too far over, I had nobody to pull me back.

FRIGHTMARE is about a group of crafty kids who are such big fans of celebrated horror icon Conrad Razkoff (played by slightly less celebrated horror icon FERDY MAYNE) that they steal and desecrate his recently deceased corpse and trigger supernatural shenanigans that insure their own doom. What’s great about FRIGHTMARE is how it’s all about horror films and fandom and how it marries old school gothic horror with the popular tropes of the day and (most especially) how it features a mansion and a decapitation. The effect looks pretty standard today but in 1983, I remember it being quite the money shot.

What’s NOT so great about FRIGHTMARE is that it’s way too dark (was it always this dark? I can’t believe that) and it has a frustrating habit of mumbling and meandering. I don’t mean to be an ingrate to this B-movie that once gave me shelter when I was green, it’s just that JEFFREY COMBS is in it (rumor has it, he was cast for his resemblance to the already-made decapitated head prop) and once you realize that in two years he’d be put to full, impossible-to-ignore use in RE-ANIMATOR, the whole affair starts looking even soggier by comparison.

FRIGHTMARE is available to watch free online thanks to TROMA. It’s doubtful it’ll rock your world but it’s got some cool ideas even if their execution is wanting. (There’s also a CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS moral flapping around which I’m totally down with and adamantly adhere to. You really shouldn’t force a dead body to dance with you without expecting it to kill you later). In any case, it’ll always have a special chair at my table for initiating me to the fine art of going to the cinema solo. I’m also granting it one extra flapjack for featuring the guy who played Porky in PORKY’S and one extra peanut butter pinecone birdfeeder for being so thrifty as to borrow its poster art off of FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE.

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming