The Shallows (2016)

About a month ago I was trekking home from a dead-media hunting excursion when I happened upon a granny-esque abode with a LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY-style sidewalk-level basement window. Behind the glass stood a bird but not the type of bird you’d expect to see indoors. It wasn’t a colorful pet shop parakeet that escaped from its cage but more like a common sparrow that lost its way. As I paused in my tracks to stare, it turned around and disappeared behind ancient sun-bleached pom-pom trimmed curtains. It couldn’t belong there; something was off. It must have gotten trapped inside? I was compelled to knock on the front door to let the homeowner know but nobody answered…the place was as dead as a tomb. My bags were heavy so I vowed to come back later when hopefully lights would be on.

That bird was going to starve and the whole house would smell of death and worse of all this was a TERRIBLE OMEN of future catastrophe! I went back to the house a couple times but nobody was ever there. What could I do? Who do you call? Maybe I should just smash the window, run and hope for the best? How did this even happen when a closer inspection of the window revealed that it clearly had a screen? Did I imagine the bird (I don’t always hallucinate but when I do, I hallucinate animals in peril)? I began to rationalize and think, “Hey, isn’t it better to starve in a basement than to get eaten by a cat or hit by a car or freeze?” Maybe this bird was lucky. Also, I’m being a hypocrite; how dare I feign concern for this one bird when I’m likely to be chomping on a chicken in the very near future? What does one bird matter on this conveyor belt of ruin we call existence anyway?

The answer to that question is in THE SHALLOWS. Yes, this is still a film review! THE SHALLOWS is supposed to be about a surfer gal (BLAKE LIVELY) trying not to be eaten by a CGI shark but it’s actually about how facing your own demise can clarify your understanding that all life has value.

Let me tell you, there are some humans in this movie and there are a bunch of assorted sea creatures as well, but rising superstar SULLY SEAGULL (who portrays injured bird “Steven Seagull”) effortlessly waddles away with the whole darn show. When LIVELY’S character Nancy finds herself stranded on a rock in shark infested waters slowly frying to death all seems lost. Luckily, a felicitous twist of fate lands a sidekick-ready bird with a broken wing and a buoyant disposition upon the same precarious perch. The two develop a bond based on their mutual desire to eat lunch rather than be lunch and medical student Nancy even mends her new pal’s wing without any hope for financial gain (!!!). It’s as if Nancy is lost in a pitch-black cave and her basic humanity towards a creature more vulnerable than herself provides enough light for her to find her way out. Or maybe I just adore this seagull. He even gets a featured star picture on the back of the DVD! Right on!

I’m no oceanographer or seagull specialist but I feel safe in assuming that THE SHALLOWS plays fast and loose with anything regarding science and/or reality to the point of being borderline preposterous (especially in regards to how the menace is ultimately eradicated). I’m way OK with that though on account of it is gloriously pretty and borderline poetic in places and can therefore be digested as an expressionistic anxiety dream. The important thing is, no matter how over the top and unlikely it sometimes gets, THE SHALLOWS is consistently suspenseful and if you allow it, maybe even semi-deep (see what I did?). Plus it’s from director JUAME COLLET-SERRA who gave us HOUSE OF WAX (2005) and ORPHAN(2009) so it’s got that going on too. Right?

It’s possible I’m just an easy mark for this type of flick. It pretty much swims the same laps as survival favorites like BLACK WATER, THE REEF and both of the OPEN WATER jaunts and that’s fine by me. I certainly would have liked to have been able to connect with LIVELY’s opaque character a bit more but maybe that’s her fault for ignoring the age old advice on never working with animals or children. Anyway, there’s no resolution to my bird trapped in a basement window story that I started this post with. I’m going with the convenient (for me) theory that I imagined the whole thing (or more likely, caught a reflection in the glass?) while also vowing to spread breadcrumbs in the park for any possible bird relatives- just in case. The bitter truth though, whether it’s imagined or not- it’s still a BAD OMEN. Anyway, Sully, wherever you are, nice work! Hope to see you in a seagull-centered sequel!

Sunday Streaming:: Fortress (1985)

Even though the super suspenseful mid-eighties cable staple FORTRESS (1985) isn’t exactly a Christmas movie, there’s no denying that if features one of the scariest Santa Claus masks of all time! Don’t believe me? Check out the images above and below and click HERE to read a classic traumafession on the matter! Better yet, watch the movie below before it’s swiped off the YouTubes! Heck, it even stars your favorite human RACHEL WARD of NIGHT SCHOOL (1981) and THE FINAL TERROR (1983) fame! How can you go wrong? You can’t!

Name That Trauma:: Vlad from Ghoul A Go-Go on a Fearsome Phone Call


Vlad here, from Ghoul A Go-Go,

When I was around 7, I caught this movie, probably on channel 9(NY). 40 years later I’m still asking people for help in identifying it.The scene that stuck with me (and has even made its way into my dreams) is of a woman answering the telephone. The phone is on a small table, possibly in a hallway. A look of fear comes across the woman’s face as we hear a creepy whispering voice from the telephone repeat a few words: house, doll, ball, lamb…. Then we see what’s disturbing the lady. On the boarder of the table are decals of what the voice is naming: a house, a doll, etc… Those may not be the exact words/pictures but that’s the idea. The only other clue I have is that I would say it had the look and colors of a British production, late 60s early 70s. Probably not Hammer though.

Kindertrauma Rewind Christmas Special

Jump into the time machine and visit KT’s Christmas past! Yep, it’s a clip show.

Top 10 Least Loved RANKIN & BASS Characters.

12 Movie Characters Not To Invite to Your Holiday Party!

Silent Night, Deadly Night: All of ’em!

Kindertrauma Funhouse :: Xmas Horror!

Kinder-Spotlight :: Christmas Evil!

X-Mas Poster Funhouse!

Avalanche of Christmas Horror!

Funhouse of Beards!

Traumafessions: Unk on The Little Drummer Boy.

Black Christmas Word Search!

Official Traumatizer: The Spirit of Christmas (1950)

How Unk Got His Christmas Groove Back!

Black Christmas: Do You See What I See?

Mrs. Mac Snow Maze Puzzle!

Spot The Difference Krampus Puzzle!

Ghost Stories for Christmas!

PLUS: there’s still time to order from last year’s Kindertrauma Christmas Catalog 2015! The good old days. Merry Christmas!

Traumafession:: Danielle P. on SpongeBob SquarePants and Very Naughty Hot Sauce

Hello, Kindertrauma. I’m 14 years old, a bit younger than everyone else on this site, but I was scared of some things as a kid as well, and I only want to confess fears I’ve gotten over. Today I want to bring to your attention a scene from SpongeBob that used to scare me as a kid. It’s from the episode “Karate Choppers”.

Now, in this episode, SpongeBob and Sandy are karate fighting. During their match, Sandy grabs SpongeBob’s tongue and takes out a bottle of hot sauce and starts to pour a drop on his tongue. SpongeBob is terrified, as he’s freaking out, we zoom in on the drop of hot sauce, and all of a sudden, the screen goes dark and this creepy as hell human face appears on the drop, laughing evilly and rolling its eyes around. Then it says in a gravelly voice, “BY THE POWERS OF NAUGHTINESS, I COMMAND THIS PARTICULAR DROP OF HOT SAUCE TO BE REALLY, REALLY HOT!” and then we go back to SpongeBob and Sandy like nothing happened.

Yeezus on a bike, did that scare me! I remember when I first saw the episode 10 years ago, I actually started crying when the face showed up (granted I cried when I was scared a lot) and didn’t even remember the whole “powers of naughtiness” bit until four years later when I would browse transcripts on Spongepedia. I only saw the scene twice as a kid, and I remember the second time, my mom told me the face was Tom Kenny (which it is) but I didn’t care! Every time the episode would come on after that, I’d change the channel or leave the room, I seriously avoided the episode for ten whole years!

Last year, though, I decided to voice my fear of it and tried to get myself over it, but when the episode came on again, I couldn’t do it, I was scared! Fortunately, the scene appeared on the SpongeBob subreddit on Reddit and I made myself click on it and I got over it. Now I love that scene, but I will always remember avoiding the episode like the plague due to it. On the comments on that scene on YouTube, there’s a lot of people who were also scared of it, so I’m not alone.


Name That Trauma:: Tomb on a Creepy Masked Public Access Couple

This might have been shown West coast/California. Public access show early 90’s Produced in Southern California, but shown on my local San Francisco public access.

This couple inside a home would wear these muppet style masks and, for example, reminisce about the 60’s. They’d be talking then it would cut to an exterior shot of them dancing in slow-motion to “Groovy Kind Of Love” still in masks …… yiiiihhh

Mind you, I think they were trying to be funny; they’d put on these weird, twerpy cartoon voices. It didn’t work. It just had that unintentional (or maybe intentional) creepiness.

It was like New Zoo Review meets Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman meets VIDEODROME.

The title of the show had a weird name muffkins? mushies?mooshies? I’m not making this up, it happened… like a giant millipede crawling on your face


UNK SEZ: Stop the presses! This NTT has been solved by TOMB himself! Check out Tomb’s trauma (UNWIND WITH THE SWEETIES) in the video below (at around 12:25) …if you dare.

Apocalypse Soon Funhouse

Hey kids, we have a great giveaway today sponsored by our pals at COMET. COMET has an incredible array of movies that you simply can’t get with a subscription to streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu. From wild adventures on Mars to critically acclaimed classics, COMET is the ultimate home of sci-fi and horror… and it’s all totally free, no subscriptions needed.


One lucky Kindertrauma reader will get all of this: