Sunday Streaming:: I Saw What You Did (1988)

I’m just going to come right out and tell you that I prefer the 1988 TV remake of I SAW WHAT YOU DID over its WILLIAM CASTLE directed, JOAN CRAWFORD starring, 1966 predecessor. You can threaten me with wire hangers all you like, I won’t budge. The revamp is directed by the criminally underrated suspense specialist FRED WALTON of WHEN A STRANGER CALLS (1979) and APRIL FOOL’S DAY (1986) fame and it is just as slick and groovy as you’d suspect. Furthermore, it stars two of my favorite people on the whole planet (SHAWNEE SMITH the same year she did THE BLOB!) and TAMMY LAUREN (she who took down THE WISHMASTER!) Plus, it’s got good ol’ CANDACE CAMERON from FULL HOUSE in it…PLUS…two (count em!) creepy CARRADINE brothers (ROBERT and DAVID)!

Oh, I’ve got plenty more to say about this fantastic jam but to read that you’ll just have to buy ARE YOU IN THE HOUSE ALONE: A TV MOVIE COMPENDIUM (HERE) edited by the glamorous and multi-talented AMANDA REYES! In the meantime, you can be kind to yourself by watching the slap of eighties awesomeness below! Oh no! Just checking out the first scene with its HALLOWEEN II approved “Mr. Sandman” song featured in it has got me hooked! I’m trapped! There goes another Sunday afternoon!

Sunday Streaming:: When Michael Calls (1972)

Hey, let’s say we all watch the TV movie classic WHEN MICHAEL CALLS! I’m not sure if it’s scary but it’s definitely creepy and sometimes I think creepy is better than scary because it lasts so much longer. I mean, there’s just some sort of feeling or tone to this movie that gets to me every time- ya know? Well, it was filmed in Canada in the early seventies and that certainly helps give it some legitimate horror cred. It’s even got Mrs. Mac (MARIAN WALDMAN) from BLACK CHRISTMAS in it and we all know she rules. Sure, it’s a little dated as it comes from that time period when everybody thought it was perfectly acceptable for a grown woman to impersonate a young boy by utilizing a Rocket J. Squirrel voice but in same ways that just makes it more surreal and weirdly off-putting. In any case, you can’t beat the cast; when you’re cooking with the likes of ELIZABETH ASHLEY, BEN GAZZARA and MICHAEL DOUGLAS how can you possibly go wrong? Trust me, if WHEN MICHAEL CALLS isn’t perfect for a mid January Sunday afternoon, I don’t know what is! Plus it’s got murder by bees! I love me some murder by bees! How did I not mention the score? Listen to this opening theme…

Traumafessions:: Jason L. on When Havoc Struck and The Acid Queen

I’m sure you all are going to laugh but here’s my first (and probably worst) Kindertrauma.

In the late 70s, on Wednesday nights, my parents would go to church and leave me with my grandparents. I’d sit and watch TV with them for an hour until my parents came home. I remember watching The Muppet Show and this show right after called When Havoc Struck. That week my grandpa said “We’re gonna watch these bridges collapse on TV”. Sounded like a fun time (not). If you’ve ever watched WHS you know it starts with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (the familiar dun dun dun dunnnnnnn) with a fiery looking logo. Then Glenn Ford comes on and introduces various incidents of disasters/accidents, etc. The tone of the show is already scary from the images, movies, sounds and music.

This episode showed exactly what it said it would, bridges falling down. Halfway into it, they show the 1940 Tacoma Narrows bridge collapse. It’s the actual movie reel of the actual bridge collapsing. The bridge was susceptible to high winds and it would move up and down with the wind. Then one day it twisted itself to death and it collapsed. I remember being a little freaked out at this until they actually showed a picture of the roadway rocking back and forth. This (I don’t know why) scared the hell outta me. I ran into the kitchen and hid in the laundry room until it was over. I was shaking and my mom had to give me medicine to calm down so I could sleep. Then that night I dreamed about it.

It took a long long time before I could actually open a book about bridges and see the pictures of it. THEN in the early 90s, a commercial for Pioneer car stereo featured the bridge. At first I was shocked but then I enjoyed watching it and laugh about how I thought this was scary.

So, what brought me here is that episode is now on Youtube for all the world to see:

And the commercial:

And yes, The Acid Queen scared me too.

Sunday Streaming:: The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972)

Back in the day, one of the scariest movies you could crash into while driving down the UHF highway was the drive-in classic THE LEGEND OF BOOGGY CREEK. It didn’t matter what time of day it was, something about this flick could make you feel like it was the dead of night. Based on so-called actual events and starring real witnesses in reenactments, THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK may be the first faux-documentary horror film ever conceived. With all the polish of a high school Science Ed film, it spins the tale of a town called Fouke terrorized by a hairy Big Foot-type monster. Big Foot or “Sasquatch” carries little weight in the national psyche these days, but once upon a time he was the physical embodiment of the wilderness’s last stand against mankind’s complete appropriation of nature.

The movie itself is a time capsule showcasing a world that no longer exists both within the film (the technology-free town) and without (the film’s identity as drive-in fare). Many scenes are laughable by today’s standards, thanks to sub-par acting and the obvious limitations of an ape suit, but BOGGY CREEK still has its own quiet power. This is campfire story material and the viewer surely has to be in the right mood to be effected by its vague G-rated violence. The sad fact is, with psychopaths and terrorism lurking about in the real world, it may be difficult for modern audiences to empathize with the fear of the wild. Whatever is coming to get us, we can pretty much assume it’s not coming from the woods. In fact, at this point nature certainly has more to fear from us. Still, maybe there’s something ancient in our DNA that fearfully relates…

Kindertraumatically, at the end of the film the narrator returns to the location of his early childhood fears and he surprises himself by actually longing to hear the howl that once terrified him, “Just to be a reminder that there is still a wilderness left.” Sadly, I’d venture that there’s probably a Starbucks in that space today. BOGGY can still be a lot of fun and its influence is ever reaching (BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY et al.), but it’s hard to be truly scared of a monster you mostly feel sorry for. That being said, I’m happy to report that sightings of the Fouke monster continue on. Maybe there’s still a little kick in the old boy after all. Take that Starbucks (P.S. this is a re-vamping of an old review. I plagiarized myself)!

Name That Trauma:: Johnnie W. on an Eyeball and an Awful Orphanage

Hello Uncle Lancifer,

Love your site.

I’ve had this film in my mind since I was traumatized by it as a child in the late 1970s. I’m hoping you can help me find its title, if you please.Here are some details (the first 3 which may be conflated/misremembered/wrong).

1. Opening credits/title zooms in/pans out to a plowed row to reveal an eyeball with a worm/maggot nearby

2. Plot revolves around farmhouse with a (surrogate? foster? orphanage?) family that murders children and eats them.

3. The movie was made before 1980, as I believe I saw it on Bob Wilkins’ “Creature Features” in the late 1970s.

4. The film is not Philip S. Gilbert’s “Blood and Lace” (1971).

Thank you for considering helping me find this title.

UNK SEZ: Curses! I was just about to say BLOOD AND LACE (How I love that one HERE). Maybe our knowledgeable readers know the answer?!

Traumafessions: Unk on Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things

Director BOB CLARK’s name rightfully pops up every holiday season in connection to his contrasting holiday classics A CHRISTMAS STORY and BLACK CHRISTMAS. If those monumental movies weren’t enough to cement his status as a potent filmmaker you’ve also got the influential teen sex comedy PORKY’S and the allegorical Vietnam war zombie flick DEATH DREAM as further proof. But it’s the mention of CLARK’s too often shrugged off, earlier living dead soiree CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS that still sends a quiet chill of dread down my spine. How can that be? The movie is hilarious camp! Why, just look at the character’s outdated clothes and hairstyles! What a chuckle fest! Sure, maybe I take it less seriously these days and maybe I even find lumps of it annoying and borderline boring but the damn thing still makes me privately wince on some level.

I could brush it away and say that my aversion stems from having caught its ghoulish dime store depravity too many times at too late an hour at a far too impressionable age but the disquiet feels deeper than the echo of nostalgia. As sarcastic and theatrical as CHILDREN loudly presents itself to be, there’s no painting over its oppressive wall of infinite-seeming eeriness. It gets to me. Those electric seventies howling bleeps and whistles, the painful groaning of slow-motion visuals and especially its neon meets inky oblivion color pallet. It’s as if if THE BRADY BUNCH cancelled their Grand Canyon camping trip and decided to vacation in DOGVILLE instead. Nothing can freak me out faster than that dense end of the world background blackness. It‘s a forewarning of that air guitar riddled FAMILY TIES episode in which Alex mourns his dead friend Greg. It’s freaky and off-putting but there’s a swirl of stripped down borderline humiliating coldness to it too. Black isn’t a color, black eats colors for breakfast. We’re all heading there, right?

On a brighter note: Orville! I genuinely love this guy! Every living dead flick worth its salt should have one standout signature zombie and in my book, Orville leaves most of his shuffling brethren in the dust. To truly understand and get the most out of this picture you must both FEAR and ROUTE FOR Orville. As much nausea as he may inspire, and as much dread as he might instill, the long suffering lummox is so outrageously disrespected that its not difficult to find his patiently prepared, masterly marinated stew o’ vengeance delectably delicious. You know, if the whole world has to come crashing down for Orville to have the last laugh on his smug oppressor, I’m absolutely OK with that…and fall down it does. Are spoiler warnings even necessary when talking about zombie flicks? You can bet your bottom dollar this baby closes out with the pessimistic understanding that we’ve only witnessed the tip of the iceberg in regards to the world’s well-deserved demise.

Hey, this traumafession about how CSPWDT scared me as a kid and still creeps me out today, also happens to be a “Sunday Streaming” post cuz I found it on YouTube! Like I nearly said before, the dialogue can be perturbing and the acting hammy and the pace almost dawdling but there’s still something unnerving burrowing around here. If nothing else, you have to admit that the title remains sound advice. Respect the dead today because tomorrow they’re YOU!