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Entries from May 2017

Traumafession:: Leia M. on Ghost, Six Weeks and A Mom for Christmas

May 30th, 2017 · 2 Comments

Evening,

The late hour, lack of work tomorrow and a bit of whiskey now necessitate that I point out a handful of unlikely traumas: those that appeared, not just in movies that wouldn’t be labeled as horror, but moves that are best known for their moments of romance and/or sentimentality. Yes, for a burgeoning existential only child in a spacious house with relatives much older than she, no piece of media could ever be guaranteed trauma-free.

I’ll start with what in my opinion is the most quality film on this list (which might not be saying much): GHOST, otherwise known as the sexy pottery movie. I think even as a child I was not one to concern myself with the supernatural, so it was not those elements of the movie that got to me. Rather, aside from the underrated gore of, say, a dude impaled on a broken window pane, the scenes of karmic revenge filled me with a disturbing moral ambivalence. It was quite possibly GHOST that made me realize it brought me no pleasure to actually see bad guys tortured. Though I found said bad guys repulsive and wished them no happy returns, watching their abject terror and confusion over the onslaught of an invisible antagonist still left me more sad than satisfied. In retrospect, this was probably a very formative moment.

Now to travel down quite a few notches to a movie that made Roger Ebert’s worst-of list back in 1982 (my birth year, by the way). SIX WEEKS is one of those films you caught on network TV in the middle of a Sunday afternoon and years later barely believe you saw what you saw. The romantic leads are WHO? The plot was WHAT? And didn’t a, like, twelve year old dying girl talk about wanting to have sex all the time?

But the weird matter-of-factness and, dare I say it, realness, of stuff like a dying twelve-year-old talking about how sex is on her bucket list – because OF COURSE IT IS – is just the kind of thing that could draw young me into a sappy mess like this vehicle to begin with. And I barely remember anything about the ride… except the dread I felt over the constant awareness of this girl’s expiration date. And the harrowing – yes, I’m saying harrowing – sudden death scene where she’s on top of the world in the subway, swinging around the poles, and suddenly she’s screaming in pain from a terrible end-of-life headache the science of which remains ambiguous (she’s got leukemia she chose not to treat), then looking her father-figure straight in the eyes before collapsing. I mean, just effing awful and sad, all the more because I can’t remember the other technical weaknesses about the movie that no doubt make it dumb.

And finally, at the bottom of the schmaltz totem pole: A MOM FOR CHRISTMAS. Yep, a Disney family holiday movie with Olivia Newton John. I’m just going to let you take a minute to read the plot synopsis from imdb:

The story revolves around 11-year-old Jessica (Juliet Sorcey), whose mother died when she was three years old. Her father, Jim (Doug Sheehan), is a workaholic with little time for his daughter and hasn’t been able to spend time with her since her mother’s death 8 years prior and still seems to be mourning her. Just before the Christmas holiday season, Jessica wins a free wish from a wishing well. Her wish for a mother for Christmas is granted by Philomena (Doris Roberts) and Amy (Olivia Newton-John), a department store mannequin, is brought to life to be a mom for Jessica. However, there is a catch and Amy can only be a mother to her until Christmas Eve.

Now I ask you: What about this DOESN’T scream horror movie? Yet my life experiences up to this moment have led me to believe I am the only person who has ever entertained this thought. Aside from being yet another movie that, like SIX WEEKS, filled me with the dread of a terrible countdown to The End (Amy, a.k.a. Mommy, in essence will die on Christmas Eve), there’s a disturbing moment where the little girl has a spat with Amy, and out of hotheadedness wishes for her wish to be reversed, which causes her to look across into Amy’s apartment window AND SUDDENLY SEE HER AS A LIFELESS JOINTED MANNEQUIN, when it later turns out she is actually fine. GAH!

So there you have it. I’d love to hear some of your thoughts! As much as this site has taught me about horror films, some of my favorite scares (and entries on this site) have been those that are a bit less likely.

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Tags: Traumafessions

Traumafession:: Eric D. on The Death of the Guyver

May 29th, 2017 · No Comments

EVIL TOONS. What do a babysitter, the Japanese and cartoons have to do with personal trauma? Don’t worry this isn’t a molestation story, Pearl Harbor is safe and despite the title, this has nothing to do with Fred Olen Ray‘s 1992 film, which I rather enjoyed- you should check it out. Think cartoons are kids stuff? Well, this has to do with some very “different” cartoons from the ones you probably grew up with…

When I was a kid, I got sent to a school guidance counselor because I would draw pictures of monsters eating people, etc.; people were clearly worried. Having reassured said guidance counselor that they didn’t have a little maniac on their hands-at least not one that would act out-I was given a clear bill of mental health. Flash forward some time and a chance encounter with certain anime had me questioning whether anyone was checking on the collective mental health of the Japanese.

During a babysitting session with a friend and his older sister, we watched what would be my introduction into a substratum of the cartoon world I couldn’t have possibly imagined existed and which would end forever the child’s innocence under which I labored. It was called The Guyver: Bio-Booster Armor, specifically the fifth episode “The Death of the Guyver“.

It was the most brutal vicious violent thing I had ever seen. I couldn’t believe what I was watching and it took me a long time of quiet reflection to come to terms with what I had just witnessed and it ultimately rearranged the way I viewed the world and our place and role in it. I didn’t know cartoons killed one another- I mean, after all, to the best of my recollection, this never occurred on The Flintstones; I don’t recall Fred ever bashing Barney’s brains out in one of his frequent fits of rage.

The thing that struck me about The Guyver as I got older is that aside from the combination of sci-fi and horror and the initial shock of the violence, there are themes which in my younger years, went way over my head. It explores the great unknown of human origins and our purpose on this planet and comes up with an impersonal answer-in essence we are all biological weapons of alien origin- can anyone really say we aren’t? I can’t.

Little did I know that The Guyver was far from the only, let alone the most brutal horror anime out there. As I worked my way through the Elysian Fields of the video store isles I would come to know the anime section very well. What I found went far beyond what the western horror films I avidly consumed would show; everything from rape (sometimes of the tentacle variety), torture, cannibalism, mutilation and child killing all rendered in excruciating detail.

Urotsukidoji, Violence Jack, Genocyber, DevilMan, Ninja Scroll; all contained the violent, unsparing, anti-humanist ethos of violence as an inseparable, essential part of the whole of life, which we Westerners are so removed from and fearful of. Thank the universal force for reacquainting me with these facts through the medium of cartoons.

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Tags: Traumafessions

Sunday Movie:: Cooties (2014) (Via Tubi TV)

May 28th, 2017 · No Comments

Critter crew, I gotta go to this thing at this thing but I am loath to leave ya with nothing to occupy your peepers so I’m sending you all on a field trip to Tubi TV to watch COOTIES! Hey, COOTIES is pretty good, particularly the kooky and kindertraumatic slo-mo playground contagion scene. I love that part! Such creepy imagery! Plus I think COOTIES is pretty funny and I feel like ELIJAH WOOD is a nice person who should be supported since that MANIAC redo was so much better than we all expected. COOTIES does devolve into too familiar zombie territory and some of the casting is questionable (IMO) but neither of those gripes is enough to sink it. Like I said, it’s pretty good and certainly worth the fair price of FREE!!! Watch it HERE and hope you are all having a wondrous Memorial Day weekend!

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

Name That Trauma:: Reader Lorraine: on a Lady Running Around Screaming While Burning Alive

May 27th, 2017 · 2 Comments

This has been driving me nuts. It’s been practically forever, and I still cannot find what movie this scene was from. It’s the only scene I remember from the movie. I don’t remember being scared to the point of crying or running to one of my parents, but it did deeply disturb me. It’s one of those things that gives you a weird, uncomfortable feeling in your chest, you know?

I was born in ’94 and saw this as a little kid. I want to say that I saw it on TV. With that in mind, I know that the movie can’t be any more recent than the 90s. In the scene, a building is burning. Outside the building a woman is running around screaming as she burns alive. A kid is watching this all unfold from a car, very nonchalantly and uncaring, too. If I remember correctly, an adult, a woman I think, joins the kid in the car. I think this scene took place at the very end of the movie.

Can anybody tell me what movie this is? Thanks!

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Tags: Name That Trauma!

Name That Seventies Horror Film!

May 26th, 2017 · 6 Comments

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Tags: Kindertrauma Funhouse

Traumafession:: Reader Clegane on Aguirre, the Wrath of God

May 22nd, 2017 · No Comments

Greetings from Ukraine! I’m a long-time lurker of your amazing site and want to tell my little story of Kindertruma and TV. I was eight and was alone at home, I was sick from school, ma was at work, pa went out to the shop and told me not to play with matches, not climb on windowsills, the usual stuff. So I sit and found TV. And found Aguirre, the Wrath of God

I was eight, I didn’t know a thing about what’s happening on screen, but I knew that I see a walking Death himself. I was scared. I forgot how to turn TV off. And there was no one else in the house.So I watched all the movie. All the movie. Until the raft. And then my pa returned. And said the worst thing to top the movie, “This is a real story.”

The second story is much worse. I was ten or eleven and got a children’s book from the library. About how Cortez conquered Mexico. And found a description of Aztec market: pots, clothes, baskets, edible dogs, slaves, red pepper, jade things, human flesh. WHAT?! I reread the paragraph twice. Nope. I threw the book away and looked into the ending of it right away. It was the first part! Aztecs gave Cortes a big battle and he lost. The library didn’t have the second part. I was quite afraid to ask about anything Mexico-related for three weeks.

Thanks for your awesome site again!

Reader Clegane

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Tags: Traumafessions

Name That Horror Poster!

May 19th, 2017 · 11 Comments

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Tags: Kindertrauma Funhouse

Traumafession:: John Shipley on Beyond The Door’s TV Spot

May 18th, 2017 · 2 Comments

Greetings Kindertrauma friends! I’d like to share some trauma.

When I was child, nearly every piece of horror I came across freaked my shit, whether it was a photo in Cornelius Ryan’s “A Bridge Too Far” or a snippet of Night Gallery caught from behind the couch. And because my parents didn’t let me watch scurry movies — and it was the 1970s — I only caught random sounds and images. Inevitably, they were built up to be much more terrifying than they really are, or ever could be. And nothing — NOTHING — freaked my shit more than the TV ads for “Beyond the Door.” Seeing it now (thanks, YouTube!) it’s easy to see why. And just so you know, I was 8, so those “Exorcist” ads were terrifying, as well, and because it was a prestige picture — and a runaway hit — would show up during tame prime-time fare. But that campaign was subtle — a slamming door, the shaking bed, the candle-flame exploding. But they were teasers, and saved the best stuff for the actual experience of watching the movie. The “Beyond the Door” campaign actually crammed most of the best stuff into 30 seconds: the head 360, the makeup, the devil voice, levitation! Plus, it was Juliet Mills of Nanny and the Professor, with green teeth and yellow eyes. So help me God, she had yellow eyes! It got so bad that I would see her standing there in the baby blue nightgown and immediately plug my ears and cover my eyes and peak at the mayhem from between my fingers. I grew up in the Bay Area but have a friend from Baltimore who has similar Kindertrauma from this one.

John Shipley

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Tags: Traumafessions

Name That Trauma:: OnlyChild1213 on Missing Faces, Materializing Eyes and a Mad Drug Boss

May 17th, 2017 · 5 Comments

Hello All, it’s been entirely too long! Follower for – I can barely believe it – SEVEN years now, and I still wear my fantabulous white-with-green-trim Kindertrauma clown t-shirt proudly.

Three quick hits for you today, that have surfaced to haunt me here and there over the years:

1) Episode of what I’ve always thought was Macgyver, but now I’m doubting that, where I think there is an ongoing search for a missing girl, and there’s a painting of the girl and/or multiple photos of the girl that have the face cut out, and the perpetrator has all the missing faces or something.

2) Episode of, I think, the reboot of Outer Limits where there’s a TV that’s off but a set of female eyes and possibly lips that materialize in the dead TV screen.

Hmm… interesting that both of those have a female face or face-parts theme…

And now to completely veer away from that theme…

3) Gangster movie I saw my granddad watching one afternoon in the late eighties or early nineties (he’d sometimes watch a lot of Chuck Bronson and other vintage violent action stuff without enough regard for a little girl hanging around) and I think a drug boss or something was mad at his lackey and forced him to eat like a whole bag of cocaine (more gritty realistic suffering than horror, but still chilled tiny me).

Thanks! I love y’all!!

OnlyChild1213

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Tags: Name That Trauma!

Traumafession:: GCG on The Toolbox Murders (1978)

May 16th, 2017 · 1 Comment

“Will you take me? Take me to your secret world again…”

Watching the original The Toolbox Murders recently, I suddenly realized I had seen this movie already when two kitschy plaques appeared on the wall of doomed masturbator Dee Anne Devore’s apartment. In Old-West-saloon font, one read: “BEER 5¢ a glass.” The other was square and orange, showing Linus sitting with his thumb in his mouth, holding his security blanket, an illegible remark in a word balloon above him. It’s the kind of stuff you find in Salvation Army stores tossed on dusty, half-empty metal shelves. I knew with immediate clarity upon seeing the second plaque that I had secretly rented the film on VHS in 1982 while my parents were away for the weekend. It was in an oversized clamshell case, courtesy of VCI, with the “Bit by bit… by bit, he carved a nightmare!” tagline, the hammer pictograph in place of a capital T in the title, the man in the black balaclava holding a drill, and the terrified woman with recoiling forearms strategically covering the nipples of her bare breasts. Pure sleaze. I have no idea how I rented it at the age of eleven, because the proprietor of that same store had refused to rent Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip to me another time I was alone in his shop. Safeguarding me from the F-word and honest descriptions of the black experience in America, he decided I could handle the cruelest misogyny in the saddest ‘70s apartment building in Southern California: El Patio del Sequoia (which exists to this day in all its stucco glory as the Saticoy Villa Grande in Canoga Park; the sequoias are now palm trees).

But it was not the nail-gunning of a naked porn star that reminded me I had seen this video nasty, which, by any measure, is a memorable scene, especially backed by George Deaton’s melancholic easy-listening country music from which I quoted the lyric above. No, it was the glimpse of Linus that reminded me, and I knew, too, what the illegible word balloon contained, because I had this same orange plaque on my bookshelf as a child.

Linus says: “I love mankind… It’s people I can’t stand!!”

Oddly enough, this sentiment captures my attitude at 46, but I didn’t feel this way as a child, so I have no idea why a self-fulfilling prophecy was propped to one side of my dog-eared Susan Cooper books back then. But like any bric-a-brac that routinely crosses your field of vision as a child, the image of this plaque remains in the shallowest reach of dormancy, to the extent that the color orange reminds me of this plaque before it reminds me of anything else quintessentially orange: pumpkins, road cones, circus peanuts, Protestants in Northern Ireland.

I also love Linus’s sentiment in the context of The Toolbox Murders, a slight revision of which might represent Vance Kingsley’s Weltanschaaung: “I love my dead daughter… It’s women I can’t stand!!” Kingsley’s dichotomous virgin-whore rampage punishes prostitutes, lesbians, and self-pleasuring bean-twiddlers alike. His equally misogynistic nephew (Wesley Eure from Land of the Lost) even drops the murdered Devore’s dildo vibrator like a severed limb once he realizes what he’s holding. “That’s disgusting!” he says in reference to perhaps the least disgusting thing in this movie.

Watching the film the other night, I didn’t really remember Uncle Vance’s kills (outside of what I could recall reading about them online)—in order: spade drill bit for the middle-aged woman who apparently had a regular dalliance with Kingsley, perhaps in the way of sex work; claw of a hammer and a screwdriver for the thinly coded lesbian couple; and, of course, nail gun for the explicit masturbator. None of the gratuitous nudity and death seemed familiar until that orange plaque appeared. Maybe in my just faintly pubescent oblivion, the rawer moments did not disturb or register as deeply as misanthropic Linus in a field of orange.

What all horror movie aficionados/–das see in their minds’ eyes when they hear or read “Toolbox Murders”—whether they’ve seen the movie or not—is the quickly deteriorating sobriety of Cameron Mitchell’s dumpy figure in a black trench coat and that balaclava with the halo of red and white stripes. Until I saw the film recently (apparently for the second time), I could never distinguish that poster image from an actual viewing experience. To bring this story to an overweening pretentious height, the Linus plaque brought specificity and certainty to my inexact memory, in the same way that Proust suddenly had several thousand pages of personal precision to relate after tasting that madeleine dipped in lime tea. Instead of a life of fin-de-siècle French privilege and aesthetic emotional discernment, I just had a sleazy date with Dennis Donnelly’s cash grab, but it’s more about the trigger’s mechanism than the substance of what was triggered.

I know now what I was forgetting or repressing since the age of 11, and it wasn’t boobs and blood. It was the plain dreariness of settings drawn from everyday life, and there’s nothing more quotidian than El Patio del Sequoia in 1977. People being murdered here is the least of their problems—or I should say: What else could you expect in a place like this?

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Tags: Traumafessions