Brutal (2012) by Kinderpal Mickster

Brutal (2012)

“My name is Brutal…”
are the first words spoken by the enormous brute tormenting A. Michael Baldwin’s character in the film Brutal (2012). At this point in the film, one may assume that Brutal is going to be a run-of-the-mill “torture porn” flick that has been done to death in recent years; however, Brutal is neither run-of-the-mill or “torture porn.” I hesitate to give very many details, as I do not want to spoil this movie for anyone. I will say that Brutal has many twists and turns and it kept me guessing. In fact, I was floored by the final twist. Brutal stars A. Michael Baldwin (The PHANTASM series) and Michael Patrick Stevens who makes his writing, producing, directing, and acting debut. The majority of the film takes place in a cramped basement with Carl (Baldwin), a family man, being tortured by Brutal (Stevens) for no obvious reason. At an hour and twenty-five minutes, Brutal is tense and harrowing from beginning to end. Brutal left me contemplating what I would do if I found myself in a similar situation. Ultimately, Brutal shows what people are capable of when pushed to the edge. The filmmakers and actors have plenty to be proud of here. The finished product is impressive considering budget and time constraints. Hopefully, this is just the beginning for Michael Patrick Stevens and a new beginning for A. Michael Baldwin.

UNK SEZ: Thanks for the scoop Mickster! Folks, you can learn more about Brutal at its official website HEREand check out the trailer below!

Once, Then & Now :: Mickster on Buried Alive (1990)

I first watched BURIED ALIVE on USA back in 1990. I was still living at home and just starting college. Although I had not yet felt the sting of betrayal in a relationship, I immediately identified with the character Clint (TIM MATHESON). Clint is a hardworking and faithful husband. I have always been a rule-follower in my life, so I have issues with people who do not follow the rules. For that reason, I disliked the characters Joanna (JENNIFER JASON LEIGH) and Cort (WILLIAM “No Dick” ATHERTONGHOSTBUSTERS). I cheered for Clint as he meticulously exacted revenge against his plotting wife and her lover. I also fussed at Joanna over the numerous dumb moves she made along the way (i.e., not giving Clint the full amount of fishy poison in his wine, skipping the embalming, and racing to sell his business and home). Overall, nineteen-year-old Mickster found the movie entertaining and the ending satisfying.

I was excited when I found of copy of BURIED ALIVE at Monster Mania in early June 2011. I had not seen it since 1990 and as far as I knew, it had not been released on DVD. Before I had a chance to enjoy it though life dealt me a devastating blow. Having discovered my ex-spouse had also been unfaithful, I now had more in common with Clint than I did when I watched the movie before. In late July, I managed to make myself watch it again and it made my blood boil. In fact, it was almost too much for me to take at that point. I sat down and started to write about the movie…

“I can relate to Clint Goodman’s plight. I feel his pain at being screwed over by the person who is supposed to care the most in his life. Clint is a ‘good man’ who loves his wife and wants nothing more than to build a long-lasting life with her. He has built her a beautiful country home and has a successful contracting company. When his wife says that she is going into the city overnight to shop and hangout with her girlfriends, Clint believes her without question. Clint’s wife, however, is a lying, scheming whore with nefarious plans for her good and trusting husband.”

Clearly forty-year-old Mickster was pissed off and a bit too close to the subject matter. Unkle Lancifer, being the sweetheart he is, suggested I walk away from writing about the film while my feelings were so raw. I agreed and pushed it aside until now.

I am now ready to revisit my old friend, BURIED ALIVE. It serves as a stark reminder of the thin line between love and hate. Although I still side with Clint throughout the movie, I have to point out some things he should have recognized, as I have had to do the same in my own life. It is clear to anyone watching the film that Joanna is not into her husband or the life he is trying desperately to build with her. Clint, like many of us in disintegrating relationships, is too busy trying to make this life work to see the problems before him. He assumes that because he is faithful and kind that his wife is too. This was an enormous mistake on Clint’s part, which almost cost him his life. Even his loyal Rottweiler recognizes what a fraud his wife is. Animals are wise in these matters and can sense a phony quickly. (Note to my sweet kitty Professor Von Whiskersen, I should have noticed your reactions to the ex. I will trust your judgment from now on.)

When Clint wakes up in a coffin, digs his way out, and stumbles home, he is floored by what he discovers. Clint’s deep love quickly turns to bitter hatred and he plans his revenge. Even though Joanna and her scheming lover richly deserve this revenge, I feel that ultimately Clint would be unable to bear his actions since he is at heart loving and kind.

A lot can change in the way you view a film. Twenty-two years ago, Mickster was simply entertained. Nine months ago, Mickster was most definitely outraged. Now, Mickster is older, wiser, and thankfully calmer. I know it is only a movie, but I wish Clint had given himself the time to think things through more clearly. People like Joanna and Cort will ultimately destroy themselves with their selfishness. Clint could have watched this happen from the sidelines without soiling his own hands in the process.

Streaming Alert! :: Kinderpal Mickster on Jack’s Back (1988)

UNK SEZ: Aunt John and I have gone fishing but don’t worry, as I was able to coax everybody’s Kinderpal Mickster into recommending one of her faves for you. Thanks Mickster!

MICKSTER SEZ: Netflix isn’t the only place that offers obscure horror movies instantly. is another good source for instant streaming. The best part is that is free. The only caveat is that you have to watch commercials every ten to fifteen minutes; however, it is worth it when you come across a movie that has not been released on DVD. This brings me to my recommendation for the week, JACK’S BACK (1988). I first discovered this little known gem on USA’s UP ALL NIGHT during the early ’90s.

It is one hundred years after the original Jack the Ripper murders in London, and a serial killer in Los Angeles is meticulously recreating the killings. If you like Jack the Ripper-themed movies, you should enjoy this one. It does not hurt that JAMES SPADER is so damn hot in this. He plays twins John and Rick Wesford. John being the straight-laced med student and Rick being the “bad-boy” shoe store manager. The supporting cast includes ROBERT PICARO (THE HOWLING) , ROD LOOMIS (aka Sigmund Freud from BILL & TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE) and CYNTHIA GIBB.

Mickster’s Special Moments:

  • Red Harvest” playing, as the Polaroid develops to reveal a dead prostitute.
  • The Ripper enjoys singing “My Way” in the shower to prepare for killing hookers.
  • John’s unfortunate demise after being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • Rick wakes from a nightmare (about John’s death) and rolls around on the bed in his underwear… Yay!
  • Rick teams up with the John’s cute and spunky co-worker Chris to catch Jack the Ripper.
  • The porn theater sells guns but not bullets
  • Rick knocks “Red-Herring Jack” on his ass.
  • The final showdown with Jack the Ripper.

Stream Warriors :: Kinderpal Mickster on Shock Waves & Hide and Creep!

UNK SEZ: Today’s episode of Stream Warriors is brought to you by the letter “Z” for zombie and is hosted by our favorite Kinderpal Mickster! Mickster‘s got a living-dead double feature for you currently available on Netflix streaming!


MICKSTER: Professor Von Whiskersen and I love the wide variety of movies offered through Netflix instant streaming. Therefore, when Unkle Lancifer asked me to host an installment of Stream Warriors, I jumped at the chance. The difficult part was deciding which movies to share. Ultimately, I decided to share two very different zombie movies. First up, Shock Waves (1977) is an atmospheric gem starring John Carradine as a crusty sea captain, Peter Cushing as a SS commander/hermit and a young Brooke Adams (Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Dead Zone) as a chick in a bikini. It features oodles of Nazi zombies. These aren’t flesh-eating zombies (for Flesh-eating Nazi zombies see Dead Snow), but they are still eerie and deadly. Filmed in Florida at a deserted hotel with an otherworldly soundtrack, what the movie lacks in gore it makes up for in an ominous, unsettling atmosphere. Try this one and see if the watery Nazi zombies give you the willies too.


MICKSTER: Next, Hide and Creep (2004) is a Southern zombie comedy. It is ultra-low budget, which is quite evident from the not-so-special effects. However, I have a soft spot for this independent film because it was made in Alabama, just like me. If you aren’t from the South, you may not ‘get’ some of the Southern references. Things you should know: Southerners love Coke so much that they call all soft drinks (Sprite, Dr.Pepper, Pepsi, etc.) Coke, a man may value his car more than his woman, a father will teach his daughter how to use a gun, and the Iron Bowl (Alabama vs. Auburn) is more important than a zombie outbreak. If you are junk-sensitive, I will warn you that “Porky Pigging” occurs early in the film. I must admit that my favorite parts in the movie feature a video storeowner named Chuck. His passionate rant about the superiority of Coke over Pepsi is not to be missed! If you are a fan of zombies, low budgets, and/or Southerners, you should try this zomedy.

Mickster’s Holiday Special Funhouse!

Hey Look! It’s an early Christmas present from one of Kindertrauma’s most favorite folks on Earth, the incredible MICKSTER! MICKSTER has rounded up 10 images from 10 of her favorite Holiday specials and she wants YOU to identify them. Don’t sweat, she’ll be on hand to light the way in case you get lost in a blizzard! Good Luck!

Traumafessions :: Kinderpal Mickster on Loretta Lynn’s “To Heck With Ole Santa Claus”

It’s Christmas time, which tends to make me more sentimental than usual. I love recalling childhood memories of past Christmases. I even love listening to the same Christmas music such as BING CROSBY, JIM REEVES, STATLER BROTHERS, and PERRY COMO. However, I loathe one Christmas song to this day. My family knows I loathe this song and even now as an adult, they taunt me with it.


I even hate typing the title, but here it is “To Heck With Ole Santa Claus” by LORETTA LYNN. When I was little, I thought Santa would be angry at me for listening to a song with lyrics like, “When he goes dashin’ through the snow I hope he falls, I like to hit him in the (ho ho ho) with a bunch of big snowballs; To heck with ole Santa Claus.”

LORETTA even goes on to threaten Santa with this, “This year I’ll build a big fire by the fireplace, I’ll be like a little pig I read about, If that big bad wolf in red comes down my chimney; He’s a gonna scorch his whiskers there’s no doubt.”

Well, as a child, I thought Santa would be insulted by this song just as Santa in ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS was insulted by Albert’s scathing letter to the editor. I sure hope this year that my family forgets to torture me with this loathsome yuletide tune!

Kindertrauma Investigates :: Lizzie Borden

Hi kids, it’s your Aunt John here. Your Unkle Lancifer and I are taking the day off to get ready for this coming Saturday’s SECOND ANNUAL KINDERTRAUMA HALLOWEEN PARADE. And by get ready, I really mean settle a choreography dispute with the KINDERTRAUMA DANCERS. So if you haven’t sent in your parade picture yet ( get on it!

Anywhoozles, in our absence, Kinderpal Mickster has graciously agreed to take time off from her gig as an investigative reporter and baby-sit today. So spread out your story-time mats, grab your juice boxes, and get comfortable as Mickster takes a whack at LIZZIE BORDEN:

Kinder-Editorial :: Kinderpal Mickster on the Horrors of Snoopy Come Home

snoopy come home!

Utter joy is what I felt when I first learned there was a feature length Charlie Brown cartoon, and it would soon air on CBS. What I didn’t know was the traumatizing effect it would have on me as a child. One might assume it was Snoopy leaving Charlie Brown to live with his previous owner, Lila, that disturbed me, but that event was only a drop in the bucket of despair that is SNOOPY COME HOME.

Let us begin with the discrimination and prejudice endured by Snoopy. Right from the beginning of the film, Snoopy is cast out of all his favorite spots simply because he is a dog. A familiar deep voice (THURL RAVENSCROFT) sings, “No Dogs Allowed!” throughout the film. Even Woodstock is not immune to these senseless acts of bigotry. At the beach, library, bus, hospital, and apartment complex Snoopy is deemed unworthy.

snoopy come home!

Next, we are introduced to a future serial killer. As Snoopy and Woodstock are making their journey, they encounter a seemingly harmless little girl. The soon find, however, she is not harmless at all. Before you can say Lizzie Borden, Snoopy has a thick rope tied around his neck, and Woodstock is shoved into a cage. This diabolical girl likes her victims clean, so she proceeds to almost drown poor Snoopy in the tub. Her next step is to dress her victim, and play tea party where she purposely spills tea then blames Snoopy. She puts Snoopy across her knee and spanks him. This is truly twisted stuff. Snoopy makes a break for it and attempts to call for help. Unfortunately, she retches the phone from his paw and drags him to the local vet. Luckily, Snoopy escapes the vet’s office and rushes back to the crime scene to help Woodstock get away. Nail-biting action ensues as the psychopath chases Snoopy and Woodstock through the house of horrors. In the end, Snoopy and Woodstock barely escape with their lives. I find it interesting psycho-girl keeps calling to her mother about her new pets, but there is no reply. My theory is the mother has already been dispatched PSYCHO-style by this miniature serial killer in the making.

The final death nail, for me, was the going away bash held for Snoopy after he announced his plans to live permanently with his former owner, Lila. When even Lucy begins crying over Snoopy’s imminent departure you know it is for real. I cannot recall if I made it through the entire going away party before slipping off to my bedroom to sob uncontrollably. Once again, as she always did, my mother came looking for me. She encouraged me to return for the rest of the movie. Happily, I returned just in time to see Snoopy come home to Charlie Brown.

Many years later, I shared this film with my niece. I wondered if I had been a total wimp when I had watched the movie as a child. I soon found my niece had an almost identical reaction to the movie. I, like my mother, had to coax her into finishing the movie.

snoopy come home!

Kinder-Editorial :: Intolerance Abounds at the North Pole! by Sam Snowman

AUNT JOHN SEZ: Hey kids, with relatively few shoplifting days left until X-Mas, your Unkle Lancifer and I are off today looking for some last-minute steals. Thankfully, Kinderpal Mickster was kind enough to pass along this essay she received from Sam Snowman, narrator of the RANKIN & BASS classic RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER. Take it away Sam:

It has come to my attention that the North Pole has become a hotbed for intolerance over the years. I believe that I have pinpointed the source of this lack of understanding. Santa Claus himself appears to be the catalyst for the effects plaguing this area. Santa, by his example, has made clear that individuals considered “misfits” should be taunted and bullied. Let us look at the list of offenders.

Donner is the first to notice that there is something different about his son, Rudolph. Immediately, he panics because he knows Santa will not tolerate such differences. This is soon confirmed when Santa comes by to congratulate the couple on the birth of their son. When Santa sees the red nose, he warns Donner that Rudolph won’t be able to pull his sleigh in the future, if his nose remains red. Donner, regardless of his wife’s objections, decides to hide Rudolph’s nonconformity so that others will accept him.

The Head Elf has obviously been trained well by Santa to squash nonconformists like bugs. His borderline violent reaction to Hermey’s dream to be a dentist drives that point home. How dare Hermey want to do anything other than toy making?

Comet and the other reindeer start making fun of Rudolph the moment his red nose is revealed thus revealing that they too have been infected by the trickle down effects of prejudice.

An unidentified person obviously banished the misfit toys to the island ruled by King Moonracer. Though I can’t be certain, I speculate that Santa was involved. Of course, he would not want the world to think he produces misfit toys. The only way to make the problem disappear would be to get rid of those toys.

Discrimination against females is also a huge problem in the North Pole. Santa belittles Mrs. Claus at every opportunity, and Donner totally disregards his wife’s opinions on the subject of child rearing. When it comes time to search for Rudolph, Donner is quick to tell Mrs. Donner that this is, “Man’s work.”

With all these examples of intolerance, I want to assure you that there are a few individuals with accepting hearts:

  • Mrs. Donner wants to do right by her son, but she allows her husband to make all the decisions
  • Clarice accepts Rudolph and even finds his difference attractive. She risks punishment from her father to help Rudolph
  • Yukon Cornelius calls Hermey and Rudolph misfits, but does decide to help them in spite of their differences
  • King Moonracer allows the misfit toys to inhabit his island. He tells Rudolph that he cannot hide from his problems. He also requests that Rudolph speak on the behalf of the misfit toys when he returns to Christmas Town

In the end, it took the misfits’ rescue of Donner, Mrs. Donner, and Clarice for individuals to admit their prejudices. Donner apologized to his son, the head elf agreed to let Hermey open a dentist office, Santa asked Rudolph to pull his sleigh, and Santa agreed to pick up the misfit toys.

Unfortunately, a tall, bespectacled elf that wishes to remain anonymous shared his opinion with me, “You can’t teach an old elf new tricks. Santa is still an intolerant douche bag. He only agreed to have Rudolph pull his sleigh because of the great blizzard, not because he accepts him.” He went on to add this chilling detail, “There is proof that Santa dumped the misfit toys over Siberia with nothing but an umbrella to cushion their fall.”

The Year Without a Santa Claus

Hey kids! Unkle Lancifer here and boy have I got a treat for you, it’s an early Christmas present from Kindertrauma legend Mickster! Our dear pal was kind enough to send us her views on one of our all time favorite Christmas specials, THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS. Is there any greater holiday gift than having a friend who is as cool as Mickster? Not in my book! Take it away Mickster….

The title alone of this 1974 RANKIN/BASS classic sparked terror in the hearts of children. Like all RANKIN/BASS stop-motion specials, it features the voices of stars from the past. SHIRLEY BOOTH (TV’s HAZEL) voices Mrs. Claus and MICKEY ROONEY (ANDY HARDY Movies) once again voices Santa Claus. The special begins with Santa, who has a terrible cold, being advised by his doctor, who acts suspiciously like Ebenezer Scrooge, to stay home this Christmas. Santa proceeds to call the elves to “cancel” Christmas. Okay, how many Christmas specials over the years have frightened children by claiming that Christmas could be canceled? Of course, as adults we know this is ridiculous, but as a child, it is a traumatizing idea.

Sparked by an idea from Mrs. Claus, who does an awesome dance number in drag, those super intelligent elves Jingle and Jangle set out to find people that still believe in Santa. Jingle and Jangle bring Vixen along with them. All three end up in South Town and begin their search. The genius elves pretend that Vixen, who is suffering in the Southern heat, is a dog and she is thrown in the pound. Jingle and Jangle question a group of children to see if they believe in Santa, which they don’t. They do, however, meet one nice kid named Ignatius “Iggy” Thistlewhite. In the meantime, Santa finds out that Jingle, Jangle, and Vixen have traveled into the “cruel world.” Santa races to bring them back and meets Iggy. Iggy is promptly put in his place on the subject of Santa through a wonderfully sad song sung by Santa (in disguise as Mr. Klaus) called, “I Believe in Santa Claus.”

Excuse me, I have to wipe the tears from my eyes just thinking about this song. Mrs. Claus comes to get Jingle, Jangle, and Iggy. They all travel to see Snow Miser. Mrs. Claus requests that the Snow Miser let it snow in South Town, USA. What follows is probably the best remembered sequence in the special.

As a child, I found characters of Snow Miser and Heat Miser frightening. I think it was because they were so much larger than Mrs. Claus and the fact that they had creepy miniatures following them around. At the same time, Santa retrieves Vixen and returns to the North Pole. He receives a special letter from a little girl (singing “Blue Christmas”) that changes his mind about Christmas.

Sorry, I have use some more tissues as this song makes me weepy too. Let’s stop for a commercial break. Take it away Mother Nature!

With the intervention of Mother Nature, Heat Miser allows snow in South Town. All is well again as Santa goes out on his yearly trip. This special premiered in 1974 and I am sure I watched it then, but I was too young to be traumatized. However, I remember specifically being traumatized by it two years later in 1976. I was so upset at one point that I left the room crying. I was convinced that Santa was not coming. My mom had to bring me back to the living room to finish watching.

  • “I could be Santa Claus”
  • Iggy feels the guilt of not believing
  • “The Snow Miser Song”
  • “The Heat Miser Song”
  • Don’t mess with Mother Nature!
  • “Here comes Santa Claus!”