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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 · 4 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

Sunday Movie:: Cellar Dweller (1988) (Via Comet TV)

May 14th, 2017 · 3 Comments

Have you ever spent the better part of a day sobbing uncontrollably while throwing fine china against the wall because the multi-talented JOHN CARL BUECHLER (TROLL) never directed a movie based on a screenplay written by DON (CHILD’S PLAY) MANCINI? Well, stop doing that because such a film does indeed exist and it goes by the name CELLAR DWELLER. It just so happens to be the greatest horror film involving comic books that takes place in an artist colony that features JEFFREY COMBS ever made. I wrote about it way back HERE and I do believe my only major gripe was that the monster was too adorable. Anyway, today is the luckiest day of your entire life because our good pals over at the best TV station ever invented, COMET TV are showing it for free at four, HERE! I think we should ALL watch it but only after we’ve called our moms and wished them a Happy Mother’s Day. Did I mention the ultimate, quintessential horror momma YVONNE DE CARLO is in this movie making it a perfectly fine choice for Mother’s Day? She is! Happy Mother’s Day!

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Tags: Sunday Streaming

Name That Trauma:: Ariel K. on Overgrown Brows

May 13th, 2017 · 6 Comments

HI!

I’m told you may be able to help me…

Do you know the name of this movie? I think it’s a one-word title beginning with “D”. 50’s, 60’s or 70’s b/w. About radioactive waste off the coast somewhere in the British Isles. Possibly sunken in barrels. The people in the village get overgrown brows, and their fingers possibly begin to fuse. Babies born with defects. Some outside agency tries to convince them it’s radiation but they’re too superstitious to believe it? I think? I saw this at age eleven and it’s haunted me since. It’s not “The Giant Behemoth“. Does it sound familiar at all? I developed a habit of brushing my fingers across my brow, just to check that it hadn’t “grown over”. Thirty-six years later, and I still do this.

THANK YOU

UNK SEZ: Hey, I think I know this one! We had it at the video store I worked at and it happened to have a very unusual VHS box with its poster art image going sideways. I do believe you are looking for DOOMWATCH (1972). Check out its wikipedia page HERE and the trailer below and let us know if we got it right. Thanks for writing in (and the great description), Ariel!

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Tags: Name That Trauma!

Spot the Difference:: Pieces (1982)

May 12th, 2017 · 6 Comments

This puzzle is exactly what you think it is! There are ten differences between the image above (A) and the image below (B). How many can you find?

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Tags: Kindertrauma Funhouse

Streaming Alert:: Pluto TV

May 10th, 2017 · No Comments

The time has come for me to alert you dear people to the wonder that is PLUTO TV! PLUTO TV is an ingenious app you download for free and then all of the sudden you’ve got over 75 TV channels tap dancing for your entertainment. You can put it on your computer, Apple or Roku TV and/or gaming system and it’s like getting free cable and yet it’s totally legit. Of particular interest to Kindertrauma readers is a channel called HORROR 24/7 which shows horror movies around the clock! It’s a cool mix of stellar titles (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS), fun cult flicks ( SUNDOWN: THE VAMPIRE IN RETREAT) and those weird cheap-o titles you’ve never heard of and would never pay to see but don’t mind watching for free.

There’s also a MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 channel and a RIFFTRAX channel in case you’re too tired to ridicule movies yourself and a SHOUT FACTORY channel showing all of their cool fare. There’s even a cartoon channel that sometimes shows TALES FROM THE CRYPTKEEPER! If you are into wrestling then it looks like you are in especially good luck (there’s like, 5 channels devoted to that) and if you are the type who just wants to watch news, weather or even the view from a train gliding through Europe all day, they’ve got you covered on various other channels. In fact, I don’t think I’ve even begun to explore all of the strange, fascinating corners of the PLUTO universe just yet. It’s a lot to take in (as I type this I’m listening to my newest discovery, their irresistible 80’s radio station).

If you’re somebody who doesn’t have or want cable, this is a godsend. I know these days people are used to being able to choose what and when to watch at all times but as somebody who can sometimes be cripplingly indecisive, I kind of like just checking out what happens to be on and discovering things I’d never pick out for myself (just like in the old UHF days). I get the sense that PLUTO TV is just getting started (they just signed a licensing deal with LIONSGATE, MGM and WARNER BROS. so expect even more top drawer titles soon) but as for now it’s more than worthy of your attention for the awesome HORROR 24/7 channel alone. Check PLUTO TV out HERE!

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Tags: Streaming Alert!

Sunday Streaming:: Anna To The Infinite Power By Kevin Maher

May 7th, 2017 · 2 Comments

“There are 32 ways to write a story, and I’ve used every one, but there is only one plot – things are not as they seem.”
– Jim Thompson, pulp novelist

The difference between Columbo and Murder, She Wrote is that in Murder, She Wrote the viewer tries to solve the crime while Jessica Fletcher does. But with Columbo the audience sees whodunit right at the start, and they watch Lt. Columbo try to figure it out.

Watching someone unravel a mystery can be entertaining, even cathartic. And the more personal the mystery is, the more dramatic it can be.

In INVADERS FROM MARS a young boy discovers his parents are not what they seem.

In I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE a young bride discovers her husband is not what he seems.

In THE PARENT TRAP two girls discover they are not what they seem.

One of the most sensitive types of secret is your own identity. Those stories involve some of the most upsetting secrets.

In THE 6TH DAY, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Adam (the hero of the story) finds out he is a clone.

In The Twilight Zone episode “The Lateness of the Hour” a young woman learns that she is an android. (It’s somehow fitting that this is one of the episodes they shot on videotape.)

The clone/robot trope has been explored and executed to great effect on recent cable series like Westworld and Battlestar Galactica.

I most recently encountered a clone narrative in the newest RESIDENT EVIL movie. (Major spoilers coming, but you knew where this was headed…)

At the very end of RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER, Alice finds out she is a clone. This shattering plot-point is down-played. (Granted the series is known for its action set-pieces more than its character moments.) When the Red Queen informs Alice that she’s a clone, Alice is comforted by this judgment: not only is she the best of all the clones, she is superior to the original Alice. (Oh, I get it! They’re speaking metaphorically about RESIDENT EVIL movies. Each sequel is criticized for being a “clone” of the previous film. So now Paul W.S. Anderson is saying that this final installment is not only better than the previous sequels, it’s better than the first film!)

I walked out of the theater (yes, I saw RESIDENT EVIL in the theater! I had to see it for a podcast) feeling like they’d missed an opportunity for bigger drama. Or at least an opportunity to give me the kind of clone-revelation-drama I seem to enjoy so much.

Thinking about clone narratives and how they figure into hero myths, I suddenly summoned a faint memory of kindertraumatic movie called ANNA TO THE INFINITE POWER.

I’d seen it once when I was 10, and it was one of those movies no one else remembers. (In the pre-internet days that made you the keeper of the flame, you alone had to keep the movie alive by remembering it.)

I got home and searched for ANNA on YouTube. There were only a couple of short clips. But those brief images were enough to flood me with those tingly kindertraumatic feelings. It’s like when you were a kid and right before you lost a tooth you tasted the bittersweet flavor of your blood. Gross AND exciting!

I kept searching for ANNA online. (Ironically there weren’t any bootlegs of this clone movie.) And then one day it turned up on YouTube, on a channel run by a guy whose content is predominantly videos of Thom Matthews. You can just tell, he’s good people!

You can guess the film’s basic premise: a young girl discovers she is one of many clones. Her entire childhood has been a lie. Who is she cloned from? Why do flickering lights give her headaches? What does any of this have to do with the Nazis?

ANNA is a special kind of science-fiction, where the low-budget and modest filmmaking somehow help it seem more real and relatable. (Kind of like how those videotaped Twilight Zone episodes don’t seem like TV at all.) If the movie gets under your skin, it’s not because of the special effects of grandiose cinematography, but because of simple themes

ANNA TO THE INFINITE POWER tackles all the big questions of a good clone movie: addressing ethics, technology and morality, all wrapped up in the soap opera of a pre-teen girl wondering if her family is her family as she confronts who she really is and what she is destined to become.

Throughout the movie there’s a truly haunting song, which was composed by Paul Baillargeon, who wrote music for Star Trek. (Not the original series, but Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Those still count!)

If cheap-but-effective science-fiction isn’t enough to get you on board, I have two words for you: Mark Patton. That’s right, Anna’s brother is played by Jesse Walsh from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE. (Apparently Mark Patton is also drawn to stories about characters struggling with their identity!) His presence adds a certain kind of non-star star-power. You know what I mean? That pleasant familiarity of seeing an actor who you only know from one role. It reminds me of the delight I’ve experienced when Marilyn Burns shows up in a movie that isn’t THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, it’s like you’ve just run into an old friend.

Maybe I’m drawn to these melodramatic clone revelations because it’s a far-removed story premise that could never happen to me. Or maybe, deep down I’m afraid it could be my secret origin. Either way, you should watch ANNA TO THE INFINITE POWER while it’s still on YouTube (HERE).

And If you’re looking for a double-feature, Hulu’s streaming an episode of The X-Files that is said to have a suspicious number of similarities to ANNA. Season 1, episode 11: “Eve” (HERE).

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming