Split (2016)

Holy Toledo, I dug me some SPLIT. And I’ve been suffering a miserable movie track record lately! I found ALIEN: COVENANT to be a profound disappointment, I thought the abysmally titled RINGS was an atrocious snooze-fest and IT COMES AT NIGHT though undeniably impressive, made me want to hang myself. SPLIT is a good time! It’s got what I call “Joie de horreur.” I couldn’t wait to see what happened next and it’s so genuinely entertaining that it’s easy to forgive whatever little (or not so little) lapses in logic might occur. In fact, the film’s overall goofy weirdness tends to automatically transform its missteps and wonky reasoning into campy charm. I don’t know if it was its shameless misrepresentation of multiple personality disorder (see also RAISING CAIN) or its unabashed exaltation of the great BETTY BUCKLEY (see also CARRIE) but this angel of a movie inadvertently gave me the DE PALMA thriller fix I had no idea I was craving so darn badly. If NANCY ALLEN showed up, I could have died a happy man right there on my cat-shredded couch.

Please believe my sincerity when I tell you I mean this as a compliment- SPLIT not only reminded me of a delicious DE PALMA psychobabble sundae, it also made me feel like I was watching an extraordinary new breed of mutant LIFETIME movie (sorta like GONE GIRL). Three innocent teen girls (including bunny-faced ANYA TAYLOR-JOY of THE WITCH fame) are abducted from a mall (KING OF PRUSSIA MALL, the same joint I rented my very first VHS tapes from!) and kept prisoner by a madman with a ton of personalities and an enviable wardrobe. Bring a snack! This is the type of movie that if you caught it on TV, you’d never be able to change the channel or go back to sleep. Yes, it hit me in my LIFETIME zone and I found myself just as trapped as those girls. The only thing that softened the tension for me was the fact that I felt so comfortable in the lunatic’s living space and really related to his decorating style (especially the child alternate’s room with the stuffed animals). I realize now that the absolute perfect window for me is one that is drawn with a crayon. Let’s face it; I wouldn’t try to escape. Is that bad?

Don’t worry, I’m not forgetting JAMES McAVOY, he gets his own paragraph. Who is this guy? I barely noticed him in those X MEN movies and I didn’t make it past 30 minutes of VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN but he’s truly a wonder to behold in SPLIT. I can’t remember the last time I witnessed an actor so gleefully reveling in the boundless possibilities of his craft before. He’s completely free and fearless and you can’t take your eyes off of him. I’m sure somebody with a keener ear than mine could find faults with his delivery but his overall effervescence sold me completely.

And I have to say, even though this film’s representation of a dissociated identity disorder/multiple personality disorder is outdated, cartoonish and bordering on irresponsible, I can’t help being intoxicated by it. Maybe it’s just residual affiliation left over from my preteen obsession with SYBIL but I’m too intrigued by this questionably accurate construct to let it go. Even if multiple personalities don’t exist as this persistent Hollywood trope suggests, I think there is a useful truth about the fluidity of personal identity being represented that we all can relate to and recognize in ourselves. Hasn’t everyone had the experience of seeing different sides of themselves emerge when confronted by difficult situations? Is it uncommon to fear that an emotion might take you over, that if you were to express your anger fully you’d be in danger of becoming a monster? Who doesn’t want to regress back to the simple joys of childhood when reality becomes hideous? I guess what I’m saying is whatever this presentation of mental illness lacks in the accuracy department, I think it makes up for by relaying a bigger truth about the human condition. That’s my rationalization anyway, and I’m sticking to it.

I know I’m super late to the game and get zero cool points for gushing over a highly successful mainstream movie by a popular director six months after its release but this all does my heart good anyway. It’s a solid reminder that people can still surprise you after you have completely given up on them. I not only disagreed that THE VISIT was a return to form for M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN, I also thought THE VISIT was one of the most annoying motion pictures ever made.

But now I’m letting bygones be bygones. I’m even going to join the rest of the world and erase that faux-documentary THE BURIED SECRET OF M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN from my memory banks. It’s a good thing to have a director out there interested in the darker, more mysterious side of life making decent films again. A rising tide lifts all boats! Maybe now some more performance-reliant character driven independent horror films will get made- who knows? Plus, I have to give M. NIGHT his rightful due for consistently showcasing the super glamorous city of Philadelphia, the home of Kindertrauma Kastle, in the most complimentary light possible. In the end though, I’m most happy with the film’s bold conclusion. As we all know, M. KNIGHT is notorious for his twist endings. In this particular case, the ending actually opens the film up and expands its universe, increasing the possibilities. Whereas, I think the lion’s share of his previous rug-pulls do the exact opposite. I guess it could be argued that I enjoyed this because my expectations were low but the reality is, an exceptional performance (and a heaping dollop of BETTY BUCKLEY) goes a long way. Your mileage may vary but for me, SPLIT is just what the doctor ordered.

Facebook Apocalypse 2015

If any of you fine folks follow the Kindertrauma fan page on Facebook or have friended my Unkle Lancifer profile, you may have noticed that they both recently up and disappeared. What happened was, Facebook had an issue with Unkle Lancifer not being my “real” name and as the Kindertrauma page was set up by that account, it was assassinated too. Both, by the way, were created before such a rule existed. If you rely on Facebook to alert you to new Kindertrauma posts, I’m sorry, that won’t be happening anymore. So far, from what I can see our readership has not taken a major dive since this occurred and it’s pretty obvious Facebook was only showing the updates to a fraction of our followers anyway in some lame attempt to get us to pay for them to “boost” their visibility. Frankly, on more than a few occasions, I wondered if posting flyers on telephone poles would be more effective.

I have tried everything to fix the situation and it’s basically like having brunch with the monolith from 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. I’ve sent them I.D., as requested, and explained that “Unkle Lancifer” is a nick name/alias/pen name all to no avail. All I have received in return are automated emails designed to look like they are from a human when clearly they are not (and I’m the phony?) They refuse to even acknowledge my grievance until I present them with ID that says “Unkle Lancifer” and of course, nothing like that exists. Their only excuse for that random Draconian practice is, “We take your online security seriously’’ which is funny coming from the people who badger me for days about items that I happened to glance at on Ebay or Amazon earlier in the week. Robot-cookie-dudes, I looked up that DEATH SPA DVD merely to see if it existed, not because I wanted it (well, maybe I do want it but that’s not the point- nor is it FB’s business).

This steamroller of a policy has already gotten Facebook on many a drag queen’s shit list and it’s not hard to see why (more HERE). There are a myriad of reasons why a person may want to use a name other than the one they were born with and many of them far outweigh, in legitimacy, whatever this spurious policy is allegedly trying to accomplish.

My incentive, I admit, was not fueled by a necessity, as I just wanted to present a horror host type persona a’la DR. SHOCK or ELVIRA. There was absolutely nothing conniving or deceitful about that action so it’s weird that Facebook provides more wiggle room for hate groups than it does a nostalgic movie site designed to provide entertainment (for free I might add). Even if Facebook does come to provide an actual solution (rather than an empty apology) to the drag community, there’s no way to be certain that it will revive my Facebook account (which is ironic considering I’ve often been mistaken for “Richie” JANE MARCH’s male persona in COLOR OF NIGHT (1994). Ooops…spoiler alert).

Furthermore, I don’t know how many hoops I even want to jump through for this Facebook thing. In a rare instance of my taste not coinciding with that of the average shut-in, I’ve never been much of a fan. Some think of it as a necessary evil but I’ve come to call it by its real name “The Ego Pit of Flaming Insecurities.” On the plus side, it does showcase some of the most adorable animals in the world but on the minus side, nothing has been responsible for lessening my view of humanity more. I mean it’s basically VIDEODROME. Right? How is it not exactly, precisely and literally (give it a rest, word police) VIDEODROME?

Maybe that’s a little harsh. I know some people who get a lot of positive use from it. It’s just never been a comfortable fit for me. I guess I’ve always had some weird instinctive aversion to hive chatter and anything that operates like a mind control parasite invasion from outer space.

I don’t know. Does Kindertrauma even need Facebook? We existed before without it and I feel like those were the salad days. I know theoretically you are supposed to desire the largest following possible but I’m more than fine with the clubhouse vibe going on here. The few times a post of ours has been picked up by a larger horror site on Facebook and I have gotten to see the types of comments a more popular joint attracts all I can think is, “Thank God I don’t have to digest that type of nonsense regularly.”

Anyway, I’m leaving it up to you readers. If you enjoy the convenience of being alerted to our updates via Facebook, I’ll just open a new account under my “real” name and we can have it there for that purpose alone. Sure, it’ll sting to start over at zero friends but I can’t pretend I’ve never experienced that wonderful sensation before. Let me know. I can go either way. I quit smoking 7 months ago (!) after 25 plus years and if I can quit that, I can drop Facebook quicker than a Christmas tree in January.

Plus the idea of never having to rate the worth of our output again by how many folks deign to “like” it in the Thunderdome kind of thrills me. Not that discovering that Facebook had left my cake out in the rain didn’t hurt, it did. We lost a ton. There was a lot of original content (that I’m praying we backed up) and all of the great comments we got from our readers over the years are now gone (Not to play favorites, but I took a screenshot of Nancy Allen’s comment, so that’s safe).

What kills me the most though is that in the early days we posted so many pictures of the stray kittens we adopted (as duplicitous fiends do) and although we’re sure to have saved them elsewhere, I’ll miss having them in the timeline order they occurred. I even went through all the five stages of grief: DENIAL (it’s a mistake); ANGER (cue MADELINE KAHN flaming head CLUE (1985) gif!); BARGAINING (You can throw out the account that I use to connect with my family if I can have KT’s back!); DEPRESSION (I own every album by THE CURE and I’m not afraid to use them); and finally ACCEPTANCE (We’ll live and hey, don’t they let you post pictures on Twitter these days?).

I’ll keep you guys posted and in the meantime here is our TWITTER that you can follow for updates. I realize that’s probably just another head sprouting from the same dragon but at least when it breathes fire on you, it does it in 140 puffs or less and doesn’t try to charge you for the privilege.

Most importantly we’re HERE, as in here at Kindertrauma.com. This is our home and these are our pink walls and around these parts my name is Unkle Lancifer and my husband goes by Aunt John. If that’s a problem you know where the door is (it’s that pointy “back” button at the top left corner). Everybody else; “nuestra casa es su casa.” If you want to talk scary movies or creepy stuff on TV or anything that freaked you out as a kid and made you the horror fan you are today– we’ve got you covered. I guarantee you’ll see stuff here you won’t see anywhere else. We’ll keep coming back as long as you guys keep coming back and maybe, probably, even longer. Honestly I’ve always pegged Facebook being to blogs as the freeway was to the Bates Motel, so don’t be surprised if this place only gets more interesting.

Subway Horrors!

Did I mention we moved? Poor me, I’m no longer a hop, skip and a unicycle ride from the places I need to be. That is why I have been forced by fate to acquaint myself with a place that smells an awful lot like pee…the subway. I know most of my (dwindling) friends who live in the city think nothing about jumping down some stairs and zooming underground to their destination but I’ve always made a point of walking everywhere I could. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve needed to use the subway over the last 20 or so years. The thing is; I’m really cheap! And I could use that money for Necco Wafers! Plus c’mon people! Public transportation is ripe for disaster and you know it! I don’t want anybody taking my Pelham 1, 2 or 3, thank you very much.

Actually the subway is not so bad. It’s convenient, it’s speedy and you can meet some really interesting people there (especially when you live close to a methadone clinic.) Take for example, the nice old man who chose to sit next to me the other day even though there were thousands of empty seats everywhere. Doing his best impersonation of Crazy Ralph from FRIDAY THE 13TH, he informed me that the previous day a woman came up to him, ripped off her face and revealed that she was a monster. “What is happening to us?” he asked me, switching his impersonation to a spot on KEVIN MCCARTHY in INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, “We are ALL turning into monsters!” I didn’t exactly disagree with him and I admired his ability to cut to the chase but…Oh look, it’s my stop! As I exited, the kindly stranger said that he “hoped nobody ripped my face off” which is a nice sentiment if you think about it, although you’re unlikely to ever find it in a Hallmark card. Again, we were in agreement, I hoped nobody ripped my face off too! If I had to choose though, I’d prefer my mindset earlier in the day when it wasn’t on my list of things to concern myself with. My theory is that old guy was just me from the future screwing with me from the past so I tried not to let future-me see me sweat.

So anyway all this subway travel has gotten me thinking about all the movies I know that have subways in them. Here are some scary movie subways! Please enjoy and as always, I hope nobody rips your face off!


This movie freaks me out because I know in my heart of hearts that Martians really do look like grasshoppers! If you watch it back to back with LIFEFORCE (1985) you can witness the destruction of London twice!


Subway cannibals are the worst. I can’t decide what recommends this seventies gem better, the fact that Legends DONALD PLEASENCE and CHRISTOPHER LEE are in it or the fact that the movie shares the same father (GARY SHERMAN) as two of my favorite babies, DEAD & BURIED and the goofy/spectacular POLTERGEIST III!

MIMIC (1997)

Any bug that doesn’t fit under your shoe is a bad bug in my book! Alternate title: Romy and Roachy’s Subway Reunion! Note: Director GUILLERMO DEL TORO would later go on to use a subway platform as a place of peril for a box of kittens in HELLBOY (2004).


The tube chase scene in AAWIN might have been the scariest bit in the movie if the movie did not also feature Nazi werewolves machine gunning children while they watch THE MUPPET SHOW.


Writer BRUCE JOEL RUBIN clearly understands the scare-potential of subways. Both of these 1990 flicks he penned feature a pivotal and/or creepy scene in one!


Aw, remember when Jason decided to take Manhattan? And by “take” I mean stroll through it for ten minutes, drink some toxic sewage and turn into child. Worst itinerary ever, at least stop for a knish!

MANIAC (1980)

JOE SPINELL is here to tell you that there is something scarier than a subway station at night and that is a public restroom in a subway station at night.


I put this on here because I clearly remember ISABELLE ADJANI gorgeously loosing her mind (among other things) in a subway station. I didn’t realize somebody also stole her banana.


Last thing I’d want to bump into on a subway is a neon maniac! Unless of course I had some water with me in which case I’d just throw water on them and they’d die. What more can I say about this incredible movie that I did not say HERE?

THE WIZ (1978)

So clearly there is no way to visit Oz without something totally traumatic happening. Oh God those horrible marionettes! More on this trauma-scene HERE.


This one didn’t work for me as well as it should have and I think it’s because I somehow find BRADLEY COOPER more unnerving than VINNIE JONES.


Congratulations FINAL DESTINATION series! You systematically ruined every possible means of transportation besides jetpack for me.

CREEP (2004)

This feature debut from CHRISTOPHER SMITH (SEVERANCE, TRIANGLE, BLACK DEATH) is as underrated as he is versatile. My only complaint is that the same titled RADIOHEAD song doesn’t play over the closing credits. Run FRANKA run!


Growing up a sheltered suburbanite, I was quit convinced that THE WARRIORS was an absolutely accurate depiction of life in the big city. What a disappointment! (Not that I would have joined “the warriors” anyway, I would have to go with the “punks” on account of the overalls.)


I swear this list is not in any order but that doesn’t mean I didn’t save the best for last. It doesn’t matter how many times I see this movie, it seems to get more suspenseful with every view. In addition, this allows me to close on a positive note because if the subway is a place where you might bump into NANCY ALLEN than it must not be so bad after all.

UPDATE: Oh great! Where I used to find a soothing poster of IDRIS ELBA drinking gin (above), I know find this…

Traumafession:: Kinderpal Turnidoff on Strange Invaders

I just watched this film again recently and lo and behold, the strong influence of seeing my life though Kindertrauma eyes reeled its ugly head. Your influence on me is chilling.

This film is standard small town inhabited by space aliens Sci-fi formula. The plot is very similar to Fulci’s ZOMBIE 2 (1979) but with an 80’s Spielbergian flare. It’s a PG film, but PG back in the day wasn’t PG at all. More like a hard PG-13.

There is plenty of traumatic scenes for a 10 year old to stumble upon. The worst is when one of the aliens “absorb” the essence of a small boy. The boy looks with terror as his feet shrivel up and screams as his body caves in on itself. All goopy and gory like.

The effects actually hold up. The aliens are still pretty damn creepy looking with their black obsidian eyes!

The one problem with the film is lead actor Paul LeMat. He has about as much charisma as a floor lamp. He is void of any actor qualities. Even his name is dull. Fortunately the lovely braless chain-smoking Nancy Allen comes to the rescue. Everything she touches, she makes that much better.

If you love Nancy Allen and goopy 80’s gore, (and who doesn’t? I can’t think of anyone) you can’t go wrong with STRANGE INVADERS.

(place zillion pics of Nancy Allen here)

UNK SEZ: If you’re looking for gratuitous NANCY ALLEN you have come to the right place! The only person that I know of who holds her in higher regard than myself is your very own Aunt John! Thanks a zillion Turnidoff! Any day that starts with a traumafession from you is bound to be a good one!

The Philadelphia Experiment

Once in a very great while a movie comes along that seamlessly combines top drawer acting and mind-boggling special effects while exposing a shameful military cover-up. 1984’s THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT is not such a film; however it does have one card up its sleeve that trumps its inherent mediocrity and her name, my friends, is NANCY ALLEN!

Okay, NANCY naysayers, hear me out. During the tumultuous weather patterns that crippled the Eastern Seaboard last month, I found myself with plenty of sofa time and a desire to watch DePALMA’s BLOW OUT. Enter the ALLEN on her one-trick hooker pony and I really thought she stunk up the joint. UNK strongly disagreed and requested that I at least watch DRESSED TO KILL before I threw NANCY out once and for all with the married-to-the-director bathwater. UNK, I gotta say, really knows best! As the working gal with the heart of gold who, with the help of a plucky teen shutterbug, turns the tables on a straight-razor wielding transvestite therapist, ALLEN secured my undying admiration and sent me on a quest to explore her full body of work.

In short, THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT is loosely based on the conspiracy theory surrounding battleship invisibility testing that allegedly took place at the tail end of World War II in the Philly Naval Shipyard. As the story goes, a naval destroyer temporarily disappeared during a top-secret, hush-hush experiment gone awry and when it reappeared, some of the crew members were stuck in the walls and the decks and, in the end, they were all driven insane by the residual effects of time travel and the government covered it up. Or something like that (if you care to go down that rabbit hole, by all means, be my guest and please go HERE.)

Perhaps realizing that a whole film devoted to time traveling seamen would not be of interest to a mainstream audience (I mean, sure that could play in the art houses, but not Middle America); the screenwriters threw in an unrequited love story between one of the time-displaced sailors (brooding slab of beef MICHAEL PARE) and an ambitious ingénue headed from Cincinnati to Los Angeles who gets carjacked when she stops to use a payphone in one of those creepy, two-mule desert towns in Nevada.

So, of course, our hopeful actress looking for her big break is played by NANCY, who gets even more props in my book for playing against type by neither being a lady of the night nor a complete monster (ala her bitchy, star-making turn in CARRIE.) You see, ALLEN, as I have finally comes to realize, has somewhat of a considerable range and THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT showcases her previously unseen empathetic and maternal sides. Whereas anyone in her right mind would probably press charges against the sailors for kidnapping and car jacking and then not show up for the hearing because she had a really big audition, ALLEN’s character sees something in PARE’s troubled puppy eyes. She packs a hell of a lot into the little line, “I believe that you believe it.”

And since she believes in him, we the audience must too, even as he grows increasingly insufferable and more violent as the film progresses. He trashes the motel room she rents for them, never manages a simple thank you for the packs of smokes she buys for him, and nearly kills her when he subjects them to one of the hokiest high-speed car chases through an orchard ever caught on film. But that’s NANCY, she cares damn it, and for that I cannot fault her for this hot mess of a movie.

Blame could be placed on director JOSEPH RAFFILL, but how can I, in good conscience, hate on the genius responsible for the Kindertraumatic Klassic MAC & ME (not to mention THE ICE PIRATES and MANNEQUIN: ON THE MOVE )? I could try to fault the special effects department for making every last time travel sequence look like it was ripped from the then cutting-edge “HBO Feature Presentation” teaser trailer, but as a kid of the late ‘70s/ early ‘80s I was raised on that and am quite the soft touch when it comes to rudimentary lighting effects. Haters hate, but back then, that sort of stuff was cool on the first go round.

Seriously though, I think the Stockholm syndrome so elegantly exhibited by ALLEN rubbed off on me. I should not recommend this film to anyone, and I won’t, but I am kind of looking forward to watching its 1993 sequel THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT II. What’s that you say? NANCY ain’t in it… well then, never mind.