Let’s take a field trip over to DANGEROUS MINDS! That cool joint is interviewing our pal AMANDA REYES about her upcoming book entitled ARE YOU IN THE HOUSE ALONE? A TV MOVIE COMPENDIUM 1964-1999! Amanda gives an overview of some of the shiniest jewels in the TV Movie universe and the full flicks are even included so you can catch what you might have missed! It’s everything you could possibly want besides an egg salad sandwich and a frosty Yoo-hoo! After you’ve read the post go mow a lawn and save some money to buy that book! Even if yours truly didn’t contribute a tiny portion to it, your favorite shelf would be begging for that lovely tome to sit on it! Jump on over HERE! These TV Movie classics can’t watch themselves!
UNK SEZ: I hope everybody packed a lunch today because we are taking a field trip over to MADE FOR TV MAYHEM where our old pal AMANDA BY NIGHT is hosting a party celebrating the highly anticipated DVD release of the TV movie classic HORROR AT 37,000 FEET (Kinder-review HERE)! In celebration, Amanda has compiled a fantastic list of ten of her favorite TV movie OMG moments just for you! Please hand me your parent-signed permission slips as you get on the bus and no monkey business! Stop singing “One hundred bottles of beer on the wall”! We’re HERE!
I don’t have my homework today not because the dog ate it but because I simply didn’t do it. I got too distracted! It’s not my fault. I blame Mickster and Frank Stallone. Ya see, Mickster told me about this Lynda Carter TV movie called HOTLINE (1982) on YoutTube and while I was watching it, Frank Stallone just appeared out of nowhere. Now, I love Frank Stallone more than a million Sylvester Stallones and so I had to verify it was him, which I did, but then I found a beautiful TV GUIDE ad for HOTLINE and that took me to this place called 2 WARPS TO NEPTUNE and that place was so great that I ended up being trapped there for hours and hours and I got nothing done. I didn’t even find out what happened to Lynda Carter in HOTLINE!
One of my favorite posts on 2 WARPS TO NEPTUNE comes courtesy of yet another amazing site called BLANKED AS ORDERED. It’s very well suited for Kindertrauma and so I must share. It’s a collection of drawing done by a fellow named Ryan Orvis and his late sister Ginger when they were kids. The two went to go see THE BLACK HOLE together and were so flabbergasted and traumatized by the experience that they immediately took to cathartically relating their ordeal through art. These drawings are fantastic! I want them all hung and framed on my wall (which is incidentally wallpapered with a THE BLACK HOLE bed sheet)! Which reminds me, don’t you hate it in movies when they show a kid’s drawing and it so obviously not drawn by a kid but by an adult trying to replicate the way a kid draws? That is one of my biggest pet peeves! First of all, it’s so obvious and secondly, why not just hire a real kid to draw it for crying out loud! How hard is that?
UNK SEZ: My apologies if you have already heard about this but just in case you missed it, yours truly and Kindertrauma appeared in yesterday’s New York Times in an article about the upcoming remake of SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT! Check it out HERE! SILENT NIGHT stars MALCOLM McDOWELL and JAIME KING and will be available on December 4th!
UNK SEZ: If you happen to be a slasher fan or a comics fan or a fan of people who get creative and make stuff, I need to point out something special to you! Stacie Ponder of the perennial hot spot FINAL GIRL has gone and made a mini-comic called SLASHERS 101 and it is a hysterically informative primer on, let’s face it, the best movies ever made.
Ponder knows her stuff after racking up years in the VHS salt mines and her illustrations are wonderfully expressive. For one Abe Lincoln (five bucks) you get the comic alone and for two Abes (ten bucks), Ponder will illustrate the back for you with an original drawing of your request (within reason)! For more details on how you can get your hands on this little treasure just jump on over HERE!
The other day while trying to hunt down a “Name That Trauma!” I came across several mentions of a local television show from the early seventies entitled CANDLE COVE. The show seemed to have left a hefty impression on the unfortunate young souls who made a habit of watching it. CANDLE COVE was about a little girl named Janice and her interactions with a group of pirates that were portrayed by cheap looking puppets. For a kid’s show, CANDLE COVE was dark and twisted in a way that only a seventies show could get away with. There was even a villain named “The Skin Taker” and his cape appeared to be sewn together pieces of-you guessed it… skin. How had I never heard of CANDLE COVE before and why did it sound slightly familiar anyway? Finally I found a conversational thread that seemed to verify the existence of this highly kindertraumatic creation. Please take a moment and read it HERE.
…Did you read it? Don’t lie to me. Okay, so it turns out that CANDLE COVE was never really a show at all but spawned from a work of short fiction written by one KRIS STRAUB. Something about KRIS’ creation stuck a cord with the Internet and now CANDLE COVE is beginning to crystallize into a modern urban legend of sorts right before our eyes. Some refuse to believe that it never existed and some believe that they have witnessed it themselves. You have to admit after reading that thread that it doesn’t sound too far off from the conversations we have here at Kindtrauma, with different people remembering different bits until finally something solid takes form. I think the last comment that closes KRIS’ piece is brilliant. It captures just how diabolical and intrusive these vague memories from childhood can sometimes feel. I’m happy to say that I was able to track down KRIS for a short interview for you guys so here it is!
UNK: I almost didn’t want to reveal CANDLE COVE as a work of fiction but then I realized that no matter how many times that fact is put out there, some people refuse to believe that it’s not real. What’s it like to know that something you created has taken on a life of its own and in such a relatively short amount of time?
KRIS STRAUB: At first I wasn’t aware that it had happened at all. I had a horror fiction site, ICHOR FALLS, where I posted CANDLE COVE initially, and it ended up shared without my knowledge at much more popular horror fiction sites, where it reached a much bigger audience. I know 4chan helped to spread it around. The first time I saw people re-enacting the story, post for post, to scare an unsuspecting forum, I was so gratified. I kind of wrote it just to get the idea out of my head.
One of the things that I think let it take on a life of its own is how vague it is, and how earnest the show seems to be before all the scary stuff is revealed. So many things that scare us as kids start from this innocuous desire to entertain children, but it’s produced carelessly, or some special effect comes out way more ponderous or ugly than the creators intended, and it lingers as we, as children, try to make it fit with our limited understanding of the world. I think we have all been disturbed by shows and movies that have failed us in that way.
UNK: CANDLE COVE has inspired fan videos, fan fiction, music and a Facebook page promising a future movie. What addition to the CANDLE COVE legend have you been most taken aback by?
KRIS STRAUB: I like that people are excited about the story, but I get nervous when I see someone trying to make a film or their own CANDLE COVE books and stories. One of the good and bad things about how quick the story became an urban legend is that people really do think it’s an urban legend with no origin and no author. Fan work is great, but I’m very torn about balancing the fact that it is copyrighted and I do own the story, with the idea that it is in the nature of the story to be spread, namelessly, in dark corners of the internet. I know that serves the mythos way more than me being a litigious dick about it.
As far as being taken aback, I never know how serious Rule 34 is. The rule of the internet that states that if it’s a thing, then there’s porn of it on the internet. So there’s some sexy CANDLE COVE stuff out there that I hope was made as a personal self-challenge, and not a real, living desire to see Horace Horrible get it on with the Skin-Taker.
UNK: Can you tell us a little bit about your website ICHOR FALLS and the inspirations behind CANDLE COVE?
KRIS STRAUB: ICHOR FALLS is a collection of stories revolving around a fictional West Virginia town of the same name. I started writing them out of a love of Lovecraftian horror — not horror where someone gets chopped up, but where someone is made to realize that they don’t really understand the forces that drive the world, but they’ve seen too much of the truth. I also came to love the short stories of STEVEN MILLHAUSER, who doesn’t write horror per se, but creates these little universes where one good idea is taken too far, and then he takes it even further. Most of them are really unsettling.
Believe it or not, CANDLE COVE was specifically inspired by an old article on THE ONION: “Area 36-Year-Old Still Has Occasional Lidsville Nightmare.” It’s so accurate. I don’t know what dark entities SID & MARTY KROFFT spent time in the thrall of, but everything they made to entertain kids is tinged with this unearthly, utterly alien sensibility. I looked up the call letters for a TV station in that area of West Virginia and the names of nearby towns, and it lent the story a little verisimilitude.
UNK: I feel like you could take this idea as far as you like. Do you have anything in store for the future as far as CANDLE COVE and its burgeoning mythos?
KRIS STRAUB: It’s tough! I started to get really excited in continuing the mythos, but I think CANDLE COVE works because it is brief and vague and interrupted. I think to put a name or face to whatever is behind the making of the show is to spoil the magic. I always appreciated THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT for never showing us the witch. A CGI monster can never be as scary as what we invent in our own minds as a placeholder.
I have an idea keeping with the forum-post format, that involves someone asking around an auction site like eBay for the original tapes. There have also been some fan attempts to debunk CANDLE COVE (which always happens quickly, especially if people see this interview), but I’d like to write a whole meta-novella where someone decides to publish their attempts to expose CANDLE COVE and finds more than they were expecting.
UNK: Last but not least, I’ve got to try and get a traumafession out of you. What was the first movie, TV show, etc. that you remember being truly terrified of as kid?
KRIS STRAUB: I think I have a good one. There was an ABC AFTERSCHOOL SPECIAL from the ’80s, “Cousin Kevin,” about this little bespectacled kid whose imagination was too real for the babysitter. There’s one sequence where Cousin Kevin is imagining that they’re in the Arctic, and they’re attacked by “30-foot-tall carnivorous killer penguins.” They were stop-motion-animated by the Chiodo Bros., I remember that. All the effects were.
So Kevin and his babysitter escape and hide in a tiny igloo, and the penguin breaks it open easily, and Kevin says “watch out for their acid saliva!” and this huge fake penguin beak oozes steaming slime on the babysitter as he struggles and screams and begs for Kevin to end the fantasy. The whole scene is so nightmarish and claustrophobic! It wrecked me for months. There are more moments like that I’m sure, but it’s the only one I can remember. I would give anything to find that episode again.
UNK: Thanks KRIS for the interview and for CANDLE COVE. I have to admit that somewhere in the back of my mind I’m still not convinced that it wasn’t real either. Kids, Make sure you step insde KRIS‘ permanent residence KRISSTRAUB.COM to see all the other cool stuff pouring out of his head!
To the Kindertraumoids,
Hey, it’s Richard from DOOMED MOVIETHON and CINEMA SOMNAMBULIST. I am looking for a vampire movie and I was wondering if you guys and/or your army of rad Kindertraumatized people could help. The movie starts with a gentleman (perhaps in flashback?) burying each member of his family as they die from a mysterious illness. One night, his wife (or maybe child, I can’t quite recall) returns from the grave as a vampire. This family member tries to kill him and he defends himself by either staking or beheading them (or both). Then he proceeds to dig up his entire family and off them one by one by staking and beheading (or both). I believe this is how the film in question begins.
It gets complicated because I want to say a) this is a Hammer Studios production and b) the patriarch is PETER CUSHING but this may not be so. This film might not be either of those things. In fact, limiting it to those two criteria might be what’s screwing me up. However, I’m pretty sure it was a period piece, featured British or European actors, and was either ’60s or ’70s.
And this film did in fact traumatize me (in my kinder form) as it were. After watching this, I had a nightmare that my dad was a vampire and he was trying to kill my sister. The saddest part was coming to the decision that it was time to kill my dad by either staking him or setting him on fire. Please don’t send this to Dr. Freud. Thanks! I hope you all can help me find this piece of disturbed childhood.
UNK SEZ: Always good to hear from you Richard! I’m not feeling 100% on this but I was thinking if we substitute your possible PETER CUSHING with BORIS KARLOFF it could be the segment of BAVA‘s BLACK SABBATH entitled ” The Wurdalak.” The frightening father, beheadings and vampire child all fit. There’s a better description HERE or you can check it on YouTube HERE.
One of the more fascinating websites you’ll ever encounter is AWFUL LIBRARY BOOKS, a joint hosted by librarians and dedicated to the discussion of which books are ready for that big library in the sky. I’ve now rummaged through the entire place and I’m sure to return again. If you are prone to nostalgia like I am, you’ll probably feel the same way. I can’t decide if it is beneficial or detrimental that our disposable culture tends to quickly cover over embarrassing mistakes with fresh new ones, but it’s nice to know that the local library erases the chalk board at a less frequent rate and we can still discover nearly forgotten trash treasures there (at least before they get weeded!) Personally, I think THE MORK AND MINDY STORY will always be relevant but time marches forward and I suppose each generation gets the MORK AND MINDY they deserve.
During my mostly pleasant and often humorous perusal of AWFUL, I came across one book that takes the cake in the Kindertraumatic nightmare department and so I had to share it with all of you. The book is entitled DON’T MAKE ME GO BACK, MOMMY: A CHILD’S BOOK OF SATANIC RITUAL ABUSE and holy cow what were the people responsible for this thing thinking? I won’t even get into the issue of whether Satanic cults like the one described are real (on the documented abuse front, Satanists are certainly lagging behind the Catholic church) because even if they did exist, how would this book ever help rather than terrify an abused child further? Even in the warped reality described, if you suspect your kid has been involved in something so heinous you may want to take more productive actions then reading them a bed time story about the horrors they have experienced. Even giving it the benefit of the doubt, the chance that this book helped more kids than it needlessly freaked out is roughly nil.
I guess I have to understand that this was published in 1990, landing on Earth smack in the middle of the Satanic Panic craze that was sweeping the nation like a precursor to the Macarena. Secret Satanic cults hiding in the woodwork have become less popular in the media these days but it looks like child abuse in all its multitude of forms is chugging along as always. I guess that is to be expected when time and resources are wasted chasing phantoms rather than dealing with harsh reality. I know I needn’t give something so out to lunch the time of day, but this book even has the nerve to try and drag Halloween into the scapegoat pyre! Not cool.
We joke around a lot about the stuff that unintentionally made it harder for us to sleep as kids around here. In most cases it involves misinterpreting innocent things or maybe overestimating our own bravery when it came to absorbing scary stuff at a young age. I’ve always contended that there is a healthy side to such fears, that they are an important part of learning to process and overcome intimidating obstacles. This book, on the other hand, is another thing altogether. This is fucked up. Not only is it irresponsible and poorly done, it strikes me as the type of thing that causes the type of anguish it’s pretending to salve. I have to give it some credit though, when designated “do-gooders” on a mission add to the Kindertrauma archives, they sure do leave everybody else (even those purposely working in the field of horror) in the dust.
AUNT JOHN SEZ: Grab your juice boxes and brown-bag lunch, today we are going on a field trip to RAMBLINGS OF A BEACH CAT where Nick Nafpliotis recounts the horror of FAMILY MATTERS episode Stevil.
Check it out!
Today, you dear old Aunt John turns an eggnog eye towards the yuletide episode of ’90s urban sit-com staple LIVING SINGLE where QUEEN LATIFAH‘s character (Flavor Magazine editor Khadijah James) methodically stalks and kills her housemates because they make fun of her Christmas vest.
OK, not really, but you should still check, check, check it out!