UNK SEZ:: One last heads up that tomorrow is the big date for the EVIL KIDS double feature that includes THE CHILDREN (1980) and DON’T GO TO SLEEP (1982)! To get you in the mood our buddy KEVIN MAHER has snagged an interview with THE CHILDREN‘s director MAX KALMANOWICZ which you can read HERE! It’s a superlative piece and you’ll notice that KEVIN was able to get both a traumafession and a “Name That Trauma!” out of MAX! How cool is that? Tickets to the show can be found YONDER! Hope those of you who are in that neck of the woods can make it!
“Edith’s Crisis of Faith” features the character Beverly LaSalle, a transvestite and female impersonator, played by Lori Shannon. Beverly appeared in two earlier AITF episodes, “Archie the Hero” in 1975 and “Beverly Rides Again” in 1976. A friend of the family, Beverly returns to the Bunker home in “Edith’s Crisis of Faith” in order to invite them to her scheduled performance at the prestigious Carnegie Hall the week before Christmas. The Bunkers are happy to see Beverly and accept her invitation while Edith, who considers Beverly to be “like family,” returns the gesture and invites the performer to Christmas dinner at the Bunker home.
What comes next is disturbing and unexpected. Though the action takes place off camera, we learn that son-in-law Mike Stivic and Beverly are mugged. Eventually we see Mike in the hospital in bandages–he was beaten but will be fine. Mike describes the mugging saying that Beverly had successfully defended him against the gang of violent attackers but then the gang turned on Beverly with a lead pipe. Mike says, “I guess they figured out what he was and they just started smashing him with the pipe.” A doctor tells Edith and Archie in the waiting room that Beverly has died. “Just because he was different,” Gloria later adds. The rest of “Part 1” sees Edith numb in her grief at Christmas time.
The storyline continues into the following episode “Edith’s Crisis of Faith, Part 2” where we see more fully how deeply Edith is affected by the death of her dear friend. Not only is Edith unable to put aside her grief, she finds she can’t even be happy at Christmas for the sake of her two year-old grandson Joey. Even worse, Edith who is usually a person of unwavering faith now questions her belief in a God that would allow someone as kind, gentle and good as Beverly be so tragically murdered. She won’t go to church at Christmas and even suggests that she may never go back. Archie encourages her to return to church but Edith’s disillusioned response is: “Why? What good does it do?” Edith’s family is beside themselves trying to cheer her up but Edith is inconsolable. She even runs out of the room when Archie offers a prayer over the family’s Christmas dinner. Eventually, Mike is the only one able to offer any comfort to Edith. Mike reminds her that we can’t always understand everything. Though Mike’s answer is simple, he is actually making a complex point that a crime such as this is beyond reasonableness–it may never make sense. Watching a character as gentle and decent as Edith suffer so terribly is torturous and emotionally draining.
What many may find difficult here is that this deeply emotional and tragic episode occurs at Christmas–the one time of year most people want to feel uplifted, optimistic and hopeful. That may be the exact point the writers of this episode may have been communicating–juxtaposing this sad episode with the usual bright spirit of the holiday. It also makes it difficult to re-watch year after year as we all so often do with Christmas TV sitcom episodes.
However, the tone of this painful episode is handled correctly. AITF had perfected the appropriate manner in which to handle the sensitive issues of the day in previous episodes that dealt with topics such as racism, bigotry, war, politics, cancer, and more button-pushing issues one wouldn’t immediately associate with family sitcoms. Even other Christmas episodes of AITF took on hot topics such as Edith’s breast cancer scare, the divorce of Gloria and Mike, and my favorite: 1976’s “The Draft Dodger” where Mike’s friend, a draft dodger on the run, comes to Christmas dinner to share a table with Archie’s friend who’s son was just killed in Vietnam.
Yet, Christmas may just be the most appropriate time of year to remind ourselves of our desire for a world filled with peace. Hate crimes such as these unfortunately still exist and occur all too frequently. Part of what makes AITF such a groundbreaking show is the fact that its take on subjects such as this are still relevant today. Perhaps the depth of emotion felt in “Edith’s Crisis of Faith” can serve as an annual reminder to grab our loved ones even closer and find compassion and acceptance for everyone.
Though a situation comedy, the jokes are never at the expense of the social issue but are aimed squarely at the insensitive fool, Archie Bunker. This show so successfully tackled social issues that many other TV series in the 1970s and 1980s went on to try to do the same thing with varying degrees of success.
UNK SEZ: Thanks so much Joanna for sharing such a wonderful post! I have a strong recollection of this episode as well and you really captured what made it so memorable.
Folks, not only is Joanna one of Kindertrauma‘s favorite people in general but she is also the author of the books THE CHRISTMAS TV COMPANION and ‘TIS THE SEASON TV. You can pay her a visit at her official home base CHRISTMAS TV HISTORY!
UNK SEZ: Make sure you jump over to BLOODY TERROR and check out Kinderpal Dave’s traumafession concerning the one and only THE EXORCIST! I advise you stick around and check out the rest of the joint too! Dave’s got a great top ten list of his favorite CODE RED releases and I could not agree more with his PICKS!
Even though we can smell an elaborate prank that will result in pig’s blood being dumped from a bucket onto our heads from a mile away, KINDERTRAUMA is infinity times grateful for being nominated by the one and only LOST HIGHWAY for a GOLDEN TRAILER HITCHIE award this year! To find out more about “The Hitchies” and to visit the many fine blogs who shall kick our humbled asses, travel YONDER!
I so admire websites that focus on one single film. I like to think of every movie being a universe in and of itself and when someone has a favorite film that they just can’t get enough of, I get a sort of contact high from their enthusiasm. Here’s a quick list of some of my favorites…
Online since 2001, this heaven on Earth for fans of JOHN CARPENTER’s THE THING is nearly as mind expanding as the film itself. I doubt there’s any tidbit of information on CARPENTER’s beloved horror sci-fi mash up that you won’t find lovingly stored here. Founders TODD CAMERON and CHRIS MORGAN, with an assist from the late and greatly missed STEVE CRAWFORD, have created the only THE THING website anybody will ever require. Kudos are deserved for a mountain of impressive work. Chill at the outpost HERE!
WILLIAM FRIEDKIN’s non-stop genius towering achievement THE EXORCIST is a film that will always inspire endless fascination. Established way back in 1999, CAPTAINHOWDY.COM is an incredibly expansive resource for anything involving the classic film and its offshoots. Your life is not complete ’till you’ve seen a crocheted model of Reagan puking on Father Merrin, which you’ll find in its FAN ART section. Allow the Captain to amaze and entertain you HERE!
THE BLACK CHRISTMAS FANSITE
One of the first websites to make me fall in love with the Internet was a BLACK CHRISTMAS fansite called IT’S ME BILLY which has broken my heart and disappeared. Thank the lord webmaster Scott found as much inspiration from that site as I did and created his own tribute to BOB CLARK’s excellent seasonal shocker. So glad that Billy has found a second home and that you can still visit him HERE.
THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE
I gotta say, this movie had a profound effect on me in my youth. JODIE FOSTER as Rynn Jacobs lived my dream life: alone in a big house ditching school, reading books and murdering anyone who tried to expose her. This is a relatively young fansite and it’s off to a fantastic and wonderfully obsessive start. If you too are a fan of the film, do yourself a favor and visit my hero Rynn HERE, just don’t drink the tea!
I can’t do a list of fansites and not include my favorite fansite in the universe the one and only POLTERGEIST III fansite. It gives me warm fuzzies knowing that a film can be loved regardless of its reputation. P3 may be the black sheep of its franchise but everything about it, from its all-practical effects and mirror play to its cursed history is just all kinds of interesting. Webmaster Dave is an inspiration; give him a visit HERE!
So there’s my five favorite fansites but there must be many more. Do any of you guys out there know of, or operate any movie fansites that you think we should all check out? Feel free to leave any links you can think of in the comments!
UNK SEZ: Why not check out THE AWESOME ART OF HORROR, a super fresh blog with a kinder-inspired post HERE?
Thanks for thinking of us Hannah and welcome to the neighborhood!
Remember back in the good old days of two weeks ago when Christine Hadden of FASCINATION WITH FEAR and I each shared our ten favorite horror homesteads? Well, it happened whether you remember it or not. We had so much fun that we decided to go on a second tour but this time we’re visiting our ten LEAST favorite horror dumps! Check out my ten most unwanted properties below and do make sure to travel over HERE to check out Christine’s least favorite picks!
10. THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE) (2009)
Don’t get me wrong, Dr. So and So has exquisite taste in art and I love how clean and modern everything is but the spiral staircase is a real deal breaker. Personally I like to put a bandanna (or three) around my human centipede’s neck and take it to the park to play Frisbee every afternoon. Spiral staircases are stellar for averting unwanted escapes but in general they tend to be difficult to maneuver time wasters.
9. WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (1971)
Ever since I was a kid I’ve found Chuck’s living arrangement leaving much to be desired. Poverty doesn’t have to be grim (think Edith the egg lady’s trailer in PINK FLAMINGOS) but this pad blows. I’m thinking if you ever find yourself coming home to find four senior citizens sleeping in the same bed it’s time to start packing.
8. TIDELAND (2005)
I wouldn’t say no to sharing a living space with JEFF BRIDGES. That said, I’d like to specify that I’d prefer it to be the living JEFF BRIDGES and not his rotting corpse in a white wig. See, contrary to word on the street, I really do have standards.
7. THE COTTAGE (2008)
I had mixed feelings about this movie but a very definite reaction to the crazy killer’s yellow kitchen. Quite simply it horrified the crap out of me. Not that I can verify it in anyway but I’m sure that I once read that more murders were committed in yellow kitchens than kitchens of any other color. For some reason the assumed happy hue just irritates the hell out of people and that is why you will never see a yellow hospital. Naturally the kindertrauma kitchen is pink, a color known only for making people hungry for Frankenberry Cereal, Strawberry Quick and TINY TIM tuneage!
6. EATEN ALIVE (1977)
The Louisiana hotel in EATEN ALIVE is nice enough but let’s be real here, there are way too many crocodiles in the front yard.
5. THE HOUSE WITH LAUGHING WINDOWS (1976)
What the hell is so funny THWLW? Let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little f*cked up maybe, but I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown. I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to f*ckin’ amuse you?
4. 13 GHOSTS (2001)
I have as much use for a too clever for its own good clockwork puzzle-box house as I do another SAW sequel. You pull the wrong lever and suddenly the bathroom has glass walls and the door disappears. No thanks, privacy is my middle name and my last name is control.
3. HOUSE OF WAX (2005)
There’s so much wrong with this concept that I don’t even know where to begin. Call me crazy but I don’t relish the idea of having to wade through molten wax to crawl into bed every August.
2. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (2007)
This prefab pile of crapola reeks of unearned mundane vanilla privilege. I intuitively know that the thermostat is set at least twenty degrees higher than I would feel comfortable in. It makes me think of staying at a boring relative’s house and waking up early and pretending to be still asleep in order to avoid brain numbing small talk over coffee about last night’s episode of CSI: MIAMI. Demonic possession and hourly soul rape would be a welcome reprieve.
1. HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS (1989)
I believe the worst place ever invented is this here riverside shack in Haddonfield, Illinois. I’m not even sure this fragile lean-to stands next to a legitimate river, it looks more like a stream or a brook to me. We’ve all seen this scenario play out before, a theoretically straight guy down on his luck exploits the hospitality of an elderly amateur pirate in order to put a roof over his head. After a year of who knows what kind of illicit behavior the roustabout gets bored, puts his mask back on, clocks the parrot, kills his benefactor and then moves on to greener pastures. Give me ROB-ZOB’s driftin’ hobo Mike over HALLOWEEN 5’s poorly masked, unappreciative moocher any October 31st!
It came to my attention recently that Christine Hadden of FASCINATION WITH FEAR was planning to retire someday in the picturesque, cliff-top abode depicted in the film THE DARK (2005). The problem was that Christine had picked the exact same place that I had been planning to eventually move into!
Luckily an east coast vs. east coast blogging war was averted when the two of us came up with a time-sharing compromise. I couldn’t help wondering though, what if we hadn’t come up with a solution to our dilemma, where would I live then? Below are my top ten slabs of horror real estate that I would gladly move into should the need arise. After you’ve given them a quick walk-through make sure you check out Christine’s top ten choices HERE!
10.MODERN PROBLEMS (1980, The PSYCHO house)
Sure I love the PSYCHO house just like everybody else but there’s no way I’m dealing with a motel filled with unseemly transients! In the alleged comedy MODERN PROBLEMS, CHEVY CHASE spends a weekend (along with DABNEY COLEMAN and MARY KAY PLACE) in what is in indeed, the one and only PSYCHO house; however, it’s miraculously on a beach and there’s no seedy motel to deal with. I could live in this joint for sure, especially if it comes with housekeeper NELL CARTER!
9.SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT (1974)
Hey, look at this pad; it’s got a front porch for me to drink 40s on! I can almost see myself standing there as an old man in shorts and argyle socks telling the neighborhood kids to scram! Sources (IMDb) tell me that this fixer upper is located in Oyster Bay, Long Island. I’m going to start working on my accent now.
8.THE BOOGEY MAN (1980)
I love the BOOGEY MAN house and it comes with a well and a barn, so you can’t beat that. This place resides in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland and just check out those windows up top there! Don’t they remind you of another famous horror home? I’m ready to move in, right after I check my sneakers for mirror shards.
7.THE HUNGER (1983)
I know I should be trying to get out of the city but I can’t sneeze at Miriam the Vampire’s luxury New York digs in THE HUNGER. Urban life isn’t so bad when you’ve got mad cash and a video camera security system at your front door! I know it doesn’t look like much from the outside but vampires (perhaps because they spend so much time indoors) sure know a thing or two about interior decorating.
6.THE LADY IN WHITE (1988)
This place is a bit small for my needs but it’s not without its charms. It’s got a rustic storybook quality to it that I enjoy plus there’s a nearby cliff that you can throw people off of!
5.THE UNINVITED (1944)
Speaking of cliffs, I know I should appreciate THE UNINVITED more than I do, it’s got RAY MILLAND in it after all, but it’s always been a smidge of a snore for me. Having made that embarrassing admission, I must say that I big time dig the house from the movie. Hmmm, maybe the place from the GHOST AND MRS. MUIR is more my speed.
4.LET’S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH (1971)
This beautiful house is located in Essex, Connecticut; I used to live in Connecticut so adjustment should be a breeze. You must know by now that I am secretly a hippie and that I can entertain myself for hours strumming on a guitar and making grave stone rubbings. The locals are sure to be a problem but they’ll get used to my playing THE BEST OF BREAD into the wee hours eventually.
3.THE FOG (1980)
Stevie Wayne sure knew how to live. I’m not sure that I like the idea of my front door being easily accessible to sea-ghouls but I’m not the kind of dummy who answers the door when somebody bangs on it with a hook either. Put it this way, if it comes with the K-A-B lighthouse I’m sold. Bodega (aka Antonio) Bay, California here I come!
2.THE ADDAMS FAMILY (1991)
This house is just is the ravens’ knees and that’s that. Plus, out of all my picks I believe this is the only one that comes with its own graveyard, which should come in handy. Who needs to yell at kids to get off your lawn when pouring a cauldron of boiling oil on their heads can get the same message across?
1.THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (1979)
It’s just a lifetime dream of mine to live in the Amityville Horror house. Isn’t it just the perfect place to set up Kindertrauma operations? This one was actually recently up for sale but I didn’t have to count my Folgers can full of loose change to know that it was a tad out side my budget. (That reminds me, Aunt John you better remember to play my numbers today!) My first plan upon moving into this place was to restore its creepy devil eye windows. Then, I would have put two creepy Jody the pig blinking eye lights up in there to scare away the tourists. I wouldn’t have been afraid to live in this, the most famous haunted house in the land. I’m used to black sludge pouring from my walls and I know how to hang a fly strip. (By the way, the above image is from the superior AMITYVILLE 2: THE POSSESSION from the best year God ever made… 1982!)
Yowza, that was a startlingly easy list to come up with. There’s so much great horror real estate out there! The hard part is going to be picking just one! At least there will be no debate about which realtor to use!
Thanks for going on this tour with me kids, make sure you check out Christine’s picks over at FASCINATION WITH FEAR right over HERE, she remembered all the great spots (Garth Manor, anyone?) that your Unk forgot!
When your Unk was a critter way back in the seventies they used to air THE LITTLE RASCALS shorts on television every Sunday morning. My favorite was one where the gang unknowingly gets trapped in a haunted funhouse ride. I remember watching every Sunday just hoping that they would show that one again. Leave it to THE HAUNTED CLOSET to dedicate an entire post to spooky LITTLE RASCALS‘ episodes including that favorite of mine (turns out it’s called HIDE AND SHRIEK). Make sure that you check out this wonderful post HERE.