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Dante Tomaselli :: The Kindertrauma Interview

February 14th, 2011 · 4 Comments

UNK SEZ: Why can’t there be more artists/filmmakers/composers like DANTE TOMASELLI (DESECRATION, HORROR, SATAN’S PLAYGROUND and the forthcoming TORTURE CHAMBER)? Here is a guy who absolutely follows his own macabre compass and the results are always fascinating. He is a devout horror fan and yet is able to avoid the pitfalls of pastiche by fearlessly diving into the darker waters where many of his contemporaries meekly wade.

There’s just something authentically nightmarish going on in his films. It’s not necessarily something you can rationalize, it’s something you feel. Let’s face it, anyone can play in the horror sandbox but here is a rare character that one senses authentically “knows” horror not as a removable badge but something inexpugnable from the soul. It was my recent privilege to talk to DANTE and the best part was I knew that I wouldn’t have to explain the concept behind Kindertrauma to him at all. What can I tell you, this guy is the real deal…

UNK: Your latest film TORTURE CHAMBER centers around a possessed 13-year-old boy. Can you tell us a little about the film and the ideas that inspired it?

DANTE: I needed to conjure a psychedelic demonic possession horror film. I needed to fill the film with an atmosphere of disintegration and decay. And beauty. Beauty and horror…different sides of the same coin. I saw the glowing, sinister images like slides projected in my mind. These images came from the deep pit of my unconscious. This was the netherworld I needed to explore. 13-year-old Jimmy Morgan is a pyromaniac and disfigured from experimentation with drugs. His mother is blind due to an accident involving Jimmy and a shard of mirror glass. God-fearing, the woman believes her son is possessed by a demon. Jimmy’s older brother is a Catholic priest who tries to exorcize him. Sometimes they keep Jimmy in an animal cage. This is a religious family in deep psychic pain…bathed in guilt and sin. When Jimmy escapes from a mental institution, he discovers an old abandoned castle with a secret passageway to a cobwebbed torture chamber.

UNK: What is the first horror movie or TV show that you remember being really scared of as a kid?

DANTE: Horror Express. It was the mid ’70s. I was 5 and on my parents bed, burning with a high fever, hallucinating. I was all alone in the room and on T.V. was the Spanish film, Horror Express. The Jesus-like figure with glowing red eyes pushed a deep button in me. I was absolutely terrified. I was freezing. It was not a good feeling.

UNK: As someone working within the field of horror how much do you think your childhood experiences with fear influence your work today?

DANTE: My films are about…the reverberations, or psychic reverberations…of childhood trauma. The gradual realization that something truly blasphemous is happening or happened. The unfolding. The peeling back layers of pain buried deep in the unconscious. The interior journey. I was a frightened child, as were many other children in this world, of course it’s all relative. I was a happy kid too, definitely, but there was so much inner sadness. This sadness dominated my world unconsciously because my dreams were…endless nightmares…endless.

UNK: Can you give our readers the names of three horror films that you think are vastly underrated or deserve wider recognition?

DANTE: The House of Whipcord by British director Pete Walker. It has the kind of circular storyline that I love and it creates its own unique world of ’70s paranoid madness. Let’s see…The House With Laughing Windows by Pupi Avati, another ’70s shocker. It’s an Italian horror movie about a religious painting in a church that holds gruesome secrets. The ending is shocking. And there’s a film by David Cronenberg that is underrated in my opinion, The Brood. I’m in awe of The Brood. Children of rage.

UNK: The Earth has been destroyed. Aliens have offered you an escape ride on their ship but you can only bring one horror movie with you. Which film do you bring?

DANTE: Alice, Sweet Alice. My cousin, Alfred Sole, directed this movie and I love every square inch. It’s mysterious. That mask! It’s an ethereal movie you can revisit over and over and find new interesting details. Plus of course, there’s the nostalgia I hold for this film. I remember all the promos hanging around our house. I was only 6 or 7. The promo ads had a white-veiled little girl in a Catholic communion dress holding a crucifix dagger! Unforgettable. I grew up on Alice, Sweet Alice…originally titled Communion. It made its world premiere in 1976 in Paterson. All my relatives were there. Many were extras in the movie. My Aunt Matilda stands out in the funeral scene. Both of my grandmothers were from Paterson and I was born in Paterson General Hospital. Visiting my relatives, I was in Paterson a lot. The movie perfectly captures the weird, melodramatic atmosphere…the ever-present Madonna and Child statues and religious iconography…eerie Italian Catholic guilt.

UNK: And lastly, what would be your definition of a “successful” horror film?

DANTE: A transcendent horror experience. Something, a movie that changes you, chemically, forever. You know which movies they are. It’s those horror films we all keep grabbing back for…PsychoThe ExorcistCarrieHalloweenRosemary’s BabyThe BirdsNight of the Living DeadThe OmenThe Texas Chainsaw MassacreDon’t Look NowSuspiriaDeep RedThe ShiningThe Evil DeadPhantasmAlienJawsThe Cabinet of Dr. CaligariFriday the 13thNosferatuThe EntityCreepshowMother’s DayPlay Misty For MeCujoThe Brotherhood of SatanThe SentinelThe Pit and the PendulumBlack SundayThe BeyondA Nightmare on Elm StreetLet’s Scare Jessica to DeathTales from the CryptManiacChristineTourist TrapHellraiser….We keep watching them over and over again…on every format…until the end of time.

UNK SEZ: Thanks again DANTE! Remember folks, keep your eye out for TORTURE CHAMBER at its official home base HERE!

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Tags: Kinder-Spotlight · Kinterview · Special Guest Stars

Kinder-Spotlight :: Christmas Evil!

December 24th, 2010 · 1 Comment

UNK SEZ: A while back while I was assembling the “Avalanche of Christmas Horror” post, I found myself needing one screen-shot from CHRISTMAS EVIL (1980). As I started scouring through the film I realized that it was going to be difficult to pick just one. I genuinely just love the way this low budget film was shot and the time period and the mood it captures. If you’ve not seen the SYNAPSE edition released a couple years ago and are only familiar with the film from its many shoddy public domain releases, the difference is a real eye opener. Anyway, I’m going to share with you about half of the images I gathered because if I don’t use them soon, I’ll have to wait another year! Hope you enjoy and Merry Christmas!

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Tags: Kinder-Spotlight · Seasons Beatings

Kinder-Spotlight:: Suck & Moan: Episode One

October 21st, 2010 · 1 Comment

Hey Kids, It’s time for the very first episode of SUCK & MOAN the vampire vs. zombies series produced by Kinderpal JOEL BRYANT (BABY BLUES). Check it out below and visit the official website HERE!

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Tags: Kinder-Spotlight

Kinder-Spotlight:: Playing House Trailer!

October 1st, 2010 · 3 Comments

Does this movie look heavy? It’s not heavy, it’s my brother’s! That’s right my very own brother TOM VAUGHAN just put the finishing touches on his first feature! It’s called PLAYING HOUSE and where it may fit more snugly into the psychological thriller camp, take it from me, there’s some real horror in this movie. In fact, I’ve seen the movie twice and there’s one scene that got me but good both times. AUSTIN WINTORY, the guy who did the music for GRACE, even did the fantastic score! We’ll keep you up to date with where you can catch PLAYING HOUSE but in the meantime, check out its official home base HERE! And make sure you check out the trailer below!

Playing House Trailer from Playing House on Vimeo.

NOTE: Whatever you do, please don’t tell my parents that my little brother made a movie because then they’re going to start pressuring me to make one and I just don’t have the time because I’m right in the middle of a PS3 game.

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Tags: Kinder-Spotlight

George Tooker vs. the Body Snatchers

June 23rd, 2010 · 4 Comments

I can’t watch PHILIP KAUFMAN‘s 1978 version of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS without having GEORGE TOOKER‘s 1950 painting “Subway” come crawling into my mind (for the painting in full please look HERE). After my recent viewing of SNATCHERS, I decided to Google around for some other examples of TOOKER‘s work and found several others with a similar vibe. After a while I started wondering why TOOKER‘s incredible work was not more wildly known, then suddenly the answer became clear…it’s a conspiracy!

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Tags: General Horror · Kinder-Spotlight

Kinder-Spotlight:: No Signal

September 24th, 2009 · No Comments

Thanx to FourFour!

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Tags: Kinder-Spotlight

Michael Jackson :: The Good, the Bad & the Monkey

July 1st, 2009 · 18 Comments

I’m really sad about this whole MICHAEL JACKSON being dead thing, but I have found some solace in the fact that it seems that everywhere I have gone in the last couple days his music is being played. I have to say, “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Off the Wall” are a lot better than I remembered. On the other hand, the resurgence of “Dirty Diana” is really starting to get on my last nerve. I HATE that song and no amount of untimely death seems able to cure me of that distaste. The chorus alone sounds like how it must feel to have someone remove a blackhead from the tip of your nose with a rusty chisel. M.J., What were you thinking?

I know this has a questionable (or perhaps alleged) affinity with the subject of kindertrauma, but out of curiosity and an honest desire to speed along the grieving process, I ask you dear readers: What is your favorite AND least favorite tune by the King of Pop? I know talking about your least favorite song might seem like a negative way to recognize the recently departed, but if Mike has taught us anything it is that sometimes you have to take the good with the BAD (pun recognized).

So spill your guts kids. What M.J. song begrudgingly gets your toe tapping and what song still makes you want to smack an anonymous stranger over the head with a 2 X 4?

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Tags: Kinder-Editorial · Kinder-News · Kinder-Spotlight · Trauma Au Courant


March 15th, 2009 · 4 Comments

I don’t know what has been going on lately but as the Pointer Sisters once sang, “I think I like it.” I spent the last year feeling nostalgic for the horror movies of my youth and feeling mostly ambivalent about the exhaustive blue-toned assembly line that represents modern horror. Was I turning into an old coot? Was I too jaded to enjoy anything anymore? In fact when it came down to writing up a year-end round up of the best horror, Aunt John and I were left grasping at straws that neither of us could muster much enthusiasm for (with the lone exception of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN). Then suddenly, in the last couple of weeks, it seems like every horror flick I have seen has knocked at least one of my argyle socks off (with the lone exception of THE UNBORN). The latest movie to get me all hot and bothered is SPLINTER, a compact little throwback to the squishy monster movies that excited me as a kid. It’s like somebody made a microwavable Hot Pocket version of THE THING. How tasty does that sound?

This movie’s similarities with CARPENTER‘s classic do not end with its mutable eye popping creature. The set up, which involves a botched carjacking and an eventual standoff in a gas station convenience store, allows for a group of strangers to converge and eventually unite in order to save their own skins. The hurried showdown in a seemingly innocuous space recalls much of CARPENTER‘s other output as well, from ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 to PRINCE OF DARKNESS. The characters: an untrustworthy, gruff criminal, his zonked out, addle minded squeeze and their two unlucky hostages: a brainy husband and his kick ass “firecracker” wife crash and bounce off of each other to crackling effect. As cardboard broad as this motley crew may seem on the surface, when the infectious shit hits the fan most of them (the ones that live) get to show different layers and strengths you were not expecting. Here is something else, and it seems to be what’s separating the wheat from the chaff as far as modern horror goes, I really liked and/or was interested in the characters in this movie. Crazy right? Never once was I prompted to ooh and ahh at a snarky debutante’s home decor or left wondering if I should join a gym and update my jeans. That’s kind of special to me.

The monster, although a sister to everything from THE BLOB to the gruesome greenery in THE RUINS, is still a highly original brain storm come to life that is, at some points, just plain stop you in your tracks awesome. Even the less convincing effects are at least visually stimulating. I know that SPLINTER was recently shown on the SciFi Channel, but I’m sure it was not in uncut form and this movie is definitely one that deserves to be seen in its entirety. For a small independent production, SPLINTER is far more fun and entertaining than anyone has the right to expect. It’s rather perfect in the way that it never over extends itself or looses focus on the situational horror at hand. By looking backward and cherry picking tried and true elements from classic horror films, SPLINTER might not earn the title of groundbreaking, but at least it has the courtesy to not waste any of your time. Of course there was many a scene where I just wanted to grab the camera myself and hold it steady so I could get a decent uncluttered view of the beasty, but ultimately I think any movie that leaves you wanting more rather than glancing at your watch for an excuse to escape should be commended. SPLINTER did have a limited theatrical release, but for all intents and purposes this is a direct to DVD affair which is more than fine by me. This movie and my beer stained couch were absolutely made for each other!

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Tags: Kinder-Spotlight

Horror Fans And The Movies That Love Them

March 9th, 2009 · 13 Comments

Horror fans. Who and what are horror fans? Are they unhinged psychopathic time bombs who get a vicarious thrill witnessing pain being inflicted upon their fellow man? Are they ineffectual nerds who are preoccupied with processing their feelings of powerlessness in the universe by viewing assembly line murders? Are they simply antisocial misfits who misspell the word uncle and live in a make believe castle who waste time writing posts on blogs that sound more and more like rejected SEX AND THE CITY voiceovers? We may never know and I, for one, could give a crap. I’m just writing everything you are reading now to justify my posting of awesome gore shots from my current movie obsession CARL REINER‘s hilarious send up of not so modern education SUMMER SCHOOL!

That’s right SUMMER SCHOOL! If you’re asking yourself what the hell is a comedy like SUMMER SCHOOL doing on Kindertrauma well, have fun asking yourself that and let me know how that works out for you. I’m just writing about SUMMER SCHOOL because I love it and I love the characters of Chainsaw and Dave who just happen to be big time horror movie fans and adore THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE specifically. Plus, don’t you know that SUMMER SCHOOL (pronounced “Summa Skule”) stars SHAWNEE SMITH (1988’s THE BLOB), DEAN CAMERON (BAD DREAMS), KELLY JO MINTER (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET: THE DREAM CHILD) and features songs from sexy kinder-babe E.G DAILY (BAD DREAMS, ONE DARK NIGHT)? So here’s to SUMMER SCHOOL and now lets take a look at those gore shots….

Pretty disgusting, huh? Boy this is a pretty lame post. How can I turn it around? I know, I’ll make it a highfalutin list! We all love lists, right? Be they grocery, shit or even HALL & OATES’ famous list of the best things in life (Your kiss is on that one!) Let’s make a list of horror films that feature horror fans as characters shall we?

SALEM’S LOT: Little LANCE-Y KERWIN liked classic horror movies (The kind in black and white where nobody ever gets a shish kabob shoved down their throat or jumps out of a television to kill you) very much in this STEPHEN KING adaptation. It’s a good thing he did too, ‘cuz it ends up saving his ass when he uses a crucifix from one of his horror models to scare away a pesky floating vampire kid!

THE FUNHOUSE: Remember Amy Harper’s little brother Joey? (SHAWN CARSON) His bedroom was covered in memorabilia and he was so into horror flicks that he dressed up as a killer and stabbed his sister in the shower with a rubber knife. What a perv!

FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER: Tommy Jarvis was a horror fan and spent much of his time creating masks and elaborate special effects that were on par with the work of master TOM SAVINI! Good Job Tommy!

SCREAM: Randy Meeks (JAMIE KENNEDY) watched so many horror movies that when the time came for all his friends to be murdered he believed that actual real life would echo the structure of one of his favorite films and guess what, he was right!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME: Creepy Alfred may not have been that into horror cinema at all but he certainly liked to create fake decapitated heads in his spare time. He could also make really great MELISSA SUE ANDERSON masks which if you think about it would really come in handy if you were dressing up as Mary Ingles for Halloween!

THE BLOB: Little Kevin Penny just had to see GARDEN TOOL MASSACRE, “a standard slice and dice” that featured a killer in a hockey mask who killed camp counselors. Somewhere out there adult Kevin Penny is nursing the wounds of having to endure GARDEN TOOL MASSACRE’s remake!

FINAL EXAM: Not so final boy Radish (JOEL S. RICE) decorated his dorm room with posters from THE TOOLBOX MURDERS and THE CORPSE GRINDERS, but unfortunately his knowledge of horror did zero to help him survive an identity free slasher on campus.

FADE TO BLACK: Lonely cinemaphile Eric Binford (DENNIS CHRISTOPHER) likes to dress up as his favorite movie icons including DRACULA and THE MUMMY among others when he murders the bullies who torment him. Look out young MICKEY ROURKE! That dude means to kill you!

SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE: Munchkin Ana Torrent becomes so obsessed with JAMES WHALE’s FRANKENSTEIN and particularly the scene where the monster accidentally drowns a little girl that it alters her view of reality entirely.

6 FILMS TO KEEP YOU AWAKE: A REAL FRIEND: Speaking of loosing a grip on reality, teenager Estrella (NEREA INCHASTI) much like Chainsaw and Dave from SUMMER SCHOOL idolizes Leatherface from TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE to such a degree that she imagines that the goofball is her B.F.F.! With friends like that, who needs enemies who are still breathing?

FRIGHT NIGHT: Reluctant vampire hunter Charlie Brewster (WILLIAM RAGSDALE) is a horror fan whose favorite show just happens to be hosted by legendary horror star Peter Vincent (RODDY MCDOWALL)

So what says yooze guys? Can you think of any more movies, horror or otherwise, that feature horror fans as characters? Contrary to popular belief, my brain can’t come up with everything! Help an Unkle out! Remember, mind over matter!

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Tags: Kinder-News · Kinder-Spotlight · Misc.

Kinder-Art :: M. Mararian’s Inky Dreadfuls

January 11th, 2009 · 3 Comments

“March of the Cuckoos”

“Little Consumer”

“Danielle’s Lament”

“Arctophobia (Fear of Bears)”

“Pupaphobia (Fear of Puppets)”

“Carnophobia (Fear of Meat)”

UNK SEZ: Hey, Check out M. MARARIAN’S INKY DREADFULS! The top three represent his current show at the McCaig Welles gallery in Brooklyn New York (learn more about that HERE) and the bottom three are part of a series he did last summer on phobias. Are they not awesome AND so very Kindertraumatic? For more of M. MARIAN’S INKY DREADFULS simply hop on over to his fantastic and expansive WEBSITE!

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Tags: Haunting Acquisitions · Kinder-Spotlight