Name That Trauma:: Julie B. on a Bedridden Corpse

Hello Friends!

I have been trying for a few years to find the film that terrified my sister when we were kids, but with no success. It was shown on Sammy Terry’s show, our local late night horror host here in Indianapolis, and we had snuck downstairs to watch it. It was well past our bedtime, and we were never allowed to watch anything that awesome, so this was a covert operation.

It was the opening scene of the film (or very near the beginning) and the setting was a very creepy, very dark Victorian mansion (or a castle?) on a stormy night (Classic!) People are gathered around the curtained bed of an old woman who had recently died, and when they pull back the bed curtains for the reveal, she is in full rigor mortis, eyes staring directly into the camera with a rictus grin.

My sister shrieked and bolted upstairs, we got in trouble, and that was it for Sammy Terry for a while. I was able to torment her with that face for a long time afterwards though, which felt like appropriate payback for ruining a good time!

That was decades ago, but I’d love to find the film to see if it’s as terrifying now as it was then, and because (obviously!) I need to retraumatize my sister.

Thank you so much for your help!

Name That Trauma:: Rob B on Psychics & Seances

Hey, guys, this is my second post here. I received some help from the fan base about another movie I was trying to identify, and I was hoping you could help me with a couple of others, to wit:

1) I believe this first one was a made-for-TV movie from the 1970’s. It begins with an old man (I believe it was Will Geer or a similar actor) out in the country, examining the ground closely as he walks along, eventually finding the spot he seems to be looking for; he buries a knife by the handle with the blade sticking up out of the ground, and walks off looking quite satisfied. I honestly can’t remember anything else that happens until the moment of truth at the climax of the movie when a physical fight breaks out between two of the characters (m/m, m/f?) and the antagonist falls backward, right on the blade of the knife that was buried so cryptically at the beginning of the film which saves the day. Obviously some kind of psychic foreshadowing took place at the beginning, and I seem to remember the theme of more second sight related activity during the film but that’s about it — the very beginning and the very end.

2) This was a British production, also from the 1970’s (at least the video quality makes me think so) and involves a wealthy widow (I believe) who is trying to make contact with her deceased husband (or family member) on the other side. She has recently made the acquaintance of a somewhat younger man and they begin to develop a relationship as the age gap is not so pronounced. He accompanies her to one seance which involves people seated around a table, questions being written down, sealed into envelopes, and placed in a basket; the medium, a rather portly, middle-aged woman, opens the envelopes one by one and answers the questions, until the younger man jumps up, snatches the wig off of the medium’s head (“she” is actually a female impersonator) and explains the con and how it works with the help of a confederate concealed among the “guests” (it’s quite clever when it’s explained, actually.) This cements the widow’s feelings for this younger man (and his for her, ostensibly) as genuine, which, as we find out, they are not, as he is really an unscrupulous fortune-hunter solely after her money. At another seance at the climax of the movie, a Native American warrior appears and manages to kill this fortune-hunter by shooting him with several arrows that manifest themselves physically, thereby rescuing the widow from his dishonorable ambitions.

These titles of these two forays into the realm of the psychic and seances have eluded me for some time, and any help anyone could give me in identifying them would be greatly appreciated, Thank you, as always!

Name That Trauma:: Robert B. on a Mummified Mommy

A few years back, I watched a documentary about a pair of Swedish brothers whose parents had home through a bitter divorce when they were younger; the mother had become obsessed with trying to wrest away a vacation property that she and her husband had owned that her life became focused on this legal case to the exclusion of almost everything else in her life. it seems. She became a hoarder, living a hermit-like existence, and eventually stopped communicating with her sons. They eventually made their way to her apartment to check on her only to find she had died, and laid on the bathroom floor for so long she had mummified, and when they picked her up found this indelible stain on the bathroom tiles they tried to clean fruitlessly. They also had to sort through mounds of paper, legal documents, etc., and although the landlord asked them not to, they burned copious amounts of her papers in the fireplace. I don’t know if this movie actually fits the parameters of kinder trauma, but it was pretty disturbing when I watched it a while ago, and your readers seem pretty good at coming up with answers for this kind of thing, so if anybody remembers this film, I’d appreciate the help. Thanks!

Name That Trauma:: Sebastian L. on a Disintegrating Woman

Hello Kindertrauma! I have a very vivid memory of a terrifying TV moment that I experienced in the late 90s that I am hoping to finally resolve. It probably goes without saying that while this scene is seared in my mind, my recollections of it may not be entirely accurate. It’s very likely my imagination has filled in the blanks over the years, so take all details with a grain of salt!

From what I recall, there are two adult women (one younger and blonde, the other closer to middle age and in a blue sweater – I think her name is Melanie) sitting in a darkened living room watching TV. They’re watching old home movies of a young girl dancing, and it seems like the girl is Melanie’s daughter. This isn’t a happy scene, however, as Melanie seems to be depressed, and is watching the tapes to relive better times. Maybe she’s become estranged from her daughter, or perhaps her daughter has even passed away. The younger woman tries to comfort her, telling her that everything will be alright, and she may even try to encourage Melanie to turn off the tapes. At one point, the younger woman gets up to go into the kitchen, as Melanie lights a cigarette. While she’s in the kitchen, the younger woman hears a loud noise coming from the living room. She walks back in and it’s clear that something weird has happened. She finds the TV playing nothing but static, and sees Melanie just sitting there in the shadows, cigarette between her fingers, staring off into nothing. The young woman tries to get her attention, but she’s unresponsive, and after a moment, she disintegrates into dust. The scene ends with the younger woman screaming.

I suspect this was a cold open to a TV show, as not only is it very likely that it came on after something else I had been watching, but I also remember it cutting into opening credits (though I don’t remember the details of this at all). I’m fairly positive I saw this on my local (Canadian) station, and for years I’ve thought it might be an episode of either the Outer Limits revival series, or an episode of Da Vinci’s Inquest, just because I remember seeing ads for those constantly at the time. However, I’ve done a bit of digging into the Outer Limits and haven’t found anything, and Da Vinci’s Inquest seems like more of a cop drama than a supernatural one, so honestly I’m not sure how viable either of these leads are. Still, of all the weird, unsettling things I saw on TV as a kid that stuck with me, this is the one that I remember most clearly (probably due as much to its emotional intensity as its outwardly creepy climax), and I’m hoping that this will be enough to spur someone else’s memory. I’d love to finally put this near-lifelong curiosity to rest.

-Sebastian L.

Name That Trauma:: Chris R. on Crime Fighting Kids

I have childhood fragments of a ( not terribly traumatic) show that I have no idea how to go about researching. I don’t believe this was a movie but a series, and I know it from a teacher wheeling a TV into a room and playing either a cable feed or VHS tape. This would have been early 1980s probably pre-1983.

I recall a show with a boarding school for genius kids who solved mysteries and/or fought crime. There was a team of them of mixed ages, mostly white I believe they had a token African-American kid. One kid I believe wore glasses, which we know indicates he must have been Very Smart Indeed.

I recall these kids having what seemed unusually large beds in a housing situation with a pretty awesome timbered roof/attic area, and I recall there being some form of “secret” compartment behind one or more headboards where at least one kid kept crimefighting gear Batcave style.

To the best of my recollection, the kids weren’t superheroes of any sort, they were just smart and foiled crime Scooby-Doo style. Maybe they were in an orphanage?! I recall no plots, but I feel like this was a series I only saw one or two episodes of, not a movie.

Any help is welcome. This has bothered me for years.

Name That Trauma:: Michael C. on a Tiny Sister Who Gets Squashed

Hi Kindertrauma,

Thanks for the recent columns on Trilogy of Terror, Don’ Be Afraid of the Dark, and Salem’s Lot…all three scarred me for life when I was 10. I remember Horror Week on Channel 7’s 4:00 Movie in Washington DC featuring the first two.

Anyway, I hope that someone can help me find this terror. I don’t know if I’m making it up, or misremembering, or conflating multiple movies, or what. It may have been a TV movie.

I seem to remember a story involving sisters and painting. In the story, one of the sisters somehow gets shrunk to a tiny size, like smaller than a thumb. I think she had long blonde hair. Eventually the other girl squishes her under her shoe and uses the resulting red goo as paint on a canvas. This scene sticks with me. Was it a movie, or a horrible dream?


Michael C.

Name That Trauma:: Rob M. on a Dark Tunnel & a Bedridden Investigator

I’m trying to remember the name of a film.

An investigator makes some rounds talking to various people about the disappearance or death of a woman… maybe? He begins questioning a man in a bar about a mishap in an abandoned warehouse. Some weird room there and power loss. The second interview is with a kid that sketches weird stuff and pretty much keeps to his room. The third is a rich dude that ultimately winds up killing himself. Something about a child or ghost. Ultimately, there is something about a deep dark tunnel that a kid with fear of confined spaces gets lured into… We arrive at a conclusion where the investigator is bedridden in a hospital. The people he has interviewed are all hospital workers.

Rob M.

Name That Trauma:: Auto on a Porcelain Doll PSA


I’d like to let you guys know about a weird PSA from the early to mid 90s (perhaps made in the 80s, since these things often have an odd shelf life) which aired in upstate NY.

Now, I’d like to preface by saying that I’ve not seen this myself but I’m hell-bent on tracking this down based on the anecdotes I’ve heard. I was wondering if you or your readerbase might be of assistance?

Here’s a description from someone who has seen the ad, Reddit user Necrosynthetic:

“When I was about 6 or 7, there used to be a lupus PSA I’d see usually early in the morning around 6. I’d see it before jack Hannah’s animal adventures came on and it always creeped me out. It would be this very rusty wall in the background of a room in what seemed like an abandoned factory and a woman in a doll dress with an oversized babydoll head, and she was on a swing kind if half swinging in the foreground. The movements of the woman were twitchy sort of like the ghosts in the house on haunted hill remake which came out years later. Her mask was all cracked and aged like a doll left to the elements. Then her arms start flailing around and wrapping around the mask. And then she slumps over in the swing lifeless at the end. I to this day don’t know wtf this has to do with lupus at all. I don’t remember any of what was said during the PSA because I was too scared to pay attention. But I remember there being something about lupus at the end. Maybe it was about lupus and pregnancy? Now I’m in my 30s and I love horror movies and I’ve been trying to find this forever to show my wife and other people but I’ve never been able to find it anywhere. I know it wasn’t a dream either because I saw this EVERY Saturday morning for about a year and then once in a while until I was about 8 or 9. SOMEONE has to remember this besides me. If someone has a link to what I’m talking about please please please let me know”

I’m a massive fan of obscure PSAs, the creepier the better, and tracking down oddities is a hobby of mine. This one, however, seems highly elusive despite being right up my nightmare-fuelled alley. I hope this is of interest!


Name That Trauma:: Martin F. on a Dominatrix in a British Castle

I’d first like to say I love this website! My childhood trauma is this:
1) a British film that at least takes place in a British castle.
2) guy staying in said castle for a night.
3) he rings a bell and a dominatrix walks in accompanied by a little girl.
4). the little girl walks over to a bar and says “Would daddy like a drinky?”
5) The girl’s costume looks exactly like Rhoda from The Bad Seed, blonde pigtails etc.

Any help is much appreciated, I’ve never been able to find this film. Nobody I know knows the title. Please help!

Name That Trauma:: Update on Carol & PSA Mannequin

Hi guys!

About six years ago (HERE) I sent in a Kindertrauma about a PSA that discussed hearing loss, to find out if anyone else experienced it and also got the creeps!

I found it by accident today, in a compilation of WPIX Channel 11 promos and commercials uploaded just a year ago. I thought I should share it so the post can be updated AND for others to tell me if I was exaggerating too much!

(HERE IT IS) time stamped for your nightmares.