Name That Trauma:: Drew P. on a Sherlock Holmes Robot

Aloha!
Last time I submitted A Name That Trauma, it was identified within 24-hours. Let’s see if folks can beat that!

Okay – so there was this TV show on daytime PBS during the early 90s. Probably between 1990 and 1994. I watched this on either Vermont Public Television or New Hampshire Public Television. I don’t think this was a regionally-produced show because the local stations were always pretty strapped for cash. The show was all about mathematics. We’re talking weapons-grade math: geometry and algebra. Stuff that was way too complex for my puny child mind to comprehend. (Stuff that’s way too complex for my puny adult mind too, but I digress…) The bulk of each episode consisted of a bland, polo-shirt-and-moustache, middle-aged-dad sorta guy interviewing teachers and mathematicians. 

Here’s where the trauma comes in: each episode also featured prologue and epilogue segments with robotic versions of Sherlock Holmes and Watson attempting to thwart Professor Moriarty. These segments were rendered in very primitive, early 90s computer animation, and Holmes and Watson looked like blocks on wheels with spindly ball-and-socket limbs. The Holmes robot had a pipe and a deerstalker cap. The Watson robot had a moustache. Moriarty had a black fedora, a dracula-esque cape, and sharp claws. I found the claws to be a particularly frightening detail.

Every episode had a pattern. Moriarty would lure Holmes and Watson into a math-inspired trap and Holmes would apply the concepts taught in the episode’s mathematics lesson towards a solution. Piece of cake. Done in one. But then, during the epilogue, Moriarty would spring a SECOND trap, leaving Holmes and Watson in LETHAL DANGER. And then the show would end. It would just END.

I can’t emphasize this enough. Every. Single. Episode. Ended with Holmes and Watson utterly trapped and about to die. One episode ended with Holmes and Watson at the mercy of snarling sphinxes with glowing red eyes. Another episode ended with Holmes and Watson getting chased by howling yetis. They were trapped in claustrophobic mazes, collapsing tombs, avalanches, and rising floods. It was nightmarish. The whiplash between middle-aged-math-dad boredom and the inevitability of death was extremely upsetting. The fact that Holmes and Watson would reappear in the next episode didn’t give me any comfort. It was as if they were reborn just to die all over again. Cruel, infinite deaths.

Hope some fellow PBS kid is able to identify this! 
Mahalo!

Name That Trauma:: Rob M. on a Faked Home Invasion

Reaching out again because my mind isn’t what it used to be.  I’m trying to recall a movie that was released in the last 20 years.  I don’t know what year.  I don’t know any actors in the movie, but I feel like I would know the name if I saw it. 

It’s set in the late 50’s or 60’s.  It was a major release… had a lot of word of mouth buzz (maybe because the director or producer had a murder style blockbuster similar).  It was set in the midwest or the south.  I think midwest…. maybe Kansas.  So let’s say Kansas in the late ’50s or ’60s.  The movie begins with a home invasion.  The family is living in a mid-century modern style home.  The family consists of Husband, Wife and maybe one or two kids. During that home invasion the wife is killed and the criminals flee.  This is a ruse.  This was set up by the husband and his wife’s sister (whom he is really in love with). They would get away with it, if not for a nosy insurance claims adjuster who is very suspicious.  There is an attempt to poison his coffee.  It’s all very much like Fargo.  These people aren’t killers.  They make horrible choices and pile more horrible choices on top of them.

There is one more element to the film.  Racial tension perhaps?  I say this because at one point an angry mob surrounds their house for days on end.  I’m not sure I remember why.
Thanks again, Rob M.

Name That Trauma:: Lena on a Clock That Strikes 13

Hello! I hope
You can help me.
I have never actually seen this movie it’s one of those movies that one of my childhood friends told me about.
Never forgot her telling me, but have never been able to find it.
I don’t have much to go on.
I’m going to guess it’s a 70’s movie. Whether it was made for TV or not I’m unsure.
It has a nurse living or working in someone’s home. Her last name might be Green??
I believe there is a child in the house.
A clock strikes 13 times instead of 12 at midnight.
I know it’s not much to go on?
Thanks, Lena

Name That Trauma Solved:: Bill S. on Operation X-70

Hey Kindertrauma!
Many years ago, around 2016, I emailed you (HERE) about a film I only remembered the vaguest details about, which I saw at the tender age of four (or possibly five, but no later than that), in the early 1970s.  The details I thought I knew became clouded, so it made it near impossible for me to remember but recently my subconscious became obsessed with it, trying to remember any more than the few images I could hold on to.

Today I rediscovered it.

I was browsing a forum I’m not a member of, and saw a user’s avatar…

..and that creepy thing put me on the trail.  A reverse image search on Google gave me my answer:

OPERATION X-70 (WATCH HERE).  A French cartoon, dubbed in English, that involves the accidental chemical-weapon bombing of a neutral/allied country with the titular chemical weapon, which creates interesting mutations in the people of the city.  The horror show in the animated .gif explains that “Asiatic” POWs were experimented on first, with the neurotoxin (and that it wasn’t lethal)…but as soon as I started watching all of the details fell into place: the bomber that accidentally drops its payload on the unsuspecting city, the onboard computer called Tarzan that malfunctions and directs the pilots to do so, the eerie, depopulated town, the creepy masked soldiers and politicians…

This one definitely, definitely qualifies as a Kindertrauma! 

Name That Trauma:: Mike from Minnesota on a Man in a Clown Mask

Hey folks, Michael from Minnesota here again. First, a million thanks for your wonderful website, it’s become a genuine addiction! Second, thanks for the speedy help in solving my first submission (“The Ghost in the Shed”); I was half convinced that I’d dreamed the whole thing. With that in mind, I’d like to make TWO more requests for help. Both of these were seen on television in the very late 80s or very early 90s, and for some reason I feel like both might have been on the USA Network (that was my dad’s favorite station growing up, and I believe he was with me for both of these):

-A woman is being chased through her home by a knife-wielding man in a clown mask. I’m pretty sure it’s a mask, and not makeup. The house is very nice (80s upper class), the cinematography is very dark, and there’s some sort of relationship between the two (the clown is her husband or ex-lover). I remember he talks a lot (not a “silent slasher”), possibly taunting her. I don’t think this was a movie, I feel like it might’ve been an episode of The Hitchhiker, Tales from the Darkside, Monsters, etc.

-This one’s a lot more vague. An animated show about fish. I believe they live in a grotto/bay of some sort, and the “villain” of the piece is a big carp who acts like a mob boss. I’m 100% certain it’s NOT Fish Police.

Thanks in advance for any help identifying these!

Name That Trauma:: Mike B. on a Supernatural Neighbor

I remember something from when I was a kid that I wish I could identify. I seem to vaguely (and perhaps incorrectly) recall seeing something on TV where a couple lived next door to an eccentric/reclusive rich guy, who they may or may not know/suspect to be not-quite-human and/or in possession of some kind of supernatural abilities. Anyway, the man in this scheming couple sends the woman over to seduce or at least get close to the rich guy so she can get access to his safe or other riches when he’s not around. I don’t recall how long this plot gets drawn out (maybe the rich guy grows to think she really cares for him over time or maybe he quickly catches her trying to slip away at a dinner party or something), but at some point he walks in on her trying to get his stuff, realizes what’s been going on, and (possibly as an involuntary reaction or perhaps deliberately) “does his thing”, which I think might have been depicted with him emitting a high-pitched shrieking/whistling noise or something. Maybe she screams, but I don’t think we see the effect of this incident before it cuts away, back to the scheming man, who hears the woman come home and enter but doesn’t yet see her when he asks how things went or whatever. She then is seen approaching the man as she starts to say something like “It’s alright…” before the man turns around in horror as he (and the audience) sees that her face is disfigured and she says something like “You still love me!”

I recently saw a clip from the 1978 movie “The Medusa Touch” that kind of reminded me of the (distantly remembered) intensity of this scene, with some of the same elements, and that film’s main character’s telekinetic powers could almost fit the bill (and I even think his last name of Morlar seems to ring a bell), but the scene and overall plot don’t otherwise match my memory, so perhaps I’m conflating two different films…

Now the funny thing is, I had seen a really short clip (HERE) of a much lower-budget movie (maybe even the scene I’m remembering) years later in part of the video intro at a Weird Al concert (which he apparently first used in a 1987 concert, so the film must be from 1987 or earlier if that’s true).  Luckily, I found this video online some time ago, and now I found your website.  If this is the movie, the clip is a bit different than I recall, as it appears the scheming man has been captured by the rich man and strapped down to a table for some other horrors when the woman enters and says, “Don’t be afraid, Jason”, but maybe I’m just misremembering it or this is a later part of the movie. Any ideas?  Thanks.

Name That Trauma:: Rob M. on a VHS Trap

Hey Unk,

I hope you’re doing well. I have another one that I can’t seem to track down. It’s from the Netflix early years… before they had their own content. It was one of those “You liked Cleopatra’s Second Husband”… you might like.

It’s about a man and wife living in an apartment. Maybe Australia or NZ? Green tint to the film production. His wife is a cheater and maybe he was too… or maybe he was an abusive too. Anyway, she leaves him, but as so far as I can recall… she traps him in their apartment with VHS tapes of her and her lover. He can’t leave, his life is in ruins and he has to watch her systematically torment him via VHS tapes.

Can you help me recall this film?

Thanks,
Rob
M.

Name That Trauma:: Matt S. on a Marked Witch Doll

OK Obi Wan, i think you might be my last hope….

I have searched the internet for years. I cannot find or ID this film. Not sure if it was made for TV or not.

Here’s all I can tell you… it was a film shown on tv (may just have been local to the San Francisco Bay Area) at some point in the 70s. I have a vague feeling like it was aired at two different times…

But here’s all I remember. Witches. A sort of woods, kind of gray and maybe foggy? And a rag doll (possibly a Raggedy Ann) with a mark of blood on her forehead ( like someone marked her forehead with blood using their finger), and possibly people in 17th-century clothing? I feel like at least a glrl in a cloak in the woods.

That’s it. It’s driven me crazy for 40ish years. I feel at this point like I hallucinated it….. hellllp!
Matt S.

Name That Trauma:: Michael From Minnesota on a Haunted House Book

Hi guys, Michael from Minnesota here. Love the site and hoping you and your readers can help with a memory that’s haunted me for decades. In grade school in the mid-80s, I remember watching a Reading Rainbow-type video that highlighted different children’s books. The one that stuck with me was a book about a family that moved into a new house and noticed some strange goings-on. In the end, it turns out a body was buried underneath the house and the restless spirit was causing the disturbances. I believe it ends with them giving the corpse a proper burial, and things go back to normal. I’ve gone through the Reading Rainbow archives and nothing has jumped out at me, so it might’ve been on a similar, knockoff program. If anyone can help, I’d love to find the book. Thanks!

Name That Trauma:: Grayson K. on a Backwards Talking Boy

I remember, on at least one occasion as a kid, seeing parts of a movie on TV which totally freaked me out. I mainly remember seeing a boy walking around on the roof of a house while talking backwards; kind of like the weird Twin Peaks effect where they rewind the voices. There were police or other adults that thought the boy was important and wanted to catch him, but he was wandering into hard to get places.

I think I saw it on TV a second time, which freaked me out again, and that’s when I learned he was the witness to some murder. Possibly of his parents. It may have even shown flashbacks to the murder (which I believe was in their bedroom). I think they were trying to get clues out of the boy and that’s why they were chasing him around. Although it’s probably good to get any child off the roof as a general rule.

I have no idea why he was talking backwards or why he was on the roof, but it was very unsettling to me. I thought for sure this would be an easy one to google with all the details I remembered, but none of the movies that came up sounded like the right one, or even mention a backwards talking boy.

Grayson K