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

Name That Trauma:: Glenn B. on a Bad Trip TV Special

I was born in 1961, so was a fresh, damp and impressionable target for some of the upsetting TV material of the 1960s and early 1970s. One of my more vivid memories is of a television special clearly intended to scare the audience away from ever experimenting with illegal drugs — and from LSD in particular.

In my jumbled recall, this program is linked with radio/television personality Art Linkletter, whose daughter Diane committed suicide by jumping out a window in 1969. The story bruited about (and encouraged by the Linkletter family) was that Diane had been tripping at the time, and jumped believing she could fly. According to Snopes.com, this was not the case, but Art Linkletter became a prominent anti-drug figure.

Anyway, I have a couple of distinct (well, distinct-ish) memories of this show — which had the intended effect on me at the time because it frightened the shit out of me. I have thought about these again and again in the intervening years, though the memories got blurrier and no doubt less reliable.

Memory 1: there was at least one simulated ‘bad trip’ sequence. The specific bit I recall was a vision of what looked like skinny Giacometti-like sculptures, but made out of glass — and they were vomiting copious streams of glassy puke (not animated, though the sculptures might have been on rotating bases or something like that).

Memory 2: the worst memory I have of this delightful program was of it showing photos of the horribly deformed faces of the children you would have if you ever dropped acid. The layout of the shot I recall was multiple-row, like a page of a school yearbook from hell: I recall one-eyed faces, faces with trunk-like appendages proceeding from foreheads, real monsters. The photos had a somewhat blurred, distressed and artifacted look, which made them even worse.

I’ve searched for the film on Youtube, and while there are a number of examples of this *kind* of thing there, most of them are films that would have been shown in the classroom and I definitely remember this one being on TV.

Note: a number of people have asked me if I was remembering the movie Go Ask Alice, from 1973. I have watched it, and although there are frightening things in it (e.g. Shatner with a moustache, waka-jawaka music, the oily colors of the 70s) they are of a different nature.

Name That Trauma:: Paul K. on a Tortured Family and a Television Trap

This happened when I was living in northern Minnesota during the ’70s to the early ’80s. We had 4 tv stations to choose from. I turned the channel to PBS and watched something strange. A dad, mom, boy and girl sat like crash-test dummies unmoving at a table. The room they sat in (maybe a kitchen) had very little in it. A prompt would come up saying something like “wind”. A giant wind storm would blow through the room as the family just sat there and took it.  Another prompt would come up like “quake”. The room would reset itself as if the wind storm never happened. The quake would shake everything out of place but when the next prompt came up everything would be back in its place. This would go on for many prompts. The only time the room didn’t reset was after the prompt “sand”. A foot of sand blew into the room and stayed there even after other prompts. It was almost like I was watching an immobile family subjected to various torturous conditions that were removed after each testing except for the sand.  This might have been from 30 to 60 minutes long.  That is all I know.

I also remember something on PBS during the same time period where a young good guy gets transmitted inside a TV by a young bad guy. The good guy pounds on the TV’s glass screen. The good guy’s girlfriend risks getting stuck inside the TV trying to save him but is able to get the good guy out. She traps the bad guy in the TV and they leave him in there fearfully pounding on the glass screen.  It isn’t John Ritter’s film “STAY TUNED“. That too is all I know.

I hope my memory is correct and I hope you can help.  The bad guy stuck in the TV had extreme fear and made the good guys look amoral.

Name That Trauma:: Amanda Z. on a Madman’s Torture Tunnel

Hey there and thank you for reading!

This has been driving me mad for thirty years. I caught a brief moment in a movie when I was very young, and all I can remember about it is that there was a madman who was murdering people in various ridiculously complicated ways (sort of like The Abominable Doctor Phibes) and one way was to force a person through a small tunnel or a hole or something. I think the contraption was set up like a model train table and a conveyor took the person along a track where they were compressed or pushed through this hole.

This would have been on network TV some time in the early 1970s. Could have been a TV show, or a movie shown on TV. I’m sorry I can’t be more specific. I caught just enough of it to flip out, at which point my parents sent me back to bed. Does this ring any bells? Even remotely? Thanks in advance for your help. 

Name That Trauma:: Ruben V. on a Tree Contraption Death

Hey there,

I stumbled upon your website the other day after seeing a Facebook post. I’ve been enjoying the content, and even found a few movies I may check out. I noticed that you, as well as your fans have a deep knowledge of horror flicks and I was wondering if you could possibly pin down a movie that I only remember one exact scene from, which is quite brief, but ill give it a shot. It was on TV I believe when I was a kid (early to mid ’90s possibly) and all I remember is a man running in the woods away from something/someone. He then leans against a tree and a vice contraption goes over his eyes and squeezes them. I’m not sure if this is completely made up or an actual film, but if you possibly know of a film similar to what was described that would be great. Thank you for posting great content, and I will be continuing to follow your posts.

Take care

-Ruben V.

UNK SEZ: Thanks, Rubin! I’m glad you found us! I may be wrong but that sounds like the death of Eddie Kelso in FRIDAY THE 13th: A New Beginning. Strangely, I just watched that the other night! Check it out HERE and let us know if that’s the case. Otherwise, we’ll keep looking. If any of our readers can think of any other possibilities, please comment!