The Outer Limits and Childhood Diak-Changing Compulsion Disorder By Bigwig

In our household, there are kids’ channels and picture-driven menus that corral my son and daughter to a safe haven of youth programming, and restrictions that prohibit them from most else, if they would even be so inclined to try venturing out of bounds at an early age.

For any other pentagenarians out there, the TV of my youth was navigated via a dial that you had to physically get up and turn and covered all of twelve channels (13 if you counted the “U”). The menu was the TV Guide at home next to Dad’s ashtray.  As a kid, you knew when the cartoons were on, as well as general kid-fare, and the few channels that would deliver it.  Saturday mornings, and about an hour before and after school was all there was, and even that was relegated to maybe two channels at best. The rest was a roulette wheel of “anything goes”, and the further the clock strayed from those kid times the better the odds were that you would stumble upon something best left unseen.

With that stage set, I remember vividly stumbling upon a rerun of The Outer Limits, one channel away from Philadelphia’s The Wee Willy Weber Show, which showed my favorite cartoon, Milton the Monster.  The Outer Limits, in its high contrast black and white, was a great example of a trap show for impressionable young minds of the early 70’s.  The episode (as I’ve backfilled with research) was Behold, Eck! – featuring a two-dimensional electricity monster that could only be seen with special glasses, by various forehead-sweaty scientists, and shrieking damsels.

Tame and goofy as it is by today’s standards, it was enough to nightmare me out, come bedtime. The remedy was simple enough….stay away from channel 5 during Wee Willy Weber.(approach the channel counter-clockwise, no less!)  But therein lie the problem…I knew it was there, and just one small channel change away.  I let it go a few days I suppose as my false bravado built, and debated a quick flick back and forth, for a quick peer into Pandora’s Box.  I’m sure I had a few quick back-and-forth’s without any problem as I set approached the inevitable.

But then, of course, in the spirit of William Shatner opening his airplane window shade to be met with the fuselage-ripping Gremlin,  I managed to go from this:

To this:

Traumafession:: The Amityville Horror (Book) By Unk

Every now and then I get a little re-obsessed with The Amityville Horror. I can’t help it. Even though I realize that the lion’s share of Jay Anson’s novel is completely fabricated, It made such a strong impression on me in my youth that I’m willing to shelve my doubts and just bask in the creepiness of the tale. There’s no denying that even if George and Kathy Lutzes’ account is hokum, young Ronald DeFeo, Jr. still murdered his entire family while they slept which is absolutely horrifying in and of itself. I have to admit too, that a part of me still holds a space for the possibility that the Lutz’s did experience something supernatural even if it wasn’t as extreme as they claim. After all, both of the Lutz sons Dan and Chris (youngest child Missy is keeping mum) who are now adults, still claim as much. Additionally, I do find it very easy to believe that if something truly awful happens in a home that some kind of bad energy lingers. Perhaps no other family who has lived in the house has experienced such things simply because they were not on the same dysfunctional demon-baiting wavelength as the DeFeos and Lutzes. On the other hand, life experience and common sense tells me that George Lutz, who (according to the book) was having financial troubles at the time, most definitely stole his brother-in law’s envelope full of wedding money. Ghosts have little use for cash.

I was probably about twelve when I first read The Amityville Horror and was born around the same time as the Lutz’s middle child Chris. Re-reading the book now brings me back to a specific time period that is so familiar and nostalgic for me. I remember absolutely believing every word because the cover of the paperback clearly said, “Based on a true story” and I readily assumed that the publishers would not be able to make such a statement if it wasn’t! I was further swayed by the fact that a great deal of the book involved a priest and everybody knows that they of all people are not allowed to lie. Plus the book had a map of the house, photos of George and Kathy and a drawing of Jodie by youngest daughter Missy. Further proof! For those who don’t know, Jodie was a giant pig who only deigned to appear or speak to the youngest child. Although there are two instances in the book (and movie) when the scamp materializes in a window and both instances are high points for me (I have to admit I’ve always been infatuated with Jodie and wish he could have his very own exhaustive franchise).

As adorable as Jodie may be there was another presence in the book that I recall terrifying me. During the Lutzes very last moments in the house (how I vibrantly recall laying on the dining room floor in our old home, on my stomach with the book in front of me speeding with great anxiety toward the book’s climax), father George looks up the staircase to see a faceless man in a hooded white robe pointing at him! The image that the book conjured in my imagination chilled me to my very core. After so much hemming and hawing on whether the pumpkin-eyed house was truly haunted, this scary dude made it a concrete, indisputable fact in my mind. Folks, you never want to see a guy in any color hooded robe ever and it’s especially not a good sign if said figure decides to point right at you! This guy solidified the book for me and so much so that when I finally was able to coax my parents to take me to the movie, I remember being very disappointed that no such scene occurs within the film. How could they leave out the best part of the book? I can't stay mad at the movies(s) though as they are responsible for two absolutely iconic Amityville scares. The priest vs. housefly confrontation and the babysitter trapped in the closet bit are pure Hollywood design and nowhere to be found in the book!

I recently re-read The Amityville Horror to see if it could scare me once again and although I’m still enamored with Jodie, much of the book doesn’t quite hold up. The robed figure still has a bit of bite left in him (could Jodie and he be one in the same?) but I’m not shaking in my shoes at the thought of green slime, levitation, and loud marching band sounds shaking the house in the middle of the night. At one point, when Kathy looks in a mirror and is repulsed to see an old version of herself looking back at her, all I could think was, “Welcome to my world.” Sadly, as an adult reading the book, the most upsetting part to me now is that in the heart of winter, as the Lutzes complain about the house being impossibly cold, they keep their poor dog Harry chained up outside (by a river no less)! I know things were different back then but this knowledge makes me think that maybe the Lutzes deserved whatever befell them! Hey, now that I think about it, I hereby curse everyone who mistreats animals to be visited by a scary hooded figure with an accusatory finger (I finally understand why he was pointing after all these years!) Huh, maybe, I can be one of these ghostly animal defenders in the afterlife! Dear Jodie, where do I sign up?

Traumafession:: Natalie & Stacy on Hate Hurts You PSA

Natalie’s version:

One night in the early ‘80s, my big sister Stacy, my mother and I were watching primetime TV on KTUL, Tulsa, Oklahoma’s ABC affiliate. For those too young to remember the time before digital, affiliates like KTUL showed programming from major broadcasters, but did so with their own style. In KTUL’s case, that style was local and weird, and sometimes so desperate for something to fill air time that they would run ten-year-old PSAs to fill a few seconds. KTUL was an especially magical station, my sister and I thought. They had the nightly sign-off with the Native American guy, the locally produced kids’ show Uncle Zeb, and Don Woods, the weatherman who drew a cartoon character called Gusty to illustrate his forecasts. But that night, KTUL’s magic would become dark, and it would be lodged in my memory as the channel I could never watch again–because they showed Hate Hurts You.

Picture it: a bluish gray background fills the screen, against which a little yellow man who looks vaguely like the Reverend Horton Heat sidles toward the viewer. A window opens into his chest as he walks, revealing what looks like an inside-out recycling symbol lodged in his torso. From the inside of his neck, blood rains down onto the symbol, causing it to rotate. Industrial music accompanies this bizarre scene, but not the fun, dance-club stuff. This is grinding, scraping metal that sounds like “Hirnsäge” by Einstürzende Neubauten. As the little man gets closer to the screen, his face filling more and more of it, a narrator with a baritone voice delivers a grim warning: “Hate is a poison that corrodes, an acid that erodes.” Horton’s head begins to inflate, ++++lumpily, and turns bright red as his features, now filling the entire screen, contort into anger or pain. As the announcer barks the last words–“When you hate, who do you hurt the most? HATE HURTS YOU!”--Horton’s head explodes. In our living room, my sister and I are bawling as our mother tries to comfort us. (She even contemplated calling KTUL to complain, or maybe she actually did. I remember this one way, Stacy another.)

My memory of Hate Hurts You was off in some pretty major ways.While I recalled the visuals more or less correctly, my memory of the audio was completely off. In the real version, there’s no baritone narrator, no droning industrial noise. Instead, it’s a very ‘70s folk tune, minor chords strummed over a Rhythm Master backing track. A nasally voice sings the lyrics I remembered being ominously spoken. Even the exploding head isn’t as sudden as I remember it being. The little yellow bigot’s inflated head fills the screen for a couple of seconds before finally bursting, which probably explains why of all my memories, that enraged face was the most vivid.

It’s not news that memories frequently fail us, but I am fascinated by how my memory failed me in this case. As a very small child, Hate Hurts You was the most intense thing I had ever seen. Its climactic jump scare might not seem like much in this world of Five Nights at Freddy’s and James Wan movies, but to a naturally timid girl roughly five years old who had grown up on nothing more shocking than an airing of King Kong, it was life-altering. For years after I saw it, I avoided my beloved KTUL out of fear that they might air it again. Once I became an adult who loved confronting her childhood terrors, it was my holy grail. If I had remembered it as just a mellow folk tune and simple animation, I would have realized that it’s not nearly as horrifying to an adult as to a sheltered child. I wanted it to still shock me like it had back then. And so, I assume, my mind took over and recreated the much scarier version I remembered, all clanging and portentous, with a head explosion to rival the one from Scanners. 

Only one question remains now: what is that symbol in the man’s chest, and is that really supposed to be blood dripping down onto it? I suppose it could symbolize self-perpetuating cycles of hatred and violence, but a wheel of arrows being turned by blood is a decidedly odd way to make that point in an otherwise completely unsubtle PSA. Now that the full cut has made its way to the internet, perhaps someone can finally figure it out.

Stacy’s version:

When I was in art school getting my MFA, my thesis project was all about nostalgia. I made interactive pieces based on distant memories; you could examine my childhood collection of plastic monkeys from 1970s Sonic cups, or listen to a recording of the ghostly voice from the Milton-Bradley game Seance. But the most blood-chilling piece, as far as I was concerned, was the wooden box lined with flocked wallpaper on one side and velour couch fabric on the other. It was just big enough to fit your head inside, and when you did (if you did), you felt the fabric and wallpaper on your cheeks. That was what I felt the first time I ran and hid from the TV, when I first saw the Jewish Chautauqua Society’s hate PSA.

Sure, there were plenty of other creepy things on TV during my childhood – the Sylvia episode of Little House on the Prairie, the Changeling episode of The Waltons, the Wonderful World of Disney movie Child of Glass – but while those things had kept me awake at night, nothing had ever made me want to scoop out my own eyeballs and bludgeon my eardrums with chopsticks while vomiting all over the living room untilI saw the hate PSA. Reality split into the time before the hate PSA and the time after, when I learned there are horrors you can never unsee.

Unlike my little sister Natalie, I remembered it perfectly, except that I thought the final lyrics were, “HATE…THE ONE IT HURTS THE MOST…IS YOU!” I remembered the little yellow man and his horrifying turned-out feet and block-heeled shoes. I remembered the churning recycling symbol in his belly and the indigestion bubbles rising above it (which Natalie clearly remembered as drops of blood dripping down, which is significantly more horrifying than heartburn). I remembered the weird Spanish-style music, which invoked a lifelong phobia of the Spanish-style stucco house near my elementary school, with its arched doorways and wrought-iron gates. I imagined that the yellow man lived in that house, and stomped around inside it being pissed off and exploding all the time.

For as long as I’ve been a citizen of the internet, I’ve looked for this godforsaken PSA; until a few days ago, I’d never found it. But there were a couple of Reddit threads of people searching for it, hoping to exorcise their own childhood trauma. I only remember seeing it once; it obviously wasn’t on very often, probably because local TV stations received reports of children scooping out their eyeballs, bludgeoning their eardrums with chopsticks, and vomiting all over their living rooms. But the rare few of us ‘70s kids who saw it were scarred for life, looking for others on lost-media forums who shared our specific terror.

Nine years ago, a YouTube user by the name of Just Some Random Person uploaded a 10-second clip of the ending, and seeing that exploding head again made Internet People even more determined to find the full-length version. For almost a decade, there was nothing, and then, in March 2023, a Reddit user named Delchi posted in r/lostmedia, “I was able to locate a copy of what I believe is the 30-second version on a 16mm reel in a collection of television history.”

For four months, other Reddit users waited for Delchi to upload a digitized version, but Delchi went silent. In July, they finally commented on the thread again, saying there were “legal issues” with “the location that has it,” where “the media is disorganized and the index is incorrect.” It had all the makings of an urban legend, and at that point, I doubted it had really been found.

But then, on August 13, 2023, an iPhone video of the 16mm film, projected on a wall, suddenly appeared on YouTube. It was like the sky broke open and a faded warning against anti-Semitism rained down on a sea of acoustic guitar chords accented by a haunted cajon that was also, no doubt, just big enough to hold a human head. 

(Natalie, a musician, says this was actually something called a Rhythm Master, so while I defer to her, I still prefer to imagine a box with a head in it.)

Seeing the hate PSA again confirmed that there were definitely two versions, as Reddit and YouTube people had speculated – according to Delchi, one was made in 1974, and the other in 1982. In the ‘74 version, the man’s red face fills the screen and holds for a few seconds, and a roar of sound builds before it explodes. In the ‘82 version, the face explodes as soon as it fills the screen. One assumes the Jewish Chautauqua Society heard how many unsuspecting children had been traumatized by this thing and decided to make a less-scary version rather than pulling the ad altogether – an admirable dedication to the message, but dude, there was still a big, red exploding head. 

Rumor has it that there’s another, even longer, spoken-word version, but for now, that one remains in urban-legend land. Until someone finds it, the little yellow man will haunt YouTube in his 30-second incarnation, just like he haunted the Spanish house in my hometown, slowly stomping on his pointy-toed, high-heeled boots into the minds of children yet to be traumatized, becoming a kindertrauma for a new generation.

5 Post- Childhood Kindertraumas By Ghastly1

PRIME CUT (1972) Lee Marvin as a hitman, Gene Hackman as a guy named Mary Ann and Sissy Spacek in her screen debut; I'm sold. This one threw me for a loop because ostensibly it's a crime/action film but it suddenly takes a sharp left turn and goes to some very unexpected and unsavory places.

BONE TOMAHAWK (2015) I owe S. Craig Zahler an apology; I went into this thinking it was going to be absolutely terrible and for that I am sorry, because boy was I wrong. I love westerns and was going through a kick of watching a dozen or more at the time of seeing this. I knew nothing about it going in and was expecting a cheap UNFORGIVEN knock off. Instead, what I got was a western-cannibal-horror film and just like with PRIME CUT, it caught me off guard and left me disoriented. It's like THE SEARCHERS meets CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and in probably the most memorable scene, I think even throws a nod to CUT AND RUN (1984) in there at the end. I liked it so much and was so impressed by it, I haven't seen it since my initial viewing because I want to preserve the memory. All I can say is, woah, that was intense.

WARLOCK MOON (1973) A pretty good supernatural horror film which has its flaws (especially in the foreshadowing department, in 1973, apparently colleges had cannibalism classes; which now that I think about it, compared to the stuff they teach today is positively wholesome) but also has a few genuinely intense, suspenseful scenes, which, putting myself in the characters place, actually increased my heart rate. Something it also does very well is, it leaves questions about the events of the film unanswered, which in supernatural horror films especially is important.

THE BUTCHER (1979) An ex-soldier turned butcher named Paul romances a teacher in a provincial French town beset by a string of murders. This is a quiet film which has a bit of Hitchcock to it; it doesn't go in for anything hysterical and there isn't much of a mystery as to who has been doing the deed. Instead, we get a bit of a subtle character study of a man whose mind has been stretched beyond its limit and is done with life; his own and others.

THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES (2002) In my opinion, one of the few truly scary films ever made. There is an otherworldly feeling to this film, so much mystery to it, so many unanswered questions, which is what makes it terrifying. I am still hesitant to watch it because Indrid Cold genuinely freaks me out.

5 Post-Childhood Kindertraumas By Mickster

28 Days Later (2002) When I first saw this on the big screen, it was like having a dose of adrenaline. I kept thinking that I had too many windows in my house (that usually comes to mind with zombies of any kind). Another thing that struck me was how much I cared about the main group of four characters (Jim, Selena, Hannah, and Frank-I remembered their names without looking it up). I was anxious about their safety, and when one of them (if you know you know) was infected by a drop of blood in the eye, I wept because I was so invested in the survival of this, created by circumstances, family. It did give me nightmares about rage infected people chasing me down for several weeks after watching it.

The Orphanage (2007) I do not think this movie ever came to a theater close by, so I saw it on DVD back in the olden times when Netflix sent physical DVDs to your house. This one stayed in my head for a long time after viewing it mainly because of the crushing sadness when Laura (Belén Rueda) discovers what actually happened to her adopted son, Simón (Roger Príncep), who went missing early in the movie. I cried and cried over that particular reveal. But overall, this one has a great creepy atmosphere that sticks with you. I’m also a sucker for creepy sack masks like the one Tomás wears. If you like haunted house flicks, give this one a try, but be sure to have a box of tissues handy for the ending.

The Strangers (2008) This one I also watched at home and not in the theater. This one really got under my skin. Home invasion flicks really freak me out because it is something that could actually happen. In fact, I wrote a post about The Strangers about ten years ago (HERE). I still have not rewatched this one, and I'm not sure I'm brave enough to do it.

Sinister (2012) I went to a late showing of this creepy flick opening weekend, and then I went home to my empty house. This was not the best idea. I ended up turning on all the lights in the house. Professor and Princess, my two cats, thought I was nuts. I don’t know why I was so freaked out. I don’t have kids, and the big baddy in the flick was using kids; however, my logic doesn’t work very well in a dark, empty house. I vowed never to go to a late scary movie again. In fact, if I’m watching something scary, I usually chase it with something funny and light hearted. It makes for a more restful night’s sleep.

Skinamarink (2022) After all the buzz surrounding this one, I had to see it. So the weekend it hit Shudder, I watched it with my husband. This experimental horror movie had me on edge the entire time. I cannot quite pinpoint why. My husband got bored and wanted to go to bed, but I made him keep watching because I was too unnerved to watch the rest alone. Perhaps it brought back the time in my life when I was about Kevin’s age (Lucas Paul), and I was too scared to be alone in the house. My mom would go outside to hang up the laundry, and I would wedge myself between the screen door and the main door into the house to avoid being in the empty house. So, the thought of being trapped in the house with my parents missing took me back to being a frightened four-year-old. After watching the movie, I spent weeks pouring over reaction and analysis videos on YouTube about Skinamarink. I don’t know if I can ever watch it again. Oh yeah, f#%k that Fisher Price phone!

        Traumafession: Andreas from Germany on Invaders ('92) & Deadly Friend ('86)

        Hello Sir, 

        My best friend and I were watching INTRUDERS on TV back in 1992 and were blown away. We recorded it and have re-watched it many times . 

        At that time we were reading lots of books about UFO and alien stuff. We certainly tried to escape from something back then when we were teenagers; maybe growing up or hidden sexual desires or conflicts. We had much fun with that flick but at the same time it gave my friend a good scare and he started to see aliens in his bedroom. The most iconic scene was the scene where the boy at the pond turns his head and reveals he is an alien. We've been still talking about that scene today and sending that pic to each other to this day. So this was how I stumbled over your homepage.

        You see even in Germany this flick has traumatized people over TV. It is broadcast at least once a year by cable TV somewhere. I think it is a good movie and the actors are very good. Except for Stephen Berkoff and Richard Crenna you don't see the other actors often. I couldn't believe this is the same Richard Crenna like in the RAMBO movies. I recognized him there later.

        My personal Kindertrauma on TV is "JAWS" and the "Deadly Friend". I nearly puked in my soup when I saw when Anne Ramsey's head is smashed with a basketball. I felt so ill I wrote a letter to the TV station and complained about that. I could not watch the movie for 20 years.

        So much for Intruders and for now.   

        Kind regards

        Andreas (Germany)

        5 Post-Childhood Kindertraumas By Unk


        I thought maybe to switch things up a bit I’d share some movies that scared the crap out of me not as a kid but as an adult. The first title that came to mind was John McNaughton’s unflinching study of a guy named Henry (the great Michael Rooker in his all too convincing film debut) who has the nasty habit of randomly murdering people. It’s a brilliant film, I proudly own a physical copy of it but I have never watched it again after seeing it in a tiny Philadelphia art house theater during its original release. At the time I had recently moved from cushy suburbia to go to art school in the city and something about the film’s footage depicting a savage home invasion hit me with incredible force. I could not help imagining the same thing happening to my family (particularly my mother) who I was now so very far away from. Not to give anything away, but I also recall this film mercilessly disposing of its lone character with any shred of human decency. I’m going to challenge myself to watch this movie one more time before I die…I swear. Even If’s only to justify my purchasing of the DVD…I promise (gulp).

        THE HAUNTED (’91)

        Yes, I somehow got so legitimately freaked out by a made-for-TV movie that I had a hard time sleeping afterwards (full revisit HERE). I can laugh about it now but this televised reenactment of the allegedly true story of the haunting of Pennsylvania’s Smurl family had me worried that I was in danger of experiencing a supernatural interloper at any moment. I really got the true creeps. In my defense, it was rather late at night and my brain may have been a bit fuzzy with sleep but the fact remains that I gobbled up this questionable tale hook line a sinker. I’ve watched it many times over the years trying to decipher exactly what got under my skin and the closest thing I can come up with is that somehow Sally Kirkland of all people was so earnest in her performance that I couldn’t help but believe.

        IF I DIE BEFORE I WAKE (’98)

        I doubt many people have heard of this (presumably) straight to video home invasion horror flick but for my money it scared me more than the much more popular THE STRANGERS (2008). I guess anyone with any sort of empathy can’t help being mortified by a home invasion flick. It’s just the worst thing to imagine happening to others and let’s face it, it’s even worse when you imagine it happening to yourself. To be honest I think what made this flick so much more disturbing than others to me is the non-Hollywood, unglamorous, no-name (unless you include I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER’S Muse Watson as the head malicious intruder) cast who are convincingly presented as real people who could live next door to you.

        EDEN LAKE (2008)

        Handsome, happy go-lucky couple Steve and Jenny (Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender) decide to vacation at a lake where Steve eventually plans to propose. But wait, there’s a group of rowdy, rotten teens to contend with who are hell bent on triggering yours truly in a multitude of ways. Look, I can handle this movie fine (full review HERE), I even find it slightly cathartic in spots but oh my good lord, I cannot wrap my poor feeble brain around this film’s final gut wrenching, punch in the face, stomp on your toes, kick you in the shin, poke your eye out, land a shovel on your noggin’ final denouement. Oh, the cruelty. I want to hide under a table and just shake.

        THE LODGE (2019)

        I don’t know what was going on with myself psychologically when I went to see this epic monolith of relentless mental torture but it truly made me fear for my own sanity. There’s a sad, confused review of this cinematic mega-bummer lurking somewhere on this site (HERE) so I won’t drag myself through the punishing snow-covered briar patch yet again but suffice to say that never has a film left me with such an all-consuming sense of foreboding. Serial murderers, ghosts, home invaders, violent teen gangs are all frightening for sure but there’s something about the way THE LODGE fiddles with reality and mortality itself that truly chills me to the bone.

        My Kindertrauma:: Nina on The Twilight Zone Episode "Living Doll" & Talky Tina

        When the blockbuster 1960s series called The Twilight Zone featured an episode entitled TALKING TINA, I was 6 years old, and a second grade student in a very strict and demanding Catholic school. I lived in an emotional state that ranged from hypervigilance to barely concealed panic- such an overwhelming atmosphere was this for a young child. One weekend in the fall of this particular year, my mother arranged, at my insistence, for me to spend the weekend with my great aunt Genevieve, a fairy godmother of sorts, who owned a rambling old Victorian home in Cape May, N.J. Genevieve was a hearth of hospitality and warmth, full of fun and mischief unparalleled by any other adult I knew, and a colossal reprieve from the exacting religious sisters who were my teachers and torturers. My aunt and I, from the beginning, shared a love of being frightened by the unexpected…..within the confines of fiction and movies, of course. On the Saturday night of my visit, after donning our flannel nightgowns and scattering blankets along her huge maw of a sofa, we cozied up to each other to watch TALKY TINA.

        The house was appropriately drafty and sibilant. As the delicious fear of the unknown enveloped me when the doll’s maniacal wickedness develops in the episode, I looked to my aunt, hoping to see my scared delight mirrored, but her eyes were closed, and her head slumped over. I was bewildered and terrified. I remembered that my mother, her niece, would exhort us to have fun whenever she witnessed our twin flame energies align, but she would also ask me not to let her get too excited. I never actually understood what felt like a looming subtext to my mother’s request, and always found this phrase strangely unsettling. My aunt had suffered a massive and fatal heart attack, as I sat next to her, thoroughly engrossed in the program. I took off, running out if the house, wailing and screaming uncontrollably until a neighbor came to my aid. I was shattered and whirling in terror. I feel so divided about sharing this experience, because my fear that the episode and I were somehow responsible for her demise, is a visceral feeling I have never been able to expunge, even after years of therapy, and the depression and shame I harbored as a young child paralyzes me to this day if anyone in my midst mentions The Twilight Zone.

        Traumafession:: Unk on The Exorcist ('73)

        There’s not much that can be said about William Friedkin’s adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s brilliant novel THE EXORCIST that hasn’t been said before but I’ll give it a shot. Although I recently watched the film for the umpteenth time, I can tell you that there were many years in which I absolutely wouldn’t dare do so. I thought of it as akin to courting the devil and I guess my ultimate fear was that by watching it, I might become possessed myself. Looking back, I guess there was a lot of magical thinking and supernatural paranoia occupying my head as a kid. As much as I enjoyed watching babysitters and camp counselors get killed in creative ways as a budding horror fan, my bravery evaporated when it came to anything religious or especially, anything dealing with the devil. I believed in that Satan guy until one day I miraculously didn’t and what a relief it was.I still consider myself spiritual to a degree but these days I take everything I absorbed as a child from Sunday school with a hearty pinch of salt. Still, my mind remains open a wee crack, there are no atheists in foxholes after all and who knows what the future will bring. Anyway, when my abject fear of religion hit the high road so did my overwhelming terror of the demonic force in THE EXORCIST. That said, I highly doubt there will ever come a time when I don’t squirm like a worm on a hook during the medical procedures endured by Regan (Linda Blair. Those scenes always make me wince and stand to prove that there are some kindertraumas that you never grow out of.

        Luckily, you don’t have to be shaking in your shoes or freaking out in your footwear to enjoy THE EXORCIST. No matter your level of skepticism it’s still an expertly crafted masterwork with a hypnotic score, dynamic acting (the entire cast is impeccable) and an autumnal atmosphere that’s singularly seductive (that scene when Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) strolls through Georgetown sidewalks carpeted with fall leaves as trick or treaters pass to the tune of Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” is one of my favorite moments in all of cinema). Even though the lightening quick flashes of Captain Howdy’s pale visage no longer have me hiding under the couch, I’m very far from the mentality of a semi-recent audience I viewed it with who chuckled at every curse word thrown (philistines!). Happily too, I can say that a part of me relates to young Regan’s plight now more than ever before. I don’t know what it’s like to have my head turn three hundred and sixty five degrees but due to recent disappointments, I do understand the urge to stay in bed, use foul language and throw furniture at anyone who dares enter my immediate space. Even if you strip away the film’s blaring religious garments, there still stands a universal clash between the powers of darkness and light, positivity and negativity, and optimism and hopelessness to consider. No one religion owns this eternal struggle that we all participate in every day whether we’re conscious of it or not and you certainly don’t have to be religious to have faith in the power of good and the value of life. In this area, Blatty’s profound, surprisingly sanguine book is more adamantly persuasive than the film in relaying the idea that for as much evil as there is in the world, there is also clear, identifiable goodness as well. I always try to keep that in mind when the pea soup begins to gurgle inside me, waiting to spring forth.

        Traumafession:: E.G. on Open Season 2

        First off: I am a very sensitive person, and this was especially true when I was a kid. Second: I do not enjoy animals being hurt for any reason. I worry constantly about the safety of my cats and dear god, if anything were to happen to them I’d lose my goddamn mind.So with that in mind, let’s get to the most unlikely source of nightmare fuel: Open Season 2!

        I had no problem with the first one. But see, the second one introduces this evil poodle named Fifi who wants revenge on the wild animals…..because one made him back into an electric light that we see the effect of. At that time I had a dog who had all sorts of weird but benign bumps, so a doggie with a big bump wasn’t too big a deal. Then we get to the electrocution proper. So this poodle, who is clearly traumatized, gets zapped by an electric fence. I wish I could say it was a silly thing where his fur pooped up and he got ash all over his face. Just cartoon ridiculousness. It was NOT.

        You can see this stuff that’s supposed to be fire but looks more like pink-orange acid blazing a hole in this poodle’s floofy head fur. I was legit concerned at the time that his brain would burn. The burning and the fear of brain roasting was bad enough. A few scenes later we see the effects of the damage…complete with a burn blister and scorched fur.

        I very nearly died at seeing all that horror. It upset me so bad I had to finish my lunch later (this was at a school, and the movie was supposed to be a reward for the class-it was not for me!). Thankfully we never finished it, but I read on the internet that by the end of the movie, the poodle’s fur is all burned off. I wouldn’t have survived that, I just know I wouldn’t. This memory still causes me pain to this day and even writing a creepypasta about it didn’t help (though I did wind up with a YouTube reading my pasta, and that was super exciting!). Add in the fact that my best friend at this time had a very sweet bichon named Sugar, who of course was also a white fluffy dog, and this was the worst nightmare fuel I’ve ever had. I don’t know what poodle-hating psychopathic decided to inflict this on innocent kids, but I hope karma bites them right in the-well, you know.

        I can’t escape this damn memory. I hope by the time you receive this, I’ll be doing something else and not thinking about this. I’m so sorry if any images accompany this post, folks. I’m so very, very sorry. But yeah, this is definitely trauma so I thought I’d share. I hope none of you have to go through what I did!-E.G.