Official Traumatizer :: Jason Voorhees

Hey look at the date, it's Friday the 13th!!! What a great day to make Jason Voorhees, Camp Crystal Lake's resident bad boy an Official Traumatizer! There is not much I can say about Jason that hasn't been said elsewhere, but what I can do is tell you about my own first experience with the film FRIDAY THE 13TH and my original introduction to the little mongoloid boy named Jason Voorhees.

Little Unkle Lancifer was too young to go see the first FRIDAY THE 13th in the movie theater, but thanks to FAMOUS MONSTERS magazine I was well aware of its existence. (Although to be accurate, I was at least partially confusing it with another film, 1979's THE ORPHAN). My eldest brother, who I imagined at the time had the most fulfilling existence imaginable, WAS old enough to check out this intriguing and mysterious movie which he did as far as I recall, as soon humanly possible.

Now, unlike myself, my older brother is not a light touch when it comes to horror. In fact, it was a badge of honor for him to return from a film and declare himself unfazed and unimpressed by what he had seen on the screen. His attraction to the genre appeared to me to be more as if he were accepting some unsaid dare. He was out to prove that he could withstand anything presented to him and I was sure at the end of the day he would much rather be watching BRUCE LEE.

My usually too cool for school older brother returned from FRIDAY THE 13th in a state in which I had never seen him. He was flushed, he was amped and he was absolutely beside himself. It was if he had just witnessed a train crash and was still working through the adrenaline that was coursing through his body. He was literally stunned and therefore I was too, stunned that there was something so scary that it could leave my roughneck, ninja-star throwing sibling in such a state.

Eventually I grew up to be the kind of film spaz that will go ballistic if a movie is ruined for me even slightly. I'm the jerk that won't enter a theater if I think I've missed 30 seconds of the opening and I am known to drive normal people insane with my excessive use of "pause" and "rewind" at home. At this young age though, for all I knew, my only chance to experience FRIDAY THE 13th would be vicariously through my brother so I demanded he tell me everything he could remember of what he had witnessed.

Uncharacteristically, my brother fulfilled my request and regaled every detail from the opening jeep murder to the closing credits. I was mesmerized from start to finish as images both titillating and horrifying passed through my young head. Some might describe FRIDAY's plot as slight or even non-existent but, due to my own verbal introduction to the happenings of Crystal Lake, to me it will always skew closer to one of the greatest campfire stories/legends ever told. At this point in my life (and maybe it's due to the fact that I was ruefully born with only one foot in reality) I took the events told to me as gospel. When he eventually described little Jason's final exodus from the murky bottom of the lake my jaw hit the shag carpet.

Not very much later a VCR appeared in our living room. Our family was one of the first in our neighborhood to be graced with one (don't feel too bad for those other kids on the block, they all had that amazing invention called "cable" which we could only dream of). Wow. The idea of watching a WHOLE movie in your home whenever you wanted... what a luxury! Not surprisingly, one of the first tapes I had to get my grubby hands on was FRIDAY THE 13TH; now I could finally see what all of the hubbub was about and watch the vaporous story in my head transform into something permanent and concrete on the television screen.

I am happy to say that I was not even remotely disappointed. I could not believe I was getting a chance to eavesdrop and spy on this incredible universe full of denim cut-offs, strip Monopoly and bloody decapitations. If this was what being older was going to be like, sign me up I thought. I'm sure actually being systematically butchered by an unseen presence probably bites the big one in real life, but to me, at the time, it seemed like a great way to spend a Friday night. As LYNN REDGRAVE used to say, "This is Living!"

Having already heard the entire story from my brother you would think that I would be completely prepared for the film's shocker ending, but poor dense me was still taken off guard. I knew Jason was at some point going to rise from the lake, but I had foolishly thought that there would be some kind of build up to such a thing. As Alice (ADRIENNE KING) put her hand into the reflecting water of Crystal Lake, I was pretty sure young Jason was a few scenes away and I instinctively assumed that a JAWS like score would warn me of that danger approaching. No such luck, as Jason jumped out of the lake I jumped out off the couch. I simply had no defense in regards to FRIDAY THE 13TH and I loved the freefall feeling it injected me with, like being on a sled and knowing the ride wasn't over until the sled said it was over.

No matter how securely the original FRIDAY embeds itself within our culture (Let's face it folks, it's here to stay), for some reason, it has always been able to squirm its way out of receiving all the respect that it rightfully deserves. The critical among us can fault the direction, but the reality is that FRIDAY accomplishes everything it sets out to do and then some. One could fault it for being derivative or slap-shot, but dozens of films have tried to duplicate its sense of place and atmosphere and failed miserably. You can even gripe that there is little in the way of characterization, but personally I don't need to know that much about a person to assume that they don't deserve (or appreciate) an axe splitting their skull in two. You can pile up all the knee jerk dismissals you like, but there is a reason why so many return to this movie again and again throughout their lives.

Jason works and Jason has always worked. Those of us who were introduced to him in our youth eventually do master some control over our fear of him, but we're still his bitches all the same. Like many slasher films, FRIDAY is, at its heart, a campfire story and campfire stories not only do not require the fundamental elements that create great literature to work, but actually are hobbled by such useless chaff. It is meant to scare you, to leave you feeling unsafe, to make you think twice about that twig that just snapped. It's meant to cast a spell over you that alters your perception to the point that the world around you suddenly seems unfamiliar and fraught with potential danger. It's meant to be fun, a giddy first dance with death; a way to take the anxieties associated with the approaching seductive freedoms of adulthood and milk them for all they are worth. I'm glad that my first FRIDAY THE 13TH movie actually took place in my own head thanks to my older brother's surprisingly good storytelling skills, but let's face it, my brother had some excellent material to work with; Jason Voorhees is a potent legend and a born Traumatizer.


Official Traumatizer:: Richard Lynch

So there I was this weekend working on a post for BAD DREAMS when I found this Official Traumatizer nomination from reader FatherOfTears in my inbox....

RICHARD LYNCH gave me the creeps for many years in my childhood! He usually played bad guys in sci-fi films over the years, including the original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and BUCK ROGERS IN THE 21ST CENTURY He has this evil look in his eyes and a sadistic grin. He may have had his best scary role in BAD DREAMS. In that movie he plays a cult leader who sets himself and his followers on fire! One follower survives and his ghost begins to haunt her when she awakens from a coma. Talk about irony: LYNCH himself was a burn victim in the late '60s! He had a bad LSD trip, poured gasoline on himself and then set HIMSELF on fire! He lived, but his face was all scarred up. He would later use this as an asset for his bad guy roles! So with this I nominate RICHARD LYNCH as an Official Traumatizer.

Is FatherOfTears psychic? The same exact thing occurred last week when I was writing about an episode of TWIN PEAKS and he sent another LYNCH nomination, in that case DAVID LYNCH. Kismet? The collective unconscious? How can anyone explain this phenomenon? Well, FatherOfTears consider RICHARD LYNCH an Official Traumatizer both because he earned it and because I now live in fear that you have direct access to my brain and will reveal to the world exactly what I did one moonlight night at Camp Wanahickee circa 1981!

Official Traumatizer :: Reader FatherOfTears Nominates David Lynch

Well, what can I say about Mr. LYNCH? He has done many "cringe inducing" scenes in his films over the years that sure as hell would have been traumatic for any kid who had seen his works. Hell, most of his traumas were seen by me as an adult! There are many, but several stand out in my mind. There is that "baby" in ERASERHEAD...

There is BLUE VELVET where DENNIS HOPPER whiffs some N2O before sexually assaulting ISABELLA ROSSELLINI. Right after that she goes after the guy she has hidden in a closet, KYLE MacLACHLAN, and she tries to seduce him!

WILD AT HEART has a bunch. There is WILLIAM DAFOE and his bad teeth assaulting a pregnant LAURA DERN and there is even the twisted mother played by (DERN's real life ma) DIANE LADD.

But for me, and many others, it would be his T.V. show and movie TWIN PEAKS that would be the killer. Early in the show LYNCH decided to cast his prop master, (some MST3K fans could call him a prop "diva"-sorry Beez!) FRANK SILVA, as the town evil spirit named BOB who tormented Laura Palmer for part of her life. That character was SCARY! Long gray hair and the evil sadistic grin! Who can forget the scene where Laura's cousin Maddy has the vision of BOB crawling over the couch to attack her...

And later when he did kill her it was, at that time, one of the most disturbing killings ever seen on T.V.!! Of course since BOB was an evil spirit, he had to inhabit someone to do his dirty deeds. In this case it was Laura's daddy Leland (RAY WISE). Now if you thought his Devil in REAPER was scary, you should see RAY as the possessed Leland! Who can forget the scene in the prequel FIRE WALK WTH ME where the possessed Leland berates Laura for her "dirty hands"!

There are of course, many others like the end of MULHOLLAND DRIVE which, B.T.W. ,would jump start the career of an actress who's daddy was once a Pink Floyd roadie. So with that and many others that are too many to list, I submit that DAVID LYNCH be an Official Traumatizer! Oh, did you know that GEORGE LUCAS considered LYNCH for RETURN OF THE JEDI?

UNK SEZ: FatherOfTears, you must have been reading my very Laura Palmer-esque secret diary recently as I have been on a mad DAVID LYNCH kick as of late. I was actually in the process of writing a post concerning one of the episodes of TWIN PEAKS that you mentioned when we received your request to honor LYNCH with the Official Traumatizer title. I'm not sure exactly how many actual traumas LYNCH has dumped on any of us in our youth, but seeing as TWIN PEAKS was on broadcast television, I'm sure there is somebody somewhere who caught it as a child and perhaps now resides in a rubber room. Speaking for myself, as a young adult I caught the episode "Lonely Souls" (the one you mentioned in which Laura's cousin dies at the hands of BOB) from the second season when it originally aired and I have to say, you are correct, it was indeed one of the most, if not THE most, disturbing things I have EVER seen on television. In fact I can't think of anything that has freaked me out quite so much since.

DAVID LYNCH as an Official Traumatizer? You got my blessing!

Note: Mr. LYNCH claims that much of his dark inspiration comes from a nasty and short lived time of his life spent in Philadelphia, the very city in which Kindertrauma Castle stands, we are so proud!

Official Traumatizer :: Dan Curtis

There are some names that appear again and again on the pages of Kindertrauma (STEPHEN KING and JOHN CARPENTER being two of the most obvious multiple trauma inflictors). One name that is perhaps less well known but belongs to an equally prolific trauma supplier is DAN CURTIS. Producer, director and writer, DAN CURTIS not only supplied us with the innovative gothic daytime soap opera DARK SHADOWS, but he also pretty much redefined horror television in the 70's across the board. Besides introducing us to the ever influential character of Kolchak from the seminal television movie THE NIGHT STALKER, he was also the man responsible for the unforgettably terrifying Zuni fetish doll from the classic TRILOGY OF TERROR. His directorial work on the big screen includes the creepy haunted house flick BURNT OFFERINGS which, like much of DAN's output, is frequently cited as a movie which many young folks were forever scarred by (particularly when they stumbled across it on late night television).

His list of genre contributions go on and on and he can be thanked for bringing such classics to the small screen as DRACULA ('73), THE TURN OF THE SCREW ('74) and THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY ('73). The presence of his name in a film's or television movie's credits signals the fact that you are about to see something from somebody who truly knows his way around a horror tale. DAN CURTIS may not exactly be a household name, but there is no household that has a television that this man did not profoundly affect.

We here at Kindertrauma have no choice but to honor his brilliant career with an Official Traumatizer award. DAN the man's extensive credits speak volumes but honestly, he could have earned this baby with the Zuni fetish doll alone!

Official Traumatizer :: Mr. Roarke (In Memoriam Ricardo Montalban)

I used to think death meant that God just wasn't that into you, but I am now beginning to believe the un-killable rumor that it happens to everybody. Today Kindertrauma idol RICARDO MONTALBAN passed away at age 88. Mr. MONTALBAN had already established himself as a Hollywood Legend when he stepped into the signature white suite that belonged to FANTASY ISLAND's beloved and highly mysterious MR. ROARKE. I think I can speak for all of our readers (especially die-hard fans AMANDA BY NIGHT and THE MICKSTER) when I say that FANTASY ISLAND was a big influence and effected our generation's lives more than it is often given credit for, plus that show could be damn scary when it wanted to be!

Besides just being the coolest guy around, MONTABON was a forerunner in changing the image of Latinos in film and spent much of his life breaking down barriers when he was not schooling us all on the of the advantages of "soft, Corinthian leather." This man owned Saturday night from 1978 to 1984 and I, for one, thank God he was there.

P.S.: You can watch FANTASY ISLAND on Hulu for free HERE. (I highly recommend the ventriloquist dummy spit personality revenge episode with MAREN JENSEN entitled "Mary Ann and Miss Sophisticate").

Official Traumatizer :: Freddy Krueger

I'm sure I do not have to bend over backwards to convince any of you of Freddy Krueger's rightful place within the ranks of Kindertrauma's official TRAUMATIZERS. As portrayed by ROBERT ENGLUND, Freddy is one of the world's most recognizable horror icons and over the last couple decades, has slashed himself a permanent position in to the public's consciousness. His persona, a trickster ghoul who haunts dreams, perfectly captures the fears of every child who ever suffered a sleepless night. It almost seems as if he always existed in some form or another and was just waiting for NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET creator WES CRAVEN to give him a name. (CRAVEN admits his own childhood fears were the seeds that developed into KRUEGER).

Out of all the genre's recognizable monsters, killers and demons, Freddy meshes seamlessly with childhood fears in a way that cannot be ignored. In fact, his origin story includes a history of terrorizing and murdering children specifically. Over exposure and his penchant for campy zingers in the franchise's sequels may have weakened his sting, but lest we forget at the heart of Krueger is the spirit of true Kindertrauma.

This is the type of guy that as a kid you whisper about in hushed tones before bedtime and imagine is lurking within the shadows of your closet. As much as the series showcased the slasher deaths of teenagers by Freddy's signature bladed glove, lost children, his original victims, would often appear singing jump rope warnings of his impending arrival. Regardless of his victims various ages throughout the series he invariably stood as a blunt dividing line between parent and child who sadistically relished pointing out the lie of presumed safety in the suburban American dream. Although his identity as child killer softened through the course of the series, his every cinematic incarnation included at least one visual reference to lost or snuffed out innocence and childhood vulnerability.

Because he is such an obvious choice we seem to have neglected to tip our fedoras properly to Freddy thus far, but Mr. Krueger's status as an official TRAUMATIZER cannot be avoided any longer.

Below are some Kindertrauma spirited screenshots from all eight films in which FREDDY KRUEGER appeared. Can you identify from which film each has been taken?

Official Traumatizer :: The Bumble Snow Monster

bumbles bounce

Perennial yuletide special RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER features not only a cast of societal outcasts seeking to overcome their marginalized statuses, but also one of the most traumatizing creations to come ever out of the legendary RANKIN & BASS doll-mation factory. O.K., maybe the second most terrifying after Miss Lilly Lorraine, but the Bumble Snow Monster of the North (BUMBLE for short) has cut a pretty scaring swatch in the collective psyches of footed-pajama wearers across the world.

As if the verbal humiliation heaped on titular star RUDOLPH and his, closeted, aspiring dentist, pal HERMEY weren't enough to make kids cry, the big ol' nasty BUMBLE, with his google-y eyes, sharp teeth, and luxurious coat of white fur, makes ones of those dramatically unexpected, snowy entrances on par with the crazy scythe-wielding lady from CURTAINS. Just like any great horror antagonist, the BUMBLE has his own unique set of weaknesses: he sinks in water; he prefers pork to deer meat; and he is rendered powerless after having all of his teeth extracted by an effeminate, armchair dentist.

Based purely on the anecdotal evidence presented by Reader Miriam67's comment, the BUMBLE is still striking terror in tiny viewers. Should you have a wee-one scared silly by this beast, please sit them and show them this ameliorative clip*:

*Is it just your AUNT JOHN or does the BENNY HILL theme make everything, how you say, all the more H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S? (And yes, I'm looking at you TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE!)

Official Traumatizer :: Zelda

zelda pet sematary

What's so scary about Zelda? The better question is what's NOT scary about the Z-bomb! When we first encounter her in PET SEMATARY, it is by way of a tale told by her surviving sister Rachel (DENISE CROSBY) who at a young age was left responsible for her care. Zelda (played by not really a lady ANDREW HUBATSEK) automatically inspires a wave of mixed emotions. She is pitiable due to her suffering, but one is made extremely uncomfortable by her almost corpse like form. This collision of sympathy and nausea tends to produce a blend of acute anxiety and remorseful shame in viewers. These feelings are underlined further as Rachel explains a similar emotional conflict immediately after Zelda's death. In fact, it is difficult for her to recall whether Zelda's sickly demise inspired her to cry or to laugh in relief...

All that would be disturbing enough, but due to some unleashed and unfriendly forces stomping about (the novel points a finger at American Indian legend the Wendigo), Zelda gets a new lease on life via monstrous hallucinations. I don't know about you folks, but I've always been a light touch when it came to witches. I'd take on a vampire any day over a cackling twisted hag. Zelda2.0 brings to mind early fairy tale memories of just such a creature (she should also be set up on a blind date with "Bob" from TWIN PEAKS). Maniacal, gleefully inflicting terror, Zelda is shown crumbled up in a corner like a discarded newspaper and then crookedly expanding herself. Even more disconcerting is how she walks TOWARD the camera (and the audience) howling and screeching as she curls her paws like a rabid raccoon doing a MR.BURNS impersonation.


Zelda may have been a victim in reality, but the thought of her when shoved into a blender with some malevolent mojo is the stuff wet beds are made of. Just think of your darkest most regrettable memories coming back to vicious life...or have you already? That's the power of our lady Zelda,and that's why she's an official Traumatizer. We didn't give her that honor; she swiped it out of our hands.

Official Traumatizer :: Tim Curry

Tim Curry

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Kindertrauma readers know their horror. Reader sbd gave me a major head-slapping, "I could have had a V-8," moment when he remarked that Mr. TIM CURRY should be considered an official Traumatizer. CURRY not only perfectly embodied perhaps the scariest and most kinder-traumatizing television entity of all time as Pennywise the clown in the miniseries IT, but he also pretty much made a career out of playing people who you would not want to be left alone in a room with. (I'm well aware that there are many out there who would be delighted at just such a scenario, but this is neither the time or the place!) CURRY's portrayals of the demonic Lord of Darkness in LEGEND, the BERNADETTE PETERS withstanding opportunist flimflammer Rooster Hannigan in ANNIE and, perhaps most horrifying of all, the brain-frying, psychedelic sense-stomping songster Grand Wizard in THE WORST WITCH all serve to further underline sbd's cause. So here's to you TIM CURRY, this honor is well-earned and long overdue. You, my scene stealing, multi-talented friend, are one impossible to dispute Traumatizer!