Name That Trauma:: James Y. on a Curly-Haired, Murderous Mom

I just discovered your site when I was researching a sci-fi/horror flick I remembered being traumatized by when I was a kid (turned out to be Strange Invaders—you know which scene I’m talking about), so I was hoping you might be able to help me figure out another obscure trauma.

I’m afraid the details are sketchy since I was probably 4 or 5 when I saw it. It was on cable, probably HBO, in the early-’80s. I remember late one night happening upon the end of either a movie or a short film in which a mother with short curly brown hair I believe had killed her family and, at the point I tuned, was in a life and death struggle with her teenage son on the stairs, trying to stab him with a kitchen knife, which he wrests away from her and proceeds to stab her with in self defense. Of course she pops up for one last scare, screaming bloody hell, forcing him to finish her off.

It was chock full o’blood and screams and quite disturbing. Naturally, I must know the name so I can track down a copy to watch in full.

Thanks in advance,

James Y.

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popcornmonster
popcornmonster
7 years ago

You beat me to it! That was my first thought. Another on the Video Nasties list. I was heart broken last year when Susan Tyrrell died.

Atys of Demon Tribe Hollow

Unk — what’s the merman image from? Is that “Humanoids From The Deep”? — ∆☩Y§ ☨♆∀☥✠

Atys of Demon Tribe Hollow

Also, thank you for reminding me of “Night Warning” — what a great opening sequence, and an apparently far underrated film! I’ll definitely be checking this out! ☨♆∀☥✠

Atys of Demon Tribe Hollow

I’m impressed. Seriously impressed. Why was the book confiscated from you, Unk? Just for content, or were you reading it during class?

And I loved Gorezone! (R.I.P., Chas. You’re still sorely missed.) And I’ll check out “Grotesque”, regardless of its likelihood to instill disappointment. (Basically I research any movie you mention, Unk. I’m kind of a KT devotee.) ☨♆∀☥

popcornmonster
popcornmonster
7 years ago

I remember watching Grotesque on USA’s Up All Night. If memory serves, it was hosted by Gilbert Gottfried. At least I know it was when they showed Black Roses.

Atys of Demon Tribe Hollow

Unk — Ha! Good man, but lame that you never got your stories back! Did you just forget about them as you moved on to high school, or did you actually attempt to repossess your work?

And you’re definitely not chasing me away with your taste — quite the opposite. However, I don’t see myself giving “Grotesque” a go. Aside from my all-time favorite film, “The Exorcist”, I was never too terribly hip on Linda Blair. (Though I have to admit any nude scenes with her definitely had appeal, of course.)

Popcornmonster — “Black Roses”? Never heard of that one, so I just looked it up! As a musician, there’s definitely some appeal there, even if the amateur critics at IMDB.com have not been especially kind to it. ☨♆∀

knobgobbler
knobgobbler
7 years ago

Wow! This got me to go watch Night Warning… and what a hoot that was!
What a good (and odd) little movie. So many great little details… and the script is pretty clever.
I liked that it seemed to draw a bit of a parallel between Billy’s mom’s insanity and the sheriff’s homophobia.
I’d heard of Ms. Tyrrel but really hadn’t seen her in action before… she was so good in Night Warning… getting progressively crazier. That final kiss just before she ‘dies’.
I’m gonna have to go track down more of her work.

popcornmonster
popcornmonster
7 years ago

Susan Tyrrell was a one of a kind. My favorite piece of her work was Richard Elfman’s Forbidden Zone. Seriously, if you haven’t heard of this bizarre flick, you are sorely missing out. I also think of her in the Vincent Price flick, The Offspring AKA From a Whisper to a Scream. Her actual personality was a bit rough around the edges too. She would say things to you that would make a sailor blush.

popcornmonster
popcornmonster
7 years ago

Oh, and about Black Roses, it was famous in its day for the hard plastic 3D VHS cover that you couldn’t possibly store sideways on your video shelf. I still love the soundtrack all these years later, even if the movie is a turd. But it’s a good turd.

Atys of Demon Tribe Hollow

Wow, once again, tons of great new info to sift through. I have yet to finish “Night Warning”, but…

Popcornmonster — I’ve heard many great things about “From A Whisper To A Scream”, so that film a viddy is definitely high on my to-do list. I’m actually not sure whether I have or not, so I gotta determine that pronto, but thank you again for seeding it back into my consciousness.

Gotta check out “Forbidden Zone” too, as I’ve never seen that one, either, and I do not have it. However, it’s a bit less of a priority, not being as strictly horror as “From A Whisper…”

And I definitely want to check out the “Black Roses” soundtrack!

Unk — Philly, eh? I’ve only been to touristy New Hope (birthplace of Ween), and I’m aware the rest of the state can get a bit sketchier to say the least. However, I do very much appreciate the keenness of an East Coaster, indeed! Props to you!

But about “Night Warning” being above “The Evil Dead”, we’d have to agree to disagree there, as there’s almost no film that even approaches the greatness of the latter to me. (Further, I thought the remake kind of sucked.)

However I wasn’t aware of “The Dead Pit”, and I love the posters for it! Also has a 5.3 rating on IMDB.com, and that ain’t half bad for an older fright film. ☨♆

JamesY
JamesY
7 years ago

That was it! I love the interwebs. All I remember seeing of it was that last scene. Been burned in my memory since I was 5.

Thanks, Unk, Tim Tomkins, and popcornmonster!

Atys of Demon Tribe Hollow

Ok so see now our differences in taste are coming into play, which is a good thing since I think it makes the discussions here even more interesting.

Does “Night Warning” have more character development than “The Evil Dead”? Yes, and often this would make me prefer the former. But when you stack it side by side with a film chock full of such raw ingenuity, inventiveness, and brutal violence (even if some of it does appear cheap — though you gotta love that beauty of a pencil stab in the ankle), my choice for an easy winner is TED.

Now, having said that, I’ve yet to finish “Night Warning”, so perhaps all of this will be moot once a demon hand shoots out of the guts of ol’ Billy Lynch, spraying the walls of his house with blood and intestines.

(Hey, it could happen. Maybe I’m watching a different cut than you guys saw. Or perhaps I’ll watch it on acid and make myself believe I witnessed just such an event.) ☨

popcornmonster
popcornmonster
7 years ago

Unk, reading your responses is sometimes eerie as you often mirror my own experiences. When I first saw TCM at the age of 13 or so, I recall not liking it for the same reasons. It was just too real and rough. I realized later that those reasons were exactly why it was a good film. It accomplished what it set out to do.
I also recall not being too impressed the first time I saw The Thing. Why, I don’t know now since it really is a great fun film.
On the other end of that spectrum though, I recall loving the sequels to Sleepaway Camp but when I watched them years later I was shocked at how stupid they were.

Atys of Demon Tribe Hollow

I’ll freely admit that the car ride to the cabin in “The Evil Dead” is just silly, and I think we agree more than disagree regarding this film for sure, Unk. I guess if I was to cite my most beloved aspect of the film, it would be the stop-motion climax when the demons (almost) perish after the “Naturon Demonto”‘s immolation. I just adore that part, especially with the emanations of viscera, twisted demon visages, and, as Poe once put it, “liquid putrescence”. Of course, by contrast, is the mild letdown of “The Thing”‘s final “Blairmonster” sequence, but I adored that film when I first saw it, as well. (And still do very, very much.)


In the remake, I so very badly wanted it to end with the demons breaking through the back of the cabin and attacking the lone survivor, preferably killing her. (I like my horror movies to have no survivors. At least no protagonistic survivors.) But alas, no banana.

When it comes to “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” though, I can’t completely remember how I felt about it upon my initial viewing, but I don’t think I was very impressed for some reason. Or perhaps it was just late at night and I was tired. Regardless, I realize the folly that was my first impression, and I absolutely love the hell out of that movie now. (Antagonistic survivors get a +1 over no survivors. +1, that is, for each entity that survives.)

But I haven’t seen “The Funhouse”, nor any of the “Sleepaway Camp” films, though I’ve heard the first of the latter’s trilogy is especially nice. So now, with mention yet again of them here, I want to more than ever! ∇

Atys of Demon Tribe Hollow

D’oh! I meant for my comment regarding “Evil Dead” above (second paragraph) to be surrounded by spoiler alerts, but I used HTML comment tags to do that and so it looks like they were interpreted as such by the text parser.

Sorry about that! (I’ll just use asterisks next time.) Λ

DownUnderDude
DownUnderDude
7 years ago

By coincidence I bought and watched GROTESQUE in the last 2 weeks. I think the title applies to the dopey ending more than anything else. Anyway, the gang that goes after Blair and Wilkes in the film are called “punkers”. The leader of the “punkers” has blonde hair and looks like a Billy Idol wannabe. The way the actor who played him overacts is hilarious.