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Name That Trauma :: Reader Carol McM. on a Name That Trauma Within a Name That Trauma!

June 9th, 2010 by aunt john · 16 Comments

Hello again,

I was just wandering aimlessly through the halls of kindertrauma this morning and landed upon a Name-That-Trauma of no real importance to me. It was determined that the movie in question was THE HORROR STAR. I had never heard of it and found it mildly interesting and decide to watch the attached video and – lo and behold – I believe one of my very own Name-That-Traumas may be part of the intro to that clip!!!!!!! In the clip – after the blood red title – are 3 old black and white stills of old “horror stars” – Frankenstein, Dracula and ???? Maybe Dr. Jeckyl? I don’t know.

When I was very very young, maybe 5 or 6, in the ‘70s, I was already kind of weirdly obsessed with horror movies and with being scared. I remember one day I was playing with my sister in our bedroom and my grandma was watching T.V. in the living room and a commercial came on with the music for one of those day of the week movies (Monday Night Movie, etc. – if you lived through it you know what I’m talking about) and – for some reason – even as a wee tyke – I knew that it was probably a scary movie and I RAN out to the living room to see what it was and all I remember was it was various shots of a “man about town” in a tall hat and a scary face – and in the last shot it was his full face looking right at the camera and it scared me so bad that I started sobbing and my grandma had to bring me some water to calm me down. Since then the only movie I have seen that even comes close to the creepy feel of that guy is CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG – the child stealer guy – and, while he is really creepy, it’s not him.

So, when I saw that photo on that clip it stopped me dead in my tracks. Could that be the guy? Could that be the movie? Does anyone know what that still is from?

An interesting side note that has no particular relevance to anything – but something I find really odd. I clearly remember when I was in first grade having this friend named Robin. She had long, scraggly dark hair and was sort of a loner type – even in first grade. One time she told me that she had a TV Guide that was only for this one channel that only played horror movies (and I think she might have even told me that her and her mom were witches.) I was so excited when she told me that that I became obsessed with finding that channel and that TV Guide. At some point she eventually told me that that wasn’t true and I was so disappointed. But how odd is that – two little first graders chatting about a horror channel and a horror TV Guide.

Thank you so much! This site is my horror dream come true!


UNK SEZ: Carol, thanks for the fascinating NAME THAT TRAUMA! The third still in the trailer for HORROR STAR (AKA FRIGHTMARE) is LON CHANEY, Sr. from TOD BROWNING’s 1927 silent film LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT. If you saw the clip you’re looking for in the seventies than the likelihood that it was, in fact, LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT is zero because the last known copy of that famous lost flick died in a fire back in 1967!

So what did you see? Was your grandma watching that phantom horror channel your witch friend conjured? Could it have been a documentary on LON CHANEY? LONDON was remade in 1935 as MARK OF THE VAMPIRE with BELA LUGOSI but his get up was completely different. I think we’re going to have to take it to our readers. Can anyone think of a figure that could be mistaken for LON CHANEY, Sr’s horrifying creation from LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT?

AUNT JOHN thought maybe it could MR. SARDONICUS and I thought possibly VINCENT PRICE from MADHOUSE. Any other ideas out there?

Tags: Name That Trauma!

16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 senskiNo Gravatar // Jun 9, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Going back to those three b&w shots, what about the 1931 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Fredric March? That would certainly be in the same time period of the original Frankenstein & Dracula…

  • 2 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Jun 9, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Senski, that does make more sense and he’s got the hat!

  • 3 cmcmcmcmNo Gravatar // Jun 9, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Thank you so much you guys for posting this!
    I thought I’d give a little more info…
    Since this was 35+ years ago, there is little actual memory left of the event – but I do know that it was in the early 70s – probably ’73-’76 at the latest.  I don’t recall if it was in color or black and white – but I do remember that it was the night-of-the-week music that drew me into the living room.  Did they play old black and white horror for those?  Those pics of Vincent Price and Mr. Sardonicus are totally creepy – but I don’t think it’s either of those cause the main thing that sticks in my mind is that really tall squared off top hat – and it seems to me the guy was sort of stooped over – kind of the the way Lon Chaney is sort of at a bit of an angle in that “Horror Star” photo.  Also, it does seem to me that the shots all took place at night.
    After I wrote sent this email I looked up Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde cause it totally seemed like that might be it – and for some reason I have never been interested in watching any version of that cause I thought it would be boring (?).  I watched a silent version on Netflix – and, while that version definitely isn’t it cause it does kinda seem like the movie I remember was more modern than that – that guy fits the bill big time!
    Thanks again!  You are all so freaking cool!  I just put Mr. Sardonicus at the top of my queue cause I have never seen that and I just gotta know…what is up with that freaky face!

  • 4 craigNo Gravatar // Jun 9, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS begins with a scene where a fanged man in cap and black hat, attacks another man in a graveyard. It’s early 70’s and set entirely at night. This sound right?

  • 5 cmcmcmcmNo Gravatar // Jun 9, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    I’m pretty sure it wasn’t CSPWDT, cause I was totally creeped out by that on a different occasion – almost a decade later.  I’ve seen it many times since then and it is still kinda creepy – even with the campiness.

  • 6 senskiNo Gravatar // Jun 9, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    For other top hat horror, how about Karloff in The Body Snatcher or Price in Tomb of Ligeia?

  • 7 senskiNo Gravatar // Jun 9, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Or what about Jack Palance in the made for TV version of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde? That made a lot of TV appearances during the early 70s, and the top hat is certainly there.

  • 8 PinchyNo Gravatar // Jun 9, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    I have to say that your friend Robin sounds totally freaking awesome.

  • 9 TVSANo Gravatar // Jun 9, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    I thought Everyone was obsessed with horror movies at 5 or 6 in the 70’s. I remember going to the doctor for an earache and afterwards conning my parents into buying me a thick, pulp-sized magazine with King Kong fighting airplanes on the cover from the hospital giftshop. It was all about the Heroes of Horror, from Universal to Toho, and there were a few dozen pages in this tome I knew to steer clear of, when I got near them I paid careful attention. One was a publicity still of Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolf Man, and his eyes seemed to follow you. At any rate, maybe you found some wicked satellite feed from an alternate universe and encountered Coffin Joe (?).

  • 10 nandaioNo Gravatar // Jun 9, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Could it be Conrad Veidt in The Man Who Laughs?

  • 11 aunt johnNo Gravatar // Jun 10, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Reader Bob emailed this tip:

    I’m wondering if the lady’s memory is of Dr. Caligari?

    Great site, by the way.


  • 12 cmcmcmcmNo Gravatar // Jun 10, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Wow – there are some really cool suggestions here.  I can’t believe I haven’t seen some of these.
    As far as I can tell it’s def not:
    Mr. Sardonicus
    Children Shouldn’t Play…
    The Body Snatcher
    Tomb of Ligeia
    Dr. Caligari
    The Man Who Laughs (although that photo would have scared the hell out of me as a kid!)
    I’m wondering about the Jack Palance Dr. Jekyll since it seems like something that would show up on a prime time movie slot – but there’s just this little teeny scene on a Curtis Signature Collection trailer on youtube and that doesn’t seem to be out yet.  I’m psyched to watch that when it does come out and in the mean time I’ll watch as many of these suggestions as possible – and any others anyone wants to make!
    I was totally intrigued by Robin when I was a kid – but I didn’t hang out with anyone else who was into horror at all.  Maybe that was why we bonded over the horror TV Guide.  In fact all my life I have always been way more into horror than anyone I knew and was totally blown away by my lack of horror movie knowledge when I found this site.  I absolutely love all the info and stories on this site  – and esp that a lot of the focus is on 70s & 80s horror – my absolute fav.

  • 13 Count Otto BlackNo Gravatar // Jun 14, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Plenty of good suggestions have been made already, but the fact is, there were one hell of a lot of horror movies made during that era in which a man in a tall black hat lurked menacingly in the streets, usually of London, so I’m not entirely surprised that it hasn’t been pinned down yet.
    My suggestion would be the 1953 version of “House Of Wax”, starring Vincent Price yet again (was there ever another actor that hard-working who was also that good?).  Certainly he wears the right sort of hat and cape – here’s a photo of them:

    And of course he tends to look a wee bit intense because he’s a homicidal maniac wearing an immobile wax mask to cover the horror beneath – I think we get a glimpse of that quite early on.
    Then again, how about “I, Monster”?  Take a look at this happy fellow:

    Christopher Lee is toothily intense in an adaptation of “Dr.Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” with the names changed for copyright reasons; Edward Hyde is renamed Edward Blake, which of course ended up as the real name of that other monster without a conscience, the Comedian in “Watchmen”.  But I digress.
    Anyway, what do you reckon?

  • 14 cmcmcmcmNo Gravatar // Jun 19, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Thanks Count Otto Black – I’m going to check into both of those – although I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Vincent’s House of Wax.  Thanks so much for the suggestions!  To be honest I am not even sure if I would know the exact movie if I saw it – since I was so young and just saw bit of a commercial.  And the topper for me is that it never even occurred to me that it could possibly be Dr. Jekyll – and I really don’t know why.  I just always thought of Dr. Jekyll as kinda boring and never put him together with my little trauma moment.  Anyway – it’s so cool getting all these suggestions and when I find something that is closer to what my kinder brain remembers I’ll let you all know.

  • 15 cmcmcmcmNo Gravatar // Jun 20, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Well, I just watched I, MONSTER and I have to say, that is probably the closest I am going to get with this whole trauma (unless I eventually see the Jack Palance DR JEKYLL  and it has some scene that sends me back in a kaleidoscopic funnel of time and rekindles some other – more informative – memory).   I looked around a bit to see if I, MONSTER played on TV in the 70s – and that was a bust – but the feel of the movie was way closer than anything else I have seen – the dark blue sky and general darkness of the scenes – and there were plenty of freaky faced close-ups that could have sent me into a frenzy as a kid.  It’s actually not a bad movie.  Thanks Count Otto Black!

  • 16 sixteen_shellsNo Gravatar // Jul 11, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Was it Rondo Hatton in The Brute Man?

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