Name That Trauma :: Reader Chris on Tots Terrorized in a Disturbing Dreamworld

Dear Kindertrauma,

While I saw the film I’m inquiring about around the ripe old age of 23 (I’m 31 now – sigh), it does involve kids getting terrorized and therefore I believe it qualifies for a KT Name That Trauma. I caught the film on the IFC channel one lonely evening in the dead of winter, and for the life of me I cannot remember the name even though it returns to my thoughts at least once a year and gnaws at my brain like a rat gobbling rotting cheese.

I believe that I caught it from about halfway through, and am not positive about whether it was a standalone film or part of an anthology or original T.V. series, but it seemed long enough to be a movie. I really can’t even describe the plot fully, so I just have some images/scenes that I remember, but they were powerful and indelible enough to encourage me to write to you guys for help.

Hopefully this jogs someone’s memory: I remember two kids in a hospital, a little girl and boy aged 8-10, and the girl had the paranormal psychic ability to pull the little boy into her dreams. It was within this dream realm that much of the disturbing imagery I remember resided. Within the dream world there was a solitary house on a grassy hill near cliffs bordering an ocean. The kids were being terrorized by an evil man (possibly the little girl’s stepfather or something) who had a very deep, sinister voice and I believe his eyes were gouged out and he was chasing the kids with a hammer. He was one of the creepier villains I’ve seen.

The atmosphere in the dream was bright and sunny until this man approached and the sky turned black and the house appeared broken down and barren. The girl at one point runs outside and the ground begins to shake and break apart, almost as if there was a volcano underneath or something. The final thing I remember was that the little boy was killed in the dream, and when the little girl woke up in the hospital, he had died in reality too.

It might sound ridiculous and I know I haven’t given much to go on, but even the crude recollections I have of this film creep me out to this day and I would cherish the opportunity to find it and see it again.

Thanks in advance for you and your readers’ help.


UNK SEZ: Great description Chris! We actually have gotten a traumafession on that one BEFORE. That has got to be and I’m NOT wrong this time I swear, 1988’s PAPERHOUSE! That kindertraumatic classic was directed by the same kind fellow who brought us all CANDYMAN, BERNARD ROSE! Mr. ROSE, we at Kindertrauma love you big time, please make some more movies!

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10 years ago

Yay! Paperhouse is a great movie, based on an even greater book called Marianne Dreams, which seriously traumatized me as a little girl.

10 years ago

Anybody know how to get a hold of this film? Looks fairly creepy (right up my alley).

10 years ago

What you can do is buy the PAL UK version from one of the vendors on Amazon, rip the DVD onto your computer, then re-burn with Region 1 (NTSC) encoding and you’ll be able to watch on your DVD player. I did that some years back with The Descent, which was in the theaters in the US but already on DVD in the UK. I ended up never buying the US version because the UK ending was far superior anway. It will work. Thanks to Unk and Aunt John for your help. You finding this for me made my day.

10 years ago

I’m pretty sure you’re right too Unk.
I watched this only recently, extremely creepy. But is it just me or was the main character of the most obnoxious and annoying little brat in any movie ever?

10 years ago

The main character is a bit obnoxious, but I love her for it — you see way too few obnoxious, mean little girls at the movies. And anyway, she sure is sympathetic later! Anna, is that you? I’M BLIND!!! CUE TRAUMA! Is this out on DVD? Needs to be. Oh, i see above, not here in the good old U S of A. Let’s get with it, people.

10 years ago

Nice homage to Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World at :42 in the trailer.