Name That Trauma :: Reader Taffeta V. on a Swinging Tot Smash

First time writer, long time reader – LOVE your site!

OK, this is a sketchy memory, and it’s troubled me for ages – here’s what I know:

There is a scene where a man has picked up a little girl (by the ankles) and is spinning her around – starts as fun, then he violently continues to spin and starts bashing her head into walls, killing her.

Likely made in the ’70s or ’80s. No idea of male star or girl, can’t tell you plot or anything else about the movie. I just remember that this scene disturbed me substantially, and I’d love to know from whence it came!


Taffeta V.

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Antaeus Feldspar
Antaeus Feldspar (@antaeus-feldspar)
10 years ago

Well, knowing how different some of my Kindertraumatic memories turned out to be from the source they came from, I wonder if Taffeta V. might be thinking of a scene from Burnt Offerings. It’s a young boy, not a girl; it’s being tossed into a pool, rather than being swung by the ankles; and the scene ends with hysterical crying rather than death — but yet I think it really could be the source of the memory, because it’s an amazing scene (maybe the scariest scene of the movie) and just as Taffeta describes, it starts out as fun … and slowly turns terrifying as the parental figure loses control and takes it far beyond what the child can endure. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the shot of a red-faced, angry Oliver Reed, as the father whose pool “fun” with his son was interrupted, sullenly lowering his head in the water until just his glowering eye is above the water, glaring balefully at the “prey” that’s been taken from his grasp.

Brother Bill
Brother Bill (@brother-bill)
10 years ago

Going out on a limb here, but the 1971 exploitation psuedo-documentary “Goodbye Uncle Tom” has a scene where a man grabs a baby from its crib by the ankle, swings it around and then slams it into the wall, leaving a bloody splat. ( I just doubt this film ever ended up on television as it is too controversial.) You can get a split-second glimpse of the baby-attack in the trailer posted here (skip to the 2:40 mark)

dasklyter (@dasklyter)
10 years ago

There is a scene I believe in “Caligula” where Caligula’s child is murdered in a similar fashion. Swung by the ankles and bashed against a column(?). Saw it when I was in school so this was many years ago. Our local video store had it in the horror section – so of course I rented it. It was definitely vile and not something I should have seen at that age.

Adam Gottschalk
Adam Gottschalk (@fb1189234845)
10 years ago

I’m pretty sure T. is talking about a scene from Bertolucci’s 1900, in which Donald Sutherland playfully murders an Italian urchin he’s just taken obscene liberties with. Coincidentally, I just saw Donald Sutherland a few days ago at the airport, waiting for a plane and looking sour as hell – looking about the way I feel at the airport, I suppose.