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Name That Trauma Solved:: Bill S. on Operation X-70

October 21st, 2020 by unkle lancifer · 5 Comments

Hey Kindertrauma!
Many years ago, around 2016, I emailed you (HERE) about a film I only remembered the vaguest details about, which I saw at the tender age of four (or possibly five, but no later than that), in the early 1970s.  The details I thought I knew became clouded, so it made it near impossible for me to remember but recently my subconscious became obsessed with it, trying to remember any more than the few images I could hold on to.

Today I rediscovered it.

I was browsing a forum I’m not a member of, and saw a user’s avatar…

..and that creepy thing put me on the trail.  A reverse image search on Google gave me my answer:

OPERATION X-70 (WATCH HERE).  A French cartoon, dubbed in English, that involves the accidental chemical-weapon bombing of a neutral/allied country with the titular chemical weapon, which creates interesting mutations in the people of the city.  The horror show in the animated .gif explains that “Asiatic” POWs were experimented on first, with the neurotoxin (and that it wasn’t lethal)…but as soon as I started watching all of the details fell into place: the bomber that accidentally drops its payload on the unsuspecting city, the onboard computer called Tarzan that malfunctions and directs the pilots to do so, the eerie, depopulated town, the creepy masked soldiers and politicians…

This one definitely, definitely qualifies as a Kindertrauma! 

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Name That Trauma:: Mike from Minnesota on a Man in a Clown Mask

October 21st, 2020 by unkle lancifer · 4 Comments

Hey folks, Michael from Minnesota here again. First, a million thanks for your wonderful website, it’s become a genuine addiction! Second, thanks for the speedy help in solving my first submission (“The Ghost in the Shed”); I was half convinced that I’d dreamed the whole thing. With that in mind, I’d like to make TWO more requests for help. Both of these were seen on television in the very late 80s or very early 90s, and for some reason I feel like both might have been on the USA Network (that was my dad’s favorite station growing up, and I believe he was with me for both of these):

-A woman is being chased through her home by a knife-wielding man in a clown mask. I’m pretty sure it’s a mask, and not makeup. The house is very nice (80s upper class), the cinematography is very dark, and there’s some sort of relationship between the two (the clown is her husband or ex-lover). I remember he talks a lot (not a “silent slasher”), possibly taunting her. I don’t think this was a movie, I feel like it might’ve been an episode of The Hitchhiker, Tales from the Darkside, Monsters, etc.

-This one’s a lot more vague. An animated show about fish. I believe they live in a grotto/bay of some sort, and the “villain” of the piece is a big carp who acts like a mob boss. I’m 100% certain it’s NOT Fish Police.

Thanks in advance for any help identifying these!

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Becky (2020)

October 20th, 2020 by unkle lancifer · 7 Comments

Death. Death really sucks and I’m not the best when it comes to dealing with it. Sure, I’m an old pro when it comes to the sadness, depression and general hopelessness involved; it’s the unfathomable anger that arises that I find unwieldy. A little over a month ago, we lost our beloved cat daughter Rory and let me tell ya, if there was a button that could destroy the whole world, I would have pounded on it. And boy did I hate whatever the hell it is that we call God. What kind of idiot assigns cats a lifespan less than twenty years and then tells turtles they can kick around for over a hundred? That’s just incompetent design work in my book.

Anyway, because I feel a great affinity with anyone who might feel like stabbing the entire universe in the eye after the death of a loved one, I really dug the film BECKY and found it to be a wonderfully cathartic experience. In fact, it made me laugh with sadistic glee on multiple occasions. I guess I’ve always been a sucker for killer kid flicks. I think (I know) it’s because I felt so powerless in my youth. BECKY is a home invasion turned revenge tale and it’s basically crafted to have you hooting and hollering when the bad guys get what’s coming to them and for me, it was just what the doctor ordered.

BECKY features frequent horror star Lulu Wilson (OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL (2016), ANNABELLE: CREATION (2017) THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE (2018)) as the titular Becky who has recently lost her mother and now has to deal with her father (Joel McHale) setting up house with a new gal (Amanda Brugel of JASON X) and her young son. Even though she is lucky enough to have a super cool fort in the woods and two lovely canines, the girl is salty as hell due to her grief. Making matters oh so worse, a group of escaped convicts led by a bearded, swastika bearing Kevin James (!) stop by to terrorize the household in search of a key (I never fully understood the key aspect but the ambiguity works). The mean home invaders get a little too cocky, kill a dog (ugh) and soon Becky is channeling her suppressed volcanic rage into inventing ghastly ways to dispose of them (and when I say ghastly, I mean I had to cover my eyes at one point). One of the intruders (Robert Maillet aka WWE’s Kurrgan) is the gentle giant type but he’s only gentle because he already killed two kids on the way to Becky’s house so don’t feel too sorry for him.

As noted above, this film is my jam. It kind of reminded me of DEVIL TIMES FIVE (1975) except in this case most of the people who get offed deserve it for being Nazis and in that way, it also reminded me of FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE (1977). Lulu Wilson delivers a multilayered performance and I have to give props to Kevin James for so efficiently shedding the jovial persona he’s known for. More importantly, though BECKY allowed me to vicariously express my fury at death. I was totally with her the moment she snapped and completely understood the wave of nihilism she gets swept up in. I actually felt better after watching this movie as if some air had been left out of my tires right before they burst. Thanks, BECKY!

Note: I realize I just equated an adult man (that would be me) losing a cat who had a full life to a teen prematurely losing her mother and that may be a bit off. I’m sticking with it though because we need content, I’m still a little angry and cats are better than people.

→ 7 CommentsTags: General Horror · Kids Who Kill · My own personal Jesus

Kindertrauma Funhouse

October 16th, 2020 by unkle lancifer · 8 Comments

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Name That Trauma:: Mike B. on a Supernatural Neighbor

October 11th, 2020 by unkle lancifer · 4 Comments

I remember something from when I was a kid that I wish I could identify. I seem to vaguely (and perhaps incorrectly) recall seeing something on TV where a couple lived next door to an eccentric/reclusive rich guy, who they may or may not know/suspect to be not-quite-human and/or in possession of some kind of supernatural abilities. Anyway, the man in this scheming couple sends the woman over to seduce or at least get close to the rich guy so she can get access to his safe or other riches when he’s not around. I don’t recall how long this plot gets drawn out (maybe the rich guy grows to think she really cares for him over time or maybe he quickly catches her trying to slip away at a dinner party or something), but at some point he walks in on her trying to get his stuff, realizes what’s been going on, and (possibly as an involuntary reaction or perhaps deliberately) “does his thing”, which I think might have been depicted with him emitting a high-pitched shrieking/whistling noise or something. Maybe she screams, but I don’t think we see the effect of this incident before it cuts away, back to the scheming man, who hears the woman come home and enter but doesn’t yet see her when he asks how things went or whatever. She then is seen approaching the man as she starts to say something like “It’s alright…” before the man turns around in horror as he (and the audience) sees that her face is disfigured and she says something like “You still love me!”

I recently saw a clip from the 1978 movie “The Medusa Touch” that kind of reminded me of the (distantly remembered) intensity of this scene, with some of the same elements, and that film’s main character’s telekinetic powers could almost fit the bill (and I even think his last name of Morlar seems to ring a bell), but the scene and overall plot don’t otherwise match my memory, so perhaps I’m conflating two different films…

Now the funny thing is, I had seen a really short clip (HERE) of a much lower-budget movie (maybe even the scene I’m remembering) years later in part of the video intro at a Weird Al concert (which he apparently first used in a 1987 concert, so the film must be from 1987 or earlier if that’s true).  Luckily, I found this video online some time ago, and now I found your website.  If this is the movie, the clip is a bit different than I recall, as it appears the scheming man has been captured by the rich man and strapped down to a table for some other horrors when the woman enters and says, “Don’t be afraid, Jason”, but maybe I’m just misremembering it or this is a later part of the movie. Any ideas?  Thanks.

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Kindertrauma Funhouse

October 9th, 2020 by unkle lancifer · 11 Comments

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Name That Trauma:: Rob M. on a VHS Trap

October 8th, 2020 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments

Hey Unk,

I hope you’re doing well. I have another one that I can’t seem to track down. It’s from the Netflix early years… before they had their own content. It was one of those “You liked Cleopatra’s Second Husband”… you might like.

It’s about a man and wife living in an apartment. Maybe Australia or NZ? Green tint to the film production. His wife is a cheater and maybe he was too… or maybe he was an abusive too. Anyway, she leaves him, but as so far as I can recall… she traps him in their apartment with VHS tapes of her and her lover. He can’t leave, his life is in ruins and he has to watch her systematically torment him via VHS tapes.

Can you help me recall this film?

Thanks,
Rob
M.

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Five Favorite Things:: Humanoids From The Deep (1980) By Unk

October 7th, 2020 by unkle lancifer · 7 Comments

1: Pure Nostalgia

I often notice people speaking about nostalgia like it’s a bad thing and I just don’t agree with that at all. Nostalgia is a wonderful harmless drug and I enjoy partaking as frequently as needed. My father took my brothers and I when we were young to see HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP. I’m assuming the idea was that because it involved the ocean it would be akin to one of our favorite flicks, JAWS. Well, HUMANOIDS is nothing like JAWS. No matter how wacky this movie may be, I really cannot watch it without viewing it through a child’s eyes. It catapults me backward to a time when movies still seemed completely uncontrollable and dangerous to me. I feel an unexplainable primal energy from every late-night forest stalking scene and every twig snapping under the foot of an ambiguous intruder still gives me a thrill. I feel really lucky that I can even now tap into my younger self’s excitement all of these years later. Unlike me, this movie never gets old.

2: It’s goofy

I really hate to see animals killed in movies and I also have an aversion to onscreen rape. In fact, the same year HUMANOIDS was released (1980) my brother (who worked in a movie theater) snuck me in to see MOTHER’S DAY and I simply could not handle it and ended up fleeing profoundly disturbed. HUMANOIDS involves many dead dogs (!) followed by a lot of fish creatures prone to rape and yet I give it a pass because ultimately the film is good-natured and goofy. It’s sort of like a 1950’s beach monster movie dipped in eighties-era inhibition. Sure, an obvious obsession with T&A abounds but it also makes a point of presenting one hell of a powerful and intelligent female lead (Ann Turkel as Dr. Susan Drake who takes zero guff from anyone). Word has it that Director Barbara Peeters delivered a far less exploitive film to producer Roger Corman who unsatisfied, forced additional re-shoots of more explicit scenes. Maybe it’s because I grew up with this movie (it was rented on multiple occasions and became a family favorite of sorts) but I’ve never found the end result particularly offensive even though its premise of aquatic monsters impregnating women against their will might be a little iffy to modern tastes (HUMANOIDS was remade for cable television in 1996 with its levels of sex/violence toned down). I mean, this is the type of movie in which a ventriloquist dummy inexplicable becomes sentient to witness a double homicide and it’s presented as the most natural of occurrences. It’s difficult to take too seriously.

3: Vic Morrow

I dig Doug McClure and Ann Turkel as the film’s intrepid leads but Vic Morrow playing hateful racist asshole Hank Slattery is pure gold! Nobody does bad guys as convincingly as Morrow and I’m forever sorry he and his young costars in THE TWILIGHT ZONE MOVIE (1983) received such tragic (and avoidable) fates (Pssst, while we’re on the subject: HUMANOIDS handles the same anti-racist theme as Morrow’s TWILIGHT ZONE segment and in a less ham-handed way. Also, this flick’s got you covered on the anti-greed, pro-environmental issues too! It’s pretty sneakily progressive for a monster fish movie, I’d say).

4: Those Monsters!

As much as I love eighties era slashers, there’s something special about the monster movies that were able to creep their way out of the floorboards at that extraordinary time (I’m winking at you, THE BOOGENS). The monsters that inhabit HUMANOIDS have a bit of a throwback feel to them (they’re unavoidably linked at the fin to THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON) but they’re also innovative and impressively daunting. How can they not be cool when the legendary Rob Bottin (THE THING) had a hand in their creation? I wish I could share a proper centerfold of these equally humorous and disgusting creatures. Their brains seem to be half exposed, their arms are unnaturally long, they seem to be covered with slime, kelp and gooey debris and the mean, green dudes stand about seven feet tall! What’s not to love and furthermore, where is the action figure I deserve?

5. The Salmon Festival Massacre!!!

Like most young folk I had a soft spot in my heart for destruction. Movies like EARTHQUAKE, THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE and THE TOWERING INFERNO all brought me great joy (I especially dug the opening of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA which involved multiple planets being mercilessly annihilated). Right up there with the best scenes of chaos of my youth is the remarkable Salmon Festival fiasco of HUMANOIDS. There are sea creatures popping out of seemingly everywhere (impressive as only three monster suits were created), frenzied beauty pageant contestants fighting for their lives and innocent townspeople running about pell-mell. At this point, the mystery is over and the frightful fish folk couldn’t be more up close and in your face. It’s a lot of fun and provides an incredibly satisfying payoff to the film. HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP taught me at a young age that horror movies could be as joyful as they are scary and for that I will always have affection for this somewhat silly, yet unquestionably awesome film.

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Name That Trauma:: Matt S. on a Marked Witch Doll

October 4th, 2020 by unkle lancifer · 6 Comments

OK Obi Wan, i think you might be my last hope….

I have searched the internet for years. I cannot find or ID this film. Not sure if it was made for TV or not.

Here’s all I can tell you… it was a film shown on tv (may just have been local to the San Francisco Bay Area) at some point in the 70s. I have a vague feeling like it was aired at two different times…

But here’s all I remember. Witches. A sort of woods, kind of gray and maybe foggy? And a rag doll (possibly a Raggedy Ann) with a mark of blood on her forehead ( like someone marked her forehead with blood using their finger), and possibly people in 17th-century clothing? I feel like at least a glrl in a cloak in the woods.

That’s it. It’s driven me crazy for 40ish years. I feel at this point like I hallucinated it….. hellllp!
Matt S.

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Name That Trauma:: Michael From Minnesota on a Haunted House Book

October 3rd, 2020 by unkle lancifer · 8 Comments

Hi guys, Michael from Minnesota here. Love the site and hoping you and your readers can help with a memory that’s haunted me for decades. In grade school in the mid-80s, I remember watching a Reading Rainbow-type video that highlighted different children’s books. The one that stuck with me was a book about a family that moved into a new house and noticed some strange goings-on. In the end, it turns out a body was buried underneath the house and the restless spirit was causing the disturbances. I believe it ends with them giving the corpse a proper burial, and things go back to normal. I’ve gone through the Reading Rainbow archives and nothing has jumped out at me, so it might’ve been on a similar, knockoff program. If anyone can help, I’d love to find the book. Thanks!

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