Name That Trauma:: Sebastian L. on a Disintegrating Woman

Hello Kindertrauma! I have a very vivid memory of a terrifying TV moment that I experienced in the late 90s that I am hoping to finally resolve. It probably goes without saying that while this scene is seared in my mind, my recollections of it may not be entirely accurate. It’s very likely my imagination has filled in the blanks over the years, so take all details with a grain of salt!

From what I recall, there are two adult women (one younger and blonde, the other closer to middle age and in a blue sweater – I think her name is Melanie) sitting in a darkened living room watching TV. They’re watching old home movies of a young girl dancing, and it seems like the girl is Melanie’s daughter. This isn’t a happy scene, however, as Melanie seems to be depressed, and is watching the tapes to relive better times. Maybe she’s become estranged from her daughter, or perhaps her daughter has even passed away. The younger woman tries to comfort her, telling her that everything will be alright, and she may even try to encourage Melanie to turn off the tapes. At one point, the younger woman gets up to go into the kitchen, as Melanie lights a cigarette. While she’s in the kitchen, the younger woman hears a loud noise coming from the living room. She walks back in and it’s clear that something weird has happened. She finds the TV playing nothing but static, and sees Melanie just sitting there in the shadows, cigarette between her fingers, staring off into nothing. The young woman tries to get her attention, but she’s unresponsive, and after a moment, she disintegrates into dust. The scene ends with the younger woman screaming.

I suspect this was a cold open to a TV show, as not only is it very likely that it came on after something else I had been watching, but I also remember it cutting into opening credits (though I don’t remember the details of this at all). I’m fairly positive I saw this on my local (Canadian) station, and for years I’ve thought it might be an episode of either the Outer Limits revival series, or an episode of Da Vinci’s Inquest, just because I remember seeing ads for those constantly at the time. However, I’ve done a bit of digging into the Outer Limits and haven’t found anything, and Da Vinci’s Inquest seems like more of a cop drama than a supernatural one, so honestly I’m not sure how viable either of these leads are. Still, of all the weird, unsettling things I saw on TV as a kid that stuck with me, this is the one that I remember most clearly (probably due as much to its emotional intensity as its outwardly creepy climax), and I’m hoping that this will be enough to spur someone else’s memory. I’d love to finally put this near-lifelong curiosity to rest.

-Sebastian L.

Name That Trauma:: Michael C. on a Tiny Sister Who Gets Squashed

Hi Kindertrauma,

Thanks for the recent columns on Trilogy of Terror, Don’ Be Afraid of the Dark, and Salem’s Lot…all three scarred me for life when I was 10. I remember Horror Week on Channel 7’s 4:00 Movie in Washington DC featuring the first two.

Anyway, I hope that someone can help me find this terror. I don’t know if I’m making it up, or misremembering, or conflating multiple movies, or what. It may have been a TV movie.

I seem to remember a story involving sisters and painting. In the story, one of the sisters somehow gets shrunk to a tiny size, like smaller than a thumb. I think she had long blonde hair. Eventually the other girl squishes her under her shoe and uses the resulting red goo as paint on a canvas. This scene sticks with me. Was it a movie, or a horrible dream?

Thanks!

Michael C.

Name That Trauma:: Juan M. on a Hand Blender Threat

I saw this scene or part of this scene back in the early ’90s or before, when I was a kid (I was probably 6,7 or 8 y.o).

This is more or less what I remember from the scene: There is a girl that is attacked by 3 or 4 guys, probably in her kitchen. I am not sure if the guys take off her clothes or if the girl was already topless. I don’t remember actually seeing her breasts, but in the next shot of the scene, one of the guy threatened her with a hand blender. I remember that the camera focused on the blades of the blender as it is moved closer to her chest. Don’t remember how the scene ends.

Could be that the girl was the girlfriend of some guy and these guys were rivals of the boyfriend. For some reason, I think it was some kind of revenge or trying to get information. I also think that the boyfriend was in the house.

I know is not much information about the movie, but that is all what I remember.

Name That Trauma:: Wendy J. on an Ageing Lady Portrait

I am trying to think of a scary movie made in either the late ’70s or early ’80s. All I can remember is there is a young beautiful lady who is cursed and even though she looks young in the mirror, there is a painting of her down the hall that keeps aging. Eventually, she turns into this old lady in a black dress and dies. I remember she is blonde and I remember the house is old and there’s a long hall and a big room with the painting in it. It scared me so much when I was little. It’s not Dorian Gray because it’s a lady.

Can anyone help? I’ve looked all over!

Name That Trauma:: Dan Trashcan on Nuclear Meltdown & Anti-Smoking PSAs

A friend of mine told me about a PSA that spooked him, but fully traumatized his younger sister when they were kids, so I had to send it along. Here’s the info: “It aired in the late ‘80s, I think it was on either public access or PBS. It was some anti-nuclear power short film with really low production values. It specifically centered around a meltdown at the Seabrook Power Plant and some guy who worked there. When the meltdown happened he went home and his wife was a skeleton who yelled at him. I’ve looked all around for it” Considering the regional, low budget nature of this, seems like a slim chance of anyone else knowing about it, but you never know.

Also, this is a separate thing but definitely related. A notorious PSA from NYC was considered lost by lost media types but just showed up on youtube in November. I don’t think there was ever a name that trauma about it but I know I’ve seen it show up in the comments on other PSA posts before. I had heard about it in college from a professor who said it was pulled cuz it was disturbing too many kids. Frankly, that, and the description that my Prof gave had me visualizing much more haunting and disturbing. I know in movies and stuff, kindertraumas often lose their punch, but I”ve never felt that way about PSAs….they usually live up to their reputation…like that f*cking heroin monkey! YIKES.

Name That Trauma:: Natalia B. on a Drunk Driving PSA

So, this was a PSA in the 90s that aired on Canadian TV. I am foggy on the actual dates, but I think it aired for quite a while. I think it was about drunk driving, and I recall a young woman who possibly had long curly hair riding in the passenger seat of her boyfriend’s car. There may have been friends in the back of the car. I recall the driver not paying attention when suddenly the girl yells “JASON!!!!” and the car hits something head-on. It then cuts to a shot of the girl in a rehab facility. She’s all cut up and the physical therapist is helping her learn how to walk again.

Anyway, this one haunts me, but I wouldn’t mind seeing it again for some closure.

Name That Trauma:: Jeff B. on a Red-Haired Skeleton

I remember watching an old horror film about 40 years ago – the opening scene was a mad scientist who had a red-haired (?) woman on a laboratory table and he had hooked up some kind of billows type pump to transfer her blood to something / someone else…

An angry mob appears at the front door of the castle (?) and the mad scientist leaves the secret laboratory to see what all the noise is about and gets dragged off by the mob.

Flash forward: An American (I seem to think) somehow inherits the castle and comes to visit. As he’s looking around, he touches a metallic silver ornament that looks like a skull with wings (?) and a bookshelf opens – revealing the entrance to the secret laboratory!

He enters the creepy laboratory and the camera (with scary music) suddenly pans to the skeleton of a woman with red hair (?) still strapped to the laboratory table!

At that point, I ran out of the house – and never found out what the movie was!

Name That Trauma:: Marko on a Monster Kid

Hi, I hope someone can help me identify something I watched as a kid. None of the things I can remember may be reliable. It may have been from the 70s or 80s. The little I can remember is, a man goes to a mansion to do some type of work for a woman. I don’t think he was a workman, maybe a writer…detective…scientist I don’t know, but at the end the man sees a monster/alien child emerge from a dimensional portal and the monster kid keeps saying mama mama mama. It may have been from a horror anthology TV show or movie. Hope someone knows what it is.

Thanks, 
Marko

Name That Trauma:: Rick B. on a Giant Yellow Alien Ball

Hi,

While probably a benign little heart-warmer or lesson-imparter which was in no way meant to be unsettling, I’m haunted by a short film shown at summer camp. Reckoning it’s from the mid 70s to very early 80s, as the music was all burping Moog (at least in memory).

The most I can offer is a hazy recreation of a single moment… young girl at her open bedroom window, nighttime, she peers out into the woods and glimpses a large, (yellow?) ball come slowly bounding down the distant hillside, perhaps during high winds or a storm. I feel as though the ball was an alien visitor, maybe even a sinister presence? (And I’ve seen Dark Star, so this isn’t my memory conflating two extraterrestrial balls…)

That’s it. The rest was promptly erased by hikes, horseback, and failed attempts at leather-work. Hopefully enough for somebody to go on, any relief will be most welcome, with thanks in advance!

Cheers,
Rick B.

Name That Trauma:: Naja M on a Svengoolie Skeleton

Hi, The movie I am asking about is not one that scared me. I barely remember it. The reason I do want the name is because it’s the background of one of our most awesome childhood memories, and I really wish I had the name of the movie when I tell this story to people.

In the early 1970’s, I was 8 and my little brother was 7. We took a bus, by ourselves, 4 blocks down S. Ashland Ave to Chicago’s People’s Theatre on 47th Street to see a horror movie hosted by the ORIGINAL Svengoolie! Back then, an 8 year old could get into an R movie as long as they had money for a ticket. No one enforced the somewhat new ratings system. At that young age we were both already Svengoolie and horror movie fans because our babysitters loved to scare us on the weekends watching Svengoolie. We sat right up front in the old theatre watching Svengoolie do his thing in front of the movie screen. It was the time of our lives (up to that point haha).

Now for the movie. I barely remember it! I can remember there being a sit down dinner at a long table, possibly in a castle, but maybe an old mansion. Of course there was a pretty American blond at the table, as well as a few other Americans. They seemed to be visitors. The second (and only other) memory I have of the movie I think is near the end. A man is trying to get into a shed or cellar, maybe crawlspace. Once he gets the door open, the woman he loved is nothing but a skeleton and hair. The whole movie gives me a feel of Americans visiting England.

Does this ring a bell for anyone? I realize after this long that my memories may have taken on a life of their own.

Thanks! Naja M

P.S. This is my second submission over the past 10 years. Last time I think you got it after just a couple hours.