Name That Trauma:: Julie B. on a Bedridden Corpse

Hello Friends!

I have been trying for a few years to find the film that terrified my sister when we were kids, but with no success. It was shown on Sammy Terry’s show, our local late night horror host here in Indianapolis, and we had snuck downstairs to watch it. It was well past our bedtime, and we were never allowed to watch anything that awesome, so this was a covert operation.

It was the opening scene of the film (or very near the beginning) and the setting was a very creepy, very dark Victorian mansion (or a castle?) on a stormy night (Classic!) People are gathered around the curtained bed of an old woman who had recently died, and when they pull back the bed curtains for the reveal, she is in full rigor mortis, eyes staring directly into the camera with a rictus grin.

My sister shrieked and bolted upstairs, we got in trouble, and that was it for Sammy Terry for a while. I was able to torment her with that face for a long time afterwards though, which felt like appropriate payback for ruining a good time!

That was decades ago, but I’d love to find the film to see if it’s as terrifying now as it was then, and because (obviously!) I need to retraumatize my sister.

Thank you so much for your help!

Name That Trauma:: Rob B on Psychics & Seances

Hey, guys, this is my second post here. I received some help from the fan base about another movie I was trying to identify, and I was hoping you could help me with a couple of others, to wit:

1) I believe this first one was a made-for-TV movie from the 1970’s. It begins with an old man (I believe it was Will Geer or a similar actor) out in the country, examining the ground closely as he walks along, eventually finding the spot he seems to be looking for; he buries a knife by the handle with the blade sticking up out of the ground, and walks off looking quite satisfied. I honestly can’t remember anything else that happens until the moment of truth at the climax of the movie when a physical fight breaks out between two of the characters (m/m, m/f?) and the antagonist falls backward, right on the blade of the knife that was buried so cryptically at the beginning of the film which saves the day. Obviously some kind of psychic foreshadowing took place at the beginning, and I seem to remember the theme of more second sight related activity during the film but that’s about it — the very beginning and the very end.

2) This was a British production, also from the 1970’s (at least the video quality makes me think so) and involves a wealthy widow (I believe) who is trying to make contact with her deceased husband (or family member) on the other side. She has recently made the acquaintance of a somewhat younger man and they begin to develop a relationship as the age gap is not so pronounced. He accompanies her to one seance which involves people seated around a table, questions being written down, sealed into envelopes, and placed in a basket; the medium, a rather portly, middle-aged woman, opens the envelopes one by one and answers the questions, until the younger man jumps up, snatches the wig off of the medium’s head (“she” is actually a female impersonator) and explains the con and how it works with the help of a confederate concealed among the “guests” (it’s quite clever when it’s explained, actually.) This cements the widow’s feelings for this younger man (and his for her, ostensibly) as genuine, which, as we find out, they are not, as he is really an unscrupulous fortune-hunter solely after her money. At another seance at the climax of the movie, a Native American warrior appears and manages to kill this fortune-hunter by shooting him with several arrows that manifest themselves physically, thereby rescuing the widow from his dishonorable ambitions.

These titles of these two forays into the realm of the psychic and seances have eluded me for some time, and any help anyone could give me in identifying them would be greatly appreciated, Thank you, as always!

Name That Trauma:: Robert B. on a Mummified Mommy

A few years back, I watched a documentary about a pair of Swedish brothers whose parents had home through a bitter divorce when they were younger; the mother had become obsessed with trying to wrest away a vacation property that she and her husband had owned that her life became focused on this legal case to the exclusion of almost everything else in her life. it seems. She became a hoarder, living a hermit-like existence, and eventually stopped communicating with her sons. They eventually made their way to her apartment to check on her only to find she had died, and laid on the bathroom floor for so long she had mummified, and when they picked her up found this indelible stain on the bathroom tiles they tried to clean fruitlessly. They also had to sort through mounds of paper, legal documents, etc., and although the landlord asked them not to, they burned copious amounts of her papers in the fireplace. I don’t know if this movie actually fits the parameters of kinder trauma, but it was pretty disturbing when I watched it a while ago, and your readers seem pretty good at coming up with answers for this kind of thing, so if anybody remembers this film, I’d appreciate the help. Thanks!

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?


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!