Traumafession:: Anonymous on Roger Rabbit’s Judge Doom!

Over the years, I have carefully organized my life so that I would never have to watch this movie again. Now it is time. It is time to purge this… demon, this disguised animated maniac, this madman, this nightmare-inducing judicial charlatan, this murderer responsible for the death of Theodore J. Valiant and–rumor has it–the seemingly random killing of Bambi’s mother. The VCR is broken. The TV has been long killed. The couch providing a hiding place from Him (to my four year old self, not even God could save me from Him) has long been donated. The original VHS tape, contrariwise, still exists alongside this clot in my preschool memories. It resides wrapped in a plastic bag in my old lunchbox shut inside the trunk of my sibling’s electric car. If He somehow escaped the spring-loaded locks of the tape, then He still would have to escape out of the bag, then lunchbox, and then trunk, leaving me the necessary time to run away. But I digress.

Prior to the discovery of “Kindertrauma”, I had planned to purge this particular demon by either painting a triptych or consenting to modern cognitive behavioral therapy. Only through those mediums I thought I could symbolically/artistically/therapeutically face off against the bane of my VCR: Judge Doom played by Christopher Lloyd in Robert Zemeckis’ Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1989). I am sure there are numerous entries in the archives tagged with: “Roger Rabbit”, “Dip”, “Steamroller”, and possibly “freeway scheme.” If not, then I will speak for all those still hiding behind the couch.

Salutations. My name is irrelevant and private. I am writing under “Anonymous” to protect my identity just in case He ever does enter the real world. Cartoons were already interacting with the fleshy living in that movie. Who’s to say that was so far-fetched a fear? I have often wondered why He haunts me more than Cousin It from Barry Sonnenfeld’s interpretation of The Addams Family, Hexxus’ smog-ridden forms in Ferngully, the hundreds of worms in that episode of Goosebumps on TV, or the silver sight in the often mistaken last episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? from the year 2000. I didn’t ride a carousel for years. No. The cloaked figure of Judge Doom walks and stalks soley on an Island of Memory that He’s made his own. To move on, to strip, to conquer Him I had to face my fear. In order to write this entry, I unearthed the VHS. I found a preserved VCR and television set. I rewound the tape. I listened for the click. I pressed play.

“Remember me, Eddie? When I killed your brother, I talked just like THIS!”

My theory: the everlasting fear associated with Who Framed Roger Rabbit? has to do with quantum physics. I’ll be brief. This film won three academy awards for its brilliant mix of animation (the second dimension) and live-action (the third dimension). The governing powers of the universe do not condone two dimensions in one space. Only one dimension can rule. The strike of fear of this movie stems from our inner repulsion of a two dimensional world. This reasoning being: 1) We would all die because the heart cannot beat when flattened 2) The 2-D world has its own laws of physics that would leave us one fatal step behind. Regardless of Him, this film drips with utter nightmare fuel. Unintended, but potent.

Due to this theory, Judge Doom emerging from the television screen to get me wasn’t that outlandish a fear. I would scream and scream for my brother not to take the tape out. If the movie was turned off prior to Judge Doom meeting his date with dip, he would–in theory–still be alive. As stated before, he just might have come out of the TV to kill. So, I would force my little self to listen to the climax scene. The clot was formed. I slept in my parents’ room after every viewing.

This viewing would be different. While the clot oozed with a nostalgic vengance into all fissures of my very soul, the movie’s climax–which had been obstructed by the fibers of the couch for fifteen years–came to cinematic life with a steamroller and optical effects.

I came.

I watched until the ending credits.

I wrote this entry.

I conqured (but had to sleep with a bottle of White Out).

I surmise that I won against Him in the end but trigger objects continue to be: a steamroller doing its innocent job on a highway, black cloaks, and the laugh of a hyena in the safaris of the country from whence those bastards came.

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Jami JoAnne Russell
10 years ago

Judge Doom – *shudders* The only creation scarier would be Large Marge from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

Terrifying thought – what if Judge Doom and Large Marge had children together?

El Borak
El Borak
10 years ago

this was terrifying. what was also scary was his amazing stories episode where his decapitated head talked.

10 years ago

This was the #1 kindertrauma of my childhood. I screamed and ran out of the room when this happened, subsequently dubbing him “the Icky Man.”

Eric Eddy
10 years ago

Christopher Lloyd was so AWESOME in that movie!

5 years ago

Ugh, god, Judge Doom was also a major scare factor in my childhood as well. That voice! Those eyes! I think he’s the reason that for a very long time in my childhood it used to scare me when anyone bugged their eyes out or yelled really loud.
The end scene with him all smooshed on the floor kinda grossed me out too.