Traumafessions from Lord Pariah!

Greetings all:

Kindertrauma is a cross between a fan site and a support group, isn’t it?

Anyhoo…at almost 50 years old I have a lot of Traumafessions from the “classic” (cough) days of horror movies.

My parents bear some of the blame. We had a drive-in theatre (remember those?) that would play maybe one first-run movie (“Smokey And The Bandit,” “Cannonball Run,” etc.) and then some Grade Z horror stinkers, like “Grizzly,” “Schizoid” and “The Toolbox Murders“…and sometimes really late, they would have bad European soft-core skin flicks (dubbed or subtitled) but those weren’t listed on the marquee!

On top of it, this drive-in was in northern Indiana, directly across the road from where the Ford Pinto got rear-ended and exploded in the late ’70s! I remember an aerial shot of that on the NBC Nightly News with John Chancellor showing the theatre and this big black burnt splotch across the road. Don’t tell me that area wasn’t cursed! The theatre doesn’t exist anymore; it was torn down and a Walmart built (still cursed with bad service the last time I was there about 15 years ago).

That was the only place my mother would consent to go see movies…and it didn’t matter what they were, and my young, impressionable butt got dragged along. The only time I think I won out was when the aforementioned “Grizzly” was being shown. My mother thought it was something like the then-popular Dan Haggerty “Grizzly Adams” TV show (so help me, it’s true!), but I’d seen the trailers (oh, the impact trailers had on my life!). I finally persuaded my dad to call the theatre box office and they confirmed what I said…and dad said “no, we’re not going to see that.” He was the sensible one – he wouldn’t let me see “Jaws” at 9 years old in the theatre. He said “it’s rated PG, Parental Guidance, I’m your parent and I don’t want to see it so you’re not either!”

I think the movie trailers were in some ways worse than the actual movies! They would pop up on TV when you weren’t expecting them, even in the middle of something like “Hogan’s Heroes” or reruns of old Looney Tunes cartoons…you’re watching Porky Pig, and then you crap yourself over one of those horrible trailers. The worst one for me, beyond a doubt, was “IT’S ALIVE.” I still can’t watch that!

Other Hall of Shame trailers:

1. “Suspiria.” That scene where the woman with the beautiful long hair turns around and has a decaying, rotted skull of a face…

2. “Magic.” That grotesque ventriloquist dummy, “Fats,” should have been turned into kindling wood!

3. Even the first, original 1977 trailer for “Star Wars” was kind of spooky in the beginning, with the logo in outer space and someone’s creepy voice talking over it.

4. “Carrie.” My parents did go to see that one (I persuaded them to let me go elsewhere!) and it scared hell out of my diesel mechanic, former Army soldier dad.

5. A qualified mention for “Alien,” as that actually became one of my top films! I remember the very first trailer with just the egg without scenes from the movie inserted.

6. “Phantasm.” That horrible, evil silver ball…

Theatre owners were devious. They’d even slip those in as “COMING ATTRACTIONS!” when I would go to see something innocuous like “The Bad News Bears!” A pox on them for eternity!

Of course, there were the tried-and-horrible TV episodes like the Hallowe’en “Little House on the Prairie,” and “The Day After,” though I was older then and it really didn’t get to me…and I ended up joining the Air Force!

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Wednesday's Child
7 years ago

I feel your pain on the terrifying trailers. I was scarred for life by the theatrical trailer for The Shining at age 5. I love the movie now, but I had nightmares as a kid about the experience of seeing that trailer, and sometimes even now.

7 years ago

Wasn’t that the Starlite in Elkhart?

Anyhow, I was similarly burned by some freaky trailers when we were at the Y&W in Merrilville, Indiana. The trailer for “The Devil’s Rain” – hoo boy. My brother and I would not eat lasagna for the longest time because we thought that it looked like the people’s faces melting off in that trailer.

Lord Pariah
Lord Pariah
7 years ago

No, it was the Midway between Elkhart and Goshen.

The Starlite was on the county line of St. Joseph and Elkhart Counties. We went there too, but not as much as the Starlite. The only movie I recall actually seeing there was “Lucky Lady,” and softcore skin flicks like “Girls For Sale” and “Nurses For Sale.” I wonder why my parents insisted on doing that!

Both of those are long gone…I think the Starlite was gone by the mid-80’s at least, and the Midway was torn down in the early ’90s. There’s a Walmart/strip mall there now, or at least there was the last time I was there (about 10 years ago). The Starlite site got turned into a subdivision.

Where I really remember some horrifying trailers from was the old Goshen Theatre in downtown Goshen (where I was born and lived until ’98). Not only that, but posters and other promo material in the lobby…they had stuff like that during movies like “The Bad News Bears,” “Star Wars,” and “Pete’s Dragon!”

Thankfully, I never saw the movie, nor trailers for, “The Devil’s Rain.” Ernest Borgnine called that one of the biggest mistakes of his career, it was John Travolta’s first big-screen appearance and it was one of William Shatner’s many stinkers during his post-“Star Trek” era (along with the equally horrifying “Kingdom Of The Spiders.”

The Ford Pinto explosion I mentioned happened directly across the road from the Midway on U.S. 33 on 10 August 1978. I was 12 years old…and my best friend’s sister drove a Pinto!

Phil Cardenas
Phil Cardenas
7 years ago

The trailer (and film too) that always got me was “The Other”. So disturbing for a kid to see. That one and “The Omen”.