Traumafessions :: Michael Clark of Vast Cyclopean Vistas on Raiders of the Lost Ark

Dear Kindertrauma:

First off, you rock. I love your site and the way you have teased out many of the common traumas we suffered as children. I could go on about Oompa-Loompas, Flying Monkeys, The Poltergeist Clown…the list goes on.

But I was truly traumatized by the ending of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. I had been drawn in by the prospect of another movie featuring Han Solo (I guess I was nine when the movie came out), and thought somehow the movie would be about Noah’s Ark, but ok. I didn’t really know what a Nazi was, other than the “Black Spider” villains of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, but I got the idea pretty quickly.

So I’m tracking with the whole archaeology motif, digging (as it were) the Egyptian stuff–I could even handle the snake coming out of the mummy’s mouth in the Well of Souls sequence (though barely). But dammit, when those Nazis’ faces began to shrivel, drip, and explode in the Holy Wrath bit at the end, I LOST IT. I had gone to see the movie with our older cousin, who loved it–we were on vacation, and I think it was a moment for my parents to get us out of the hotel room at the Ramada Inn. I could not express to her how profoundly shocking the face-melting had been to me. Upon return to the hotel, where I had drawn the short straw and had to sleep on the floor, I remember keeping my mother up all night trying to describe the utter horror I had experienced at the end of the movie. I kept the bathroom light and fan on, much to my Dad’s dismay. Oddly, my younger brother had shrugged it off, or at least was too exhausted from all the Coke and Sno-Caps to stay awake.

I had loved it–and to this day it’s one of my favorites of all time–but my first time was a rough one.

If you liked this one, there’s more to come, as I was a Professional Scaredy-Cat.


Michael Clark

Vast Cyclopean Vistas

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments