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Traumafessions :: Reader Grimpressions on The Haunted: A True Story

January 6th, 2011 by aunt john · 14 Comments

I stumbled upon this great site about two weeks ago and I’ve been visiting several times a day ever since. KINDERTRAUMA has rejuvenated my interest in old horror movies and pretty much anything that creeped me out as a kid. So as I religiously watched every minute of THE WALKING DEAD this Fall I kept asking myself where I’ve seen JEFFREY DeMUNN who plays, Dale, the older man in the group of survivors. I looked up his filmography and I realised that he played the father in a made-for-T.V. movie that scared the crap out of me as a kid called THE HAUNTED: A TRUE STORY.

I remember getting our first V.C.R. when I was 8 or 9 years old, around the time the first BATMAN movie came out on video, back when it would take a year for movies to be released on video. From that point on I proceeded to tape anything on that looked scary. We only had basic cable channels so I ended up recording a lot of T.V. movies, mostly based on true stories. It became somewhat of an art for me because I’d pause the taping and kept the commercials out so perfectly so that you almost couldn’t tell they were recorded from television except of course for all the black fade-out and fade-in’s and the family-friendly tackiness that accompanies T.V. movies. One of these movies was 1991’s THE HAUNTED: A TRUE STORY, which was based on the case of the Smurl family haunting which took place in Pennsylvania during the 70’s and 80’s.

The movie was one of the more effective made-for-T.V. films. I started to realise how terrible a lot of them were as I got older and stated to rent rather than watch T.V. The acting was great and there were a lot of scary scenes. The ghosts that haunted the family were so relentless that they even followed the family when they tried to get away on a camping trip. The thought that ghosts could follow you outside of the house that was haunted terrified me.

The ghost appeared mainly as a floating, black mass. The usual events took place, chairs and dresser drawers moved on their own, radios turned on when unplugged, the family would hear voices, and there would be unexplained cold spots throughout the house. The black marks that re-appeared on the walls even after a fresh coating was applied was different along with the creepy pig squeals and snorts that would be heard coming from behind the walls.

The one scene that traumatized me though was when THE WALKING DEAD’s own JEFFREY DeMUNN is raped by a female entity. DeMUNN who plays the father, Jack, is watching T.V. in the living room after everyone else goes to bed when he sees the ghost, who is an attractive girl at first, come down the stairs. She picks him up and throws him across the room. She straddles him and, at first, and he seems like almost doesn’t mind it. The scary music swells and the ghost gets uglier and uglier and Jack starts to freak out. I finished recording the movie, but I couldn’t watch it again for years.

Luckily some kind, or demented, soul posted the whole film in 10 parts on YouTube.

Tags: Traumafessions

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Jan 6, 2011 at 9:21 am


    This movie scared me too and I was an adult when I saw it!

    I’ll never forget not being able to sleep one night (about ten yrs ago?) and turning on the TV and it was on. I think it was on Sci-fi channel.

    I thought I was in for the typical fare but this one really got to me for some reason and I found it even harder to get back to sleep when it was over.

    Something about that dark shape forming and going through walls and following them to the campsite is really unsettling.

    Plus, I absolutely believed the whole story for some reason.

    I was not a fan of “Paranormal Activity” but when people were talking about how it effected them I knew what they meant thanks to this movie.

    It doesn’t really have the same effect o me now but I still think the cast is great in this.

    Anyone who likes supernatural tales should check this one out on Youtube while they can.

    Thanks for the Traumafession!

  • 2 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Jan 6, 2011 at 9:30 am

    WATCH THE HAUNTED! If Sally Kirkland and Jeffrey DeMunn are not enough for you, think of the JOYCE VAN PATTEN!

  • 3 aunt johnNo Gravatar // Jan 6, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I think about the JOYCE VAN PATTEN… a lot!

  • 4 mamamiasweetpeachesNo Gravatar // Jan 6, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Ive seen so many of these movies..and you know the word HAUNTED or HAUNTING usually pops up in there somewhere, so they all sort of run together in my mind. BUT this one always stood out for me for two reasons:
    One. The rape scene. that is dang memorable! Not often in these things does the ghost get ballsy enough to rape a mortal..and when they do its usually a male ghost raping a female person.
    and Two. The scene at the end where they move into their new house and “Sally kirkland” hears voices while doing the laundry, meaning that even though they MOVED..THE GHOST FOLLOWED THEM!!!!!

  • 5 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Jan 6, 2011 at 10:54 am

    yea that rape scene is certainly memorable and alarming, everything goes all purple and the smile on the lady ghost face even before she gets witchy is yikes. Those Smurls could not go anywhere without that ghost tagging along like a dog. Even while it was fucking up the camping trip it was simultaneously trashing their house! I seem to remember seeing the real Smurls on a daytime talk show like Sally at some point.

    In my next life I’d really like to come back as a Van Patten. Joyce can not be stopped! She is also in THE DEMON MURDER CASE which also makes me hide under a blanket and she tore it up in MONKEY SHINES! I just found out that Joyce is mom to Talia Balsam of “The Kindred” and “Initiation of Sarah” fame which makes perfect sense to me. What would I do without Imdb?

  • 6 jaakkoNo Gravatar // Jan 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Man, I think I was almost thirty years old when this movie came from the telly, and it totally effed me up. Suddenly I was scared to be home alone, something that horror movies hadn’t done to me in ages, and never did after that. I still wonder how it could get under my skin like that, makes no sense at all.

  • 7 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Jan 6, 2011 at 2:31 pm


    Right? I don’t really know what it is about this movie either. I will say that there’s something very familiar about it. The house seems like a real home and the performances are pretty straight forward.
    I really think Kellerman is excellent in this and really believable.

    The idea of the “dark shape” really works for me too because it’s the kind of thing you may actually see while your eyes are not focused yet at night. Plus, the family in this goes through a bunch of shit in public here after the media is involved and it seems their neighbors witness stuff too. I mean maybe it’s all made up but it really works as a good ghost tale.

    Oh, and I recall they have old timey pilgrim ghosts too and those guys suck.

  • 8 jaakkoNo Gravatar // Jan 6, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    after watching the first two clips, I’ll hazard a guess that this might be the case of “a story that seems fairly basic suddenly attacks you from a blind spot, thus delivering the perfect blow”. I had a similar experience with the original Japanese version of Dark Water.

  • 9 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Jan 6, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    “a story that seems fairly basic suddenly attacks you from a blind spot, thus delivering the perfect blow”

    You may have hit the nail on the head.

  • 10 elgraysoNo Gravatar // Jan 6, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    and i thought the shameless advertising via “news” was bad NOWADAYS!

  • 11 Gary BushNo Gravatar // Jan 6, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    If you thought the movie was scary, read the book it is based on! There is all kinds of stuff that they left out of the movie.

    One thing I always remember is the book describes a creature that looked like a dachsund, only with no head or tail! Just a shapeless dachsund body with four legs. It was seen running under a couch. The creature was about a foot tall, and the crack under the couch was only about an inch, but it somehow fit. For some reason, this mental image scared the hell outta me. I never forgot it.

  • 12 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Jan 8, 2011 at 1:39 am

    Gary, whoa! i gotta read that book! That hot dog ghost would freak me out. I always thought the scariest part of Amityville was Jody the pig and I can’t believe they were dumb enough to leave Jody out of the remake! Jody owns Amityville!

  • 13 Joanna BoeseNo Gravatar // Jan 8, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Is it just me or does that house look like the one the Lambert-Fosters lived in on “Step By Step”?

  • 14 Will NepperNo Gravatar // Jan 9, 2011 at 2:46 am

    I’m so glad I just watched that! What a perfect movie for an up-at-2-am whim watch. Thanks for the tip.

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