10.25.2009

All Hallow's Eve

...kinda sounds like a feminine hygiene product for Wiccans, dunnit?

So, Halloween is around the corner + maybe you're looking for some truly creepy music to play at your party or in yr spooky-ass frontyard/haunted haus. Or just 'cuz you are a weirdo... Me too, pal. We've posted Halloween music lists here in the past, so why bother to be innovative? Yeah, me neither... so I recommend checking out the following stops on the Halloween music road-less-travelled:

FantĂ´mas - Director's Cut
Mike Patton fronts this ensemble of fellow twisted Bay Area musicians - Dave Lombardo (Slayer), Buzz Osborne (Melvins) + Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle), and this release is a solid selection of film musicks, all reinterpreted by the 21st Century's bastard son of Freddie Mercury + Mel Blanc...

Here's a vid for their rendition of The Omen (Ave Satani):


And along those same lines (to me anyway... I used to get these two songs mixed up when I was a young'un), here's Botch's disturbingly beautiful + wakka-heavy take on Carl Orff's O Fortuna from Carmina Burana:


Mystic Fugu Orchestra - Zohar
John Zorn + Yamantaka Eye send you on a mind-ride to the early 20th Century. These recordings aren't particularly scary musically, but the atmosphere is rife with crackling LP surface noise that surpasses the suppressed volume of much of the music itself. Knowing the music of both Zorn + Eye, I kept expecting a blastbeat explosion at normal volume that would rupture my eardrums + melt my speakers... never happened, but somehow I still expect it every time I hear it. Like the music'll be different when I hear it this time... Or maybe the next time.

Continuing in the vein, but back a bit more to traditional-stylee scaree, here's the theme song from Suspiria by Dario Argento's favorite band, Goblin:


And here's the extra-creepy Die Rache Krieg Lied Der Assyriche by the extra-metal band Nile:

That one always scares the crap out of me... "Ia! Pazuzu" indeed.

And, finally, in the same vein (haw haw) as the Alice Cooper Band, Kiss, the Cramps, the Misfits and other "scary" bands, check out Acid Witch's full-length metal release Witchtanic Hellucinations. Here's a vid for October 31st:



And that is all, my fiends... have a hoary + hellish Halloween!

10.18.2009

A Halloween Horror Novel Reading List 'n' such

Figured I'd go the book-review route this time, since I review every book I read just like I review the movies I watch. This isn't meant as a "best horror novels ever" list or anything exhaustive, since it's obviously missing lots of heavyweights (no Dracula, no Stephen King, etc.) that would have to be on any such list. It's just a list of some really good titles that may have escaped your attention (and the well-known Haunting of Hill House, just 'cuz) that you may want to pick up next time you're in a used book store or at a library sale. If nothing else, they're good things to be aware of, just to help ward off the mainstream of society, wherein all evil dwells. You can probably still find 'em and read 'em all before Halloween, since there are still a couple of weeks. It's nothing you couldn't achieve with the right combination of determination and meth amphetamines to ward off sleep. Staying awake for two weeks might kill you, but is "he sure was well-read" really such a bad epitaph? I say thee nay! So I encourage you to go forth and do bad things, knowing full well that my advice shall be disregarded as the "easy for you to say" rantings of a madman.

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Night in the Lonesome October - Richard Laymon (Leisure 2002)
This was Richard Laymon's last book and it will make you even sadder about his death, because he was obviously at the top of his game when he died; this may be his best book. Ed Logan has been dumped by the love of his life and, despondent, takes a long walk late one night and sees a beautiful girl that he becomes obsessed with seeing again... even though he learns that at night his town is full of very strange people, including cannibalistic "trolls" under bridges, an evil sadist who wants to rape Ed's new girlfriend (and Ed as well!), a crazy old lady on a bicycle, a van full of predators, a scary clown named Sunny Boy, and the girl Ed's stalking, who likes to sneak around in people's houses while they sleep. Soon Ed the lonely college boy has more company than he knows what to do with -- even a gay classmate who has the hots for him. Seems there's a whole 'nother world going on while most of us are sleeping. As usual, Laymon doesn't balk at the horrific, although there's not as much violence in this as Laymon's usual; the horror here is more creepy than gory. His usual adolescent preoccupation with copping-a-feel is still in evidence, but if you're a Laymon fan you're used to that. Anyway, this is going out on a high note; you'd be hard pressed to find a more entertaining and gripping book. ****

The Cadaver of Gideon Wyck - Alexander Laing (1934)
Surprisingly grotesque (especially for its time) horror purporting to be a manuscript written by a medical student. Gideon Wyck is a top doctor at a medical school, and is one incredibly nasty bastard; he performs unnecessary amputations, does medical experiments on girls he impregnates so they'll give birth to monstrosities that he can study, and has glands transplanted inside him to try to keep himself young. When Wyck's body is found dead and inexpertly embalmed in the school's dissection room, it's a big mystery who killed him, since so many people would have reasons to do it. To make things more complicated, there's a crazed blood donor who goes insane whenever anyone who's gotten his blood dies, and one of Wyck's illegitimate sons is also crazy and homicidal. The medical knowledge seems accurate, and there's plenty of morbidity and sickness, and even some gruesome gore. It gets a little bogged down in the second half, but the rest is full of unflinching sick ideas that make it ahead of its time. It's an obscure and mostly-forgotten novel that's really hard to find in its uncut form, and may cost you some money to acquire, but it's worth the hunt. I consider myself very lucky to have even found the mold-and-mildew-encrusted copy I scored at a library sale, even though I have to keep it in a plastic bag sequestered from the rest of my library. Some enterprising somebody is really missing the boat by not re-printing this one. ***1/2

The Girl Next Door - Jack Ketchum (Warner, 1989)
Maybe the most harrowing book you'll ever read, this novel is based on the real-life torture murder of 16-year-old Sylvia Likens by crazy old bat Gertrude Baniszewski. Ketchum's narrator was a boy living next to a house where a young neighbor girl and her sister are being abused by the lady who'd been hired to take care of them after the death of their parents. The lady hates the girls with a pathological passion, and involves the neighborhood kids in the torture, especially of the older girl. The neighborhood secret turns into a game that gets worse and worse, but nobody tries to stop it or tell anyone what's going on, even though a few of the participants (our narrator, especially) are horrified by the direction it's taking. Few books have the power this one does, and it's going to hurt you. This book was an especially brutal right-hook when it came out in the 80's, because Warner put a very silly cover on it; a painting of a skull-faced cheerleader gave you no warning of what was lurking past the cover. (Ketchum truly hated that cover painting, by the way). ****

Song Of Kali (Tor, 1985)
A guy who works for a literary magazine is sent to Calcutta, India, with his wife and infant daughter in order to pick up a manuscript of an epic poem written by a famed Bengal poet, M. Das, who had supposedly died years before. In trying to meet the engimatic poet, he runs afoul of a ruthless cult which worships Kali, goddess of death and destruction, and he lives to regret it... and that's putting it mildly. The atmosphere in this book is like no other -- it breathes down your neck, and has some serious halitosis. I know he's describing Calcutta, but it may as well be the Luciferian kingdom of Dis -- this is truly one hellish travelogue, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Indian Board of Tourism tried to ban this sucker. You get a strong urge to take a long hot shower after reading this book, because the detail is so rich and immersive that it's like Simmons is dragging you kicking and screaming through one of the nastiest places on Earth. I mean, you could probably get germs just from reading this -- do recommendations come any higher? So get a tetanus shot and seek this out, 'cuz it's a must if you dig quality darkness. ****

The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson (1959)
A mousey, shelf-absorbed dishrag of a woman, Eleanor, is invited by a professor to join a group of people who are studying the infamous Hill House, a house so haunted, evil, and "not sane" that nobody'll live within a mile of it, and few are willing to spend more than a few daylight hours there, much less a night. The geometry of the floorplan is all wrong, there are cold spots, something unseen knocks and writes on the walls, mumbles insanely and ceaselessly in empty rooms, and holds hands with Eleanor in the dark... and worst of all, it seems to want her. And Eleanor's not all that damn stable in the first place -- she's hanging on by her fingernails and the spirit of Hill House is tugging on her ankle... get the picture? What more can I say? This is a total classic that deserves its reputation (hell, the opening paragraphs cemented it as one of the all-time best horror novels on the strength of their prose alone). The writing is genius (although a bit odd -- Eleanor is such a freak) and this is essential reading for any serious student of supernatural (or psychological) fiction. ****

The Store - Bentley Little (Signet, 1998)
Oh, I betcha Wal-Mart doesn't have the balls to keep this book in stock. A small town is invaded by The Store, an all-powerful discount chain store that people are all excited about at first, since it'll bring in new jobs and stock new items, cheap. But soon The Store is bankrupting all the locally-owned businesses because they can't compete, and if the small businesses take to long to knuckle under, they may get a visit from The Night Managers -- pale zombielike clones dressed in black and carrying knives. And The Store undermines the moral fiber of the town with the sleazy things it sells: there are M-80 firecrackers in the toy department, racist video games in electronics, and kiddie-porn snuff films in the videos. And the employees are forced to join The Store's strange cult, worshiping the founder and taking part in demented sadistic rituals. One man who doesn't like The Store, a stand-up guy named Bill Davis, sees his town going to hell as The Store gradually takes control of the local government, the police department, and everything else. Soon there's nowhere else for anyone to work, including both of Bill's daughters, and The Store doesn't allow employees to quit. And then they offer Bill a Store of his own... Absolutely brilliant, horrifying satire that ratfucks Wal-Mart by not having to deviate all that far from the way they actually work. Little's novels are hit-or-miss, either masterworks or mediocre, but when he hits the mark (usually by taking on some societal institution), it's devastating. Also recommended from Little are The Ignored (a guy learns that nobody's paying attention to him so, out of desperation, he dresses in a clown suit and murders his boss. When even that doesn't get him noticed, he realize that he is the "Average American" and becomes part of a network that decides things like the Billboard Top 100, the bestseller list, etc.), The Mailman ( a sinister mailman causes chaos by not delivering bills or junk mail anymore, and eventually starts delivering hate mail and porn and even body parts; nightmarish stuff), The Association (a homeowner's association turns a young couple's life into hell by making them conform to neighborhood rules), or The Policy (a supernaturally-powerful insurance company takes over the lives of their policy-holders, and subjects them to all kinds of terrible stuff... just like real insurance companies do!) ****

The Keep - F. Paul Wilson (Berkley, 1982)
Something in a Rumanian keep is killing off the Nazis who are occupying it during World War II. Desperate for help, they bring in a crippled Jewish professor and his daughter, and discover that the keep is housing an evil, which at first seems to be a vampire but is something far worse, and if it's not stopped then the world will be damned. Very well-written horror with powerful creepy scenes and a convincing aura of menace throughout. One of the more important horror novels of the 80's, which got unfortunate treatment by a too-dull movie adaptation that was more noted for a Tangerine Dream soundtrack than anything else. ****

Harvest Home - Thomas Tryon (Knopf, 1973)
Very well-written gothic horror in which a painter and his family move into a small New England town where people take their corn-planting seriously and have a lot of rituals connected with it... rituals better left unexplored by curious outsiders. This appears to have been an inspiration for Stephen King's "Children of the Corn," which spawned way too many movies, but this was turned into a two-night miniseries in 1978, starring Bette Davis. The movie's good, but the book's even better, since Tryon is a master of technique and should be carefully read by anyone who wants to write horror themselves. Also seek out his even-more essential The Other. ****

Wire Mesh Mothers - Elisabeth Massie (Leisure Books, 2001)
I liked Massie's earlier Sineater a lot, so I knew this would be good... but I didn't know it would blow me out of the water! The story is the kind of no-holds-barred violence that Richard Laymon always came up with (and I love Laymon, so that's a big compliment), but the writing is even better and there's more depth. Troubled schoolteacher Kate McDolen has a little breakdown at work because the kids in her class are such mean little shits, so she decides to quit and make a difference by kidnapping an abused little girl named Mistie, so she can take her somewhere safe. But this ill-fated plan turns into a torturous nightmare when they get stuck with Tony, a misogynistic young girl who's on the run from a convenience store robbery that turned into murder. The kidnapper becomes the kidnapped as Tony demands that Kate drive her to Texas, and since Tony is a teacher-hating psychopath, she does everything she can to make Kate miserable on the way. Massie knows no limits to the amount of suffering she'll put her characters through, and she keeps the violence realistic to make it even more shocking. Amidst all this dark nihilism (it's horror, but it's not traditional horror -- no supernatural stuff) there are some feminist statements, comments on the effects of child abuse, and about what it is to be a mother... and what it's not. But Massie deadpans it and doesn't preach, making it all the more powerful. I'm jealous of the whole thing. ****

Cold Moon Over Babylon - Michael McDowell (Avon, 1980)
A typically-excellent McDowell blend of horror and Southern gothic. The Larkins, a family who barely manage to scrape a living out of their blueberry farm, are the target of a man in a black leather mask. He gets them all in grotesque ways and throws their bodies into the river, but their soggy corpses (one is a spirit made of black river water) come back to get revenge. That's the main gist of the story, but McDowell's writing turns it into a masterpiece. The scary scenes are atmospheric and inventive, and also highly effective. McDowell is also a master of characterization and setting -- it all seems very realistic. Even more recommended is The Elementals (dealing with horrific events in an isolated spot on the Gulf Shores and a huge old house filling with sand) and his Blackwater saga (six books telling the story of a family of people who sometimes change into river monsters), or Toplin (a really wacky-fucked-up tale of neurotic obsession like nothing else I've ever read; dare you spend time inside the head of a narrator so fastidious he takes his doors off their hinges every week or so so he can clean the underside of them properly?) Any McDowell novel is a must-buy, and it's tragic that they're out of print now. Somebody needs to re-issues these in hardback collections, because they're as good as it gets. ****

Summer of Night - Dan Simmons (Warner, 1992)
Stephen King's got "The Body," and Robert R. McCammon has Boy's Life, and now Dan Simmons has his own "childhood novel" -- and the main difference is that this one's scary! In fact, it's one of the scariest and best horror novels of the 90's. Six eleven-year-olds spend the summer of 1960 at war with packs of seemingly-unstoppable zombie-type monsters who apparently (the book never says for certain) were spawned by the evil in an ancient bell in their old school's tower. Not only are they tormented by the revived (and mutated) dead, but giant lamprey-like worms burrow under the ground to eat them (yes, they're a direct rip-off from Tremors and I think maybe the book would have been better without them, but hey, they're still pretty effective). The kids form into a sort of combat unit to try to stop their town from becoming monsterville. Simmons' writing isn't quite as flashy as King's or McCammon's -- it's a sort of meat-and-potatoes style -- but he has an excellent imagination and manages to round out most of his main characters well, which isn't easy since there's so many of them. The horror scenes are numerous and effective, and this book is an essential epic. ****

Bad Ronald - John Holbrook Vance (Ballantine, 1973)
Completely way-cool horror novel with a compulsively-readable plotline. On his 17th birthday, a creepy mama's boy named Ronald Wilby rapes and kills an 11-year-old girl. Mom decides to hide him, so they wall off the bathroom under the stairs into an undetectable secret room. But then mom dies and a new family -- with three attractive girls -- moves in and Ronald is still in his hideaway and becoming increasingly twistoid. Very effectively written, plausible suspense that is very hard to put down. Highly recommended, as is the excellent (though watered-down) TV movie adaptation. This one is due for a reprint from some enterprising publisher, since the old beat-up paperbacks are selling for around $100 each online. I got lucky and snagged one at a used bookstore for about a buck back in the day. ****

The Woodwitch - Stephen Gregory (St. Martin's Press, 1989)
Completely weird and strikingly original horror that captures an effective atmosphere of dementia. Andrew Pinkney is frustrated by his impotence to the point of violence, so he takes some time off and goes to the Welsh countryside to stay in a moldering old cabin. There he becomes obsessed with raising stinkhorns, a nasty breed of mushrooms that look a helluva lot like an erection. To do this, he must also raise flies to fertilize them, so soon he's collecting rotten dead animals and hanging them on meathooks in the woodshed. Obsession slowly creeps into full-blown dementia and, finally, violence. Slow going at times, but never really boring, mainly because the writing is so excellent, especially the detailed descriptions of rot. Something different, and definitely recommended. Gregory's The Cormorant is also very odd and worth looking for. ****

Creekers - Edward Lee (Zebra, 1994)
Completely excellent, gore-and-deformity-drenched horror with lots of surprising plot twists and plenty of suspense. A cop who was set up in the killing of a kid finally finds another police job, doing undercover work in a small redneck town where a PCP ring is being run by a grotesquely-deformed clan of inbreds, known as Creekers. After a brief set-up this goes into high gear, building a scary web of intrigue and extreme brutality, and lots of sex, too. Good hardcore stuff, with intelligent writing and no punches pulled. For a while old paperback copies of this were fetching stupid money online, but it's since been reprinted. That's not cheap, either, but is worth it for fans of no-fucking-around horror. ****

Drawing Blood - Poppy Z. Brite (Dell, 1994)
Obsessed with discovering why his famous underground cartoonist father killed everyone else in his family with a hammer, a young artist named Trevor returns to the North Carolina town where the killings took place, 20 years later. He hooks up with a computer hacker who's on the run from the feds, and the two become boyfriends (the homosexual love scenes here are very graphic, putting it out of reach for anybody with any homophobia in ‘em) while living in the houses where the killings took place. The house is haunted and whatever's there may be trying to turn Trevor into a killer like his father. Beautifully written, full of every sensual detail imaginable and rife with counterculture paraphernalia (everything from comics to Charlie “Bird” Parker to lots and lots of drug use), and even better than Poppy’s earlier Lost Souls, because it’s not as glamorized. The prose is a perfect balance between form and substance. The trend of almost no female characters and male characters who come across as more female than male continues, though, and it gets a little overbearing... but, that’s Poppy’s obsession, so just roll with it. Unfortunately, Poppy has abandoned horror and I’ve got no use for her silly new stuff at all, but her first three novels and early short-story collections are treasures worth seeking out. ****

Survivor - J. F. Gonzalez (Leisure, 2006)
Intense, extremely dark hardcore horror dealing with snuff films. A woman named Lisa is kidnapped by sick-minded creeps who plan to torture her to death on camera. She manages to escape the situation by doing something really reprehensible, but she may not be able to live with it... even if the vengeful filmmakers who are tracking her down would let her. Effectively written and isn’t afraid to roll right over taboo limits. Definitely not for everybody, but rewarding if you can handle it. ***1/2

The Conqueror Worms - Brian Keene (Leisure, 2006)
For some reason (refreshingly barely speculated about, much less explained) it starts raining all over the globe and never stops. The Earth becomes flooded, with only the highest points left above water. An old man named Teddy Garnett writes a narrative of it all from a mountain cabin as he waits to die, describing how he, his friend Carl, and some other survivors battled giant earthworms and sea creatures that were running rampant as part of an apparent apocalypse. It’s kind of a combination of Tremors, Night of the Living Dead, and Waterworld, and it works perfectly. Keene’s still in love with the apocalyptic scenarios, but he handles giant hellspawn monsters even better than he does carnivorous zombies. Good one. Also check out his escaping-a-zombie-apocalypse-by-going-to-sea novel, Dead Sea, which is a fun read. *** 1/2

Off Season - Jack Ketchum (Leisure, 1980)
Infamously gory and brutal horror novel has been tamed down a little by time and desensitization, but at the time it landed Ketchum a Richard-Laymon-like reputation for literary ruthlessness. A group of vacationers in backwoods Maine meet up with a clan of feral, inbreeding cannibals who’ve been living in a cave and hunting and eating anyone they can catch, sometimes keeping them alive long enough for degenerate extracurricular activities. The vacationers end up on the losing end of a Night of the Living Dead-style barricaded-house situation, then one of the guys tries to rescue his girlfriend, who’s been taken back to their cave. Nobody will emerge from this scenario unscathed. The first edition was trimmed of a few of the nastiest details, but they’ve been restored in the reprinting. Ketchum pulls no punches, but he’s become a better writer in the years since this was published, so while this is well-written, a lack of effective characterization of the victims robs it of a little potential impact. Still, it’s a classic of extreme brutality horror lit. The new edition includes a bonus short story, “Winter Child,” which is not bad and somewhat related to this book and its sequel, Offspring. ***

The Traveling Vampire Show - Richard Laymon (Leisure, 2001)
Laymon’s last book to come out stateside before he died is firmly in the Laymon tradition -- it’s great and you’re not gonna be able to put it down. As is the case with most Laymon, it takes place in a 24-hour span and is filled with maybe a little too much “puberty” (no disrespect to the dead, especially an author I love this much, but I wonder if Laymon might not have died of terminal horniness) and plenty of gore. Three kids in the late 50’s/early 60’s decide to visit a traveling vampire show that comes to their town, and if they’re lucky they’ll live to regret that. And that’s basically it, other than that this is kind of Laymon’s version of something like Stephen King’s “The Body.” It ain’t art, but you’d have a tough time finding a better-page turner... unless maybe you went to some other Laymon novel, since all of his stuff tends to be that way. That’s a good thing. A friend of mine who’s into horror said this was one of the scariest damn things she ever read, so intense she almost couldn't finish it. ****

As an added bonus, a cavalcade of semi-Halloweeny YouTube clips:

Some guy's homemade vid for ever-sinister Fuzztones damn-creepy song, "Charlotte's Remains" (the vid's not so much, but absorb the brilliant lyrics!)



The Fuzztones do Screamin' Lord Sutch's "Jack The Ripper":



Lord Sutch's orginal, which is damn disturbing for the time period:



The White Stripes vicious, amplifier-destroying version of same:



The Fuzztones are so damn sinister-vibed that even songs with non-scary topics somehow come across as nightmarish when you see 'em:



This isn't creepy, but it's a good cover of one of the world's seriously-malevolent, nasty-ass instrumentals, "Blue's Theme" from The Wild Angels:



In its original glory (how can ya not love this goddamn song?):



Classic Misfits, "Skulls":



And the brilliant Dax Rigg's disturbing deliberately-fucked-up interpretation of the same, followed by his own "Ouroboros":

10.10.2009

El Gigante Obscure Horror Movie Review Post!

Got a little carried away typing things up, so I've got a bunch of reviews for ya'll this time. I tried to focus on some more obscure titles, so most of these will probably be new to ya. I like to alert people to the presence of previously-unheard of things. Even if you don't ever see the film, it's fun to know that out there, somewhere, are films such as The Amazing Mr. No Legs. (I've never seen that, but was giddy with stupid glee the day I discovered that such a film exists). So, hopefully this'll turn ya on to something.

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Black Cat, The (B&W, 1966) Low-budget early gorefest inspired by Poe’s story. A pretentious bastard named Lou (who looks sort of like a weird morph between Steve Martin and George W. Bush) collects exotic pets and feeds them champagne. His wife gives the crazy bastard a black cat, which he names Pluto. After hanging out at a club and dancing (the word “ASSHOLE” should flash across the screen during the shot of him smoking and taking his jacket off), Lou comes home in a mean mood and just can’t get enough of being a jerk, so he cuts one of Pluto’s eyes out with a pocketknife. Sleeping deeper into insanity, he goes out drinking again... and everybody’s wearing an eyepatch. Frenzied, he comes home and lynches the cat, and electrocutes it. Later there’s a housefire and Lou’s left with no money and lots of insanity. He gets some therapy, acts cured, then comes home and puts an axe in his wife’s head and some other Poe-story stuff happens. Pretty gory and sleazy for its day. A still of the woman with the axe in her head was used as the cover for an Angry Samoans LP.



Blood Mania (C, 1970) Robert Vincent O’Neil, director of the 80’s exploitation classic Angel, practiced up on this cheap, sleazy psuedo-horror about a blackmail scheme gone too far. A young doctor is visited by his friend Larry, who wants $50,00 in two weeks or he’ll tell the cops about some illegal abortions he performed. To help him come up with the money a girlfriend of his kills her weak-hearted father by giving him amyl nitrate. But he leaves all his money to his other daughter. Oops! So the doctor -- in an overlong renaissance fair/beach/pool/fireside montage, seduces the rich sister, while the evil one paints crazy paintings. In the “shocking last 15 minutes” you get one rather mild bludgeoning murder and that’s it. Very slow going. Try to just watch the trailer instead, it’ll show you everything you’d want to see.



Clownhouse (C, 1989) There’s an old saying: “A clown is not so funny in the moonlight.” And here you have three of them. Three teenaged brothers live in an all-American town and the youngest (Casey has a bed-wetting problem... and an extreme clown-phobia. And a circus is coming to town. They go to it, and a fortune teller predicts doom and clowns named Cheezo, Bippo, and Dippo scare the hell out of Casey. Then some escaped lunatics sneak into the circus, kill the clowns, and take their places. Then, o’ course, they end up going after the brothers (who, by the way, are pretty good little actors -- the oldest one is great, he has this Rod Serling kinda thing going), after a bizarre murder where they try to make a balloon-animal out of a guy. To calm down, the kids watch Dementia 13 on TV! Until the clowns cut the power... and come into the dark house... and then it’s full-throttle from there on out, with imaginative and creepy bits. This movie works perfectly and has no gore at all, which proves the power of characterization and atmosphere. Despite being a well-done film, though, the director’s work is not recommended, because he - Victor Salva -- is a convicted child-molester, who raped the 12-year-old star of this film. So if you want to see this film (or Jeepers Creepers, Powder, or any other film made by this miserable shitcake, I’d say try to find some way to steal them somewhere so the dirtbag won’t make any money and will hopefully starve. Why anybody still agrees to work with Salva is beyond me, even though he does have talent.

Watch it free on YouTube starting here.




Deranged (C, 197?) Very, very obscure (it’s not even listed IMDB) nonsensical, plotless film in which a hippie girl named Nina sits around her apartment while boring ‘60’s news reports play and doorknobs rattle in split-screen. She calls her dad, who is annoyed with her for being a flake. By day (apparently) she does puppet shows for kids. There are weird projection effects with puppets and distorted babble, and she sees people in the hall and in her apartment, but they don’t do anything. She makes art with fragmented mirrors and cut-up photos, which is supposed to be schizo. People deliver food she didn’t order. She talks to a psychiatrist, talks to her landlord, calls her grandma on the phone, and sits around reading or petting her dog. There are some creepy dolls and a hand that comes from under the bed. Her grandma dies and she can’t go to the funeral. Then there’s more sitting around. Apparently she’s just schizo, but doesn’t actually do anything because of it. Some of it is slightly creepy just from the weirdness, but nothing scary (or non-scary, for that matter) happens. But I guess it’s supposed to be like Repulsion or something, just with no payoff. I’ve never found a record of this film anywhere, and the only place I ever saw it was on the late, lamented Caribbean Super Station on my satellite dish in the 80’s. Has nudity, weird visual effects, and seems to be shot on some kind of tape.

Devil Fish (C, 1984) aka Monster Shark, Red Ocean, Shark: Rosso Nell’oceano, Devouring Waves, Shark: Red On The Ocean. Really bad Jaws wannabe with a giant hybrid sea monster terrorizing the Italian part of Florida. It’s kind of a prehistoric shark with a dolphin’s intelligence and the tentacles of an octopus, and it’s pretty fake-looking, although the giant gagged-toothed mouth is kinda scary... when you can get a decent look at it amidst the too-close close-ups and bad editing. It’s the usual blah mayhem, with the only real complication stemming from the fact that monster can reproduce itself from torn-off shreds of flesh. What’s most unbelievable about the movie is the identity of director “John M. Old, Jr.” That’s Lamberto Bava, Mario’s son. I know he’s not quite in his dad’s league, but he’s better than this.

The MST3K version of this is online, starting here.

Dungeon of Harrow (C, 1962) aka Dungeons of Horror. No-budget gothic horror, surreal in its cheapness. After a storm, a certain Mr. Fallon is shipwrecked with the captain of the ship (which, from the looks of it, was in a bottle on someone’s mantel prior to its screen debut) on some beach, presumably near San Antonio. They find themselves the guests of the Count Lorente De Sade, who’s been isolated with his crazy family a little too long. He’s visited by evil spirits of madness... and he’s right at home with his family and servants, a big Black man named Mantis, a girl whose tongue was cut out by pirates, and the Countess, who is insane, plagued with leprosy, and still wears her wedding gown even after rotting away for twenty years in a dark dungeon. The crazed Count tortures people on racks as Fallon plans his escape... but the best-laid plans don’t always work out, especially in weird movies that take themselves seriously and are working hard to give you the creeps, even if that’s not in the budget. This is so low-budget I’m amazed that it’s in color, and it plays like a missing story Edgar Allan Poe could have written, with a morbid fever-dream atmosphere, mixed with unintentionally-silly pretentiousness. Very strange and unique, and the twist ending will leave you with a chill.



This is a weird clip that has other stuff mixed in with the Dungeon of Harrow footage:



Enter the Devil (C, 1972) aka Disciples of Death. A really bad country song about “everything’s turning green” plays while a rock-hunter has a blow-out while driving through a Texas desert. Some robed torch-bearing devil-cultists sacrifice him in a cave, using a cross-shaped stone knife (a picture of a cultist holding it up appeared in an old issue of Famous Monsters, and that’s all that keeps this movie from being a complete obscurity). A nonconformist (he has a mustache) deputy is sent out to find this missing person, but when he finds the body the sheriff (worried about being re-elected) tries to cover up that it was a murder. Soon deer hunters are being jumped by the cultists and thrown into rattlesnake pits. Turns out they’re not really devil-worshipers, they’re penitentes, reenacting the crucifixion of Christ, but it’s just as bad as devil-worship (what with barbed-wiring people to poles and burning ‘em alive, which didn’t happen to Jesus in the Bible I’ve got). Our rough’n’tumble deputy tries to put a stop to it, but doesn’t get too far until a lady researcher and a rancher give him some help. Tepid horror/action flick that’s almost completely unseen these days... and that’s no major loss, really. Still, it was a lot more fun to be up at 3 a.m. catching something like this instead of A League of Their Own or Matlock re-runs.

Flesh Feast (C, 1970) aka Time Is Terror. Veronica Lake was sickly (liver problems, I think - it wrecked her teeth) and working as a waitress in Miami when she returned from over 20 years of obscurity to star in and co-produce this cheap, bad gore flick, in which she plays a mad doctor who uses maggots to revitalize the aged. She raises maggots from sawed-up cadavers and uses them to eat old skin tissue; there are lots of close-ups of larvae, and much screen-time is spent watching Veronica move meat around in trays, all in preparation for the climax, where she uses them to torture Hitler to death! It’s all pretty dumb and poorly made, with boring stretches aplenty, but ya still gotta love it. The “bombshell” had long since rubbed off Veronica, but she was a good sport about the whole thing, appearing when she wasn’t at her best and doing it with enthusiasm, and even speaking of the film semi-fondly in her autobiography, saying it was just supposed to be a fun little scare-flick, and talking about a blooper that cracked everyone up, where an actor flubbed a line and said, “Oh, shit on a bicycle!” Some of the dialogue that made it into the film is nearly as bad, such as the one girl’s immortal line, “I don’t understand why you got mixed up in all these things. I don’t even know what things I’m talking about, but I wish I did.” The acting’s bad, the filmwork is poor, and the gore is silly, but it’s endearing somehow.



This is the end of the movie, so you can see the Hitler part ("I had nothing to do with it! It was Eichmann, und Goebbels!"):



Ghastly Ones, The (C, 1968) aka Blood Rites. Incredibly cheap, completely talentless gore film by the Staten Island director who makes Ed Wood look like Fellini: Andy Milligan. Several couples visit their ancestral home for the reading of a will. To make the film “timeless” so it could be released over and over again, Milligan made it a period piece. Even with the costumes it looks just like 1968. The script is so muddled and the sound so crappy that there’s not much sense in even trying to deal with the “plot,” so here are the gory highlights: a guy gets stabbed in the eye and has what appears to be an onion torn out of his head (the director decided to use a Hostess Snowball as an eyeball, even though it’s about 3 times as big), a rubber hand (apparently a baby doll’s) is amputated, and some rubber legs are hacked up (which actually does look fairly gross). A deformed lunatic picks up a live rabbit and starts eating it, a guy gets pitchforked, disemboweled, and attacked with a saw (looks like modeling clay was used for this effect), plus there’s a meat-cleaver-to-the-head that you can barely see in the darkness. Any effectiveness is caused by the snuff-film quality of the camerawork, which is dark and jerky. Amateurish in every possible way, but, oddly enough, if was remade by Milligan (as Legacy of Horror in 1973) and ripped off by Legacy of Blood in 1973. Curse of the Living Corpse was probably a source of inspiration for all of ‘em -- some of the music from it is even used here. For some reason, this film really disturbed Stephen King, who railed against it in Danse Macabre (which, frankly, made me even more eager to see it).

"The Stomach-Shocker of your life!"


Graveyard of Horror (C, 1971) aka Necrophagus, Butcher of Binbrook, Necromaniac, El Descuartizador de Binbrook. Weird Spanish horror in which a man travels home to see his new baby, only to learn that his wife died in childbirth and his scientist brother has gone missing. Suspecting something's being hidden from him, he digs up some graves in the cemetery and finds them empty. So he can't reveal what he's found out, a couple of robed cultists in monster masks attack him, and a lizard man apparently kills him. His in-laws sneak around, trying to maintain the monster, which stays buried in a mount of earth into which IV drips (coming from what look like catsup and mustard bottles) are inserted. The monster (which is unfortunately goofy-lookin', like a refugee from a Larry Buchanan film) also apparently eats corpses, and the cemetery's ogre-ish caretaker sells bones as anatomical specimens... which one guy sits around blowing cigarette smoke into. The monster is the missing brother, whose experiments in transformation have gone too far and produced nasty side effects. Pretty clumsy, with long stretches of scary-nonsense footage that may just be there to pad out the running time, and unfortunately it doesn’t live up to the cool title or corpse-eating-monster potential. There’s hardly any blood, and most of the few drops that are there drip from a suitcase in which an old woman is absurdly carrying a dead pig. The oddball dialogue and strange behavior of all the characters make this a pretty strange film.



Hallucinations of a Deranged Mind (C, 1978) aka Delirios de um Anormal. Kind of a “greatest hits” package from extremely twisted Brazillian director Jose Mojica Marins, making a new story from footage (much of it banned) from his other films... which means you’re going to be bombarded with imagery that would make Ken Russell, David Lynch, John Waters, and Alejandro Jodorowsky jump back and scream “DAMN, what’s WRONG with this guy?!” Suffering through demented black mass orgies of insane freaks and sick violence, a man becomes possessed by Coffin Joe’s megalomania. He sees people eaten by spiders, staircases made of human bodies, frantic wind-up toys, knick-knack devils, floggings, and other things that look like outtakes from an asylum inmate’s worst off-the-meds nightmares. He thinks Coffin Joe wants his wife, so, after some psychoanalysis, they turn to director Marins himself for help... but only after more weirdness (some of it black and white, and some some of it color -- often it looks like something from a Bava film) with necrophilia, spider women, masks, walls of bodies, weird puppets, lab equipment, and Coffin Joe presiding over all sorts of debauchery. There’s not a lot of plot, but you won’t find a weirder film (although Lucio Fulci did something similar with Cat In The Brain), and, like all of Marin’s sick fantasies, it comes across as a disturbing personal statement by an egomaniac filled with personal demons. A must if you like soundtracks full of screaming and crazy laughing, or want to see how close a film can come to a Bosch painting. Gets overwhelming (and, to be honest, a bit dull) after a while, just because of the oversaturation of freakness.

The whole thing's online starting here.



House of Dreams (B&W, 1963) A writer named Lee (director/writer/producer Robert Berry, who's a dead ringer for Jurgen Prochnow in Das Boot) is suffering from a bad case of writer's block and has eerie nightmares about a derelict house in the neighborhood. In the dreams he wanders through the crumbling house and sees things like his wife hanging from a rope, a corpse floating in a well, floors that fall away under him, and himself trying to climb a wall. His distraction with his problems (including a friend who dies in a car accident) leaves his wife feeling neglected and tempts her to return to the drinking problem she's been struggling with. A sinister fate awaits them both. Incredibly low-budget and crude experimental film by one-man-show Berry, this film has an atmosphere that has invited comparisons to Carnival of Souls and Eraserhead (and I'd throw in Daughter of Horror, too). It's got leaden pacing, awkward dialog, stiff acting, and the framing sometimes makes you wonder if the cinematographer was a blind man, and yet it's got some powerful creepiness going on, thanks in no small part to location shooting in that rotten old house. Worth a look for those with patient dispositions, as well as nerves of steel, since part of the film's method of keeping you on edge is to assault you with endless sonic attacks of annoying repetitive noises, like Chinese water torture. The discordant organ score will double-down on the cinematography and make you think it was scored by a deaf man. Available from Sinister Cinema.



Image, The (C, 1975) aka The Punishment of Anne, The Mistress And The Slave, L’image. Radley Metzger SM porn that has a strange atmosphere to it; it’s so weird and dark that I look at it as a psychological horror film more than porno, because it disturbs as much as it titillates, and it’s extremely well-shot and classily directed, like a gothic horror film. A writer named Jean runs into his old friend Claire and finds that she has a pretty model friend named Anne, who is strangely subservient to her. Jean learns that Anne is Claire’s slave and that Claire wants to include him in the relationship, so Anne gets whipped, humiliated in public, and performs oral sex on Jean (and a shopgirl), lets them watch her pee, gets condiments stuffed in her vagina in a cafe (she informs the waiter, “I’m full”), pricked with needles, and enjoys all of it... even though she seems rather insane for doing so, often staring like a lunatic. It’s possible Jean and Claire are taking advantage of her mental illness, rather than just engaging in sex games. I saw it in a cut-for-cable version and thought it was creepy; the DVD with the hardcore sex scenes is even spookier. I’m not sure it’s really supposed to turn you on, despite the high erotic content, because menacing music plays during all the sex. Definitely not for everyone, but fans of erotic horror may want to try it out for its dark messages about dependence and who’s really in control in a power-exchange relationship; the master or the slave?

Invasion of the Blood Farmers (C, 1972) This thing’s so amazingly awful you’d almost think it was a spoof, but fortunately they seem to have been serious. Spoofs suck, but bad movies rule! A group of “sangroid Druids” who dress like members of a jug band go around abducting people and hooking them up to milking machines to drain their blood, which they need to revive their queen. This usually involves a tube stuck conveniently under someone’s shirt while someone sucks a cherry Slurpee through it, while amplified fish-tank noises are played. The leader of the Druids is an effeminate cretin who is -- pointedly -- named “Creton.” Meanwhile, a local scientist is trying to deal with a self-replicating blood sample that threatens to flood his lab. Most of the Druids have fake-looking grey in their hair. Their first victim is a guy named Jim Carrey. Repeatedly hearing people talk about how Jim Carrey died so horribly does add a certain charm to the proceedings, I gotta admit. The movie has a strange colorfulness to it, kind of like an old Hershel Gordon Lewis film. The acting’s about H. G. Lewis caliber, too. Too bad the gore’s not -- the film’s only PG-rated. Tons o’ fun for bad movie fans, but ten miles of bad road for anyone else. Brought to you by some of the same “talent” that gave us Shriek of the Mutilated.

Jaws of Satan (C, 1981) aka King Cobra. The standout point of this horror cheapie is that it’s Christina Applegate’s movie debut, at age 10. Her mother, Nancy Priddy, is in it, too. A huge king cobra escapes from a train and starts biting people. A pathologist gets alarmed by the appearance of the bites and calls in a snake expert, but one of the other pathologists tries to cover things up because a rich guy in town is opening a dog track and won’t want snake-scares running people off. Meanwhile, a priest is being warned by a witch that a great evil is after him. Pretty soon snakes are showing up all over the place, led by the king cobra, which turns out to not just be any ol’ snake -- it’s Satan himself! He must be -- he gets a rattler to bite 10-year old Christina, and you’d have to be the evilest creature in the universe to do that. The preist has to go into a cave to try to exorcise the demonic serpent. Yep, it’s damned ridiculous, but at least it’s a different approach than all those other snake movies, and it’s entertaining enough in a bad-movie way.

Whole movie's online starting here.



Maze, The (B&W, 1953) Odd horror in which a woman’s fiancĂ© breaks off their engagement with no explanation, so she goes to visit him at his old mansion, where there have been strange killings, and something mysterious moving around a big maze on the property. She sees something happening out there one night (after braving a stairway populated by bad rubber bats that sound like whelping puppies). She’s a perfectly silly dolt and invites a bunch of silly friends over to “cheer up” her fiance, but they bore and annoy him and he insists they all go to bed and lock their doors. The silly woman decides to meddle some more, despite the weird footprints and seaweed in the halls and odd splashing noises from the pond in the maze, and she discovers... a giant frog! It’s both hilarious-looking and strangely grotesque. It crawls/hops through the house, making trumpeting elephant noises, and then jumps out of a tower window. Turns out he was actually a 200-year-old man named Sir Roger, who was deformed by being stuck at the frog-stage of human development! Is that ridiculous enough for you? I hope so, because I don’t think we’re likely to find anything to outdo it. Pretty frickin’ funny, even though the rest of the film (despite being dull) is great-looking and classy. Originally in 3D.



Or, if you have 3D glasses:



Monster Maker, The (B&W, 1944) aka The Devil’s Apprentice. Pretty sick (by 40’s standards, anyway) PRC horror in which a mad doctor (J. Carrol Naish) gets a serious crush on a pianist’s daughter, because she looks like his dead wife. The doctor gives the girl the creeps, though, so her dad tells the doc to get lost. In revenge, he injects dad with acromegaly, a disease that causes grotesque, deforming swelling of the extremities. Rondo Hatton, who wasn’t in this film but who starred in several others around that time, actually had this condition. The pianist grows deformed... and angry. He wants to kill the doctor for infecting him, so the doctor has to chain him up, and then tries to force a marriage on his unwilling daughter. There’s also a rampaging gorilla and some powers of hypnotism to keep things moving. One of the better PRC films, with more bad taste than was usual in the timid 40’s. Glen Strange (who was weird-looking in his own right; he was Sam The Bartender on Gunsmoke) has a small role as Naish’s assistant.

Whole thing online starting here.



Moonchild (C, 1974) Odd, experimental student film made as a film-school thesis project by Alan Gadney. It was good enough to get a theatrical release and end up on late night TV once in a while, back in the good ol’ days when there was still a market for odd films on TV. A sketch artist in the 1920’s meets up with John Carradine, who philosophizes to him about an old mission he’s painting, while a strange one-eyed homunculus and ninja-looking monks watch. The artist thinks he sees gold in a fountain and is overwhelmed by the architecture, so he decides to stay. Victor Buono is a sinister priestly figure who thinks the artist may be evil (“You don’t look blessed to me, boy!”) The artist has flashbacks from knowing these people in past lives. Everyone he meets is a sage, full of mystical philosophy (“insane riddles”). Everyone’s goal seems to be the search for perfection. He keeps seeing weird, creepy visions (possibly flashbacks) of kings and popes and devilish monks chasing him. Victor Buono and the mission’s proprietor (who Buono says is a demon) fight over the artist. For dinner they tear apart a bloody skinned horse head, and the homunculus serves as an extremely sloppy waiter while they talk about what death is. Then there’s a creepy montage of robed figures running down smoky stone corridors as past and present intermingle, as do reality and nightmare. Gradually he understands that the deja vu he’s feeling is because this all really has happened before. He remembers killing and being killed, bizarre rituals, and some kind of inquisition, and finally the movie is one big inquisition montage with odd camera angles and distortion effects, with the earlier incarnation of the artist trying to escape with his girlfriend while monks chant “The bells of mankind won’t save you, let alone love” over and over. Turns out that he goes through the same thing every time in different incarnations, because he doesn’t achieve perfection the first time. This is an extremely weird, pretentious, nearly-plotless experiment that is deliberately obscure in meaning -- kind of like if the first chapter of The Sound and the Fury was a film. There’s some gore and plenty of creepy scenes, and I can imagine few experiences stranger than turning on the late show and finding this without having some foreknowledge of what you were about to get into. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and this isn’t necessarily a bad film, just bogged down in the cerebral, and a bit dull and goofy. Director Gadney apparently didn’t put the degree this earned him to use, ‘cuz unless he changed his name, I don’t think he ever made another film. Too bad, because while this isn’t a masterpiece, it is ambitious and does show promise.

Night Nurse (C, 1978) Made-for-Australian-TV suspense film that's like an adaptation of some "nurse" romance novel. A young nurse named Prudence takes a job caring for an old, wheelchair-bound opera star called The Diva. The Diva's housekeeper, Clara, is extremely unfriendly (even going so far as to pour gelatin into Prudence's goldfish bowl), but Prudence refuses to leave because she thinks Clara may be slowly poisoning the Diva to inherit her money. Plus, Prudence's boyfriend is a starving artist who wants to do a portrait of the Diva, since nobody's seen her in decades. As things go on, Prudence discovers that the Diva isn't as innocent as she looks, and in the last ten minutes the gothic melodrama finally makes up its mind to be a horror movie. Pretty engaging even if it's very cheaply made and mild, and has an overuse of corny sting music that sounds like a piano practice exercise. Anytime anything happens in the movie, you hear "tingaling-te-ting!", like it's a sinister-in-it's-implications event. "Prudence, did the dog do that?" Tingaling-te-ting! Available from Sinister Cinema.

Satan’s School For Girls (C, 1973) When Pamela Franklin’s sister is found hanging, she doesn’t accept it as a suicide and enrolls in her sister’s private college to find the truth. Two of her classmates at Salem Academy are Charlie’s Angels -- Kate Jackson and Cheryl Ladd. More girls end up as “suicides” and the co-eds start suspecting that something weird is going on, possibly involving a mean-spirited teacher who likes to “break the wills” of lab rats so they can be controlled. But it’s actually a Satanic witchcraft coven that’s running the school, and needs sacrifices. Interesting, semi-creepy, but not too surprising old made-for-TV movie, the kind they still try to make but aren’t able. It’s kind of like a TV version of Suspiria, or maybe an update of Horror Hotel.

Watch the whole thing online starting here.




Strangeness, The (C, 1985) Years after the Golden Spike Mine closed because miners got too scared to go into it anymore, a group is sent in to see if there’s still enough gold ore around to make it worth re-opening. As they wander around the dark tunnels they become prey to weird, tentacled creatures that kinda resemble the female reproductive tract. The monsters can eat people outright, or can dissolve them with acid, and our explorers get trapped in the caves with them. Very low-budget and not completely effective due to too much time spent fumbling around in the dark, but the monsters (or maybe just monster - you can’t really tell) are unique. They’re done by stop-motion animation that leaves a little to be desired, but it’s still better than CGI, and even though the cave walls are homemade and they don’t seem to have really had a huge stretch of tunnel space, it doesn’t look bad for what it is. A similar movie, The Boogens, came out around the same time.

Track of the Vampire (B&W, 1966) aka Blood Bath. Jack Hill was making a crazed-artist horror film for Roger Corman, who fired him and passed the footage he’d shot to someone else, along with a Yugoslavian vampire film. More footage was shot (or borrowed) and it was all edited together into this weird artistic flick. A guy named Antonio Sordi paints disturbing pictures of murdered women and other morbid-themed things. He meets a pretty ballerina and takes her back to his studio, which is in a bell-tower his family has maintained since the 11th century (which ain’t possible since it’s in California, but anyway...). His ancestor was charged with sorcery for painting brilliant, creepy things, and Sordi is haunted by an evil woman. Women seem to flock to this guy, even though he looks like Liberace. Too bad, since he ends up boiling them all in wax as a way of posing them for his “dead red nudes” paintings. He apparently turns into a vampire some of the time, too, and chases several women, then gets chased around himself. It’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on at any given time, but there’s still some weird, creepy, artsy moments. The disjointed, unexplained fracture of the narrative structure makes this play like some kind of nightmare, and you’ll be best off approaching it as such. Unjustifiably hard to find on video; a pretty bad, edited copy was released on a really cheap double-feature DVD with an edited version of Nightmare Castle, and you can still find some of those from used dealers, but somebody really needs to release a complete, cleaned-up version of this one.

10.03.2009

Pleasant dreams.

The weekend's going by far too quickly, but it's been a good one so far. Got to see one of my all-time favorite bands (with a new cover of Maiden's "The Trooper," hell fuck yeah!) Friday night and hang out with some of my absolute favorite humans, and that always rules mightily. To top it off, driving home from that I must have seen 30 deer; whole herds of them were running through the neighborhood at 3:30 in the morning, like grey ghosts with glowing eyes. Freak-ay, but kinda cool, especially since I didn’t hit any of ‘em.

Plus, I found this very happy-making photo:



Goin' to hell for that, maybe, but totally worth it!

If that doesn't charm you, maybe this will:



And if you'd been hoping for a music post, here's Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road" just 'cuz I love the damn song even though country's far removed from my usual thing:



Anyway, it's October. Hallowed be thy ween! My existence centers around horror in all forms (except the actual killing of hitchhikers 'n' stuff, but, of course, if someone were into killing hitchhikers, that's exactly the kind of thing they'd say), so I think my blog posts all month should do the same thing. It's the reason for the season

"Run and hide when I'm on the streets
Your fears and your tears, I'll taunt you in your sleep
I just wanna give you the creeps
The creeps, the creeps, the creeps"

-Social Distortion

To kick the month off with maybe my weirdest (and longest) post ever, let's talk about... NIGHTMARES.

In most cases, I actually like nightmares. I'm fond of the dark, locked rooms of my subconscious, and in the past I've done some rather odd things to encourage them (short of drug use, but seeking bad dreams is the only thing that's ever even tempted me to experiment). I've slept with weird music or movies blaring (this actually works pretty well). I heard eating bananas before bed would give you weird dreams, so I tried that. I haven't yet encountered Welsh rarebit but since a vaguely creepy episode of Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C centered around the weird dreams that stuff's supposed to cause, I should probably look up the recipe. Cheese in general is supposed to be dreamogenic, something about the way it acts on neurotransmitters.

The reason I like 'em is because I write horror fiction (or, lately, just say I do, lazy bastid) and nightmares provide me lots of free material, often scarier than anything my conscious mind can hhhhhork up. I keep a notebook by the bed to write down the really good ones, anything with some particularly creepy imagery, effect, or an actual plot that I could use.

George Carlin once said something along the lines of "There's nothing more boring than listening to someone describe a dream." Either I'm weird or George was (or, hey, why not both?) but I actually like listening to other people's nightmares, just to see if they dream the same kind of stuff I do (so feel free to put ya'll's in the comments section). So far, as entertaining as hearing those dreams is, I've determined that my nightmares are actually more morbid and potent than the average. If the average nightmare was Cinemax porn, mine tend toward triple-X. Maybe that's because I'm desensitized to horror from constantly dwelling on horror books and movies and listening to so much creepy music, so my subconscious has to up the ante and break out the black-label stuff from the cellar. Kinda like, "So, you fell asleep watching Suspiria, eh? Let's see if you can handle THIS, then, tough guy!" Or maybe I just have a really twisted psyche, I dunno... I’ll leave that for the amateur Freuds out there to decide, because I’m okay with it. If I've got anything really dangerous squishing in there I figured it would've manifested itself by now.

Anyway, if you're from George's school of thought, this is gonna be one borin'-ass post for you, because I'm going to recount a bunch of my nightmares for ya. Ideally they'll work like a bunch of really short, surreal, scary short stories, but we'll see what kind of weight I can swing with my current state of writer's block. I plan on making short stories or novels based on them someday, maybe. A couple of novels I wrote (Deadhouse and Steve’s Trailer) were based on dreams I had, and so is the Daisyland novel I’m supposed to be working on, and I think I’ve described those already in previous posts so I’ll leave them out. It'll be a long post but maybe you can print it out and keep it in the bathroom or somethin', maybe it won't be too dull if read in installments.

First, some childhood nightmares I remember. I used to get reoccurring dreams a lot. I don't get 'em as much now that I'm older, and I have a whackjob theory for that: I think your subconscious is a lot like a big black ocean full of stuff, and nightmares are derelict ships adrift on that ocean, which you occasionally bump into in your sleep. When you're a kid, you haven't experienced as much stuff so your "ocean" is smaller, so you tend to bump into the same ships more often. Eh, it makes sense to me.

Here's a few I had over and over:

The Kid In The Paper Crown. When I was around 2 or 3 I used to get repeated dreams that I'd wake up in the middle of the night, walk down the hall into the kitchen, and find this mean little kid sitting at the kitchen table. He was wearing a crown he'd made out of newspapers (it was more like an Indian chief headdress, really, kind of a headband with long streamers of paper hanging down around it), and the whole kitchen was lit up with this strange orange light. The kid said he was the devil and this was his birthday party and I was the only guest he wanted. I don't remember what else he did, but it was scary stuff. Come to think of it, maybe this wasn't actually a dream, and that's why I think things like that "YMCA" picture are so funny. Hail Satan.

The Lightning Man. I used to dream that I got up, just before dawn when the light's starting to come in all greyish, and would go out to the kitchen, look out the window. Lightning would flash and there'd be a guy right outside the window, looking back at me, and he was made of lightning. I'm not sure, but I think I may have gotten this dream from seeing an episode of a TV show called Ghost Story that always haunted me. For years I didn't know what show it was or if it was a movie or what, and I looked everywhere, but I finally tripped across it on the Nostalgia Channel about 20 years ago. Totally freaked me out. Anyway, it was an episode called "The Concrete Captain" and now it's even on YouTube. The "lightning man" looked a lot like the ghost at the end of this episode, and I would have been about 5 when that episode aired, which would be about right.



Half-People. I had several dreams about people cut in half, and for some reason they were centered around a pear tree in my back yard. One I barely remember at all, but it was something about a guy who had all of his skin ripped off and he was chopped in half at the waist, and I remember his hand dripping blood into a box of Bugles (I had a box beside my bed, which made it even more disconcerting; I didn't eat them for about a year after that dream). People dressed the upper half of his torso in all kinds of golden mummy regalia and buried it under that pear tree with great ceremony. Then, on another occasion, I dreamed that it was stormy out, and some old lady was hanging from the neck from that pear tree... or at least the upper half of her body was, since she'd been cut in half at the waist. She was wearing a white nightgown that was dripping with black blood where the waist had been severed. When I walked past her, her head would turn to look at me and she'd gibber idiot "glab-glab-glabble!" stuff at me and her face would wobble around on her skull. Keep in mind I was dreaming this sick shit at around 5 years old. To this day, I'd be scared to go digging under that pear tree. There might be something down there.

"White" Dreams. What I call "white dreams" didn't have any particular story, it was just an effect that would sometimes appear in just about any dream I was having (even happy ones). They were the absolute most horrifying things I ever dreamed. I can't explain what happened in those dreams, but I always got maybe 30 seconds of foreboding, knowing the dream was going to turn "white" and I'd desperately try to make myself wake up before it did. Occasionally I managed to do that and was always too scared to sleep the rest of the night since it might come back. When a dream went "white," whoever (or whatever - I remember once it happened in a dream about the Easter Bunny) I was with in the dream would freeze and start staring balefully at me, and they'd suddenly retreat into the distance, like a camera zoom-lens pull-back. Then they'd start rushing forward at me, right on an eye-level, always coming forward but never actually reaching me, and then I'd feel this huge, cold pressure like being crushed in a press, and everything would go very white and hellishly smooth, and it caused absolute terror and actual pain until I woke up. I was really young when I had these dreams, and I don't know if I was flirting with sleep apnea or what (I was a skinny kid so I wouldn't be predisposed to it, but who knows?) and the dreams were a manifestation of some physical attack or what, but I used to get those "white dreams" every couple of months and they were scarier than anything. I remember years after I stopped them, Johnny Carson (who liked to talk about nightmares) mentioning dreams he had of a white lion running at him on eye-level but never reaching him, and I wondered if he was having "white dreams" too.

Now, onto "adulthood," or as close as I get to it, narf narf. I'll start with Morpheus's most recent gift (just a few days ago - thanks, Mo, I think I can use that one!) and then work my way back.

The Running Girls. (10/1/09) I was walking home from some event I don't remember with some people I knew ("dream friends" - people you seem to know in the dream but they're not anyone you recognize from real life). As we came out of the building, the street was full of women and girls, and they were all running or walking very quickly. I asked a guy what was going on, and he said that some kind of Jack the Ripper killer was loose and all these women were trying to get safely home before he could catch them. I told the girl I was with (we'll call her "Jill" for clarity purposes) that I'd walk her home to make sure she was safe, and she said thanks and started running anyway. A couple of hundred yards down the street, we saw a small crowd around a girl lying in the street, half-naked and bloody, and I thought, "Uh-oh, Ripper victim." Jill rushes over to the girl to see if she can help, and the girl's not dead; she's got a little pocketknife and she's slowly stabbing herself with it. Jill tells me that she can't get the knife away from the girl, but I should go try. Needless to say, I don't want to get anywhere near a crazy, bloody person with a knife. A girl steps out of the crowd and manages to twist the knife out of the girl's hand. Then Jill says, "Wait a minute, I've got a knife!" and she runs over to the crazy girl and puts it on the ground in front of her, while I yell "What the hell are you doing? Don't give her another knife!" The crazy girl picks up Jill's knife and starts stabbing again, and meanwhile the other girl's started stabbing herself, too. Then the two girls start slowly stabbing each other. It's almost like little girls putting makeup on each other. The crowd are suddenly in chairs, watching, like an audience, and nobody's trying to stop it. At this point I have no doubt that everyone has gone crazy, and maybe there's not a "Jack the Ripper" loose, but the whole world's gone insane, maybe from some virus outbreak or chemical leak. The two girls, streaming blood, decide to turn on the audience, and start walking around, sticking people with their pocketknives. They both focus on me as the only sane guy left, and start smiling, their eyes wide and dialated, gleaming black They're trying to climb through the crowd after me, and I grab a chair to fend them off with and try to escape. Then I woke up.

Embryonicus Necrovivicus. (date lost) This dream unfolded like watching a film, and I dreamed it while I was up late watching the very-creepy movie The Innocents (based on Henry James' "Turn of the Screw") - dialogue and screams from the soundtrack of the film worked their way into my sleep and my subconscious supplied the visuals and storyline. I later tried to turn this into a short story but never completed it.
A woman driving home in the rain pulls over because of abdominal pain. While the rain pounds down, she has a miscarriage in her car. She didn't know she was even pregnant and doesn't want anyone to know about it, so she opens the car door and drops the bloody fetus in the mud, cleans herself up with rainwater, and drives home. Then, for weeks afterward, she looks at the side of the road where she threw the fetus, and it's bloating, larger and larger each day. Flies are all over it, and soon it's the size of a watermelon, and then even bigger, just this dirty, bloodstained pink thing curled up on the roadside. One night the woman's daughter runs into her bedroom and shakes her awake, screaming, "My sister is coming home! My sister's coming home!" The next night it rained very heavily, and the woman woke up and something was stumbling in her room, dripping and snuffling and wheezing, and she could hear flies buzzing, then a cough and a baby-like cry.

Farmhouse of Blindness. (10/16/08) I was exploring an abandoned farmhouse with some "dream friends." The place had a reputation of being haunted, and it was really creepy and decrepit. Suddenly, sheets of corrugated metal slammed down over all the windows and locked in place, and the doors were bolted tight so we couldn’t get out, and the house was left in almost complete darkness. Then these scrawny, psychotic, inbred albinos came out of a secret room and started hunting us in the dark. They were all blind, so they were used to the dark and knew the layout of the house, and had a huge advantage over us. They’d hide in the dark, jump out and slash us with knives or hit us with sticks, then scurry away laughing and yelling rape and torture threats, in no hurry to kill us because we were a source of sadistic amusement. They also had traps, like big tangles of barbed wire, that they lay around the house to chase us into. (I was sure I could turn this into a novel, but since then Brian Keene came out with a novel called Urban Gothic that’s pretty similar, other than the blindness factor. Damnit.)

The Little Girl and her Crazy Grandfather. (5-2-08) I was living in an apartment and this little 10-year-old girl (we’ll call her Jill, again) kept knocking on my door to borrow food and stuff. Jill said that her parents were dead and she lived with her grandfather down the street. I’d met him once and knew he was very nice but a bit senile, so this little girl was having to take care of herself to an extent, so I’d give her whatever food she wanted, just to make sure she was okay. One day she told me that her grandfather was scaring her because he kept talking about an operation he needed, but he didn’t trust doctors. He kept talking about kidnapping some local children and doing the surgery on them and making Jill help him, so she could learn how to do the surgery on him while he was asleep. Jill said she’d always thought he was just talking, but lately he’d been dwelling on the idea so much that she worried that he was going to act on it and hurt someone. She said he’d go homicidaly mad and kill her if he knew she’d told anybody, but wanted me to think of some way to get him help. I was still pondering this horrific situation when I woke up.

Necro-Girlfriend. (10-1-06) I was sleeping with a girl who had her face nuzzled into my neck, and she started sleepily talking about how she died in a car wreck years before. I told her that was very funny and she was doing a good job of trying to creep me out. She said she didn’t know what I was talking about and started (in a drowsy monotone) describing how the metal mangled her and how she’d bled like it'd never stop, and I told her that this was getting too morbid and told her to stop it... and she grabbed me really tight, pinning my arms, and leaned up and there was just enough light that I could see that her face was grey and rotten and gnawed by beetles. I couldn’t break free of her and she started trying to kiss me, and I woke up.

Radiator. (date lost) I was walking my dog and some crazy guy broken down on the side of the road started chasing us because he wanted to fill his radiator with my dog’s blood.

The Magician. (12/25/02 - Christmas Eve and I get nightmares!) I was watching TV and the signal started to fade, and kept getting interrupted by barely-seen ghosting of a magician in a cape and top hat doing lame, corny tricks (interlocking rings, multiplying billiards, cards, rabbit from a hat, etc.) I could just see little bits of it before it’d fade out again, but I recognized the magician from a dream I’d had about him, where he was a really bad dentist. I turned off the TV and went to visit a friend in the hospital who was there to have surgery, and he was complaining about the TV reception in the hospital, and said some really awful old magic show kept ghosting over the picture...

Vardamin. (date lost) In my grandmother’s backyard was a huge, ruined antebellum mansion that had, at one point, had a big dome, around which was the name of the house: VARDAMIN. Somewhere in the rubble of the house I heard a cat crying and I thought it was trapped, so I climbed over the rusty chain-link fence that walled off the condemned property and went looking for the cat... only to find out the noise was actually being made by some psychotic surgeon and his crazy assistant who were trying to lure people in to practice organ-replacement surgery on them, seeing if decayed corpse organs could be made healthy again by putting them into living bodies. I woke up before they could get too far with that. (Turns out there’s actually a town in Mississippi called “Vardaman.” I don’t think I want to visit it).

Where The Fuck Am I? (12/8/01) I was walking through my house and looked out the window... and saw my house across the street. Then a guy I knew in high school showed up and was pounding on the door, telling me I had to let him in and he was crying because he wanted to tell someone how he died. (to my knowledge, this guy’s not actually dead)

Up The Stairs Where The Windows Are Painted Black. (9/26/02 - I turned this one into a short story of the same name). I was driving through an old, mostly-abandoned neighborhood and it looked like a storm was building. I drove past this huge (like 5-6 story) old house that was on the verge of falling down, and noticed that the roof was on fire. The yard was full of grubby white-trash kids and dogs and cats. I stop the car and run out, yelling that their house is on fire and ask if anybody’s inside. They say there are more kids, an old lady, and a bunch more dogs and cats in there. I tell one girl to go to a neighbor’s house and call the fire department, and she doesn’t seem very interested, so I yell at her and she finally wanders off to do it (I hope). I go into the house and these kids must be squatting there, because the place is a wreck. It’s rotting and filthy and there are old broken toys, discarded furniture, dirty clothes, etc. piled all over the place. I can barely climb the stairs because so much garbage is piled on them, and all along I’m telling any kid I run into to grab up some dogs and cats and get out of the house because it’s about to burn down. Upstairs I find an old housekeeper with a foreign accent, and I tell her to round up the kids and get out. She starts gathering up handfuls of knick-knacks and junk (including a crossword puzzle she was working on) and I can’t make her understand how serious the situation is. There’s a little girl who seems saner than the old lady, so I ask her to help me get everyone out. She says everybody’s out except a baby that’s upstairs, but that “it’d be better to let that baby burn, anyway.” I tell her we can’t let a baby burn, but she says it’s really deformed and it “does horrible things” and “gets inside your mind and makes you sick.” They refuse to help me get the baby, so I send them outside and go up the stairs after it. Things are getting really smoky up there, and all the windows have been spraypainted so hardly any light gets in. I find the baby in this dark, dingy, rank-smelling nursery and grab it up and run downstairs with it; it’s so dark and smoky that I can’t even see what the kid looks like. The house is burning enough that pieces of it are falling into the yard and setting surrounding trees on fire now. I get away from the house and set the baby on the ground, then pull the blanket off of it. It has a weird, blocky head, kind of like an Easter Island figure, and it sits up, arranges itself into a “Buddha”-like position, and starts singing this weird, high-pitched wail. When the kids hear the song, they start laughing and all run back into the house to play hide and seek from me while it burns down. They won't come out no matter how much I yell at them. The baby sits there serenely basking in the light of the fire.

Teeth Marks. (7-26-01) A neighbor called me to go check on something in their house because they were getting weird messages from their alarm system, and told me where to find a key to get in. I went over there and went inside, and it’s empty, but I notice that there’s a weird little girl outside on their patio. She’s got curly, blondish hair, big crazy black eyes, and looks retarded. I peek out at her through the sliding glass door, trying to figure out who she is and what she’s doing. She notices me and starts making faces (they’re manic -- you can’t tell if she’s happy or angry) and keeps silently mouthing words I can’t make out. She keeps looking at the window like she thinks I’m playing some peek-a-boo game with her, and occasionally yells inarticulate things. I think she’s crazy, so I go back and lock all the doors to the house to keep her from getting in, but when I get back to the living room I notice the curtains moving over the sliding glass door. I go over to look out at the girl, and she has a somber look on her face and is reaching through the glass (it’s not broken; she’s melting through it, like a ghost) and is grabbing at my face, trying to reach down my throat. I try to bite her arms to get her off of me, but I notice that her arms are already covered with bite-mark scars from where other people have tried that...

Clock Tower. (12/25/99 - Christmas Eve again!) I was standing in front of an old building that had a high clock tower, and suddenly got showered by a handful of human fingers tossed down from the top of the tower. Then I notice that the trees and bushes all around are littered with bits of human offal, like someone on top of the tower was brutally cleaning a chicken. I had to go up and see what was going on, and heard enraged grunting as I neared the top, but woke up before I got open the door to see what was happening.

Where’d He Go? (11/99) Some guy who was all in shadow so I couldn’t see his face showed up and said he had car trouble, but when I let him in to use the phone he ran to the back of the house and hid somewhere I couldn’t find him.

Friendship Card For The Devil. (6/3/99) This one also played out like watching a film. A little kid has been tormented by a demonic presence in his room, and unwisely decides that maybe if he makes friends with it, it’ll leave him alone... so he makes it a friendship card. He falls asleep holding the card, and wakes up with another card in its place, and this one’s a disturbing, pornographic card, and he can smell the demon on it (he smells like stale sweat, old blood, and whiskey breath). The card scares him but he decides he has to hide the card and keep it as evidence that the demon’s real (but the card looks homemade anyway). When he turns the lights out, the demon shows up (you can't see him in the dark) and says he’s glad they’re going to be friends and that exorcisms won‘t work now that he feels welcomed. He starts telling the kid that demons have hobbies when they’re not haunting people; they get unnecessary surgery for fun, and he’s still achey and recovering from one of those. He shows the kid visions of Grover muppets from Sesame Street, dancing, with gleaming yellow fat and liver-colored muscle under patches where big patches of blue fur’s been ripped off.

Toadman. (5-30-09) I got chased through the woods by a big flabby grey thing that I barely got glimpses of, but it looked like some large toad with some human characteristics. I hid in the woods but could hear it snuffling around, searching.

Sick Margaret (4-19-94) In the dream, I was a little kid riding my bike through a huge, shady neighborhood, and got lost. I found this prissy, ugly little redheaded girl with glasses (she looked sort of like Margaret from the Dennis The Menace comics) and she creeped me out but I was lost, so I went home with her. She starts telling me about this fantasy life she’s built around this female DJ she listens to on the radio late at night, about how the DJ is actually an exiled princess and all this other stuff, and it starts to sound familiar. I remembered that “Margaret” is the really creepy, crazy girl that my friends are all scared of, and that she does nasty things like killing pets and hurting other kids. “Margaret” pulls out this dead turtle and says that this boy she knows fucked the turtle and the semen is still preserved inside. That’s when I decided to get the hell out of there even if I couldn’t find my house.

Vent People. (9/16/93) Stuck home alone on a stormy day, some friend and I discover that if we yell down the air conditioner vent it creates a weird, distorted echo, so we’re playing around with this discovery, seeing what noises we can make. Then some other voice - female - starts answering back from deep in the vents. We ask who it is and only get crazy laughter, and it starts pouring down rain outside with hurricane force.

Farmer Brown (date lost) Another one that played out like watching a film. A man (we’ll call him Jack) who’s scared of dying dreams he’s a kid in a field, standing in a small plot of earth that’s going to be a tomato patch. He finds two little girls to talk to, but then a little black kid in overalls and a big floppy hat that droops to hide his face comes running over the horizon toward them. The little girls start running around the tomato patch and Jack is afraid and tries to catch them, but they lose him in the weeds. The black kid comes up and he’s not really black but just covered with dirt. He tells Jack he’s a farmer who “plants things that don’t grow.” Jack asks the kid if he wants to be friends, but the kid just shakes his head and says not to try to make friends, because he’ll just be scared again, and says “Nobody wants to play with me because my hands are always dirty.” We cut back to adult Jack who’s died in his sleep, and the paramedics who are hauling him out notice that they hear a sound like a frightened boy running around a tomato patch.

Coin Collector. (9/19/92) A guy who’s a big coin collector walks out of a room that has exploded, and he’s unmarked. He says he’s okay, but his friends are afraid of him because, given the condition of the room, he must be dead. He still says he’s not, but then he turns an empty bowl upside down over a cup, and rare coins -- blackened from fire -- fall into the cup. He sees them and cries and fades away before his friends’ eyes.

Mafia Goons (3-2-08) On my way back to my car after work, I got stopped by two big, hulking Mafia-thug type guys in black suits who were pissed at me for some reason. I had a switchblade, but they weren’t very scared of it. It seemed to just piss them off, and they started circling around, saying “You want to play, huh?” The one with a mustache made serious attempts at hitting me with a big chunk of wood, then they settled on a knife fight instead... but instead of knives they pulled out these surgical clippers, to take big snips out of me instead of stabbing. Can't tell ya how scary that is. I managed to bump past them and took off running, but knew they were in better shape than me and there wasn’t much of anywhere to go. Then, luckily, I woke up.

The Program In The Gym (2/15/06) I was in high school again (I know exactly what Kurt was getting at, because I have those dreams all the time) and there was some kind of play or something happening in the gym. The gym was as dark as they could make it, and there were about 20 or 30 people standing very still and silent with their backs to the audience... and that was the play. Nothing ever happened, and it gave no indication that it would ever end, but it was too dark to find your way back out of the gym if you tried to leave.

Dream After Dream (12/30/03) A redneck couple were shooting out car tires in front of a house my parents used to have in Florida. I went out to stop them and the girl pointed the gun at me but I managed to get it away from her and told her she could get it back from the cops. The guy -- who oddly seemed nice -- led me to his house down the street and told me he’d pay me for the tires. When we got there, it was a crazy old house full of junk, and he and the girl and a couple of Native American women with mustaches were torture-murdering people, and the guy pulled a pair of scissors on me. I took them away from him and threatened him with them while trying to back out of the house, but the guy wanted me to stab him in the eyes with them, and kept trying to jump at me so I’d stab him in the eyes. I finally threw him headfirst down some stairs and ran through the trash-house and hid in an outbuilding where there was a stained chemical-suit hanging on the wall. I noticed a shop across the street that sold stuff made out of glass, so I went in there to call the cops. Behind the counter was a friendly black girl who I seemed to recognize as somebody who’d helped me out in other nightmares, and she said I should get up and go to the bathroom to end the dream. So, I woke up (or so I thought) and went to the bathroom, but the sink and toilet were backing up and the whole room was full of gushing water. Then I woke up for real.

Dream After Dream After Dream After Dream (2-15-03) I was driving down a highway, but there was no car-- it was like crawling really fast -- and I came to a cliff-like eroded place on the side of the road that I remembered seeing years before (or in another dream). I climbed up and was looking around, and got a big view of a nice neighborhood (although it didn’t look as nice as I remembered it from the other dream). The ground was full of marbles and plastic toys embedded in the dirt, like kids had played there a lot long ago. I also found a big chunk of pumice. Some guys from across the road came looking for me (didn’t like me taking the pumice, I guess), so I hid and tried to sneak back to the highway... and ended up in some old lady’s house just as she was coming in. I apologized for being in her house and explained that the people across the street were trying to kill me and that was the only place to hide. I paid for a pizza that was being delivered and she was very nice and understanding. Then I left and went out through a garden were little fish were flying around, landing on plants like dragonflies. Some were dead and ants were eating them. Then I dreamed that I woke up and had to go get my work ID card fixed. It was cracking in half, and these two geeky guys tried to fix it with postal tape (which was kept on a table in some woods in the back of their neighborhood). They knew the lady whose house I’d invaded in the other dream and said she was really cool about stuff like that. With the card fixed as well as it was going to be, I kept going and went through a small town that had a diner called “The Exploding Throbber.” I thought that was both disturbing and hilarious, but at this point I needed to buy a Coke, so I went in and these two weird pimps were harassing some guy at the counter, asking for his phone number. He stupidly gave it to them and one of the pimps told him they were going to go “dance” in his car and said “When I talk to you I’m gonna talk fast.” I snuck the hell out of there and tried to wake myself up, because at this point I realized it was a dream and was going bad. I woke up in a car with my dogs and someone who I thought was my dad, but we were driving slow and aimlessly in the middle of the night with no headlights. The driver seemed to be asleep and the dogs were jumping all around the car. The driver would wave his arms and babble, like he was talking in his sleep, and I shook him and asked where he was going and he yelled “I never remember!” Then I woke up for real. I had so many false-wake-ups in this dream that I actually dreamed I was writing the dreams down, during the subsequent dreams.

The Ice-T and Vanity Snuff Channel. (7/27/03) I was staying at a weird old beach house and something bad had happened there once. A partially-autistic kid told me that he could confront the ghosts in the house because part of his brain was dead. He also explained that he had a pet goat who could talk to him, and it wanted him to build him a pedestal out of soup cans or it wouldn’t be able to breath correctly; it needed to “foam.” I left him in the house to do that and I went outside and found this gorgeous girl with an Irish accent. We hit it off and lay down on the wet ground, watching stars fall out of the sky. It looked like all of them were dying out. She didn’t want to go back inside but it was starting to rain, so we ducked into a shed and she said she’d stay there forever, and I looked down and she was staring up at me from inside a bag of peat moss. It was too small to hold her but she was in there, anyway, packed in peat. I freaked out and ran back into the house and the autistic kid was gone, but he’d turned on the TV and found some horrible channel where Ice-T and Vanity were in a hotel room, killing girls -- all one camera angle and looked like a snuff film, but I was sure it wasn’t, because it was Ice-T and I didn’t think he’d do a thing like that. Vanity, maybe -- she’s nuts. I tried to go to bed, but the light in the bedroom was very dim, and down the hall somebody who nobody else in the house knew was sleeping (or trying to - fitfully). all of a sudden this sleeper jumped out of bed and started dancing a frantic jig down the hall with a crazy grin on his face, bumping into things, like a wind-up toy out of control. TV’s with the Ice-T movie were all on all over the house, and it was about 4 a.m. and very dark. I went into the bathroom and fingers were trying to reach out of the sink drain, and a guy trapped inside the mirror was trying to pound his way out. His hair had been cut to look like skyscrapers.

There are probably more, but that’s probably more than enough, no? Your turn...