I greet thee with horror and torment and ghastliness and other stuff like that-there! Oblige me by peeing your pants in terror if you please!
Yeah, I know that's a shitty scan, but I'm not breakin' the spine on my $20 book for a blog I'm not sure a dozen people are followin', so deal! It's still a freakin' beautiful even if it's kinda blurry off to the right there.
It's October, which means Halloween. I had big plans to do something horror-related on this blog every day this month (inspired by what Patton Oswalt did last year - go through the archives and see where he reviewed a different horror story every day last October and join me in wishing for a sequel) but I'm not a dedicated enough blogger (and am instead a very dedicated lazybastard), the blog doesn't have a big enough audience to really make any kind of "event" out of it, and so I'll just settle for doing something horror-related every once in a while this month and we can just pretend that kicks all kindsa ass and is the neato-est thing ever!
First off, though, some sad business... comedian Greg Giraldo died of an accidental prescription drug overdose. That sucks majorly, it's almost a Bill Hicks-sized loss, because Greg was smart and hella-funny and just getting better as he went along. No Comedy Central roast will ever be half as good again without his input. Here's a treasure trove of clips with a couple of my faves embedded below.
This first one, man, I just remembered the part about "wheels" at work the other day and almost made an ass of myself for ten minutes, trying not to laugh, even while I was bummed about him being gone.
|Greg Giraldo - Our Fat Kids|
|Greg Giraldo - All Religions are Insane|
|Greg Giraldo - DVD Exclusive - Marsupial Sex|
Never met the man and I'm still going to miss him.
Now, back to Halloween.
First, a TV alert. Turner Classic Movies is showing so much great stuff this month it's almost unbelievable. Every Friday night they're showing Hammer horror films, and those are all essential. Also tonight, 1:30 a.m. Central you have Psychomania, about a group of undead bikers. Lovably cheezy, that. And at 3 a.m., Daughters of Satan. Tom Selleck in a horror movie, 1972. I'm gonna record that one 'cuz the copy I have is lousy.
In future days, things you should set your DVR/TiVO/whatthafuck for:
Sunday, Oct 3
11 a.m. Wait Until Dark - very scary flick with Alan Arkin terrorizing a blind Audrey Hepburn.
1 p.m. Leave Her To Heaven - beautiful Gene Tierney as a crazed psychopath
Tuesday Oct 5
7 p.m. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde - the Frederic March version, which is so far ahead of its time you won't believe they got away with showing anything so sexually brutal in 1932
Thursday Oct 7
7 PM - Forbidden Planet
9 PM - Alien
11:15 PM - Countdown
1 AM - Marooned
3:15 AM - From The Earth to the Moon
Friday Oct 8
7PM - Plague of the Zombies - EXCELLENT Hammer horror, with one shot that'll definitely send chills up your spine
8:45 PM - Devil's Bride - Hammer horror based on Dennis Wheatley's The Devil Rides Out
10:30 PM - The Reptile - more Hammer goodness
12:15 PM - The Gorgon - yet more Hammer brilliance
1:45 AM - Let's Kill Uncle - William Castle obscurity
3:30 AM - 13 Frightened Girls - more William Castle
And that should hold you for a week.
Now, to the top... sleazy, skungy, nasty, vile comic books that will grow hair on your brain!
That's right... Eerie Publications (not to be confused with Warren Publishing's Eerie, which was a tamer horror comic magazine like Creepy), those sickfucks whose output was so far away from comics-code approved major-label comics like DC's House Of Mystery that it was like hardcore porn. They were black and white magazines and called themselves "picto-fictin" rather than comics, to get around the restrictions of the comics code. I used to find Eerie Publications titles like Weird and Terrors of Dracula on the magazine racks of decaying neighboring towns when I was about ten years old, and it was always an event when I'd find another one. Because, y'see, I was fairly certain that nobody was supposed to be selling such things, especially not in the Bible belt.
The stories were fairly stupid, the writing was clumsy first-draft rushjob, the art was often sub-par, the covers were ridiculous blacklight-poster-type art showing various monsters fighting each other (werewolves driving stakes into vampires seemed to happen a lot) but they were still royalty among my horror comics because they really were horror. There was nothing cute or clever about 'em. In fact, they were disturbing because they came across as the product of a diseased mind, like something snuck out of an asylum. The art is so childishly gruesome and excessive, the plots are so absurd, and the characters are so hysterical that you had to wonder what depravity led the artists and writers to pen these things, what horrific drugs they were rattled on or what demons they were trying to exorcise. The magazines usually didn't even have any ads in them, giving them even more of a "smut" feel, like no companies wanted anything to do with 'em. For years I was the only person I knew of who ever read these things, and I wondered if anyone else even knew that they existed. They were comic-book-ghetto slag and normal people seemed too proud to dirty their souls on 'em.
The titles had a blunt-object simplicity, too: The Dead Witch, The Blind Monsters, Satan's Dead Demons, The Cat Is Evil, Monster Town, From The Grave Below, The Devil's Zombie, A Head Full of Snakes, The Skin Crawlers, Satan's Cat, Demons And Skeletons, Fangs of Horror, The Flesheaters, The Vampire Plague, The Blood-Dripping Scarecrow, A Jury of Skeletons, The Weird Corpse, The Dead Demons, Bloody Ten Fingers, Beast In The Cellar, Monster in Cloth, Lighthouse of Horror, Swamp Creature, Ghoul's Mansion, Horror Without A Head, Jeb's Bloody Ghost, The Demon Is A Hag, The Witch's House is Haunted, Bagpipes From Hell, Monster Maker, The Coffin... simple, straightforward, unapologetic.
The link above will get you to a few stories (excellent website, by the way), but I suggest starting with this one just because of the beheading in the first panel. Yeah, that's so excessive it's pretty hilarious to us adults, with all that eyeball yo-yo action and tongue-wagglin', but at ten that was something we just knew we shouldn't be looking at. The idiot sadism of the whole thing made you feel like you were in unsafe hands... and that's what good horror should do. If you're reading horror and you're comfortable and having fun, somebody's doing it wrong.
Here's a page that made a big impression on me as a kid:
How excessive is that, eh? Note the ripped-out arteries dangling out of the rope-avulsed neck there, and the ever-popular popped-out eyeball. Hey, kids! Here's a little something for your formative years! Good luck!
Here's some typical back/inside cover art:
Stupid-looking spiders skeletonizing a vampire who - what the hell, why not! - has stitches in his head. And appears to still be alive even though he's been reduced to anatomically-incorrect skeletal material from the neck down. Love the scrap of skin in the one spider's mouth on top of his head. Suitable for framing.
Here's some more art from inside the magazine.
That'll make nice tattoo flash if you're a complete degenerate.
A collection including some of their stories is available and recommended, Zombie Factory. It's forbidden fruit that'll make you feel guilty just for reading 'em... and that's high praise in my trashy little worldview.