Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Surfing at Midnight

More Misfits for you surf fans. This one is brought to you by The Crimson Ghosts from their 2006 CD, Some Kinda Hits. This is one of my favorite Misfits songs, "I Turned into a Martian" from their "Walk Among Us" album It's going on the player tonight while we hand out the sticky candy to the little monsters among us. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Eyeball in your Martini?

Here, for your listening pleasure is the Misfit's classic "Some Kinda Hate" as performed by the Nutley Brass, from their CD, Misfits Meet the Nutley Brass - Fiend Club Lounge. This is another disk that makes it to the rotation around this time every year. The song is short, so drop that cigarette, put the drink down and ask that kitten in furs to dance already...

Monday, October 29, 2012

My Favorite Horror Novel

Okay, it would be more honest to say it's one of my favorite horror novels. I've got other favorites and all of them will get their moment to shine from the shadows. But I thought I would put this one out there first, because it combines two of my favorite genres better than anything else out there that I've yet to read.

Falling Angel - William Hjortsberg - Fawcett Popular Library - 1982
I'd first heard of this novel from an essay by Stephen King, way back in the early 80's. Falling Angel  by William Hjortsberg was published in 1978 and I don't know how the hell I missed it, considering how much of a horror fan I was back then. I didn't get my mitts on it until around 1984 and it immediately hit me in the gut. Yes, better than The Stand, better than Ghost Story, which are both excellent books. Stephen King gave it the best quickie description in saying that it was like Raymond Chandler crossed with The Exorcist. He's right. I was a huge Chandler fan and had read all of his novels by that point. Hjortsberg's Harry Angel was a bit like Phillip Marlowe, only edgier, darker, and as the novel progressed it became all to clear just how much darker.

But more than just its hard-boiled style, which I'm always a sucker for, Falling Angel is also about setting. It's New York in the 1950's. Central Park, Coney Island, Harlem, subways, voodoo rituals, Black Mass ceremonies, they all play a role in private eye Harry Angel's search for missing crooner Johnny Favorite. It's the kind of novel that you'll read the first 20 pages of and then it's too late, you're hooked for the full ride.

Most people are probably more familiar with the movie with Mickey Rourke, which was a decent flick. But as perfect as Rourke was in the role, the movie came up short by going south, instead of keeping it all in New York as the novel did. If you've seen the movie, which I haven't mentioned by name, you might think that skipping Hjortsberg's novel is fine. I can only say that if you're a horror fan, a noir fan, a mystery fan, whatever, read it. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Classic Pulps - Weird Tales October 1933

Weird Tales - October 1933

Keeping with the season I thought I'd spotlight an issue of one of the best and longest running pulps ever, Weird Tales. The cover art is by Margaret Brundage, titled, appropriately enough, "Bat Girl". This is probably one of the better known pulp covers of Weird Tales. I have an old paperback anthology entitled Worlds of Weird published by Jove in 1978 with the same cover as above. This issue of Weird Tales is a good one. In it you've got a Conan story "The Pool of the Black One" by Robert E. Howard. Also a crazy sci-fi tale of zombies on the planet Pluto entitled "The Plutonian Terror" by Jack Williamson. Clark Ashton Smith makes one of his many appearances with "The Seed of the Sepulcher" about a "diabolical" plant in the jungles of Venezuela. The cover story is "The Vampire Master" by Hugh Davidson, someone whose work I'm not familiar with, outside the story here. Also included are stories by Seabury Quinn and Frank Belknap Long, very familiar names to pulp fans, and whose work you can find fairly easily to this day. The cool thing about these old pulps is that they're finding new life for today's fans. If you want a reprint of this particular issue you can order one, like I did, throught The Vintage Library.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Last night Julie and I went to the PoeFest on Grand Avenue and saw presentations of "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Cask of Amontillado," and "The Raven." The PoeFest is presented by Arizona Curriculum Theater and performed at Soul Invictus.

The stories are performed solo, as the audience visits an asylum where the characters tell you their tales, all delivered in Poe's words. Performances change with each show, so you might see "House of Usher" or "The Black Cat" or "The Tell-Tale Heart." We thought it was a lot of fun and a cool way to celebrate the Halloween season. This is the 4th year that Arizona Curriculum Theater as put this on. All the money and proceeds go to promote literacy, engage students and making education a prime goal within our state.

The theater is small, located on 11th Avenue and Grand. Performances will run through to Halloween. So if you're in Phoenix and Edgar Allen Poe is your thing and you feel like supporting a worthy cause then check it out.

Friday, October 26, 2012

El Santo - The Legend

Santo en la venganza de la momia - 1970
My first exposure to Santo was when I was stationed in California back in the early 80's. I'd catch a few minutes of these movies on the independent stations from L.A. and was immediately intrigued. I'd grown up in Florida and was all too familiar with professional wrestling, masked and otherwise, and of course ate up anything that had to do with horror movies. But combining the two - pure genius!

Santo was Rodolfo Guzman Huerta and his wrestling career ran from the 1930's clear in to the 1980's. He starred in more than 50 lucha libre movies, of which I've only seen 4 in their entirety, including the one above, Santo en la venganza de la momia. I've got a long list to catch up on. Clearly Santo is the hero of the films, battling everything from vampire women, monsters, martians, pirates, evil scientists, gangsters and heels. You name it, he'll take them on in the name of justice. His movie adventures began in 1958 with Santo contra el cerebro del mal and continued until his last movie, Santo en la furia de los karatekas in 1982. Some years back I picked up some of his DVDs that had been subtitled in English. I imagine it wouldn't be too hard to find his movies on DVD should you want to.

In spite of Rodolfo Guzman Huerta's passing in 1984, Santo lives on in songs, cartoons, comic books, action figures and movies. Hopefully his legend will continue for a long time to come.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hootenanny, Hell Yeah!

Here is one of the coolest CD's ever for the Halloween season. And I mean ever! If you're a fan of bands like Southern Culture on the Skids, The Ghastly Ones, Reverend Horton Heat, Los Straitjackets, Rob Zombie, to name only a few, then you'll love this collection of Horror rave-ups from Zombie A Go-Go Records...

Halloween Hootenanny - 1998 - Geffen Records Inc.
I picked this CD up at the sorely missed East Side Records in Tempe Arizona some years back. I've already got stuff by some of the bands in this collection, and picking this one up was a no-brainer. The fun is kicked off by horror-host Zacherle and doesn't stop until the end (which is as good a place as any, right?) blasting out surf-tinged Horror and Rockabilly A-La Go Go to get than inner monster inside you out of the morgue and into the parlor where the action is. Okay, once again, I love this stuff. It reminds me never to grow up and take life too seriously like those stuffed shirts we all see at the office every day with their Starbucks in hand and the sticks up their....well you know who I'm talking about. Contributors include: Swingin' Neckbreakers, Davie Allen and the Phantom Surfers, The Bomboras, The Amazing Crowns, The Born Losers, and The Legendary Invisible Men, to name a few more. If this stuff doesn't get the bones a-rattlin' then you must be dead, man!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Is that a Gat in Your Pocket?

In keeping with my Halloween themed posts this month I have an old Shell Scott caper from the cool year of 1962.

Fawcett Gold Medal, 1962
Anyone who is a fan of detective fiction, especially mid-century American gumshoe variety, will enjoy Richard Prather's Shell Scott novels. Running from the 1950's and through the 1960's, they're everything Mike Hammer wasn't. Meaning fun. Scott was the kind of guy you'd like to share a bourbon with, unlike Hammer. The books are a hoot. They're sexist, violent and loaded with outrageous situations, all delivered with a cool tongue planted firmly in cheek. Kill the Clown takes place on Halloween as our hero Shell Scott attends an underworld costume party disguised as a clown, which is a good thing, since Shell Scott has probably the most distinct features in all of detective fiction: Snow-white hair that stands straight up, snow-white arched eyebrows, sun-bronzed skin, and an ear with a bullet torn chunk missing from it. Not exactly a chap who blends into the scenery. And for a ugly cuss, Shell has no shortage of action with the dames.

At the door, she kissed me again. You may not believe it, but it was even better than the first two times - yeah, I was keeping track. This was the third time that was the charm, an osculatory torch to cremate resolutions and inhibitions, a kiss that could melt fillings and make a eunich's voice change overnight...

As you can see, the novel is loaded with some set of babes. And this one one kissing Shell Scott above is his client. But that isn't all that's got him up in a lather. Here's another passage descibing a dish who is a possible accomplice to a murdering goon:

She was a criminal all right. Her eyes were at least a misdemeanor, and those wicked lips were felonious...She wore skin-tight blue Capris, nothing on her feet except red nail polish, a billowy white blouse beneath which there was nothing billowing but Lolita, and all in all she was clearly the best argument against girdles since volleyball in nudist camps...Just standing there she looked hot enough to bake potatoes, and if she started running around the room it was eight to five she'd burn the joint down.

Well, you get the idea of the kind of book you're in for. In a word: a blast. Yeah it's not all ogling the babes either for our hero. There is plenty of gat action to go around. Prather knew how to keep the pace brisk, the action popping and the humor rolling. As far as a mystery, there really isn't one as such. In this novel, Shell has to race the clock to find the evidence that would free an innocent man from the gas chamber. Which all culminates in a Halloween party to make the ones I've been to seem like a Red Hat Society meeting. The bullets fly, the dames screech, and the knuckles play teeth like xylophones. Trick or Treat indeed.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Warren Glory

This was the kind of stuff that always grabbed my eye when I was a kid going to the local convenient market up the street from my house. I rarely bought this stuff, knowing my parents would not approve. These are just a few taken from my collection.

CREEPY #91 August 1977 - Warren Magazines. Cover by Frank Frazetta
I don't think there is a cover yet by Frank Frazetta that isn't great. If there is, I haven't seen it.

Here is one that looks like one of those awesome Black-Light posters we used to have in our bedrooms.

EERIE #77 Sept 1976 - Warren Magazines, Cover by Rich Corben
I also have a couple similar themed coveres below from Sanjulian for EERIE from 1972. I picked these to show because A) I like them, and B) I don't know anything about the cover artist. Perhaps someone seeing these can enlighten me. Anyway, I hope you enjoy them. Any faults you'll find will rest only with my photography and not the artwork. First is EERIE #40.

EERIE #40 June 1977 - Warren Magazines, cover by Sanjulian
Also here is EERIE #41 August 1972 - Warren Magazines, cover by Sanjulian

I'll have others to post as we get closer to Halloween. CREEPY and EERIE are back in print thanks to Dark Horse Comic. Also, Dark Horse is reprinting the entire run of EERIE and CREEPY in hardback, with full color reprints of the terrific covers. So if this is your thing, you're in luck.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"I'll Be Lurking for You....."

Most of my favorite television memories are from when I was a kid growing up in Tampa Florida and watching Fright Theater and Creature Feature on WTOG, Channell 44, hosted by Dr. Paul Bearer (Dick Bennick, Sr.) every Saturday.

This quickie clip gives you an idea of the kind of humor and movies Dr. Paul Bearer would bring to the boys and ghouls every Saturday afternoon and late night. Every bad joke and pun was something only a kid would love. He would also have guests like Jack the Ripper and his Mummy. His hosting run in the Tenement Castle, located somewhere in St. Creaturesburg, began in 1971, I believe, and continued long after I'd grown up and moved away, until his death in 1995. A long, long haunt. I discovered him in 5th grade which would have been around 1974, and the first movie I remember seeing on his show was Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers. How's that for a useless memory? Actually, fond memories of trying to stay up on Saturday nights for Fright Theater's double feature, and hardly ever making it until the end, waking up sometime in the middle of the night to a sign-off screen, or a church show. Sometimes I would set my alarm for 11 PM, thinking if I got a couple hours sleep in first, I could make it through both movies. At some point Fright Theater went to a single feature before dropping entirely, but by then I'd discovered other things to do on Saturday night. Still, there was always Creature Feature to get your dose of Dr. Paul Bearer's excruciating puns and "horrible old movies."

Dr. Paul Bearer often made personal appearances around Tampa Bay, including the Gasparilla Day Parade in his Cadillac Hearse. I made it to one of his appearances at a stereo shop when I was in 6th grade and got a signed photograph that I've long since lost.

I miss old Dr. Paul Bearer and his horrible old movies, but am heartened to know that plenty others out there remember him fondly as well.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

That Stuff'll Rot Your Brain!

We know all about EC Comics from the early 50's contaminating young baby-boomers' minds with lurid depictions of ghouls and maniacs, and how the government, through pressures from the usual sources (we all know who they are and they never seem to go away) laid the smackdown on the comic industry. And mostly from evidence built on fear and hysteria and flimsy research. But EC wasn't the only game in town. Far from it, as the terrific book, Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950's, edited by Greg Sadowski, shows.

Fantagraphics Books, 2010
Inside this book are collected stories from a wide range of titles including Voodoo, Web of Evil, Weird Mysteries, Strange Mysteries, to name only a few. Artists include Bob Powell, Jack Cole, Joe Kubert, Sid Check & Frank Frazetta among others. Greg Sadowski includes detailed notes on each of the stories selected and, as an added bonus, page after page of some of the coolest covers you've ever splashed your peepers on. If you were a kid in 1952 getting an eyeful of these covers at your local drugstore or newsstand, there was no way that dime was staying in your pocket. Those of us who came along years later missed out, but thanks to reprints and books like this one we can see for ourselves what all the fuss was about. Take that, Grandma!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Music for Little Monsters

More music for the season. This cool CD from Buffalo Bop is a collection of rockabilly horror from the 50's. Sort of the original Psychobilly, but with that "lo-fi 50's blast" as it's promised on the label.

Monster Bop, Buffalo Bop, CD 55013
This CD is as much fun as fist full of jawbreakers, a bottle of rootbeer and a stack of Monster Magazines. Just the kind of stuff to rot one's young mind and take up cigarrette smoking and chasing girls of loose morals. I have a stack of these Buffalo Bop compilations, made in Germany, and each one of them is a blast. This one makes it to the disk player every year about this time. 30 songs of greasy rockabilly horror to get your toes tappin' and your fingers snappin'. Songs include "Rocking in the Graveyard" by Jackie Morningstar, "The Head Hunters" by Mike Fern, "Graveyard" by The Phantom Five, "You Can Call Him Frankenstein" by The Castle Kings, and more. Really, there isn't a dud on the disk in my humble opinion. But then, I love this stuff.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Good Ghosts for October

October is my favorite month. The weather finally turns cool, for Phoenix anyway. The nights come quicker and the moon gets its groove on, especially on cloudy nights. October is also the month for horror stories. I like my horror in all manner of styles. This month  I'll be posting about some of my favorite horror that I've read and seen as well as some I'd like to discover for myself.

Dover Publications, Inc. 1964
Best Ghost Stories of J.S. Le Fanu is a perfect book for October. This edition contains Le Fanu's best known tales, including "Carmilla" and "Green Tea" in addition to "The Haunted Baronet" and "The Familiar," "The Dead Sexton," "Shalken the Painter" and others. "Carmilla" alone is a classic and deserves to be read by any fan of horror, especially of the vampire variety. The terrific cover above illustrates a scene from "Carmilla." Not just a cool vampire tale, but an early, early lesbian vampire tale. Consider what a kick this would have been when read by candlelight back in the day. It's still a kick now. Another nice thing about this book is that it's illustrated throughout. Well okay, maybe it's not chock-full 'o illustrations, but it has some pictures you can spook the kiddies with.

I have to admit that I haven't read all of the stories in this collection but I've read many of them. They're leisurely paced, not your thrill-ride horror that is expected today. Still, that hardly takes the fun out of them.

There are many editions of Le Fanu's stories out there to pick from. Probably the easiest to find is In a Glass Darkly which contains some of the stories collected here. Also, much of Le Fanu's works can be obtained through eReaders and libraries for free. And if you're in the mood for something longer, I would also recommend his novel Uncle Silas which contains a young heiress, an evil governess, a brutal villain, locked room murders, and an increasingly smothering sense of dread. You've always wondered why the sound of rattling chains is supposed to be scary, right?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Drowning in Lake Noir

Joyce Carol Oates has always been a tough one for me. I'd been exposed to many of her short stories in college and read them with indifference. Yet I knew there had to be something there for me. Her vision is so dark and violent, so disturbing that I was convinced I just hadn't given her a fair enough shot.

I few years ago, I became interested in the Gothic novel. I'm talking about the real deal like Mysteries of Udalpho and Melmoth the Wanderer and Vathek for examples. Well, hunting down those books kind of left me cold. Along the way I became curious about modern Gothic novels which brought me back to Joyce Carol Oates.

Bellefleur, Warner Books, 1981
I'd picked up my copy at a garage sale for change. I have to admit I was a little intimidated by the length, almost 900 pages. And again, this was Joyce Carol Oates, someone whose style I didn't exactly take to easily. The book sat around the shelves. I'd pull it down, then put it back and grab something by Mickey Spillane or Jim Thompson instead. And it waited for me.

Eventually I took the plunge. It wasn't long into the novel that I learned to abandon any pursuit of a linear plot. I just wasn't going to get it. Nor were there any timeline and historical perspectives to latch onto. The Bellefleurs world was a universe unto themselves, high up in their castle above the troubled waters of Lake Noir. Within its walls there lived betrayal, jealousy, madness, magic and mystery, a hermit, a shapeshifter, a murderer and more than one ghost.

I loved it.

As it's now October and the air should be turning crisp enough to see your breath, and as the leaves fall and crackle on the sidewalks, Bellefleur is just the sort of book to lose yourself in. If it sounds like it might be your kind of thing, then give it a shot.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Forgotten Nugget 'O Fuzzy Soul

Here is an old album I picked up late last year from Revolver Records in Phoenix. It's Black Pearl's self titled album released in 1969 on Atlantic Records.

It's been described by some as Pysch Rock or Boogie Woogie Rock. To me, there isn't really much Psych in it. It's straight up fuzz guitar driven rock. The lead singer, B.B. Fieldings taps into his love of R&B and Soul and belts out each song as if it's the last one of the night and the whisky bottle is almost empty. Growls and screams and wails abound on this disk, all the while that fuzz guitar is wrapping around his voice like a jagged leather serpent.

I bought this one cold, never having heard of them before. The first play I wasn't too sure about it, but it's kind of grown on me since. Plus I'm a sucker for that ratty-assed fuzz guitar sound that was prevalent in the 60's garage rock scene.

Dig it and see.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Blast Off, Grandpa!

I was in 9th grade when I found this book at the Town 'n County branch public library. I'd read a few "Science Fiction" stories by Ray Bradbury (more on him in a future post) and had seen every Star Trek episode numerous times on Channel 44. Same for The Twilight Zone and (even rarer) reruns of The Outer Limits. But nothing before it had kicked of my love for pulp Sci-Fi like this book did.

Pulling it from the library shelf, I had no idea what the Golden Age of the title even meant. All I knew was that, from the dreadful present of the 1970's, the 1930's was a hell of a long time ago. I looked at the table of contents and saw stories like "The World of the Red Sun" and "Parasite Planet" and the irrestible "The Brain Stealers of Mars" and knew right away I was going home with it.

I can remember reading the first story "The Man Who Evolved" by Edmund Hamilton (April 1931 - Wonder Stories) and how it bowled me over. Nothing in my reading experience had equaled the suspense and wonder that Hamilton's story evoked. In it, Dr. John Pollard, discovers that a concentrated dose of "cosmic rays" with their "harmful properties" filtered out can speed up the process of evolution from thousands of years to mere minutes. And what better subject to test his process on, in the true spirit of mad science, than himself, with his assistant documenting the process. Of course, things start out great and soon turn nightmarish. I'd never heard of Edmund Hamilton before, but knew that I had a new author to look for.

The book is loaded with adventure, wonder, evil, terror and triumph, all delivered in full color pulp glory. I didn't have the original covers to look at, but I had a hell of a show playing in the "theater of my mind" to borrow a phrase from Flaubert.

Other stories included are: "The Jameson Satellite" by Neil R. Jones, "Submicroscopic" by Capt. S.P. Meek (I wondered why "Captain" then and still do now), "Awlo of Ulm" by our same Captain Meek, "Tetrahedra of Space" by Schuyler Miller, "The World of the Red Sun" by Clifford D. Simak, "Tumithak of the Corridors" and its sequel "Tumithak of Shawm" by Charles R. Tanner, "The Moon Era" by Jack Williamson, "The Man Who Awoke" by Laurence Manning, "Colossus" by Donald Wandrei, "Sideways in Time" by Murray Leinster, "Old Faithful" by Raym,ond Z. Gallum, "The Parasite Planet" by Stanley G. Weinbaum, "Proxima Centauri" by Murray Leinster, "The Accursed Galaxy" by Edmund Hamilton, "He Who Shrank" by Henry Hasse, "The Human Pets of Mars" by Leslie Frances Stone, "The Brain Stealers of Mars" by John W. Campbell, Jr., "Devolution" by Edmund Hamilton (three for this guy!) and "Big Game" by Isaac Asimov, "Other Eyes Watching" by Campbell again, "Minus Planet" by John D. Clark, "Past, Present and Future" by John D. Clark, and "The Men in the Mirror" by Ross Rocklynne.  Whewww....

The book was printed in paperback in 1975 but in three separate volumes to handle the length. I suppose they could have crammed the whole thing into one single paperback and had the length of your average Michener novel, but...

Anyway, it's a motherload of pulp action, romance and wonder delivered when stories were fun by wordsmiths who wrote their hearts out for our entertainment.

Find it, you won't be sorry.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Some of my Pulps and Bad Photography

I'm a bit of a caveman when it comes to technology. And what I look for in entertainment as well. Here are some of the few pulp magazines I've picked up over the years. I'm not a pulp collector by any stretch. I had a few back when I was in high school in the late 70's that I picked up from the flea market. Those got lost in the years since. Probably thrown out by my grandmother when I'd left for the Air Force. Same as my old comic books from back then. Anyway, here are a few:

This has a great cover for the lead story, "Slaves of the Crystal Brain" for the May 1950 issue of Amazing Stories. One of these days I'll get around to reading it.

This not very good photo is May 1949 issue of Startling Stories featuring "The Mask of Circe" by Henry Kuttner. I believe this was co-written with his wife C. L. Moore, however she is not credited in the magazine. I know it was reprinted in paperback several years later.

My guess is the best thing about this December 1948 of Amazing Stories is the cover. I believe there was a whole inner earth hoax or something to that effect going on with Richard S. Shaver. For a while it seemed like every issue of Amazing Stories I came across in old bookstores had a Richard S. Shaver story in it. I love the cover though.

I'll be posting some of my other pulp mags in the coming weeks/months.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Yes, another blog to add to the crowd. I've been digging all the others out there long enough to have finally decided to take the plunge and start my own.

What sort of things will you find here? Well, it will be the things I like, mostly. It might be a book, a movie, a record album (yes, vinyl counts here) or a new restaurant. Maybe even a rant or two. There's going to be a lot of stuff here that may or may not strike a chord, but hopefully you'll be entertained. That's the plan anyway. If not...well, you got what you paid for.