In Closing

Sitting in my parents’ house, listening to my father sleep.

He’s entered the last stage of his life. After three years of getting back up from various knockdowns that have gradually sapped his strength and mobility and dignity, a stroke has taken from him his memories.

He lives only in moments now. He recognizes everybody, can joke a bit, but being mostly blind, he’s startled every time he opens his eyes and sees me standing there. Once, he asked if I was God.

My parents built this beautiful house together after years of living under the roof of my disapproving grandmother, and later in homes that were never quite what they’d hoped for.

“I’m a failure,” my dad says.

“You just don’t remember your successes,” I tell him.

“What are they?”

I say me. Maybe I’m heady from being mistaken for God earlier. But I quickly add my children, and the good memories everyone has of him, and the good police officer he was. He was policeman of the year in Calumet City, and I remember an abducted child who would only speak to him.

And then he recalls, randomly, with some prompting from mom, his early years as a traffic accident investigator, home and sleeping after double shifts, and failing to answer a dispatch call for him to come out to yet another collision. My mom says she’s to blame, as she told the dispatcher he wasn’t coming out, even when a squad arrived in the driveway with two other investigators to get him.

“He’s not coming out,” my ma said.

“What do you mean he’s not coming out?” said the dispatcher.

“He’s done two shifts. He’s been awake for twenty four hours and there are two guys sitting outside the house that can do it. One was out fishing at four in the morning. You don’t need him,” my ma said. “So that my fault,” she tells him. “I told him to tell them his wife didn’t wake him up, that he didn’t hear the phone,” she tells me.

“It was my watch,” my dad groans.

He was the father my friends admired.  The one who has always made me feel confounded when people – even my own stepson – tell their stories of the terrible father figures they had growing up.

He’s always been my hero. Simple, forthright, upstanding even when everybody around him wasn’t. He led me and my mom across this country, over the battlefields of Gettysburg and through Monument Valley and in the shadow of Mt. Rushmore, down into the Grand Canyon and Mammoth Cave and dozens of other places I probably never appreciated as a kid, but which make me reluctant to leave this country now even when it seems like the right thing to do for my kids. The Land of The Lost my parents called our vacations.

I will never have another Thanksgiving with us all together.

This house used to be full of racing kids and my drunken friends on holidays. It’s so empty. So beautiful and empty, surrounded by snow.  No one comes to see them.

My ma says the house doesn’t mean anything to her anymore, without being able to share it with my dad.

“I don’t want to take care of it. It’s too much. And I’m afraid of snakes.”

When they built it, we buried my eldest daughter’s umbilical chord in the front yard and my mom planted her namesake magnolia tree over it.

I always thought one day we’d live here.

But Nolie’s a California girl through and through, and I don’t see living in rural Indiana as being the best thing for my family anymore. My kids don’t have the relationship I wanted them to have with their grandparents. It’s my fault for being so far away. If I could at least point to some grand accomplishment I’ve achieved in going away. I followed my dreams and they haven’t led anywhere.

If I could lift up this house and carry it on my back with my mom and dad and all its contents somewhere else….

If I could rewind my life and make better decisions, so I could do something other than sit here and watch him sleep while my mom gets groceries….

I can’t help thinking I’m a failure too. Even now, with all my faculties. What will I have left in the end when my dad’s done so much and can’t recall any of it?

I feel as if I’m going down in the whirl and the suck that has a hold of my father.

 

Published in: on November 12, 2019 at 12:49 pm  Comments (2)  

Happy Hallowmas! The Knight With Two Swords Is Free Till Tuesday

Happy Hallowmas!

I’ve made my Arthurian novel The Knight With Two Swords, a retelling of the Tale of Sir Balin and Sir Balan from Le Morte D’Arthur, free on Kindle until Tuesday.

You can read a bit more about it here. 

Published in: on November 1, 2019 at 3:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Merkabah Rider 3: Have Glyphs Will Travel Is Out Now!

The third book in the Merkabah Rider series is once again out everywhere, featuring a new cover by Juri Umagami and new interior art by M. Wayne Miller. Go get it!

Published in: on October 30, 2019 at 11:55 pm  Comments (3)  

You Don’t Really Know Much About Halloween 3: The Real Life Season Of The Witch

Readers of this blog will know of my unabashed, un-ironic adoration for Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch. I’m not one of these post-modern reassessment guys either. I saw it back in 1984 or so on TV and loved it from the starting gate, much more than the Michael Meyers vehicles, which I actually didn’t see till I was in college. Traditionally, after taking the kids out trick or treating, I sit in the quiet living room with whoever’s awake and put on Halloween 3 to close out the holiday, knocking back peanut butter cups and Butterfingers till the sweetness overcomes me. I look forward to it every year.

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Season of The Witch, if you don’t know, and I’m gonna spoil it here, involves a plot by an insidious witch coven masquerading as a practical joke and gag company to sacrifice the children of America on Samhain night by plunking them and their candy buckets in front of a special TV showing of John Carpenter’s Halloween (followed by a big giveaway!) and pumping out a pseudo-scientific/mystic signal that will cause the chips of a Stonehenge triptych imbedded in a chip in the back of their Halloween masks to activate, causing vermin to erupt from their heads.

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Pretty out there? Yeah.

A ludicrously complex plot depending on a set of unlikely and uncontrollable variables that could never hope to line up? Well……except for the Stonehenge bit (“You’d never believe how we got it over here”) maybe not!

Recently, reading some people nitpick the movie on Facebook, a couple criticisms jumped out at me and got me thinking and reminiscing about Halloween in the south Chicago suburbs in the 80’s.

Somebody remarked that The Silver Shamrock corporation had this huge factory in Santa Mira just to churn out three Don Post Halloween masks, the skeleton, the witch, and the pumpkinhead, and that it was highly unlikely three simple mask variations would catch on that big.

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But I think, like most people born after 1975, they never heard of Kooky Spooks.

A couple years ago I brought up the flash in the pan Kooky Spook phenomenon on the Six Demon Bag Podcast and it was only a vague memory to my co-host Jeff Carter.

But, a Googling of the term will yield results.

Like this!

OK it was nine variations instead of three, but these things sold like hotcakes. Almost everybody at St. Andrew The Apostle’s in Calumet City, Illinois wanted or had one of these things.

They consisted of a plastic poncho with some reflective tape, an inflatable vinyl character head that perched atop your own head, and matching makeup. As mentioned, you had one of nine designs to choose from;

Wunkin Pumpkin, Wobblin Goblin, Scaredy Cat, Howly Owl, Spacey Casey, Wonder Witch, and Bone Head.

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I was Bone Head. It was the only out-of-a-box Halloween costume I ever had. Usually my mom sewed me something. She must have been relieved when whatever cartoon I was watching ended and that commercial (one of MANY I would see that year) aired, and I breathlessly begged for one.

I have vague memories of wearing it trick or treating. I remember the makeup smeared a lot (I guess it was blackface, though I kinda remember wearing white greasepaint…they upgraded the makeup to a creamier variant the year after release, so maybe that’s when I had one. I would’ve been four or five) and my adult family members thought the bulbous, bobbing plastic monstrosity on my head was hilarious. I believe it sprang a leak before the night was out and slowly deflated over my face, which my mom thought was even more hysterical.

So anyway, yeah. Kids succumbing to Silver Shamrock’s marketing bombardment and those three masks flying off the shelves? Totally could have happened in 1980.

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The second criticism of the Silver Shamrock plot I’ve heard – how would you ever get a bunch of kids to rush home early from tricks or treats to plunk themselves and their candy buckets down in front of the boob tube?

Easy as Doc Challis’ bedside manner.

In 1982, same year Season of The Witch was released, channel 32 WFLD in Chicagoland, home to Rich Koz/Son of Svengoolie, the pre-eminent horror host of the Midwest, promoted a special 3-D broadcast of Revenge of The Creature. You could get one of a number of collectible cardboard two-tone 3-D glasses at 7-11 (I had the Old Glory ones).

This was historically the first attempt at a 3-D broadcast in the Chicagoland area.

Like Kooky Spooks, this promotion got its hooks in me almost immediately as a religious viewer of Son of Svengoolie and big fan of The Creature From The Black Lagoon. Remember, in 1982 you couldn’t just watch whatever movie you wanted – you had to catch it on broadcast TV. I don’t think we owned a VCR till a couple years later. I wasn’t even aware there was a sequel to The Creature From The Black Lagoon, so I was crazy to watch this not miss television and I remember it was the talk of the kids as school.

Did Nigel Kneale and Tommy Lee Wallace find inspiration in Chicago’s 3-D television event of 1982? Nah probably not. They came out around the same time, so it’s just a funny coincidence.

But I mean, Son of Svengoolie had specific instructions for us kids. What we were to have on our face, what kind of TV we were supposed to watch, where we were supposed to position ourselves.

Sounds familiar….

So yeah, in 1982, Silver Shamrock could have orchestrated the mass sacrifice of the kids of Chicagoland with far less effort than they put into the Halloween Three (The masks. The Halloween 3 of the title were the three masks, don’tcha know.).

I was fully prepared to be in an ideal position to vomit crickets for a black and white 1955 movie. I didn’t even need a Big Giveaway.

So maybe you’re wondering what happened with all that. The 3-D thing, I mean.

Well, I’m told it was a bust, that the glasses didn’t work at all. I don’t know. I think I fell asleep before the broadcast. My aunt and uncle taped it for me, but I never did get a chance to watch it.

I guess I didn’t need Tom Atkins to save me.

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Merkabah Rider 3: Have Glyphs Will Travel Now Up For Preorder

The reissue of Merkabah Rider 3: Have Glyphs Will Travel is now up for preorder in Kindle on Amazon (and as of this writing is number one in Western Horror – thank you!). You can pick it up here.

The paperback should be up in a few days.

 

Merkabah Rider: Have Glyphs Will Travel by [Erdelac, Edward M.]

 

Published in: on October 9, 2019 at 8:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Between The Teeth – From Thailand To Hell

My buddy Jeff Carter’s taking over the blog today to talk about the inspiration behind one of the stories in his new fiction collection BETWEEN THE TEETH.

Heeeeeeere’s Jeff! – –

My new collection features a short story, GHOST TOWER, which is a strange travelogue through Bangkok’s darkest corners and the Buddhist afterlife. Here is some of the inspiration and research that went into the story.

My first inspiration came from my honeymoon in Thailand.  It is a wonderfully surreal country steeped in history, religion and superstition.  I saw magic everywhere: Yan sigils painted on the insides of cars, mystical amulets for sale on every corner, and saffron robed monks traveling between countless temples filled with golden Buddha statues.

A major piece of inspiration was an article I read about the ‘body snatchers’ of Bangkok.  The city is infamous for being crowded, and with that comes nightmarish traffic.  Unfortunately there are also lots of very bad drivers and far too few ambulances.  It falls to the ‘body snatchers’, groups of volunteers, to prowl the city for accidents in the hopes of assisting the injured and dead.

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Doing The Lord (Buddha)’s Work

As I said, Thailand is an extremely superstitious country.  Many Thai have an intense fear of ghosts, and the unhappy ghosts from high velocity car crashes are thought to be extremely powerful.  A volunteer can earn spiritual merit for rushing a wounded driver to the hospital.  The real reward, however, is in handling the haunted corpses and taking them to be cremated.  The spirit of the deceased is believed to be released from its body and free to move towards its next reincarnation.

Thailand is rich in ghost lore. Here are five to watch out for:

Phi Krahang – This ghost appears as a man with feathers and a tail like a bird. It eats filth and glows at night.

Phi Poang Khang – A spirit in the shape of a black monkey which likes to suck the big toe of people sleeping in the jungle.

Phi Hai – Hungry, amoral spirits associated with places where people have died an unnatural or violent death. Phi Hai are easily offended, and take every opportunity to possess people.

Phi Pob – The head of a beautiful woman that floats through the air, dangling its internal organs and intestines. This type of ghost is probably more feared than any other species in Thailand.

Phi Kee – After waking from a bad dream and going to the toilet you should ask your excrement to go peacefully before flushing so the spirit can take away any bad luck.

How do superstitious people go about handling angry ghosts? Some people wear amulets for protection, others wear magical tattoos. Sak Yant tattoos are hand engraved by Buddhist monks in the form of special patterns and Sanskrit prayers written in the Khmer language. They are believed to bring luck, wealth, strength, even invulnerability.

Sak Yant tattoos

There are annual festivals where those with Sak Yant tattoos can have them recharged with spiritual power. It is common for people to become possessed or overwhelmed with power during the ceremony.

Yak Sant Festival

I knew my story would involve body snatchers, ghosts and tattoos.  It was another news article that really opened my eyes to the widespread belief in ancient black magic.  In May of 2012, a man was arrested with a suitcase of roasted baby fetuses.  He was trafficking in Kuman Thong, an ancient form of necromancy in which the spirits of babies are enslaved to bring wealth and protection to their owners.

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A plastic kuman thong. You don’t want to see a real one.

Authentic kuman thong came from children who died in the womb. Ancient Thai necromancers surgically removed them and enacted a ceremonial ritual. The baby would be roasted before dawn in a cemetery. Some are soaked in the extract of a dead child or a person who has died a violent or unnatural death. Finally, the baby was painted with lacquer and covered in gold leaf. “Kuman thong” means “Golden Baby Boy”.

To read “Ghost Tower”, check out my new collection, Between the Teeth.

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Between the Teeth collects 16 tales of horror and science fiction from author Jeff C. Carter that will sink their fangs into you and won’t let go.

– A serial killer ends up in an emergency room, but a heart attack may be the least of his problems.

– A researcher hunts a rare spider in the jungles of Myanmar.

– A greedy dentist gets the most interesting client of his life.

Witness soldiers trapped in a crocodile infested swamp, a preacher hunting demon outlaws, and karma catching up to a Bangkok body snatcher. Whatever flavor of the macabre you crave, you will find it Between the Teeth. Buy it now!

I want you to try this book, so I’ve set the price as low as Amazon allows.

  • Print – $5.44
  • ebook – 99¢
  • Kindle Unlimited- $0.00

I’m also running a special promotion.

Between October 14th and 18th, my book is free on Kindle.

If you’d like a free preview, check out the mailing list.

Enjoy the book, and have a Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

Published in: on October 8, 2019 at 2:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Taste The Blood of My Halloween Movie Repertoire

Last year due to a Halloween cruise I fell a couple movies short of my 31 first time watch horror marathon, so we’ll see if I make the grade this time out. Again, no predetermined list, just watching whatever I can get my hands on.

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#1 Belzebuth – Years after a Mexican policeman’s baby becomes one of several infant victims horrifically murdered in a hospital nursery by a crazed attendant, he is teamed with a US federal agent to investigate a series of attacks on school children around the Mexican border.  This started as a really intriguing concept, a murder investigation that gradually uncovers an occult conspiracy, but eventually all but abandoned its unique Mexican-Catholic viewpoint in favor of a staid, by-the-numbers good vs. evil/exorcism plot. One really kind of silly and poorly realized digital effect (please guys, just don’t do ’em) about midway through the movie in an abandoned church and it pretty much lost me. Joaquin Cosio (the odious General Madrano in Quantum of Solace) gives a great performance, and there’s a really interesting political angle that gets briefly touched on but thrown out right away. In the end, it just goes on too long.

Image result for tigers are not afraid#2 Tigers Are Not Afraid (Veulven) – When 11 year old Estrella’s school is caught in the crossfire between rival Mexican drug cartels, her teacher gives her three pieces of chalk, each imbued with a magic wish. After her mother is abducted by the cartel, she wishes to find her, and is inextricably drawn to a group of orphaned boys whose own fates are similarly linked to the violent gang. This was a haunting, lyrical ghost story, a dark fantasy superbly realized, which doubles as a sobering look at the lives of the children left behind in the wake of narco violence in Mexico. It made me think of Dante’s quote; “I found the original of my hell to be in the world which we inhabit.”

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#3 Count Dracula (1977) This BBC miniseries does a lot with its 70s television constraints, establishing an appealingly dark mood while eschewing the expected Hammer horror look. It cleaves pretty closely to the novel with a few minor alterations in place and character (Quincey P. Morris and Arthur Holmwood become Quincey P. Holmwood, Mina and Lucy are actual sisters) that don’t upset the story. The camera and practical FX are pretty well done (Dracula’s influence is depicted by a superimposition of his red eyed face in negative. I liked that, and I applaud their daring in not skipping the wall crawling scene – the result is pretty creepy!), but the performances are the biggest draw. Jourdan is a pretty great Dracula, and Frank Finlay is probably one of my top three Van Helsings now, up there with Anthony Hopkins and Peter Cushing. It was neat to see the lovely Judi Bowker of Clash of The Titans again, and Jack Shepherd is a great Renfield. I have to single out Richard Barnes’ Quincey P. Holmwood though; his Texas accent doesn’t fare very well unfortunately.

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#4 Are We Not Cats – Hard to talk about this one without giving it away. No spoilers. An aimless, chemical addled young man has a torrid impromptu encounter with a quirky musician whose compulsive fetish endangers her life. Kind of a romantic body horror picture, the central kink of this story elicited in me one of the strongest, repulsed emotional reactions I’ve had watching a movie since that one notorious scene in Pink Flamingos. I literally exclaimed aloud in my empty apartment. And yet, it’s not really a repulsive or exploitative movie. In fact, it’s a very well done slice of life. A fringe life to be sure, but in the end it actually has a pretty tenderhearted, positive message; that there may be someone for even the most isolated of us. As a side note, among a host of fully realized side characters, the excited Dr. Mooney played by Thoedore Bouloukos made me laugh out loud as his reaction to the events probably mirrored my own (and, I suspect some audience members).  The closing stinger image was equally hilarious. This was kind of a fun gem, all in all. Long after seeing it, I can’t stop thinking about it.
Image result for beast movie#5 Beast – An unbalanced young woman living in a rural English island community under the thumb of her domineering upper class family falls hard for a mysterious poacher who may be responsible for a series of murder/rape abductions occurring in the area. Jessie Buckley does great work here as a woman whose rebelliousness against her miserable family may be getting the better of her common sense. Maybe. Compelling, twisty little thriller, if not overly memorable in the end.
Image result for knife+heart#6 Knife+Heart – A producer of gay porn films in 1979 Paris must deduce the identity of a masked killer stalking and murdering her performers, even as his crimes inspire her work. Yann Gonzalez perfectly captures the 70’s Italian giallo style, from its striking color palettes and compositions, to its excruciating kills and bizarre final reel plot twist. Rather than being a simple homage, the movie still manages to compel, and even at times, move the emotions. Great cast, lots of weirdo humor and memorable characters (A loveable, chubby fluffer named The Mouth of Gold was a crack up). Evocative musical scoring. Worth a watch.

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#7 A Tale of Two Sisters – Inspired by a Korean folktale, a young woman returns from an extended stay in a mental institution to live in a big dark house with her distant father, beloved younger sister, and estranged stepmother. It’s apparent early on that some unspoken family trauma has occurred as the main character begins to experience horrific visions. This drips with commendably executed gothic mood. I guessed early on that the movie was telling one of two ‘twist’ stories. It turned out I was wrong; it was telling them both, and I feel that in doing that, it overextended itself. The result was kind of confusing and unfocused, unfortunately.
Image result for one cut of the dead#8 One Cut of The Dead – In this comedy, a film crew sets out to make a low budget zombie movie and is set upon by actual zombies. The first twenty five to thirty minutes of this is kind of a sloppy low budget mess full of weird little inexplicable character choices, and had me checking the time (though I do believe it was all shot in one take, which is always an impressive achievement). Be advised that at that thirty minute mark it takes a really unique turn and becomes one of the most enjoyable watches I’ve had this season. I was smiling for the remainder of the run time. If you have any love for indie filmmaking or low budget horror in particular, you’ll get a kick out of it. Just stick with it.

#9 The Curse of La Llorona – A court-ordered social worker recommends the separation of a Mexican woman from her two children and unleashes the wrath of the titular folklore legend, a phantom woman who once drowned her own children and whose arrival is preceded by her ghostly sobbing. It’s pretty by the numbers jump scares. That doesn’t make it a bad movie, necessarily, just not a great one. The biggest surprise for me was that it apparently takes place in the Annabelle horror universe. I did like the curandero character (I’m a sucker for Van Helsing types) and the mythology invented to combat La Llorona (including wind chimes to alert you of her appearance!). It reminded me of Curt Siodmak’s contributions to werewolf lore, and I wonder if they’ll catch on in the oncoming years.

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#10  – All The Colors Of The Dark – A woman flees a menacing blue-eyed stranger straight into the arms of a Satanic cult. She begins to question her sanity, as I questioned how I managed to sit through this underwhelming (though admittedly well shot) giallo to the end.

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#11 – Ma – A group of teenagers avail themselves of a middle aged woman’s hospitality (and basement) to hold a bevy of underage drinking extravaganzas, blissfully unaware that she has a dark ulterior motive. I’m glad I was never so absolutely desperate to drink before I was eighteen to throw all common sense out the window when I was a kid. Seriously, these are some oblivious kids. This was an interesting, skeevy watch for the first half, but takes a sudden turn that isn’t quite warranted in the script about midway through, and never really rights itself. Most characters continually make inexplicable actions (returning to party again and again in the face of their patroness’ increasingly erratic behavior), while others just kind of drop out of the picture. Octavia Spencer is always watchable and manages to keep this flick afloat, but only just.

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#12 – Don’t Leave Home – An artist’s exhibit exploring mysterious disappearances receives a crushing review, but she’s invited by an ex-priest and his wife to stay in their palatial Irish estate while he cuts a check for one of her works, a diorama depicting the vanishing of a young girl he bore witness to decades ago. She starts seeing a hooded figure around the place at night, and weird shenanigans happen. Unique supernatural occurrence, but I was bored by the end.

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#13 Brightburn – An awkward, outcast ten year old kid living on a farm in Kansas begins exhibiting superhuman talents, and soon learns the truth of his parentage; that he fell to earth in a spacecraft. With increasingly sociopathic fury, he begins flexing his newfound powers against the peers who have rejected him and eventually the adults who seek to control him. Basically, this is what would happen if Superboy went bad, and the end result is a very watchable horror movie with predictable, but entertaining results. Jackson Dunn really sells the flat affect of a sociopathic kid, and Elizabeth Banks does a great job as his self-delusional adopted mother. My one gripe; as my wife’s a family therapist, I know the aunt would never be assigned as the kid’s school therapist. They’d send him to somebody out of district. Still a fun watch.

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#14 – Return of The Blind Dead – Tombs Of The Blind Dead was one of my top watches last year. The blind undead Templars return in the sequel, with some nifty sequences like an all-out attack on a raucous rural folk festival, the memorable fake out killing of an idiot lookout, and the requisite hunting of a terrified family by sound, but nothing quite tops that train sequence from its predecessor. There’s a bit too much dumb humor in this one too. Feels like a Godzilla movie cutting away to humans nobody really cares about. I did like the bit where the woman tried to escape on the stolen Templar horse. Worth a watch, but not as good as the original.

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#15 – In The Tall Grass – A brother and his pregnant sister stop near a roadside chapel and answer the cries for help of a boy coming from a field of surrounding tall grass, only to find themselves lost in a time and space warping purgatory with a few other misplaced souls. An OK time waster, but nothing too memorable.

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#16 – Room For Rent – A lonesome, elderly widow opens up a room in her house as a BNB to pay off her late husband’s debts and becomes infatuated with her tenant. This is a low budget endeavor that suffers from a pretty bad, inexplicable secondary character’s moral choice about midway through that really seems to exist solely to move the plot along, and the total abandonment of the tenant’s plot line (I really feel like there has to be a lot of excised footage concerning the contents of his trunk and the nature of his phone calls). And yet, the whole production is buoyed by winsome lead Lin Shaye’s stellar performance. I genuinely felt for the character of Joyce, a lonely hearted woman just out of a loveless marriage and desperate for affection and companionship. Shaye really makes Joyce breathe and that makes this worthwhile viewing.

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#17 – The Lift – I occasionally develop an unabashed, inexplicable, unironic love for some inarguably bad movies (Night Of The Lepus, Gymkata, The Green Hornet). This preposterous Dutch film about a murderous elevator and the heroic repairman trying to stop its killing spree played dead serious is now one of them. FOR GOD’S SAKE, TAKE THE STAIRS!

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#18 Black Moon – An executive sends his hilariously loyal secretary Fay Wray to accompany his wife Dorothy Burgess and curly headed little daughter back to her family’s old Haiti-adjacent island plantation house, where Burgess’ fixation on the local Voodoo cult which murdered her parents in front of her as a girl start to reawaken with disastrous results. This is an odd one, a pre-code Voodoo horror movie without any mention of zombies. Here, the monsters are basically the local natives, half-wild savages beholden to an unexplained need for regular sacrificial rituals (cause that’s what they do in Voodoo, don’t cha ya know?) and apparently unable to function without the leadership of their high priest or priestess. Twice a character blows away the officiant of a massive congregation of perhaps a hundred fervent worshipers and never once do they react in any way. Blacks have no agency in this movie. They react to the doings of the white characters, and you get the sense (with perhaps the exception of Clarence Muse, playing a ‘loyal’ and a least partially fleshed out black man from Georgia) that they just stand around like dolls waiting to be played with when there are no white people in the room. There is a great deal of white xenophobia and racism obfuscating what could be a decent story about the assumption of cultural identity by outsiders with just a little more effort and research somewhere in here, but it’s difficult to relate to the privileged, pompous main characters, who display all the depth of a patronizing bumper sticker on your racist uncle’s truck for much of the movie. Some surprising twists, good acting, and striking cinematography, but leave the 21st century at the door if you sit down to watch. We’re talking blackface here.
Related image#19 Seoul Station – Tense follow up to South Korea’s magnificent Train To Busan, the events of this animated feature run concurrently to its predecessor, following a prostitute, her no-good boyfriend, father, and a homeless man fleeing the zombie outbreak. Boasting some pretty nail biting sequences, great sound design and voice acting, it’s relentlessly more depressing than Train To Busan. I do have an issue with the big reveal. Without spoiling anything, I just don’t buy that a character like that would go to the lengths they did for such a mundane reason. Still a great diversion.

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#20 – Amsterdamned – After The Lift I had to seek out more of Dick Maas’ oeuvre and watched this thriller I remembered seeing ads for on Cinemax as a kid. It’s a pretty solid murder mystery about a killer frogman (in SCUBA gear, not a Bullywug) stalking the canals of Amsterdam, but the reveal was a bit of a letdown and although competent, it never quite lives up to its memorable opening sequence.

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#21 – Creature From Black Lake – A pair of anthropology students from Chicago head to the Louisiana bayou country to investigate reports of a hairy anthropoid attacking swampers. A likeable, talented cast including Dennis Fimple, Jack Elam, and Dub Taylor make this watchable, but it’s not enough. Pretty rudderless script and the monster is as low budget as it gets.

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#22 – The Ghost Galleon – As part of a publicity stunt, a pair of supermodels stage a fake accident at sea at the behest of their boss and wind up lost in a mysterious fog, where they bump into a 16th century ghost ship that contains the coffins of some undead Templars who split off from the main group in this, the third installment of the Blind Dead series. After the models fail to check in, the employer leads a noisy expedition to find them. Chaos ensues. The first half is kind of a misery, but the climax is neat, especially when the ‘cleric’ successfully turns the Templars and the party does the smartest thing they could do….to no avail.

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#23 – The Golem (2018) – When The Black Plague strikes a neighboring village of Gentiles, the Jewish inhabitants of an insular Lithuanian hamlet are given an ultimatum; reverse the ‘Hebrew curse’ that has been laid upon the Christian headman’s dying daughter, or be slaughtered. A headstrong woman who has been learning the Kabbalah in secret takes it upon herself to create a golem to defend the village, but the creature soon proves uncontrollably murderous. Readers of my Merkabah Rider series will know what delight I take in Jewish folklore, so I was ready be sold on this little tale of minyans and shofars from the get-go. It’s very well done, and doesn’t disappoint, though it does kind of inexplicably borrow some things from an unexpected source; Pumpkinhead. Bonus points for mentioning the Pulsa di Neura, but half a point off for not exactly depicting it. Good stuff!

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#24 Drácula (1931  – Spanish) – The Great Pumpkin smiled on me this year, in the form of Facebook buddy Eric Dietz who caught me lamenting that I’d never been able to see the legendary 1931 Spanish version of Dracula, and suggested I see if the library had it. They did, as a bonus feature on the Lugosi Dracula set from Universal, and I finally managed to sit down and view this nearly lost film (it was only rediscovered in the 1970s in a vault) after years of hunting it up in vain. For those who don’t know, Universal allotted the sets, props, and costumes of its 1931 production to a Spanish speaking cast under director George Melford and the two films were shot simultaneously. As production wrapped each day on the Todd Browning/Lugosi picture, the Spanish cast would come in and reuse everything, shooting long into the night. The result was a movie that, although it reused some of the establishing and FX shots, music, and only altered the script a little, is admittedly superior to its English counterpart in most respects in terms of tone and presentation.  Melford’s Drácula benefits from a longer run time, is more vibrant and robust, with Lupita Tovar oozing sensuality as Eva (Mina), and Pablo Alvarez Rubio (as much as it pains me to say) giving my beloved Dwight Frye a run for his money as an absolutely maniacal Renfield. The comedy works better, the FX are more innovative and explicit, and there is overall more passion to the production. I have to say though, I still prefer Lugosi’s reserved menace to Carlos Villar’s occasionally for-the-back-row theatrics, and Edward Van Sloan is a better Van Helsing than Eduardo Arozamena. A top watch for this marathon.

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#25 Dracula’s Daughter – This sequel to Todd Browning’s Dracula picks up immediately where the previous installment left off, with Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan! Yay!) standing over the body of poor Renfield as the London police bust in and arrest him for Dracula’s murder (I guess the lovestruck Harkers don’t stick around to defend him, but apparently go right off on their honeymoon). Van Helsing sticks to his story about vampires and calls up a favor from an old student, a prominent psychiatrist, to come to his defense. As the urbane Dr. Garth and his plucky assistant head to London, a mysterious woman, the Countess Zaleska, drifts into the police station and hypnotizes the coppers, making off with the body of Dracula, which she burns and consigns to the hell that awaits him, thinking her own curse, as his vampiric daughter, has ended. She’s wrong though, and soon returns to the business of bloodsucking, luring men (and memorably, in one scene dripping with homoeroticism, a young woman) all the while coaxing the stricken Dr. Garth further under her power. This was a neat find. Gloria Holden and Irving Pichel (as her grim, wannabe vampire assistant Sandor) are fun to watch, with Holden exuding an austere, tortured self-loathing. Is this the first reluctant vampire on screen? I think so. I even enjoyed the bickering 30’s Thin Man-style rapport between Otto Kruger and the assistant, Marguerite Churchill. I wish Edward Van Sloan had a bigger part, but you can’t have everything.

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#26 Son of Dracula – Count Alucard (Lon Chaney Jr – possibly a descendent of Count Dracula, or else Dracula himself under an assumed name) arrives at New Orleans plantation house Dark Oaks, invited by Katherine Caldwell, the supernaturally inclined daughter of the wealthy patriarch. He soon sets out to seize hold of the Caldwell lands and fortune, intent on feasting on the ‘young, virile race’ (Americans?), but, his plans soon go awry when his victim attempts a doublecross! A really fun, twisty, turny plot. The FX of this one are also a big draw. They’re done by John Fulton, who made Claude Rains into The Invisible Man. Here, we see Dracula’s classic powers on full display; he turns to mist, transforms onscreen to and from his bat form, and in one memorable scene, bullets pass through him, killing a character hiding behind him!

#27 St. Agatha – A young expectant mother in the 1950s submits herself to the care of an isolated convent for wayward girls officially divorced from the Catholic Church, who follow a strict regimen of self-denial and servitude with daily doses of excruciating physical and psychological torture from the mother superior and her nuns. All is not as it seems. A compelling thriller horror with an odious antagonist played by Carolyn Hennesy. Worth watching, but not really a must-watch.

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#28 House of Dracula – Count Dracula arrives in the night and requests a cure for vampirism from the brilliant Dr. Edelmann. Soon Larry Talbot shows up wanting a remedy for lycanthropy and Frankenstein’s Monster is discovered in a cave beneath the doctor’s estate. Practically a sanitarium for monsters now, Edelmann sets out to cure Dracula with blood transfusions and the Wolfman with some kind of spore found in the cave. Things go awry when Dracula takes a hankering to Edelmann’s assistant Milizia and tries to nip her. Dracula pulls a switcheroo during one of his transfusion treatments and pumps Edelmann full of his corrupt blood. Edelmann destroys the vampire, but it’s too late….Dracula’s blood infects him, influencing him to do evil (and of course, to wake up Frakenstein’s Monster). This was a passable monster-buffet legitimized by John Carradine, Lionel Atwill, and Lon Chaney Jr returning as Larry Talbot, and the interesting casting of the lovely Jane Adams as a sympathetic hunchback. Plus, I LOVED the concept of Dracula’s blood corrupting the doctor. A fun time.

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#29 3 From Hell – It turns out Otis, Baby, and Captain Spaulding, the three unrepentant sadistic psychopaths who rampaged through The Devil’s Rejects, managed to survive that movie’s bullet-riddled climax (which is kind of a ‘they never got out of the COCK-A-DOODIE CAR’ moment, but OK, we didn’t actually see them die, so fair enough) and have been incarcerated since. Captain Spaulding is executed by lethal injection (and we bid a heartfelt adieu to the great Sid Haig here and in a later reminiscence), but before the same can happen to the brother and sister duo, a heretofore unseen Firefly family member, namely Otis’ younger half-brother, Winslow ‘Foxy’ Coltrane, busts them out and they flee for Mexico. The Devil’s Reject was a masterful recreation of amoral 70’s exploitation horror whose main characters repelled and fascinated me. In this sequel, I find myself liking the killers a little more. They show some heart and sentimentality towards each other and some of the people they meet (like Pancho Moller’s appealing, diminutive Sebastian), and they’re more akin to outlaw anti-heroes here than how they were portrayed before, as if the testimonials of the obsessed fans in the beginning have bled over into the reality of the movie. I guess near death mellowed them a little? I mean, yes, they still slaughter a couple innocent people, but in the main their victims themselves display moral failings (a corrupt warden who cheats on his wife and/or sexually harasses a guard for example), making their deaths almost cathartic. There’s a playfulness in this one that the previous movie didn’t have too, with an army of masked Mexican killers making a show. It’s fine, but mainly for Zombie completists. Rob Zombie still clearly loves his wife Sheri Moon-Z, a fact I find charming in all his movies.

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#30 The Monolith Monsters – A strange, black glass meteor crashes in the California desert and shatters, spreading out radioactive shards which induce a slow, black petrification in any living thing that touches it. When a rare rainfall occurs, the H2O makes the shards grow to gigantic proportions, which then waver, topple, and fall, smashing into yet more fragments, which then repeat the process. Soon a mass of deadly black crystal monoliths is drawing up the accumulated moisture from the rain soaked soil and advancing over the mountains toward a sleepy town. The inhabitants rush to find a way to stop it as another round of precipitation looms. The absolutely bonkers and unique concept combined with the truly unsettling sight of tottering black spires wavering over the mountaintops in a thundering rainstorm made this a really welcome find this Halloween. There’s some sharp writing in it as well. Recommended!

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#31 Crawl – A young competitive swimmer drives to a rural Florida town to check on her estranged and recently divorced father in the face of a category five hurricane. She finds him hurt and bleeding in the crawl space cellar, and is soon trapped by a gaggle of ravenous alligators blown in by the storm. Father and daughter must make their escape as the water level begins to rise. A deceptively simple setup allows for some nice character moments in a lean, mean script that reminded me somehow of Die Hard. There’s no fat on this. Everything feels entirely logical and every setup leads nicely to the next payoff. Genuinely thrilling in points. Easily one of my favorite watches this month.

BONUS:

Now, since, as I said above, I fell three movies short of my thirty one first time watch goal last year, I decided to push through and watch a few extra:

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#32  Orphan – A troubled married couple, having suffered the loss of an infant, decide to add to their family by adopting a precocious young Russian girl, who soon turns out to be not at all what she appears. What seems at first like an evil child movie in the vein of The Bad Seed or The Good Son soon escalates into something unexpected (well, if you’ve never heard of it. It’s been out awhile and I already knew the big reveal – I actually watched this because of a recent court case in Indiana that was close to the movie’s events). Worth watching, with believable, mainly grounded characters and an out of the park performance by Isabelle Fuhrman as the titular orphan.

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#33 Wounds – A New Orleans bartender finds a cell phone left behind by a group of college kids after closing. On the phone are horrific images and videos which slowly begin to affect his mind and seemingly, the behavior of those around him. Armie Hammer does a fine job descending into obsessive, paranoid madness in this compelling bit of Lovecraftian occult body horror, which nonetheless, might leave you a little bit wanting in the very end.

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#34 Count Yorga, Vampire – Bulgarian mystic Count Yorga preys upon the daughter of his ex-girlfriend and her yuppie friends, in a pretty straightforward, but well done modern (well, in 1970) vampire tale. The strength of this is in the dialogue and the performances of the cast of unknowns, who play everything completely straight. Good flick, believable characters. Some genuinely chilling sequences and a good shock ending.

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#35 Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers – Angela (played with charming glee by Pamela Springsteen), the killer of Sleepaway Camp is at it again, this time on the counseling side of things, setting her sights on correcting the naughty behavior of a bevy of swearing, smoking, fornicating campers. This doesn’t have the stinger of its predecessor, and goes the tongue-in-cheek route. Fine as a schlocky time waster, but not as enjoyable as the original.

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#36 The Trollenberg Terror (AKA The Crawling Eye) – A Swiss mountaintop is consistently shrouded by a mysterious cloud into which mountain climbers enter but don’t come out. A psychic has bad feelings about the cloud and a group of scientists detect an alarming amount of latent radioactive activity. Then one of the climbers wanders down from the mountain, and things swiftly get really hairy. This was a real gem; a very Lovecraftian mystery with some ingenious effects, and a surprising amount of violence for movie from 1958.

And there we have it! A happy and rewarding Halloween season was had. My top ten horror watches for October 2019 (in no particular order):

Tigers Are Not Afraid, The Lift, The Monolith Monsters, Are We Not Cats, The Trollenberg Terror, Crawl, Knife+Heart, Dracula (Spanish), House Of Dracula, One Cut Of The Dead.

 

 

The SPFBO 99 cent Sale Is In Effect!

The Self-Publishing Fantasy Blog Off is an annual contest by which self-published fantasy authors send their books off to a number of review sites who then read through the entries, eliminating them as they go until a winning book is selected.

This year author Emerald Dodge has helped organize a number of this year’s entries into a ninety nine cent sale from now till August 20th. The participating books are collated here on here site. 

The Knight With Two Swords is therefore on sale for the next week, so if you’re a Kindle reader get on that. 

Published in: on August 16, 2019 at 9:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Five To One in Summer of Lovecraft

Dark Regions Press is taking orders via Indiegogo for their summer offerings, among them Summer of Lovecraft, an anthology of 1960’s era cosmic horror, which features my latest offering, Five To One, a story about a student protest on the Miskatonic University campus that goes horribly awry.

Image may contain: 1 personI love these ‘decade’ books Brian Sammons and Glynn Owen Barrass put out (Atomic Age Cthulhu was the preceding book, and I think there are still rumblings about a 70’s era antho if this one works out).

Other stories include –

Night Trippers by Lois H. Gresh
Operation Alice by Pete Rawlik
The Summer of Love by C.J. Henderson
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Sullivan by Lee Clarke Zumpe
Dreamland by David Dunwoody
Lost In the Poppy-Fields of Flesh by Konstantine Paradias
Keeping the Faith by Sam (Samantha) Stone
Mud Men by Sean Hoade
Misconception by Jamie D. Jenkins
No Colors Anymore by Joe L. Murr
Shimmer and Sway by Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Short Wave by Stephen Mark Rainey
The Song that Crystal Sang by Tom Lynch
Through a Looking Glass Darkly by Glynn Owen Barrass and Brian M. Sammons
The Color from the Deep by William Meikle
The Long Fine Flash by Edward Morris
Just Another Afternoon in Arkham, Brought to You in Living Color by Mark McLaughlin and Michael Sheehan, Jr.
Crystal Blue Persuasion by Jeffrey Thomas

For Five To One, I knew right from the announcement that I wanted to do a student protest at MU, and tie in the Timothy Leary tune in drop out movement somehow. The turbulence spreading across American campuses in the 60’s was surely a thing MU would have experienced, and Arkham as a college town felt like an angle I hadn’t personally seen before.

I also played with the idea that a lot of the same family names would turn up again and again.

Here’s the opening…..

The jeep squealed to a stop at the south end of the Miskatonic University campus, just ahead of the National Guardsmen of Battery B of the 101st Field Artilley.

Lt. John Iwanicki watched the column of inky smoke rising from the west half of the quad.

He had done all he could to get away from Arkham, from a drunken, brutal father. Now here he was, back again, about to march on his old alma matter.

Iwanicki shaved twelve men off to hold back the pressing crowd gathered there so the rest of the men could pass through. It was a mix of camera-faced press and rubberneckers, with some campus administrators and students.

Past the dormitories and athletic fields the campus dipped into a grassy, tree-lined depression in which Armitage Commons was centrally located, with the administration building and lecture halls to the north, and various specialty buildings clustered all around. Down the hill, across the quad and to the west, the brick ROTC building was awash in streaming flame. The crowd of students held back a respective distance around the old bronze statue of Professor Armitage. A team of Arkham firefighters were bustling about their engine, attacking the fire with a deluge cannon to little effect.

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“Goddammit, the little shits used napalm,” Sgt. Pasternack said, snorting the air. “I can smell it. Don’t those dumbass yokels know water ain’t gonna put it out?”

Pasternack was a veteran of Korea who’d done two tours in Vietnam and then entered the Guard when a leg wound had kept him from re-upping for active duty again. He spent all his off time cussing at the rec room television. When the priests who had marched into the draft office in Catonsville and burned all the draft cards had been on the news last May, the MP’s had had to stop him from taking his .45 to the TV. He was a crew-cut John Wayne type, only a few outbursts shy of a Section 8.

Despite his leg, Pasternack scooped up his M1 and vaulted out of the jeep before it had completely stopped. He tucked the strap of his campaign hat under his boxy jaw and barked for the men to form up, pointing to the burning outbuilding and the multicolored cluster of young protestors. Orders were to make a buffer between the students and the firefighters.

Captain Bishop had issued twenty M-79 grenade launchers, and Iwanicki noticed Sgt. Pasternack pulling the men carrying those aside and forming a separate column to the right with a few riflemen.

He got out of the jeep and went over.

“What’s this, Sergeant?” he demanded.

“Just getting a jump on the secondary objective, El-tee,” he said.

“What secondary objective?”

“Once the fire’s out, the Captain’s gonna order us to kick those pinkos off campus. If we send the main body down,” he said, slashing a knife hand toward the flaming building, “we can maneuver a line of bloopers behind them up Garrison Street and down Church, using those trees and buildings as cover. We’ll have ‘em on two sides that way, and when the time comes, we can drive ‘em right back the way we came.”

There was no denying it was a solid plan, but Iwanicki didn’t fully trust Pasternack to initiate the push without busting heads. He was here to kick hippie ass. When they’d gotten Governor Sargent’s call last night he’d practically run ahead of the convoy all the way from Danvers.

Image result for 60s college protestsAbout five hundred students had walked out of class onto the MU quad yesterday afternoon waving the Youth International Party flag. The leader of the local Yippie movement, an Economics major named Daniel Elwood, had read a prepared speech condemning the Defense Department’s announcement that 24,000 troops were being recalled to Vietnam for involuntary second tours. They’d held a funeral for a copy of the Bill Of Rights and marched with the document pinned on a makeshift bier down to the Miskatonic River, burned it on the shore, and scattered the ashes.

Just Yippie posturing, really. They’d sung a few songs and dispersed to the local bars.

The trouble had started when drunk students and, Iwanicki thought quite possibly, a good deal of out of towners in for the protest, had stumbled out of the taverns and begun breaking shop windows and flinging beer bottles at squad cars.

The local police found themselves overwhelmed pretty quickly. The mayor had gotten the Governor on the line, and he had called them in to quell the whole shebang.

Of course Captain Bishop was back at the temporary command center at St. Stanislaus Church, ostensibly holding two squads in reserve to help the Arkham Police keep order in the town and to jump in if thing’s got hairy. He was a Cambridge-taught REMF, the son of the mayor of Deans Corners and a cunning draft dodger who wanted no part of this hornet’s nest, particularly with all the media attention.

Iwanicki was standing there with his hands on his belt looking down through the bare cherry trees at the crowd chanting “Pigs off campus” down on the Commons where he’d spent many lunch hours reading, when, as if out of memory, a familiar figure came rushing across the field with one of the men, Private Carter, in tow and looking flustered as the older man repeatedly slapped his hand away from his elbow.

The man was in his late sixties and dressed accordingly, with a long, aged face. Wisps of cobweb white hair clung to his balding head. He smiled a broad set of too-uniform teeth and held up one liver spotted hand.

Iwanicki found himself smiling too, for the man was his old psychology professor, ‘Old Wing’ Peaslee.

“John Iwanicki, is that you?” he called, slapping Private Carter’s hand away yet again.

“What the fuck is this, Carter?” Pasternack growled, taking a step forward to intercept the spry old man. “Can’t you keep an old man behind a goddamned line?”

“I’m sorry sir, he….”

“I was insistent,” Peaslee finished for the blushing young man. “Please excuse me. I recognized an old student and I just had to say hello.”

Pasternack reached out and grabbed the old man by his scarf, but he shrugged out of it with a mumbled ‘thank you,’ and put his hand out to Iwanicki, as he came on.

Peaslee had been a bit of an eccentric, known to go off on wild, sometimes strange tangents in his lectures, but he had always found the old man fascinating even in his most rambling pontifications. He had been friendly with Iwanicki’s Uncle Jim, the pastor at St. Stanislaus who had practically raised him after his father had stumbled out one morning and drowned himself in the Miskatonic. Peaslee and his uncle had been chess rivals, and his recommendation on Iwanicki’s application had gone a long way towards convincing Admissions to overlook his financial hardship.

“Hello, Professor,” Iwanicki smiled, taking the old man’s hand as Pasternack flung the scarf down in the grass and scowled behind his back. “I’m half surprised you’re not down there with the Yippies,” he said, nodding over his shoulder at the crowd singing down on the Commons.

“It’s them I’d like to speak with you about, if you can spare the time. I tried to see your commanding officer but was turned away.”

Sgt. Pasternack insinuated himself, cradling his M1.

“Lieutenant should I remove this civilian?” It was more of a suggestion than a query.

Maybe the presence of his old professor bolstered his confidence.

“No, Sergeant. Just wait over there a bit.”

“That fire crew’s looking kind of anxious, sir,” Pasternack insisted, not budging.

“You’re right,” he said. “I’ll tell you what. Take the men down there as we discussed. I want all weapons locked. Treat this like a peaceful demonstration, nothing to get excited about. Pass the word down the line.”

“Sir?”

“You said yourself the fire crew isn’t going to put out a napalm blaze the way they’re going. I want you down there advising them,” he said, squaring his shoulders at Pasternack. “Understood?”

“Yes sir,” Pasternack said, pursing his lips and looking like he’d like to take a bite out of his nose.

He wheeled and stabbed a finger at Carter.

“Get your ass in gear, Private.”

Iwanicki watched Pasternack holler orders at the men, and pretty soon they were marching down the hill through the rustling autumn leaves toward the fire.

The twenty men with grenade launchers watched them go, fidgeting.

“Listen, Professor,” Iwanicki said. “If you’re here to impress caution on me, believe me, I’m doing all I can.”

“I’m afraid it’s graver than that, John. Do you know who’s behind all this unrest?”

“Yeah, the administrators gave my CO a name. Elwood. Some student activist.”

“Mr. Elwood has organized much of the peaceful arm of the demonstrations, it’s true, but neither he nor any of his followers had anything to do with setting fire to the ROTC building.”

“Who did?”

“Have you ever heard of Traxton Olney?”

Iwanicki had read all about Olney in Time magazine. He had been a psychiatric researcher for the Kaiser Family Foundation and had spent a few years abroad in Cambodia, doing field work with some kind of entheogenic substance used in ritual worship by an obscure hill tribe; an hallucinogenic compound called Liao, which he claimed was more potent than LSD. Upon returning to the US he had worked under Timothy Leary at Harvard as part of their Psylocibin Project, but after falling out, he’d struck out on his own, championing the benefits of Liao over acid.

He had overseen a series of rehabilitation experiments with Liao on Arkham Sanitarium patients and achieved a good deal of success and attention in 1960 when he wrote a book called The New Lotus Eaters: Adventures In Supernautical Exploration, detailing his own use of the drug. He’d been in a tent at the big hippie gathering at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, hosting Liao ‘in-peditions.’

“Sure,” said Iwanicki. “The Liao guy. Wasn’t he lecturing here at MU a while back?”

“He was,” said Peaslee, his tone and demeanor darkening noticeably. “Just after you graduated in ’65. He was apprehended by campus security trying to abscond with a rare volume from the library’s reference collection and dismissed. He took some of his followers among the staff and student body and formed a kind of neo-pagan group. They set themselves up in a commune at a certain cottage overlooking Olney’s native Kingsport. They call themselves NASA. Nedon’s Astral and Supernautics Amalgam.”

“Nee-don?”

“Olney claims it’s the name of their spiritual guide.”

“So what does Olney have to do with all this?” he asked impatiently.

Over Peaslee’s shoulder, he saw the line of soldiers tramping down to the fire, helmets and muzzles bobbing. The students were recoiling as though they were one organism reacting to the introduction of a foreign virus.

“While he was employed here, Olney professed some rather radical notions,” Peaslee said. “He believes in sharing the dreams of the Black Lotus with mankind whether they are receptive to it or no. During one of his lectures he exposed his students to Liao fumes to observe the results. Thankfully none of the class pressed charges. Most wound up joining him.”

“You said you knew who started the fire,” said Iwanicki. “Are you saying it was Olney?”

“I saw him myself early this morning, along with some of his followers, loitering about the quad, very near the ROTC building before it caught fire.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes,” said Peaslee. “I saw him clearly from the window of my office. By the time I came downstairs, the fire had already started. I have no doubt it is a distraction, meant to keep your soldiers occupied.”

“What do you think he intends?”

——————————–

Kick a buck here – https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/horror-summer-sale-2019-from-dark-regions-press?fbclid=IwAR0_aVJlP3hpNQAYb9lVUju5ka6un2MncEWrHUs7BALtr7UMz_BC6TbybMk#/

 

M. Wayne Miller’s Interior Art for Merkabah Rider 3: Have Glyphs Will Travel

While I’m plugging away at my John Conquer novel and trying to sell this weird western wuxia book, I thought I’d pop in here and show you guys one of the pieces M. Wayne Miller did for the interior of the forthcoming Merkabah Rider: Have Glyphs Will Travel, which ought to be out in a month.

Here’s a look at the art for The Mules of The Mazzikim, which features Lilith and her boys come to pay The Rider a visit.

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Published in: on July 11, 2019 at 10:39 am  Comments (1)  
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