Tuesday, October 21, 2014

More October frights


"Doctor Porthos" by Basil Copper

"Stragella" by Hugh B. Cave

"A Place Where There Is Peace" by James A. Moore

"Human Remains" by Clive Barker

"A Week in the Unlife" by David J. Schow

"The House at Evening" by Frances Garfield

The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (movie)

One Million B.C. (1940) (movie)

The Mummy's Shroud (movie)

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

FYI;
There will be a night of anthology horror movies coming up on TCM, on Oct 28th, not Halloween (oh, they have other horrors for Halloween.) Dead of Night, Twice Told Tales, Kwaidan, The House That Dripped Blood and Torture Garden (screenplay by Robert Bloch.)  I'll be recording them all except ...House.., as I've already seen it.

Monday, October 13, 2014

October Frights So Far


I have no real plans or goals for horror consumption this October. Just reading or watching whatever hits my fancy. Almost at the mid-point of the month. Here's what I've experienced so far.

"Echo From The Abyss", "One Thousand One Nights Unseen", "Curse the Child" by David J. West

"The Calamander Chest" by Joseph Payne Brennan

Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper (graphic novel)

THRILLER (t.v.) - (episode) "The Twisted Image"

"The Music of Eric Zahn" by H. P. Lovecraft

"That Hellbound Train" by Robert Bloch

That Hellbound Train (graphic novel)

"The Witching Tree" by Brian Keene

The Creature from the Black Lagoon (movie)

"Widow House" by Gregory Luce

"The Dwarf" by Ray Bradbury

"The Chemical Vampire" by Lee Francis

"Beyond Any Measure" by Karl Edward Wagner

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Bloch, Lansdale & Lansdale quadruple shot

Over the summer, during one sale or another, I grabbed two graphic novel adaptations of Robert Bloch short stories. Both were adapted by Joe R. Lansdale and John Lansdale (I don't know their relation.) I thought October would be a good time to pull them out, and compare them with their source material.

"Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper" (original appearance, Weird Tales, 1943)

There are murders in Chicago, and an eccentric Englishman believes they are the work of Jack the Ripper. Why did Jack murder and then disappear in the 1890s? How could an old, old man physically commit knife murders now? Because Jack is an immortal sorcerer who must kill to maintain his eternal life. He wanders the world, springing up in various cities over the years, committing murders and then moving on. The narrator, a psychiatrist by trade, gets pulled along in the grisly hunt.

It's a classic for good reason, though the twist is a bit predictable.


Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper

The twist at the end of the original story, and the original story's first-person point-of-view, undoubtedly made this adaptation a challenge. Having read the short, I knew who the villain was, but Lansdale made changes that helped obscure (in a good way) where the tale was going - even from someone familiar with the original short story.

One clever change was to make the murderer a monster, albeit under control of the true criminal. It keeps the reader guessing. It made me wonder how many changes were made and would the "whodunit" be changed?

The minimalist take on the art extended to the cast of characters - there aren't very many. I did find it odd that there really aren't many suspects offered. There is a quick throwaway scapegoat near the end, but he comes in awfully late.

This is a good graphic novel and a very good lesson in stretching a tight short story into a longer tale, and a very good lesson in adapting to the comic form.


"That Hellbound Train"

(original appearance, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1958)
Great tale, though more fantasy than horror. Martin lives a hobo's life until that Hellbound Train and its devil Conductor offer him a deal. I have to believe Rod Serling tried his best to get the rights to adapt this one. It would have made a classic Twilight Zone episode.


That Hellbound Train

Very faithful adaptation of the story. Closer than Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper. The only main change was the Devil tempting Martin with Eve, whereas in the original story, the Devil just lets Martin do himself in. Bonus points for including Robert Johnson in the passenger car splash!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

loot: Horror Gems, Volume 2

Horror Gems, Vol. Two

I stumbled on this series on Amazon one day through various searches. I don't know anything about the Armchair Fiction publisher but the table-of-contents were intriguing. I went with Volume 2, rather than Volume 1, because I wanted to read a Joseph Payne Brennan story.



It's a nice print book.

Table of contents are a bit slammed in there, and I saw no original copyright or first appearance information. I could look it up on the internet, but it would be nice if it were handy in the book.


I would guess that these are all public domain grabs. Nothing wrong with that to me as long as they're truly public and they are presented well.

I found the lack of an overall introduction odd. In the actual content, some stories have introductions and some don't. Again, odd.

Nice font and layout.

My only complaint here is that the font, while nice, is a bit light on the page. It could be darker.

It is what I expected and looks like a fun series of books. Once I get to reading it, I'll let you know if there are typo issues.

If I like it, I'll certainly consider acquiring more.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

recent read; Writ In Blood (Serenity Falls, Book I) by James A. Moore



Writ In Blood (Serenity Falls, Book I)

In upstate New York, a writer embarks on writing his hometown's history. What Simon MacGruder learns are dark and disturbing moments that the entire town seems to casually overlook. Occult forces are at work - they always have been, since Serenity Falls' cursed beginning. Meanwhile, Jonathan Crowley, a mysterious man with decidedly unnatural abilities, heads toward Serenity Falls to meet something dark and evil. But, strange events keep his arrival perpetually delayed.

Serenity Falls was originally one self-contained novel. When it went to paperback, the story was expanded into a trilogy of novels. As such, Writ In Blood tends to be a very large setup novel that sets the stage for the rest of the trilogy (I assume.)

As I've only starting reading Moore's work, so it might be early to say, but between reading Seven Forges and Writ In Blood, I would daresay James A. Moore likes to build his worlds and reveal them to us in due time. He does this deftly and keeps the reader interested all the way. Writ In Blood might be more about the town of Serenity Falls as a historical whole than about its inhabitants, though many of them obviously have roles to play. This opening tale is largely about atmosphere and that's what good horror is, to me.

Moore presents the tale across three aspects - MacGruder's experiences as he digs into the town history, the town history itself, and Crowley's journey. It's a good idea, with Crowley's physical action giving counterweight to the drama of MacGruder and the history of the town.

This opening tale ends on a some very unresolved notes. (see - "split up into trilogy.") But I've been invested enough in the twisted little town of Serenity Falls that I certainly will be returning for the second installment.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

recent read; Operation: Ice Bat



Operation: Ice Bat

Not only did attending NECON give my horror reading an extra kick, it also made me want to read stories from many of the writers I met. I did seek out various novel titles for my wishlists, but anthologies are an even quicker way of delivering my needs. Fortunately, over the years, a great many of the writers have featured together in anthologies. (There are even some NECON specific anthologies.)  I picked up on this benefit anthology, and it seemed a good place to start, and it featured many NECON attendees.

It's a solid anthology with varying degrees of horrors sub-genres. One or two of the stories didn't match my tastes, but overall it was an entertaining group of stories. That is usually the case with any anthology. For the ebook price, the cause and the variety, Operation: Ice Bat is a sure bet if you're looking for some horror reads.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tis the season

I could blame all these recent horrific acquisitions on the Autumn/Halloween season, but I started earlier this year. We'll blame Charles Rutledge, Jim Moore and NECON in general.


The Drums of Chaos by Richard Tierney

The Dracula Tape by Fred Saberhagen

The Night of the Ripper by Robert Bloch

The Monster's Corner, anthology, edited by Christopher Golden

Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 23, anthology of stories from 2011

B.P.R.D. (Volume 3, Plague of Frogs)

Afterlife with Archie

I've bought some other stuff, too, of course, but they aren't horror titles.