My darling children, and the thoroughly compromised grown-ups you seem inevitably fated to become:
For close to twenty years, some joker named Robert Devereaux has been chronicling my life. There were things he stretched, but mainly he told the truth.
Lately, he’s gone into my attempt to fix the horrendously flawed human psyche. Did that attempt succeed? I won’t spoil your fun by telling you.
I asked Robert (I always think of the once adorable little tyke, one of the damnably nice boys, as Bobby) to say a few words about his most recent attempt. Here’s Bobby’s reply to his readers:
“Lately, I’ve been trying to save the world through my novels. So far I have failed. I expect to continue failing. On that score I harbor very few illusions. Still, Uncle Tom’s Cabin was a world changer. Abraham Lincoln is reported to have greeted Harriet Beecher Stowe with: ‘So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.’ And Huckleberry Finn, in which Huck conceals runaway slave Jim while fully expecting to go to hell for it, remains an inspiration. Then there’s Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle , which brought reform to Chicago’s meat-packing industry.
“Fifteen months ago, my wife died of ovarian cancer at the age of sixty-one. In her two and a half year decline, I heard her say more than once that if cancer finally took her life, at least she wouldn’t have to live through the disasters the human race seems unable to prevent, such power have we given those who put boundless greed over our and the planet’s survival.
“Do I sound bitter? Bitter I be. And bitter shouldst thou be. So kindly shrug into your leaden cloak of bitterness, yoke it across your shoulders, and join the parade of the damned.
“Twain, quite the curmudgeon in later years, wrote this: ‘Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.’
“And so, via Mark Twain’s bitterness and a world whose inertia is tending toward irreversible ruin, we arrive at Santa Claus Saves the World, part three of my Santa Claus Chronicles. Saint Nick is given the chance to reengineer the human psyche, to fix God’s botched job before it’s too late, hoping to outrace a critical tipping point.
“This being fiction, there are, of course, opposing forces, not the least of which is God Himself. Also active are the Tooth Fairy, her imps Quint and Gronk, the harrumphing elf Gregor, and Venga, a fallen golden robotic handmaiden of the Greek god Hephaestus.
“As I researched this book, I began making lists of human flaws. Let me tell you, those lists are unending. I have been kind to my readers. I have not tried to include every last flaw in my novel. We all know what they are. And it would have been so hard on the trees.
“No, let the token few I name suffice.
“On a happier note . . . hmmm, what could have I been thinking when I began this sentence? There is no happier note.”
Yes, sweet kiddies. I caught the author in a foul mood. But moods come and go, as you well know. He’s a jovial sort usually, and that joviality is as genuine as his despair.
That’s about it. Must get back to supervising our toy production and the planned delivery on Christmas Eve.
Don’t forget the milk and cookies, if you’re so moved. These days, I’m into almond milk and gluten-free cookies. But carrots are still fine for my reindeer. And any little note you care to leave. I love your notes—and you—to death!
The jolliest of ho-ho-ho’s to you and yours,
Santa Steps Out
Santa Conquers the Homophobes
Santa Claus Saves the World
An 80′s dude with a mullet feels like there is something really off about his family…his sister and parents are acting strange and no matter what he does, even being the quarterback of the football team and winning a high school debate, doesn’t impress them. Then he realizes his feelings are validated when he hears a strange recording from a friend. That’s when the setup of the first half of the movie ends up getting truly bizarre and the finale…well you just have to see it for yourself if you haven’t already. There is truly no ending like it in the history of cinema.
A true classic that reflects how the rich feeds off the poor through ooze, sex, and tons of stretchy, flesh-colored latex, Society is a great film that belongs on your Bizarro movie shelf. You can watch it in its entirety here:
Written by Cameron Pierce and illustrated by Jim Agpalza, this is the first book in Sinister Grin Press’s Lockjaw bizarro line and is limited to 100 hard cover copies.
Written by Wonderland Book Award-winning author Cameron Piece and fully illustrated by Jim Agpalza, Fantastic Earth Destroyer Ultra Plus is a bizarro epic that’s as beautiful as it is bleak.
By Sam Reeve
It’s that time of year again, the one that I hate so dearly. December doesn’t bring snow in Vancouver, just rain and grey skies, and that foul holiday (Christmas) is celebrated as strongly here as any other. I decided two years ago to drown myself in weird art instead of turning into the Grinch, and it’s now a tradition.
Starting this Sunday on December 1st, I’ll be featuring a different artist each day. You’ll learn some things and see some pretty weird shit, and maybe, just maybe we’ll be able to block out the Christmas carols together. Below you’ll get a taste of what’s to come.
“Hot Rod Worm! It’s what’s for breakfast!” – John Skipp
(Jeff Burk is the head-editor of DEADITE PRESS, ERASERHEAD PRESS’ horror imprint. He is also the author of SHATNERQUAKE, SUPER GIANT MONSTER TIME, CRIPPLE WOLF, and SHATNERQUEST. He has been a life-long horror fanatic and learned to read with reprints of TALES FROM THE CRYPT comic books.)
I love horror movies! I am completely obsessed with them. I try to watch every horror movie that comes out and seek out any title anyone recommends to me. My parents are responsible for this addiction. They were both horror freaks that introduced to me many classics of the genre at an early age. My Mom use to get me a Halloween present every year of a horror movie that she thought I should see (for the record, her favorite is THE HILLS HAVE EYES).
Over the years I’ve seen hundreds (goddamn, maybe into the thousands) of horror movies. From any country, any era, any budget – if it’s horror, I’ll watch it.
The Halloween season is upon us and I use to host horror movie marathons every year for my friends (now I lean more towards crazy parties but that’s another story). But I still like to rewatch my favorites during the season when I can find time. With that in mind, I spent a lot of time (maybe too much) internally debating and came up with the list of my twenty-three favorite horror movies. These are not what I would argue are the objectively “best” horror movies ever made – these are my personal favorites. These are the movies that I rewatch all the time and when someone asks for recommendations it’s something from this list.
Now let’s get this corn-syrup-and-red-dye-soaked party started!
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
1981, John Landis, USA/Britain
It seems so goddamn difficult to make a decent werewolf movie. But not only is AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON the best werewolf movie ever made (nothing comes close) it’s one of the best horror movies of all-time. Few movies can seamlessly switch from comedy to horror.
Rick Baker’s special effects are outstanding. The transformation has gone down in history as one of the best horror scenes ever put to film.
1980, Ruggero Deodato, Italy
In what may be the first found-footage-movie, a documentary team has gone missing in the jungle. When their footage turns up, a ground of producers watch it to decide if they want to release it as a nature documentary. What they find is the film crew being cruel and abusive to the natives and their eventual mutilation and devouring by the natives (no spoiler – it’s in the title).
For a low-budget exploitation gore flick, there is a surprising amount of intelligence on display. The movie asks a lot of questions about the differences between media and reality and the complicit role of the audience in violent entertainment.
But the real reason you watch this movie is to see how far it will go. This is one of the founding films of the hardcore horror sub genre. And there’s a reason why, to quote the film’s taglines this movie is “the one that goes all the way.”
Warning: this film does contain scenes of real animal death. The Italians just didn’t give a shit back then.
2005, Neil Marshall, Britain
Five women go on a spelunking trip to the middle of nowhere. But the cave they choose to explore is home to a race of monsters that eat anything they can catch. Now the five friends must battle their way out of the darkness if they don’t want to be dinner.
Marshall’s second film (his first being the awesome werewolf vs. soldiers epic DOG SOLDIERS) is an excellent study in intensity. The first act slowly introduces the characters and shit starts goes wrong in the cave immediately. By the time the monsters are introduced you’ll be practically falling off your couch with shock after shock. This movie also features my all-time favorite jump-scare – the camcorder scene (those that have seen the movie will know what I’m talking about).
Just make sure to see the original British cut of the film. The American edit cuts the last scene from the movie. It’s only about thirty-seconds missing but it changes the entire context of the story and neuters the film.
THE WOLF MAN
1941, George Waggner, USA
I said earlier that AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON is the best werewolf movie ever made so why is this higher up on the list? Because THE WOLF MAN is my favorite of the old classic gothic horror films. Swamps shrouded in fog, old gypsy curses, classic special effects, and stellar performances from Lon Chaney, Jr. and Bela Lugosi make this a genre defining work.
While my tastes tend to lean towards the hyper-violent and sadistic, there is no denying the power and unique aesthetic the Universal horror line had.
THE WICKER MAN
1973, Edward Woodward, Britain
My favorite horror/murder mystery/occultic/musical. There has never been anything like THE WICKER MAN before or since. A fundamentalist Christian policeman is summoned to a small British island to investigate the disappearance of a little girl. To say anymore would spoil one of the most unique experiences in the horror genre.
THE WICKER MAN has been the victim of an extremely laughable remake and disappointing sequel (amazing mishandled by the writer/director of the original) but don’t let that dissuade you. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore and they never did.
TETSUO: THE IRON MAN
1989, Shin’ya Tsukamoto, Japan
A style-over-substance (and I mean that as a compliment) masterpiece of nightmare filmmaking. A man gets a literal infection of technology that results in wires and machine parts overtaking his body and the loss of his humanity. Shot in grainy black-and-white, the movie is one surreal scene of horror after another.
TETSUO: THE IRON MAN is the perfect combination of American-style exploitation sensibilities with the genre-defying-craziness the Japanese horror scene is known for.
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2
2011, Tom Sixx, USA/Britain/Netherlands
The first HUMAN CENTIPEDE movie was a fun little mad scientist flick. Somehow it developed a reputation in the mainstream as one of the most extreme and gross movies ever made. Exactly how that happened completely escapes me considering A SERBIAN FILM was released around the same time – but we’ll get to that later in the list. The first was original but far from graphic.
Sixx heard criticism that the movie wasn’t that extreme from the horror scene and took it to heart for his sequel. THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2 takes place in “the real world” and stars an obsessed fan of the first film trying to create his own Human Centipede. What the first film only suggested at, the sequel shows in explicit detail. For someone twisted like me that seeks out the most outrageous and sick movies, this is a goldmine.
What really elevates this movie is how it is filmed in pseudo-art-house style. The first half of the movie almost comes across as a parody of David Lynch’s ERASERHEAD. The use of black-and-white actually makes the gore even more graphic. But there is one use of color in the movie. Brown. Can you guess how that is used?
1981, Lucio Fulci, Italy
THE BEYOND is a psychedelic nightmare captured on film. It ignores logic for the sake of creating an atmosphere in which any kind of horror could happen at any moment. Fulci’s vision of a small town that contains a gateway to hell itself is a ignores any sense of rationality in favor of sheer madness. Zombies, eye-violence, and exploding heads litter this surreal and unnerving piece of European art-house exploitation. While Fulci made many other films worthy of praise (notably CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD and ZOMBI 2) he never matched the mind-bending terror of THE BEYOND.
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
1974, Tobe Hooper, USA
I would argue that NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (which I’ll talk about later) and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE have defined modern horror. Everyone in the genre owes a huge gratitude to those two movies. Made during the height of the Vietnam War, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE perfectly reflects a world gone insane with no one seemly in control. The flower-power hippie generation was over and this movie was one of the nails in their coffin.
Horror fanboy pet peeve – It bugs me so much when people reference how bloody this movie is. There is almost no blood or gore in the entire film. Almost everything is very cleverly implied. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE should be held up as a masterpiece of suggestive filmmaking instead of cheap gory horror.
CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON
1945, Jack Arnold, USA
Breaking from Universal’s trend of adapting novels, plays, and legends – CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON stands out as the only truly original creation from the classic movie monster line. Set not in a gothic castle or a dank swamp but the sunny Amazon River, there is little that invokes the Universal style but for one thing – the monster. The Creature is the pinnacle of man-in-a-rubber-suit monster design. Played by two talented, and uncredited, actors, the Creature demands awe every time it appears on screen.
It was originally released in 3D and it always had been a dream of mine to see it that way. Recently I got to attend a revival showing in the original 3D – wow! The classic scene of the Creature swimming beneath Julia Adams never looked more beautiful or surreal.
IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS
1995, John Carpenter, USA
The best Lovecraftian movie ever made to never reference H. P. Lovecraft, Cthulhu, or black magic spell-books. Sam Neil (aka “hey, it’s that guy from JURASSIC PARK”) stars as an insurance investigator hired by a book publisher to investigate the disappearance of superstar horror author Sutter Cane. So begins a film that starts as a dark murder-mystery and veers very quickly in surreal nightmare territory.
What Carpenter got right that so many directors of more explicitly Cthulhu Mythos films got wrong was the sense of meaningless and mind-bending terror in the face of forces much greater than yourself.
1992, Peter Jackson, New Zealand
The goriest (in terms of gallons of blood on screen) zombie movie ever made! This ultra-gore/comedy is one of the most fun films ever made. Each scene will have you squirming and howling with laughter. There is a kinetic energy in this movie that is unmatched. Once you make it to the scene of the Kung-Fu Priest kicking ass for the Lord, you’ll be completely in love. There is no greater crowd-pleaser than DEAD ALIVE.
It still shocks me that the man who made this would later go on to adapt THE LORD OF THE RINGS.
1994, Nacho Cerdà, Spain
The easiest way to sum up this short film is it’s the most beautiful film about necrophilia that you will ever see. No joke. The movie is essentially one long scene of a mortician fucking a corpse. Cerdà took an extremely ugly subject matter but presents it through stunningly gorgeous filmmaking techniques to create an extremely affective art-house gore flick.
1982, John Carpenter, USA
The best sci-fi/horror film ever made. A research expedition in Antarctica finds an alien spaceship buried in the ice. But when it turns out the creature onboard is not dead and can shape-shift at will while infecting other life-forms, the team must stop the monster before it can reach the mainland and take over civilization.
THE THING is a masterclass in paranoia. No matter how many times you see it, moments like the blood-test scene and the creature’s amazing transformations never lose their power to shock.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
1968, George A. Romero, USA
The first modern horror film. Before this almost all horror movies were in the Universal/Hammer vein. But NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD took the horror out of gothic castles and English swamps and placed it modern America. It also single-handedly created the modern concept of zombies.
Romero’s first film still has the power to shock. The scenes of the zombies eating flesh were amongst the most graphic images put to film for its time. Some of the scenes involving race and child death are still too ballsy for many directors working today.
And that ending. Dear god. It might be the best ending to any horror movie. Unlike PYSCHO, the shocking finale surprise has not become a pop-culture stable. If you somehow haven’t seen NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, drop what you’re doing and go watch it. Even all these decades later it’s still a bleak and soul-crushing vision.
2006, Eli Roth, USA
The film to kick-start the torture-porn trend. Because of how influential it was, many forget what a breath of fresh air it was after the SCREAM-rip-off and PG-13 ghost dominated 90’s. HOSTEL brought the viciousness back to horror.
It was also the quintessential post-9/11 film. It’s world of Americans being bought and sold for torture perfectly reflected the nation mood in the same way the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE did for the Vietnam-era.
Roth also showed filmmaking techniques and intelligence that his many imitators and detractors missed. The film half of the film with the tourist’s exploitation of local women is directly mirrored in the second half with their own violent exploitation. Shots and music cues are directly reused but under dramatically different circumstances.
While torture-porn has been regarded as nothing more than cheap prurient trash, Eli Roth proved with HOSTEL that it can be used to make real art.
SHAUN OF THE DEAD
2004, Edgar Wright, Britain
The funniest horror comedy ever made! A group of slacker friends decide to wait out the zombie apocalypse at their favorite bar. Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg demonstrate a hopeless love and adoration for the horror genre as they go through shout-outs to almost every zombie film you could name. And you don’t have to be a horror-nerd to love the movie. Their wit and creative gags will entertain anyone who watches. While Wright and Pegg have an incredible body of work (the TV series SPACED and films HOT FUZZ and THE WORLD’S END), their tribute to the horror genre is far and away their best work.
THE EVIL DEAD
1981, Sam Raimi, USA
The originator of the “Cabin in the Woods” horror archetype. Five friends go to a cabin, find a cursed book, and accidentally release demons. While the series is remembered as a comedy because of THE EVIL DEAD 2 and ARMY OF DARKNESS. The first film is straight-up hardcore horror.
DEADITE PRESS is named after the villains of this movie. To me THE EVIL DEAD is in many ways the ideal horror film. Graphic violence, colorful monsters, and surreal breakdowns all combine into a genre-redefining experience that still shocks.
That pencil scene still makes me squirm.
POULTRYGEIST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD
2006, Lloyd Kaufman, USA
All hail Troma, the kings of trash! No one does low-budget gore, tasteless nudity, and bad taste better than Troma Studios. Founded by director Lloyd Kaufman, they are the oldest independent film studio in the world and have never backed down from their mission of genre anarchy.
While they are best known for THE TOXIC AVENGER and THE CLASS OF NUKE’M HIGH, Kaufman’s greatest achievement is the zombie/gore/comedy/musical POULTRYGEIST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD. There is no taboo that director Lloyd Kaufman does not approach with gleeful abandon. A corpse finger butt-plug, a talking Hispanic sloppy joe, and dancing-and-singing zombie-chicken-demon hybrids are just some of the insanity in this masterpiece.
TOKYO GORE POLICE
2008, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Japan
This is just totally bat-shit insane! Taking place in the future, the Japanese police force is dedicated to taking out “Engineers,” which are basically genetically-mutated living weapons. There is little disputing that the Japanese make some of the most genre-defying films in the entire world and this is the cream-of-the-crop. This is part horror/sci-fi gore and part anarchist satire. TOKYO GORE POLICE is ROBOCOP for the torture-porn generation.
Stunning special effects, outrageous creature design, and fountains of gore make this a truly unforgettable viewing experience.
A SERBIAN FILM
2010, Srdjan Spasojevic, Serbia
Milos is a retired porn star but financial troubles and the promise of a huge payday have pulled him back to do one last film. The catch is he can’t read the script or know what the scenes are about until they start filming. If you think you already know where the movie is going – you’re wrong. It goes to much darker and nastier places than any other movie has dared.
This and THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2 are easily the two most visually graphic movies ever made. Nothing is left to the imagination and everything is shown in explicit detail. But the obscenities that A SERBIAN FILM revels in are unrivaled in all of hardcore horror (only SALO comes close).
It’s difficult to recommend this film due to how far it goes. This one’s only for the real fans of extreme cinema. It makes the SAW series look like Disney flicks.
1983, David Cronenberg, Canada
The concept of losing one’s identity is common in horror but no film does it better than VIDEODROME. Max Renn runs a television station that specializes in cheap sleaze and he’s always looking for the next perversion he can market. When he stumbles across a pirate TV broadcast of what might be a real snuff show, he gets sucked into a dark underworld of sex, torture, and technology.
Cronenberg is known for his intellectual body-horror and nothing shows off his skills better than VIDEODROME. This film almost makes more sense if it were to come out now instead of thirty years ago. It’s commentary on losing one’s identity to social technology is shockingly relevant to today’s age of Facebook and Twitter. It’s not often that one can say a film is truly visionary but Cronenberg did it here.
DEATH TO VIDEODROME! LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH!
1987, Clive Barker, Britain
My all-time favorite horror movie! From the incredible monsters, the puzzle-box, the moody soundtrack, and gothic set-up – this one has it all!! From the iconic opening scene to the many creative tortures and deaths, this movie never lets up.
What really separates HELLRAISER from the rest of the eighties horror boom is its villains are not motivated by unexplained cruelty or revenge but pleasure. The characters are seeking the ultimate pleasures of heaven and hell – they just have to kill a few people to get there. I once read a review that put forward the idea that you could replace every moment of spurting blood with cum and the movie still makes sense.
In my opinion, this is the most beautiful horror film ever made. Every shot oozes with equal parts moody atmosphere and body fluids. Clive Barker’s design work for the Cenobites and Hell are unmatched in how they combine equal parts fetish-sex and terror.
The title HELLRAISER wasn’t decided upon until well into the movie’s production. Fun titles that were tossed around by the crew include SADOMASOCHISTS FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE and WHAT A WOMAN WILL DO FOR A GOOD FUCK. I think both capture the movie’s themes quite well.
What do you think of my list? What are your favorite horror flicks? Let me know in the comments.
by Alan M. Clark
I was born in 1973, a breech birth with thick callouses on the soles of my feet. “Your feet were dirty too,” my sister, Litty, recalled, “and you were all out of breath.”
“You wouldn’t think there’d be enough room in the womb to get up any speed,” I said, “but it seems like I was running from something.”
“Bad genes,” Litty said.
I can’t say what it was—memory doesn’t serve, but if what Litty said was true, some of them must have caught up with me.
I was home-schooled by my sister. Litty pretty much raised me. Her affection, which turned sexual early on, was all I got from family. I was not socialized. My father was missing in action in Vietnam, had been since 1972. Mom did “back work” in some of the richest homes in Los Angeles. I didn’t care for Litty near as much as I did her caresses. I didn’t care for Mom either, but she fed me.
When Litty wasn’t available to watch over me, I had to go with Mom, and she made me assist her in her work. She was employed by some of the richest people in the Los Angeles area, mostly old folks, to groom their backs. She squeezed and cleaned black heads and white heads, and expressed Sebaceous cysts.
Her work was disgusting. I hated the people she treated. They were loathsome, smelly old coots that no one loved. They looked at me like I was trash. At her ministrations, they moaned in pleasure and pain alike. If they hadn’t been rich, there wouldn’t have been anyone in their lives.
Their homes, though, compared to projects where we lived, were heaven. Would be heaven, that is, If I could’ve looked around, but Mom kept me close as her little helper. On command, I’d hand her hair pins, tweezers, wash cloths dampened with hot water, gauze; whatever she needed to get her job done. If I shied away, she’d yank me closer and get in my face and whisper a warning. “You pay attention and do as I say or you’ll be doing this job with your mouth.”
Once while at the Gulbranson home, she heated one of Eustice Gulbranson’s cysts with a hot wash cloth and expressed it so hard, a thick stream of smelly cheese jetted out of it into my right eye. I got pink eye and had to slather it with medicated goop and wear a patch for what seemed like months.
Litty told me about the Manson Family’s practice of crawling through the houses of the well-to-do, casing them for later robbery or murder. The Manson Family called it Creepy Crawling. Sometimes, they’d do it while the occupants were asleep in their beds. Sometimes they’d rearrange things or leave messages behind.
I liked the idea because I felt small and powerless in a big world full of people who did as they pleased with me. If I was to ever have things my way, as small as I was, I’d have to use stealth.
I was ten years old when I did my first Creepy Crawl. At the time, my favorite breakfast cereal was Kreepy Krisps, with toasted rice bats, skulls, and spiders. As I entered the Gulbranson home through a bathroom window at about 2:00 in the morning, I thought of myself as Kreepy Krawly, and the name stuck. While Eustice and her husband, Patrick, slept, I explored their entire estate, their 10,000 square foot home and the gardens. I swam naked in the pool. In the den, still naked, I turned the sound down and played Asteroids on their TV set for a couple of hours. Close to dawn, I took a large butcher knife from the kitchen, went to the bedroom and sat in a chair facing the bed and watched Eustice and Patrick sleep.
I kept hoping they’d awaken, open their eyes, see me, and freak out. I figured I could get away from them pretty easily, but feared Eustice would recognize me. Still, I lingered. I was excited by the danger. How long before they’d awaken? Would they awaken all at once and look in my direction or would it be gradual, giving me a chance to slip away? Was I really willing to risk being recognized? If Eustice seemed to recognize me, I could silence her quickly with the knife. Her husband, the old geezer, would never know why. He’d never catch me.
But he groaned and turned in my direction, sending me scampering from the room with my heart in my throat, an adrenalin high that I’ve struggle ever since to relive, coursing through me.
He wasn’t awakened, but I’d had enough for now. There would be time for further risks in the future.
In the den, I donned my clothes quickly, pulled the eye patch and ointment from my pocket, and looked for a good place to leave them. A life-sized bust of Nefertiti rested on a desk in the corner. I gooped up her right eye and slipped the eye patch over it, then made my way out of the house and headed for home.
I took nothing from the Gulbransons but a sense of power. For the next few weeks, I kept myself entertained by running endless scenarios in my head of their reaction to my visit. For the longest time, that was enough, but then it wasn’t and I needed more. I needed the adrenalin rush again and set about to devise a way of putting myself in sufficient danger to get it. I decided that the lives of others would mean nothing to me in the pursuit of that high.
Kreepy Krawly made his appearance in many homes over the next few years, but the conflict between a desire for the high and a reluctance to land in jail with my freedom taken away, kept me at odds with myself. No one died. I scared the hell out of Los Angeles, though.
By the time I was fifteen, I found out that Litty had given me HIV/Aids. Because of the way the disease was thought of back then, I saw it as a death sentence, and figured I didn’t have much to lose anymore. I decided it was time to risk everything, and that meant murder. Little did I know how good the medications for HIV/Aids would become, how long I’d live, and how the moment of that decision would lead to so many lives cut short. Once I’d started, there was no going back.
I’ve been on the run ever since, the callouses on my soul thickening by the day.
Art “Shadow Games” copyright © 1993 Alan M. Clark
Click HERE to learn more about The Last Goddam Hollywood Movie Contest!
Click HERE to find out more about The Last Goddam Hollywood Movie Contest!
For immediate release: Monday, Sept. 16, 2013
WANT TO BLOW YOURSELF UP FOR “THE LAST GODDAM HOLLYWOOD MOVIE” CONTEST?
Authors John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow knew they wanted to do something special to promote their new book, The Last Goddam Hollywood Movie, a slim novel concerning “the last Hollywood film crew, making the last Hollywood movie, in the radioactive crater formerly known as Los Angeles”.
So they teamed up with filmmaking partner Andrew Kasch (who got over 1.6 million hits for his Princess Bride mashup with the Red Wedding footage from Game of Thrones.) to produce a dozen six-to-twenty-second videos, shot entirely on smart phones. And they’re opening up a contest to all Los Angelenos.
To participate: Grab your smartphone and create a four second video depicting what you’d be doing before the nuclear warhead lands. And then blow up, as in the examples below. Winning entries get a free copy of the ebook, and their work posted and credited as part of this ambitious art project/publicity stunt.
“What we want to capture,” New York Times bestselling author Skipp says, “is a funny, scary, heartbreaking fly’s-eye view of L.A. in its final moments, caught completely by surprise, from south Central to Beverly Hills and everywhere in between. We’ll be posting at least six a week till the end of the month, and hope we get hundreds to choose from.”
The book is half savage showbiz satire, half hardcore apocalypse horror, all complemented by Greg Houston’s powerful art. “If you live in L.A. and work in the Business,” says noted futurist Goodfellow, “the apocalypse will hold few surprises. It’s already here. It’ll only get louder.” And the prospect of crowdsourcing short L.A. films to promote a book about film and L.A. makes the team very happy. (“I’m having fun blowing things up,” notes Kasch.)
The Last Goddam Hollywood Movie gets released today in trade paper and ebook by Fungasm Press, an imprint of Eraserhead Press, the Portland-based publisher specializing in Bizarro fiction who last year had a hit with “Broken Piano For President” by Patrick Wensink. (The book Jack Daniels sent the world’s nicest cease-and-desist letter to.)
For more info on the contest’s rules, go to: http://bizarrocentral.com/multimedia/the-last-goddam-hollywood-movie-contest/ Inquiries (and contest entries) can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org Movie links are below. ——–
1) BARKING SCOOB! (Starring Scooby Hamilton)
2) FRANCESCA LIA BLOCK ON TV!!!! (Starring Francesca Lia Block)
3) HULA GIRL! (starring Laura Lee Bahr, with music by The Slow Poisoner)
Check back here for more videos and visit THE LAST GODDAM HOLLYWOOD MOVIE CONTEST page to join in and follow along!
The Internet Wayback Machine offers a wormhole into Bizarro of previous decades! Do you recall all the books and authors referred to in this REFERENTIALLY MANIACAL essay? Referential mania is a basic mental requirement for denizens of the Bizarro world. And that means you.
How could his nose, which had been on his face only yesterday, unable to drive or walk independently, now be going about in uniform?
–Nikolai Gogol, “The Nose”
Nabokov, a.k.a. “the Nab,” lived long ago in the dim pre-Bizarro days. Not having recourse to us, he read stories about spaniels discreetly fucking and sending love letters back and forth, and an unhappy man’s nose creeping off, climbing a couple rungs up the socioeconomic ladder, then snottily declining to condescend back down onto the face whence it sprang. These peculiar dreams were dreamt by someone whose name sounds whimsical enough without truncation: Gogol.
The poor Nab, by his own account, was infected, terminally: “…after reading Gogol,” he cried, “one’s eyes become Gogolized. One is apt to see bits of his world in the most unexpected places.”
He went off in a permanent conniption, eyeballs gagging in Gogolized smog. The Nab’s world became distorted with what he called referential mania. Everything suddenly became a “veiled reference to his own personality and existence… Everything was a cipher, and of everything he was the theme.” Sound familiar? It should. Referential mania is a basic mental requirement for denizens of the Bizarro world. And that means you. Mad Nab had become your forbear.
If such a moral catastrophe could wrench a Roosky way back in the sleepy, safe, quaint age of innocence, the pre-Bizarro epoch, imagine what would happen if the poor Nab had survived the metabolic shock of his own Gogolization and stayed alive till now. What if he went shopping for good reads today, under the current Bizarro regime, when our ministries hold sway over the imaginations of all Homo sapiens? What would we do with him?
As it was, even without being Bizarroized, the Nab’s referential mania swelled to an almost proto-Bizarro extent. He proceeded to hallucinate no fewer than 999 lines of rhymed couplets, then maniacally referred to them in three hundred pages of scholarly footnotes. Today those footnotes would not be comprised of ten-point type. Rather, crumbs of apotemnophiliac flesh would be sprinkled on the page, not merely self-referred, but self-amputated. And instead of starting out in the first line as the shadow of the waxwing slain, the Nab would have crept and slid among purpling children and blood.
He did choose to creep and slide among an older type of child: college kids. Thirty-three years of American history would need to grunt and hulk past before there would be a Naropa College hip enough to request desk copies of Bizarro texts. But the Nab had to make do with the moment of academic time in which he was stuck. Under the dissociative influence of Gogol, he wandered into a lecture hall at Wellesley College and began to rant at a disconcerted gaggle of patrician coeds.
Having no Kafka Effekt to hawk on his syllabus, he had to settle for The Metamorphosis. He assured the girls that the glitzy man-insect was no cockroach but a dung beetle. And he proved his assertion with the extensive sort of entomological erudition that only a Gogolized referential maniac could ever acquire, someone alienated from bipedal life, not unlike any number of our Bizarro protagonists today.
Having frightened the Wellesley ladies as badly as they could be frightened without the aid of Bizarro-horror, but not yet having fumigated the insects that still skittered in his cranium, the Nab armed himself with a butterfly net. He stumbled up the moonlit mountain behind my boyhood home and successfully stalked a theretofore unseen bug, which he proceeded to name after a halucinated jailbait seductress. Today, fifty years later, he would be spasming at the sight of neither butterflies nor cockroaches nor dung beetles, but at Million-Year Centipedes, and many other sorts of Bizarro bugs, all under the protection of Oscar Legbo.
And, of course, those creeping bugs must not only crawl under his skin, but infest his place of residence, which should be a squalid duplex of puce stucco smeared over splintery frame. Living next door to the foot fungus factory, he will have occasionally to get some air.
After saying “Fuck off” to his landlady the lobotomist, he steps out onto his front stoop, surveys the neighborhood, and finds it transformed into Vulgaria. A permanent creche scene has been sunken into the court house’s concrete steps across the street. It features a baby Jesus, shaped and lubed just like a rectal dildo. It’s swaddled in the shitty diapers of Princess Diana’s secret baby, which has been fetched for the purpose, plucked posthumously and embryonically from the satisfactory Parisian wreckage.
Bizarroized up to the eyeballs, overwhelmed by the reek of the neighbor’s spider pie, the mad Nab has had enough. He falls down on hands and knees and crawls, weeping and howling, back into the house. He bellies salivatingly up to his wife’s insteps, as in the late pages of Ada, his terminal hallucination, and begs to be turned loose. “Vera, Vera, please get me out of here! Let’s fuck off back to Gogolville!”
Mithra the cat, happy to join him down there on the floor among the insect segments and rodent droppings, brings him tribute: among other things, a severed, yet sentient presidential penis, and sundry Pruntyized body parts randomly fallen off. The sight of this congeries takes a strange, inexplicably mollifying effect on the Nab’s sensorium. He gets gradually calm, hiccoughing only once in a while with residual terror.
He begins, like Mary Wollestonecraft’s meat puppeteer, to piece things together. Among the chunks, he finds, at last, a certain long-lost schnozz. And the dead Nab comes to see that we have been completing the preposterous project which he took over from Gogol nearly a hundred years ago. We’ve been busy making the Nab whole.
Ron Jeremy is easily the most well-known male porn actor of our time. He’s a skillful dude in general.
But did you know he was once a rapper? Oh yes. Ron Jeremy was a rapper. Most his rap was about sex. His single “Freak of the Week” is nonstop thong shots. Corey Feldman makes a few appearances. So does that Bobbit guy. Hell, even Grampa Munster shows up toward the end. Its wild. Check it out. —Justin Grimbol
by Constance Ann Fitzgerald
I love saying “Isabella Rossellini” out loud.
I love her name, I love her face, I loved her in Alias as an evil super spy, I loved her in Death Becomes Her, I loved her with glass legs filled with beer (!) in The Saddest Music in the World, and I love her voice. Even when she’s trying to justify eating her young.
KA-BLAM! A beefy trucker and an elderly Elvis impersonator are hired to deliver a mystery package cross-country, only they run into a little trouble at a secluded grease pit and the whole world might end because of it. This book would be so simple if not for the slicing dicing blade of insane ultraviolent artwork inside, all created by a Brazilian guy named Grampa.
That’s the unbridled weirdness of Mesmo Delivery. The concept is odd-yet-simple, but the real star of this book is Rafael Grampa’s drawing ability. Like Frank Quitely or Moebius, there is a ridiculous level of detail in his work, allowing for all sorts of weird stuff to happen on the way to finding out just what the hell is in the back of that truck.
Along with that you get giant splatter trails of blood, fancy Elvis lyrics in the background, a guy with a concrete fist, and maybe Satan as well. There are surreal smiling cartoon characters and faux brand names sprinkled throughout, giving the book a silly-yet-unsettling feel. Mesmo Delivery is tough, violent, and funny, full of ballsy attitude surfing a wave of raw talent. So if you’re a fan of beautifully weird comics, get a copy, ya idgit!
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by Tracy Vanity
Death is a part of life, life is a part of death. Here are some interesting final words uttered by some famous dead people you may have heard of.
“I do not believe in my death.” – Salvador Dali
“I hope the exit is joyful and I hope never to return.” – Frida Khalo
“That was a great game of golf fellas!” – Bing Crosby
“Surprise me.” – Bob Hope
“You see, this is how you die.” – Coco Chanel
“My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go. – Oscar Wilde
“Harlot, yes. But traitor, NEVER!” – Mata Hari
CHAPTER ONE of Family Romance (Jaded Ibis Press)
Now go and smite the Amalekites,
and utterly destroy all that they have,
and spare them not; but slay both
man and woman, infant and suckling,
ox and sheep, camel and ass.
—1 Samuel 15:3
“Cover your face with both hands when you sneeze. You never know when a pathogen has fastened on your head.”
That’s Mom talking. As usual she’s forcing herself on us and in us. She must control our reflex motions. Mom must micro-manage the gases and moisture that exit our faces. She gets fidgety and unfulfilled unless occupying other creatures’ sinuses and limbs, the gluttoness.
I object to being mothered by a creature so ravenous (if intermittently shapely). And I’m sure my dear siblette would agree, if the sad child were still able to mull more than half a notion inside what remains of her mind.
As for the more explicitly testicular of our parents—who knows where absent Dad would come down on this issue? Mom and pathogens are the sole topics he’s reluctant to discuss in secret letters from across the Judeuphrates, where has defected to please himself behaving like a traitor/apostate among the Relic Amalekites.
In Dad’s absence, Mom’s favorite way to rape us of self-possession is immune system anxiety. She has taken the germ theory and twisted it into pre-moistened masochist porn. Her term for any well-being threat is “pathogen.”
Not just bacteria and viruses, not merely lice and tapeworms, but psychosomatosis, connective tissue sprain, clinical depression, poor social connectivity, sulphurous flatulence, scrotal and/or labial fatigue from excessive “maestrobation” (as she taught us to mispronounce it)–all of these are brought on by pathogens. This is according to the fascist conjuress whom we are expected to call, for lack of a less inappropriate moniker, Mom.
And yet, in spite of the pan-systemic pathogens that lurk everywhere, Mom was somehow persuaded (presumably by Dad) to grunt me out into this world, and to perform the same disservice for my emotionally vegetative little sissy. One after the other, Mom extruded the pair of us. She dragged our naked spirits down from the gritty smog overhead and enfleshed us, emboned us, left us to languish dadlessly on the planetary crust, bug-vulnerable and liable at any moment to succumb to the Sneeze Catastrophic.
Deep in the shadowy reaches of the Appalachian Mountains lurk secrets so terrible it was not meant that men should know them. Foul abominations lie in wait, locked away in the in-between spaces Euclid dared not contemplate, aching to return to a world which once belonged to them, and one day will be in their grasp again…
The CastIron Carousel seeks funding to stage an H.P. Lovecraft-themed marionette play entitled THE DOOM THAT CAME TO FIDDLE CREAK in Portland, Oregon in the fall of 2013. The audience will enjoy a fully realized marionette theater experience: a curtain will open revealing a magic window into a stage populated by intricately articulated marionettes animated by near-invisible strings. There will be a dazzling array of special effects that will delight and astonish the audience.
Many more details at their Kickstarter page: The Doom That Came to Fiddle Creak. You don’t have to be in Portland to get in on the fun. A $20 donation will snag you a DVD of the show and for $10 you can download it.
Although the Kickstarter has now reached its $10,000 goal, there are still stretch goals to meet. The more money the CastIron Carousel gets, the better show they can create, and the more places they can tour: Seattle, Vancouver, California, the east coast…the sky’s the limit!
By Adam Bolivar
Last year while sifting through the digital detritus of the world wide web, I happened upon this little gem:
The writer of the article speculates that the true location of H. P. Lovecraft’s haunted village of Dunwich was inspired by the area around Shutesbury, Massachusetts, which has many features in common with the ones mentioned in “The Dunwich Horror.” Being a native of Massachusetts myself (I currently reside in Portland, Oregon), I was quite familiar with the locations mentioned in the article. Indeed, I had recently visited my friend Dave in Shutesbury, and the woods behind his house struck me as so Lovecraftian, I was inspired to write a short story called “The Time Eater,” which was later published in the Lovecraft eZine. During my visit Dave had also showed me a house in nearby Leverett, where, according to the house’s owner, H. P. Lovecraft had once stayed. I pored over various biographies of the legendary weird fiction writer, but could find no mention of a stay in Leverett—although he had toured the general region in the company of his friend H. Warner Munn in the summer of 1928, just before writing “The Dunwich Horror.” Could whoever had lived in that house have been a friend of Munn’s? Could the master of tentacular horror really have stayed there back in ’28?
I wrote to Dave and showed him the article. A fellow Lovecraftian, he was as intrigued by it as I was, and soon paid a visit to the Temenos retreat in Shutesbury, the location of Mt. Mineral—the modern name for the “Horse Hill” mentioned in the article. Astonishingly, Temenos was only a stone’s throw from the house in Leverett. Upon Dave’s second visit to Temenos, he met with the caretaker, who had summoned a council meeting (I kid you not!) during which one of the old council members spoke up to say that he knew of some standing stones near Mt. Mineral, now toppled, but clearly once arranged in a circular shape! Could Mt. Mineral be the inspiration for Sentinel Hill in “The Dunwich Horror?” I was putting two and two together and it was adding up to Cthulhu. Flush with cash from a recent writing job, I wasted no time in booking a flight back east.
Upon my arrival, our first task was to track down the house’s owner and try to verify his claim that HPL had stayed there. A little gumshoeing turned up the owner’s phone number in a local white pages. We called him and left a message on his answering machine asking him to call us back. Dave had also learned another tidbit from a friend who had rented the house (the one who’d first heard the story from the owner): Lovecraft had said that Leverett reminded him of the “cold nothingness of space.” It definitely sounded like something Grandpa would say. The house itself was suitably creepy: dark and perched atop a high hill. It dated from 1790.
The big day came when I took my quest to Temenos itself, accompanied by a merry band of adventurers: Dave, his friend Steve, and our mutual friends Jay and Sue, who photographed the journey. Temenos was certainly not lacking in interesting features: we found an old Indian stone chamber built into a hill, a Buddhist shrine and a curious stone carving of some kind of god, which had mysterious origins.
At the site of the retreat itself was a water pump that dispensed the famous mineral water that gave Mt. Mineral its name—water once prized by Boston Brahmins and the New York elite, who flocked there for spa treatments in the 1800s. A local named Ephraim Pratt was said to have lived to 116 years drinking that water, with a life spanning from the colonial 17th century to an independent America in the early 19th. Could he have been the inspiration for the centuries-spanning Ephraim Waite in “The Thing on the Doorstep?” I tried the water myself; it was ghastly and tasted of sulphur. As for the stone circle, alas, we found nothing definite. There were certainly a lot of large stones around Mt. Mineral, arranged in strange formations by the glaciers that had plowed through that region 18,000 years ago. At one point I became lost in the woods and stumbled upon a secluded copse that appeared to be bounded by a series of stones. Had they been arranged deliberately? Maybe. But by whom?
I must end my weird tale without a satisfying conclusion, despite so many tantalizing clues that this place provided the inspiration for Dunwich, at least in part. We never did hear back from the owner of the house in Leverett, and Dave has yet to meet the “old council member” who knows the location of the toppled stone circle. One day I may go back. Or if not me, perhaps some other intrepid dream-quester will venture into dark woods of Shutesbury, Massachusetts and discover the true location of “The Dunwich Horror.” Maybe it will be you, if you dare…
Pictures courtesy of NewmanImage.
A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Adam Bolivar has lived in New Orleans, Berkeley, and currently resides in Portland, Oregon. He is a prolific marionette playwright, and has written nine plays performed by the Scratch Brothers’ Prestodigital Phantasmagoria and the CastIron Carousel. His fictional works have appeared in Nameless Magazine, the Lovecraft eZine, and in anthologies published by Eraserhead Press and Chaosium.
I’m not sure if y’all celebrate or give a crap about Easter. Personally, I like chocolate and an extra day off of work. So, it’s alright by me.
A friend of mine has a tradition of whipping up rabbit gumbo and eating it on Easter Sunday with a group of friends. This year I got to be one of them. It was tasty. But it turned into a really creepy evening.
So, we sat around and ate rabbit gumbo while watching Night of the Lepus, which I have to say, makes you feel a lot less guilty about eating fluffy bunnies.
Afterward our friend was excited because he brought over a 15 minute short film called Night of the Hell Hamsters.
Hell hamsters? What trouble could a few hamsters be?
Plenty, if you bleed all over a makeshift ouija board and start praying to a deity you think doesn’t exist. Check it out.
Do you love America? Of course you do, it’s America! But what if you were thrown into the far future where your precious America was taken away and replaced by an apocalyptic wasteland full of dinosaurs, renegade robots, and savage warriors? Maybe you would be sad at the loss of corndogs and apple pie, but you could take some comfort that this world is way cooler than anything you’re used to. This world belongs to… AMERICAN BARBARIAN!
American Barbarian was written and drawn by Tom Scioli, best known as the artist of the acclaimed indie comic Godland. Scioli’s art is very reminiscent of the late Jack Kirby, especially his cosmic stories about space heroes and megalithic monsters. American Barbarian carries that style into a world that blends the post-apocalypse with classic sword-and-sorcery (like Thundarr the Barbarian, one of the best cartoons ever). It started as an online comic but was recently collected into a hardcover edition, telling the story of Meric, one of seven brothers in a family sworn to duty and justice. But when his father and brothers are killed, Meric carves this into his fingertips:
With his family destroyed, Meric is forced to strike out alone, make new allies, and defeat the scourge of the wastelands, a monster known as Two Tank Omen. He’s sort of like Xerxes and Apocalypse, only he has tanks for feet.
As a genre fan, this was a must-have for me. If you grew up in the early eighties, during the barbarian craze started by SchwartzenConan, then I promise you’ll enjoy American Barbarian. It has all the savage action and epic adventure, ONLY WEIRDER! And yes, you can go to http://www.ambarb.com to see the comic in its original e-format (and even see some of Scioli’s next project, called “Satan’s Soldier”), I highly suggest the hardcover. It’s a good price and very well-made. I guess I’m just a traditional comic reader, but I also love the smell of good comics. Even when they have this sort of stuff in them…
Now that’s how you start Chapter Seven.
Coming this spring from the British occult-Thelemic-magickal publisher, Mandrake of Oxford…
After making careful preparations to ensure himself a proper reincarnation, the dying Aleister Crowley flubs one syllable of the magickal incantation…and comes back as Elmer Fudd.
The Great Beast never manages to figure out where he is. His Elmer Fudd senses don’t seem to work well, so he sees everything a bit cock-eyed. Bugs Bunny is a strange gray presence with a couple of penile protuberances rising from its head. Daffy Duck is a horrendously irritating black entity.
Crowley tries to interpret his experience in terms of the Egyptian and Tibetan Books of the Dead, plus the Greek Eleusinian mysteries, the Theravada school, etc. Madame Blavatsky keeps rearing her disapproving head.
There are two orgy scenes, one in the cartoon world, and a parallel one in Pasadena of 1910. These are full of unspeakable depravity and monstrosity, taken from Crowley’s own horror fiction, plus cute little Tweety Pie, who plays the part of Baubo, the headless Greek comedienne-demoness.
Crowley faces this bizarre and terrifying predicament with all the aplomb, humor and astonishing courage that he displayed throughout his occult life.
“…And on those thrones we see the Divine Kings. They’re helmed in the expected flame, a dragon crest on one, another plumed with coruscating peacock eyes. Others boast beastie heads on their shoulders and animal suits on their bodies.”
At tombradley.org there’s an illustrated excerpt of ELMER CROWLEY: a katabasic nekyia.
“The real point of reading Bradley, aside from his illumination of the ridiculous and grotesque world around us, is the rolling cadence of his pitch-perfect writing.”