by Nimrod Tzarking
The walls are white, immense. A void. Gauzy specs wiggle in the air, wrinkles in the eye revealing flaws in the infinite, giving way to ghosts.
The ghosts live in the electric. The electric lives in the walls. The walls are throbbing with crazed ectoplasm. How much of me lives in there?
It’s a fresh day. The walls are screaming hundreds of names; I do not know which one is mine. Janet, Doris, Evey, they moan. Juanita, Natasha, Lucille. Faces dance in the ectoplasm. There are no mirrors here, but sometimes a face reaches out. Sometimes they cluster.
One is reaching out to me today. It slinks from the wall and into my grasping hands, its surface sticky and its color inconsistent. I hold a right hand to it, and my left to the face I am wearing. I am not a blind person- I cannot feel if they’re actually the same, or if this is just what faces feel like. My reflection is muddy and distorted in its surface. It coos and licks my earlobe. I wrap my arms around it and kiss its sticky face. I do not remember any songs, so I hum a new melody. Light flickers.
Its voice is tiny but unbreakable. It whispers, these faces are not Yours. Perhaps once they were. Now, You grow around their bones.
I look at her fellows in the walls. Each face has a different character. Among them are warriors, mystics, victims and tricksters. Their features are always in motion. Noses pinch and wrinkle. Eyes wander, laze, and squint. Mouths curl, gape, undulate and smack.
Time wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for meals. They come on plastic trays, each morsel segregated in a shallow rectangle pit. I touch foods. I fill my fists with peas, sprinkle them in gravy, and smear my skin with taters. The ghosts sing oooo and aaaah. These boundaries are my play-things. Perhaps I am an artist.
The square white men get frantic when I paint. The void-white walls are stained with streaks of jelly scrawled in shapes unplanned. My arms have an intelligence of their own. Mashed carrots pool in subtle crannies, edges tugged by the weight of having-worked. No mind could guide these subtle forms. Only an artist. Only a room.
They are wordless when they fetch me, draped in ham and tossing crumbs. But I see they carry suds in buckets and wheel a bed with straps.
Leather bites into my arms. Fluorescents whiz overhead. The ghosts sing from their lightbulbs, fear not, for we are here. I smile. A voice grunts with disgust beyond my eyes, whispers a hateful word. Someone’s scrubbing the walls I left behind.
The wheels pause. More leather is crammed in my mouth. Rolling my eyes as far as they’ll go, I see a metal box with blinking lights above my head. A metal band with white muffs wraps around my skull. The machine hums. The dial twists.
A pulse runs through my head, but I feel no fear. The electric is within me now, and I am inside of it. I am in the walls.
Nimrod Tzarking is a middling dungeon master and a bad influence on children. He eats nothing but whey powder, eggs, and coffee. He teaches literacy in Kansas, which means he might not be teaching for long. His fledgling website (nimrodtzarking.wordpress.com) features angsty fan fiction and Bizarro fiction reviews. You should be his friend!
To see your name up in pixels, submit your twisted little stories to to Eric Hendrixson at FlashFictionFridaySubmissions@gmail.com.
The latest collection from David Agranoff is available, full of hardcore punks and supernatural horror. Presenting: PUNK ROCK GHOST STORY
PUNK NEVER REALLY DIES!
“David Agranoff is a razor sharp writer, a storyteller with a hard rock pacing, a magician of ideas, an adventurer in subcultures, an expert in underground music scenes.”
–John Shirley, author of Wetbones
“Agranoff puts you on tour with one of punk’s great mysteries in this stunning and unflinching dive into the blood, sweat, and vitality that helped punk rock change the world and destroyed one of its legendary bands.”
–James Chambers, author of Three Chords of Chaos
In the Reagan 80s, at the height of hardcore punk, bands eager to make it big crisscrossed the United States in beat-up tour vans with little more than DIY passion and boxes of handmade records. Basements, warehouses and dive bars were alive with the raw energy of the underground scene. But in the summer of 1982, legendary Indianapolis hardcore band, The F*ckers, became the victim of a mysterious tragedy.
They returned home without their vocalist and the band disappeared. A single record sought by collectors, a band nearly forgotten, and an urban legend passed from punk to punk. What happened to The F*ckers on that tour? Why was their singer never seen again? No one has been able to say. Until now…
For the first time, the truth behind Indiana’s lost hardcore legend THE F*CKERS, is revealed. And the most shocking secret is that it could happen again.
From the author of Amazing Punk Stories and Boot of the Wolf Reich, David Agranoff, Punk Rock Ghost Story is a one of a kind supernatural horror set against two very different eras of punk rock history.
Get it here!
- Can’t carve worth a shit? You can buy a California organic “Pumpkenstein.” The price for this molded monster masterpiece? $75!
- In more monster pumpkin news, this 2,058 pound pumpkin set a record.
- Just in time for Halloween, the “Wasco Clown” is creeping out residents in this California town. More clowns are popping up all over Bakersfield, even arming themselves with knives. But that’s not weird for Bakersfield since that place is like Florida, only smaller.
- And yes Florida is still the weirdest city in the U.S. This Florida man said he could speak to animals and claimed some property as his since his sister was burned there as a witch. All while wielding a chain over his head. After being shot he “began dancing and flailing his arms.”
- A teenage girl dies during an exorcism in an Indian town.
- Exorcisms are not only still popular, but there are more exorcisms in the U.S. than ever before. The Catholic church has 10 “official” U.S. exorcists and there are hundreds of exorcism ministries in operation today.
- Ebola, Ebola, Ebola! Just to put things in perspective, 4,033 have died so far from this recent Ebola outbreak, while over 700,000 people die from diseases (mainly malaria) carried by mosquitoes every year. The flu, tuberculosis, and AIDS also kills millions of people every year and are easier to catch.
- A vampire grave has been unearthed in Bulgaria. The skeleton was found with a stake through its heart.
And for our final spooky story in this Halloween edition of the Bizarro New Roundup:
- Tupac and Karen Carpenter’s ghosts haunt DJ Quick. Damn, TMZ videos are fucking annoying. Don’t click on that link. I warned you!
Until next time Bizarros!
News of nonstop war and social collapse getting you down? Didn’t know that shit was happening? Doesn’t matter! It’s time to slide on down for a Bizarro News Roundup!
- Indian teen with rare medical condition has 232 teeth removed from his mouth.
- Indian man finds a 5-foot crocodile in his shower.
- Have you heard about those mysterious Syberian sinkholes? They look like cute holes to hell. Scientists are still wondering what the fuck they are but now there are some theories. I still think it’s aliens.
- Check out this cool mining town in Australia that exists underground! There’s even an underground pub and bookstore.
- We did not revert back to the 80’s…well actually some of us never left, but technically it’s 2014 and Weird Al has topped the Billboard charts:
- In other music news, Primus are releasing an album of songs from the Willa Wonka and the Chocolate Factory soundtrack. Here is a taste of what to expect:
- In Mexico, there’s an embalmed corpse of a woman who models wedding dresses at a bridal shop. Locals are freaked out but deal with it.
- Best mom ever goes to this deep sea octopus who looked after her eggs for 4 years and didn’t even eat! Cthulhu is pleased.
- Treasure news: Man buys cheap retirement land in Portugal and finds over a million dollars worth of vintage luxury cars locked up in the barn!
- Germany is now the penis enlargement capital of the world. Penoplasty is a real word and should be used often.
- A cool German crop circle has popped up out of nowhere. Thousands are flocking to check it out and have penoplasties.
- D.C. hospital rodent infestation is so bad that rodents are crawling up vaginas. That’s pretty bad. Good thing those vaginas were already dead.
- You no longer need to be a serial killer to have your very own human skin furniture! Looks, feels, and smells like the real thing. Just what you always wanted.
- Clowns help 68-year-old clown after she accidentally crashes her car into a pole. Wounded clown is injured but ok. They bounce back.
- CCTV captures footage of a ghost hanging out in a “theatre” in Essex and moving a chair. This happened after a psychic had been on stage earlier.
- You can now send kids to summer camp in North Korea and be a party of a North Korean talent show at the end! Lucky bastards.
- In the most awesome news of the week: cooking with LAVA!
Until next time Bizarros!
By Sam Reeve
My rating: 4/10
I thought it would be a crime to not include a Nollywood movie for World Horror Cinema, even if what they consider to be “horror” may be more of a super cheesy adventure/fantasy for the rest of us.
Nollywood is the second largest film industry in the world next to Bollywood (in terms of productivity, not revenue). Yes, that’s right – some country in Africa produces way more movies than the seemingly movie-obsessed America, whose film industry comes in third. They’re typically shot in a week, on very small budgets, and by western standards would be classified as B or C movies.
In Igodo, an innocent man is condemned to death because the tribe’s elders don’t like that he’s such a friendly dude and that all the ladies like him. They bury him alive, but his spirit inhabits the energy of a giant tree that cannot be cut down. The men who condemned him all die strange deaths, their children die strange deaths, and the dead dude gets his revenge from the grave.
The leaders of the tribe round up seven guys to journey into an evil land where they’ll find the knife that can cut down the tree. They run into ghosts, friendly fire, crocodiles and some kind of chupacabra monster that was a guy in a cardboard costume. One by one, the group of seven is whittled down.
The classic “horror” movie Igodo is no different from others in Nollywood. Despite being such a fan favourite, you’ll find the production quality and acting to be deplorable. The story is a bit better, but due to the Nigerian storytelling style, it seems boring and tedious to most Westerners. It’s important to remember that Nigerians are accustomed to oral histories, and it’s been part of their culture since the beginning of time. This explains why most of the movie is told and not shown – a good 80% of it is a bunch of old dudes talking and repeating themselves.
Flaws aside, Igodo is rife with cheesy effects to get you laughing. My favourite was a floating goat in the sky.
Below are both parts of the movie, though with the description above you could skip the first half and save yourself a mostly boring 42 minutes. Igodo is in English, but be warned of the thick African accents.
By Sam Reeve
My rating: 8/10
I love horror comedies, but hadn’t yet seen one that included martial arts. Spooky Encounters changed that, and is one of the best films I’ve seen this month. It’s the perfect mix of comedy, horror and well-choreographed fight scenes.
Fun fact: it stars the legendary martial artist and actor Sammo Hung, who also directed and co-wrote. Hung is probably as well-known in China as Jackie Chan, and they actually worked together quite often. He also got to fight Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon.
Here’s a great picture of Hung looking awkward between the very sweaty Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao.
Anyway, enough of how awesome Sammo Hung is.
Spooky Encounters tells the story of Bold Cheung, a coachman who seems to run into ghosts and get himself into trouble at every turn. He discovers that his wife was cheating on him one day, but the man escaped out the window before he could find out that it was none other than his boss, the influential Mr. Tam. Not wanting a scandal, and wanting the wife for himself, Tam devises some incredibly elaborate ways of getting rid of Bold Cheung. Tam hires a money-hungry sorcerer to do the deed, who then shares the plan with his apprentice, Tsui, an honorable man who refuses to go along with it. Bold Cheung is convinced by one of the sorcerer’s men to stay the night in an old temple to prove his boldness. Meanwhile, the sorcerer can control a corpse that lays in the temple, and some pretty hilarious fights erupt between the living dead guy and the not-so-bold Cheung.
Thankfully Bold Cheung is aided by Tsui, and the two band together to defeat the evil sorcerer and unsavory Mr. Tam. In between there’s plenty of spooky encounters, and some how Cheung bumbles his way through all of it.
I recommend this movie to anyone who likes kung fu or Ghostbusters. I promise it’ll become a new favourite.
Here’s a great clip from when Cheung takes a nap beside a corpse that wakes up and mirrors his actions. It’s dubbed in English, but the full movie at the bottom is in the original Cantonese with English subtitles.
By Sam Reeve
My rating: 6/10
It’s indisputable that Asians love female ghosts and school girls. Want a film with both? You’ve got Wishing Stairs, the third installment in the popular Whispering Corridors series. None of the movies in the series are related in plot, but are all set in a girls’ school and deal with supernatural horror.
There are 28 steps leading up to the girls’ dormitory, but a legend says that if you count them out loud and reach the elusive 29th step, you can make any wish and it’ll come true. Jin-sung and her friend So-hee are both studying ballet at the school. When a contest opens up to send Korea’s top ballerina to a prestigious Russian academy, Jin-sung becomes jealous of So-hee’s talent. She wishes to be chosen for the competition over So-hee, and is granted her wish, but at a terrible price: her friend has an accident and then commits suicide.
Meanwhile, the fat and mentally challenged student Hye-ju has successfully used the stairs to lose some weight, and uses it again to call So-hee back from the dead. She returns as an evil version of her former self and inhabits Hye-ju’s body. Lots of screaming, murder and insanity ensue.
Wishing Stairs was a little confusing at times, but mostly it was an enjoyable and horrific exploration of jealousy and friendship. The actresses were all wonderful, the gore in the second half was flawless, and there were a few unexpected little twists that ensured I didn’t regret the time spent watching this.
Here’s a good trailer and below is the full movie, both with English subtitles. Seen Wishing Stairs? Let us know what you thought in a comment below!