Friday, November 27, 2015

Borderline by Lawrence Block


Early effort by Block (late fifties). Well crafted and very hard edged. The violence is graphic, the sex graphic and, for the time, taboo pushing. Like Westlake and Ellison, Block had been paying the bills writing porn and if the ratio of sex to plot were a bit higher, I might assume that was the original market. From a Twentieth Century perspective, the most interesting plot thread is probably the account of a young divorcee discovering her pan-sexuality in a border town bordello. Block scholars will want to take a look at the well-developed character of the serial killer who, in a true sign of the times, initially tried to satisfy his murderous appetites through a diet of horror comics.

Monday, November 16, 2015

"Little Nemo Meets Lieutenant Kijé"

I recently decided to have some fun with two of my favorites...

Saturday, October 31, 2015

For you halloween reading pleasure -- Frankenstein meets Frankenstein

[A Mippyville repost]

Dick Briefer always had fun playing with the line between the merely dark and the truly grotesque. In the Mippyville stories, he normally pulled back before things got quite as potentially gruesome as this 1946 tale.

Briefer also enjoyed parodying popular culture figures from Bing Crosby to Inner Sanctum host Raymond. Boris Karloff fit right in.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

"Do you want to see something really scary?" --

With one exception, these are episodes of the Twilight Zone that creeped me out as a child and in some cases still do. The Grave doesn't quite fit in here, but it's awfully good anyway, written and directed by the great Montgomery Pittman and featuring one of the best casts you'll find on any half hour of television.

It's a Good Life

Perchance to Dream

The Grave

When the Sky Was Opened

Mirror Image

The After Hours

The Howling Man

The Invaders

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

For your Halloween viewing pleasure -- silents are golden

The Phantom of the Opera

Buster Keaton's "The Haunted House"

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde withJohn Barrymore

Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

For you halloween reading pleasure -- Frankie, Raymond and the birth of EC

[A Mippyville repost]

At least the birth of EC's horror line which was inspired by what was thought of, even in the Fifties, as old time radio horror shows like Inner Sanctum (which featured the creepy, pun-loving host, Raymond) and Light's Out (which had stories every bit as violent and disturbing as anything EC ever published as well as a progressive political viewpoint similar to that of Gaines). Sanctum has dated badly but most of Light's Out remains effective to this day (listen for yourself here).

With that out of the way...