Friday, October 31, 2014

Like, Boo, Man

Be safe and have fun, whatever you do. Tonight we open the gates of the TMI offices, turn on the fog machine, and listen to Screaming Jay Hawkins.

And because we like you a whole lot, we're puttin' two treats in your bag. Check it:

It's Halloween o'clock! Artist unknown, or at least uncredited, where we found it. If we figure out who did this orange and black dream, we'll edit accordingly.

Next up is Frank Frazetta's cover art for Creepy magazine, issue no. 7 (published by Warren):

Great googly-moogly! It's a werewolf fighting a Dracula! Our publisher-at-large, S.L. Kreighton brought us this one, and over-shared the following: "I'm pretty sure when I first saw this, I got an erection. Ah, to be nine again."

Now we're really scared.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Movie Time!

Spare seven minutes and some change for today's short feature, in which a pink mountain lion with a flair for drama (ahem) meets a cheap knock-off of The Addams Family.

Fry Your Eyes, Melt Your Brain, Love Your Ears

It's nearly go-time, people. And we know it's been a skint year for genuine reflection, critical examinations, or philosophical pondering from The Typing Monkey. So let us point you to some Halloween treats we frequent:

The Year Of Halloween -- A Tumblr that says what it does and does what it says. This is the Halloween-nut equivalent of finding a roll of quarters outside the arcade. Each post can send you down a rhizomatic path of creepy delights. Go now.

Distinctly Jamaican Sounds -- John, aka Reggaexx is at it AGAIN. Surely the man must dig deeper and deeper in his vaults every year to bring the world custom-made mixes of spooky dub, reggae, ska, rocksteady, and if memory serves, even some lover's rock. Now, we say "dig deeper and deeper" because you'd think he'd run out of material. But no. Every year there are new discoveries, fun sound effects, and even custom artwork. Download piecemeal, or wait for the full set on the 31st. But leave a comment of appreciation no matter what. It's a party soundtrack you didn't have to make, and not a "Monster Mash" in sight.

Graves and Ghouls -- We pointed at this last year when we first discovered it, and it's up and running again this year. Like Year of Halloween above it will show your eyeballs a good time. And, like YoH, there's some mild nudity, so approach with caution if you're at work.

Originally posted on The Weird Wide Web which we would not know about if we hadn't seen it first on The Year of Halloween.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Is There Any Other Kind?

Reviews for this paperback from 1971 range from straightforward to snarky. Well, pretty much either one or the other. And those are just the reviews from a bunch of modern resources.

Who knows how this book was received during it's original time as a new release on the shelf? The point is, copies are for sale and if you're terribly interested in rising to the challenge of the title, don't let us stand in your way. The authors, we assume, knew what they were talking about. 

As for the rest of us, there's so much to study here:

For real, just put the title of this book into the search engine of your choice and find out what's inside. Then tell us.

Monday, October 27, 2014

That Ol' Drac Hand

Ultimate source unknown on this one, though we found it via the Weird Tales Facebook feed. It has to be a book cover, VHS sleeve or movie poster. And if there's more too the image, we don't want to see.

The simple image of the vampire's hand, a French cuff, the scarlet interior of the casket planting the idea of blood in the viewer's mind -- it delivers a slow, but steadily unfolding fear. Awake now, the Count will rise and disappear into the night, hungry.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Everybody Wants a Moon Monster Of Their Own

The Typing Monkey digs the short films of Jason Willis. And the rascal's back again with another seasonal effort:

Moon Monster - Animated Horror Fan Club Spot (Comic Book Ad, 1970) from Jason Willis on Vimeo.

It's good fun and took a lot of work, as you might imagine. Read about the making of Moon Monster here. And check out Mr. Willis' website for more neat stuff.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Cranium Not Included

Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” may be the birth of American fiction but the lore of a headless horseman roaming the woods of upstate New York was not his original creation. Mind, we do not begrudge Irving for taking an urban legend and running with it toward lasting fame. Shakespeare himself re-purposed myth and legend for many of his great works.

Headless horseman folklore varies slightly from region to region. One German variant (there are several) casts the specter as a benign force, whose appearance warns hunters to take the day off, lest tragedy befall them.

Most Celtic stories lean on more sinister depictions of the rider from the great beyond. By far the most gruesome of these is the Irish dulachán (dark man) who carries his own head tucked under his arm and wields a whip made from a human spine. A human spine!

Irving perhaps combined some of these iterations to arrive at his famous Hessian soldier who died in an unnamed battle during the American Revolution. And thanks to numerous paintings, illustrations and a really terrific Disney cartoon, most of us Yankees envision a black-caped, barrel-chested horror on a sturdy black steed, ready to lob a flaming Jack-o’-lantern at timid Ichabod Crane.

That’s pretty much what’s happening in the U.S. Postal Service stamp from 1974:

Designed by Leonard Everett Fisher

For no extra charge we offer two more artistic interpretations of the Headless Horseman:

By Abigail Larson

Cover art by Gil Kane and Ernie Chan

[Tip o' the jack-o'-lantern to Weird Tales for the Larson and Kane/Chan artwork.]

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cliff's Notes For Dummies, Ya Dummy!

Forgive us for just discovering Better Book Titles, the Tumblr that sums up classic literature by re-titling the books with, well, take a look at the Halloween set and you'll get the idea.

[Hat tip to Hark A Vagrant's Tumblr.]

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Witch Folklore From the Midwest

Mysterious Heartland "focus[es] on unsolved mysteries, true crime, ghost stories, folklore, and books and movies about those topics." Yah, sure, you betcha!

Tradition holds that most tales of witchery in the United States center around New England, thanks to Salem, Massachusetts and those buzzkilling Puritans who pretty much thought everyone who wasn't a Puritan fellated the Devil on a regular basis. Only the sweaty bayous of Louisiana rival New England in terms of black magic stories set in the U.S.

But Mysterious Heartland editor and writer Michael Keen says hold on to your scrapple for five minutes. The American Midwest has some witch lore too. And he dug up ten good ones. Now, most of them read as pure urban legend, and that's okay. There's nothing wrong with having a few new weapons in your ghost-story telling arsenal next time you need to scare your nephew.

Read Keen's list and enjoy the common themes it shares not just with other witchcraft yarns, but scary stories in general. There are false accusations, angry mobs, ghosts, curses, and lots of evil revenge. Sound familiar?


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Splotch, A Blotch

The 1958 horror/sci-fi movie The Blob gets tossed into the pile of it's kitsch/camp peers too often. It's a surprisingly funny and self-aware film that still delivers the cheap thrills of a good drive-in distraction.

The Blob probably isn't the first movie of the era to have adults doubting teens who deliver stories of wild goings-on. But it executes the trick well, and in doing so, must have endeared a fair portion of its target demographic by saying: "Yes, new social class, you teenagers, you. We believe you. We think you have something to say."

Perhaps that's giving the filmmakers too much credit. But it's hard not to think that way when Steve McQueen, in one of his first big screen roles, does such a sly impression of James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause -- the ultimate in teen validation cinema. 

In Rebel it was the need to be understood -- that the violence the teens were engaging in was a cry for attention, a cry for help. With Blob, it's the need to be believed -- for the adults to accept that two teens saw a protoplasmic monster crawl out of a meteorite and eat a hobo.

And if all else fails, watch The Blob for the nifty opening credits music -- a beach-blanket pop treat written by Burt Bacharach and pretty much designed to get teen feet on the dance floor.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Skatin' Death

The Grim Reaper don't even look twice at your "No Skateboarding" sign.

[A note: If you're not following Weird Tales on Facebook, you're missing out on tons of fun artwork, photos and writing. We swiped this image from their feed. Whenever possible, if we re-post their selections, we give credit to WT, and more importantly, the artist.]


We may snicker when a teen in Hot Topic goth gear waxes philosophic on the beauty of decay, but reader, that teen is on to something.

In popular depictions, the crackle of autumn leaves and the twilight passage of migrating birds hog the cozy glow of October. But it's the slowing pulse of nature getting comfortable in her sleep that moves the pens of poets. Clouds nudge closer for warmth and the scurrying feet of insects send Morse code to the soil: Good night and thank you for everything you've done. Now rest.


Lean in close to carnival mouth of the jack-o'-lantern. His turnip breath exhales a whisper: None of us were meant to last.

halloween pumpkins 2014 from Thomas Vespermann on Vimeo.

If you'd like to see another slightly creepy time lapse video from Thomas Vespermann, check out "Vintage Flower Dolls."

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Daily Planner ... of Horror!

Mark Anderson of Andertoons discovered something wonderful. The "Mighty Marvel Calendar for 1975" can be repurposed for 2014. That is, all the days and dates line up exactly with the current year. It's not a black swan event, it happens three times during any given 28-year cycle.

Anderson just happened to have the 1975 calendar. So he scanned it and made it available to us plebes. We didn't mention it back in January because we figured you already knew that was a thing and were all over this.

October's artwork provides a nice peek into what mainstream comics were doing at the time, and 1975 was a boom year for Marvel's horror titles:

Go get the whole thing at Anderson's site (linked above) and live out the last quarter of 2014 like the stylish gadabout you are.

[Hat tip to Bleeding Cool a way back in January.]

Wednesday, October 1, 2014