Saturday, April 24, 2010


Dead PA. Actor Nick Reads Grotesque Book On A Bette -- Blows The Thing To Adams!


Mary Shelley Was Such A Bat Cook,
She Made Hot Dogs,
Served Them That Night In Bier Mugs,
& Called ‘Em Franks‘N Steins!

-- One Bat Review Of GOTHIC GROTESQUES by Brian Stableford --

(Twas A Frank & Steiny Night’s Read: Dr. John Found This Poli-adorable, Byron Threw It Into The Fire & Yelled “Ghouled **** choke **** Lord!” ... While Percy, Not One to Take It E.C., Went "The Shelley Witch It!" Mary? She Went “Goth? Ick!”)

The Keeper of the Pit

Since I haunt one to give out bat depress or call someTHING Lugoseedy, after reading this I decided to share reviewing duties with a fellow Pennsylvanian, the late, lamented Nick Adams. Caught him just as he was about to catch the 3:10 to Johnny Yuma tomb-a.

Oh, sure, fear reader, you’re thinking, “Nick Adams? Why Nick Adams?” Well, for one, he’s, uh, daid, and scare gore, I SAID therefore perfect for handling out grave reviews. For twomb, being from PA., the Nickster had to have been big on horror movies, since he was in enough of ‘em. Plus he probably grue up watching such scare fare in these parts, since my old buddy Frankie Muldoon over at the Black Diamond Theater in Coletown used to tell me: any movie emporium in the state coulda run horror movies every day and fright of the year. That being as long as ya left one week for Kirk Douglas in ACE IN THE HOLE, especially if you had a deal at the snack bar that made everything cheaper for miners.

Bedside witch, I mean, besides which, Adams’ monster movie gigs include one of the first big scream versions of H. P. Lovecraft, whose works are mentioned frequently in Gothic Grotesques, which shall be called GG from here oh-pun. Plus the Nickster starred opposite the biggest star in the world at that or any other time: Godzilla. Oh, Nick and Godzie on the set in Japan, the stories they must have Toho’d!

Now this is not to cast sneaky, snaky poisoned asp-ersions at Mr. Stableford. I fondly recall reading his straight sky-fi back in the early 70’s, seems like only back in the DAWn of time. Many folks might not know this, but Mr. S. was then quite the young musician of the starways, well known for many a sweet Hooded Swan song.

Ah, but somewhere past the Heinlein door into ‘70’s summers I made like Samuel R. Delany and done Spindrift-ed, rather lost in space touch with Stableford’s work as I got gore and more into horror in print and on film. Particularly whenever horror and sky-fi crossed under a star-tossed drive-in skies. For all his eso-terroric word-building in this creature-featured collection of articles on fantastic literature and film, I don’t believe Mr. S. much finds that often the beasts way to eeek!-merge sky-fi and horror is by creature featuring monsters. Lots and ROTS of monsters. Especially when they’re reely “B”ig and car speaker or radio active, performing outdoor screen Giant Ants From Space gig-antics. On that, my word is my Blondie.

Oh, Campbell’s “Who Goes There” gets mentioned. But even then, Stableford herein would rather play deep THINKer than THINGer … I say Kurtly, "B"lieving horror movie fans might find these Gothy Groties a hard Russell.

Worse, there’s tons of words. Words in loonnnnngggg paragraphs of one sentence. To, let’s be Frankenstein, quote the young Madeline Kahn, “Whoof!” Makes me wanna read or watch some bullets and babes type of thriller, say, where the gal with her own low saxophone theme song … and a pair the male reader’d love to grab … asks Philip Marlowe what HIS book would be filled with, and he sez “Short sentences.”

Gunbutt I digress. GG also contains essays on: Vampires, their kiss and kin, from Polidori to wicked monsterous weddings of old ghoul school and new, morgue grew some vampire fiction, where probably the beast idea at the ceremony would be: “Throw Rice!”

Also herein: the beginnings of sky-fi mixed with horror via Mary Shelley, with what would in the 20th Century become, Universally, a Whale of a terror tale by any body’s bolt.

And although there’s a piece on Last Man On Earth stories, where’s the first man on Earth horror story, where Adam met Evil? Or the first sky-fi story ever, where the first homo sap said, “Madame, I’m Atom.” But, Ah’m a-getting-on…I shall, froth witch, try to be more nuclear.

Also here: horror and H. G. Wells at his most Moreau-se. Granted, every time I read ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU its worldview is so depressed I wanna jump off a tall building, Kongsistently. Why, jest seeing the cover of that old Classics Illustrated FOOD OF THE GODS comic book, with its mutantly enlarged bird, still gets me appreHENsive. I mean, abat every subject's here in GG horror folks should expect. Unless they’re giant chickens, then it’d be ex-pecked. So, why can’t I scream to get eggs-cited? Or even rooster'ed up?

What lurky lurches within? Well, there’s alien take-overs representing the loss of man’s very identity, sure, often in a fight to the Finney-ish. Yet I kept reading GG and, couldn’t help it, my mind wandered to any version of THE BODY SNATCHERS. Started thinking scumthing' Stableford perhaps never Ed Wood: when the heroine’s jest about to turn all outer spacey from another PLANT IT? That’s when she should say, “Sorry, hon, it’s time for me to go poddy.”

There’s also an epic piece on heavy metal thru goth music and beyond. Me, I’m Steppen out to say “heavy metal thunder” started with the Yardbirds, any guitarist: Jeff at Samwell-Smith’s Beck and call, Jimmy tuning the next Page, the first guy leaving while he was still getting claps by the ton. Stableford gets so densely into the since those days scenes I want to call Siouxsie up, find out if by now from her concerts she’d want to ban shes. One way to cut down on paragraphs too crowded.

Spooking of banning shes, we of curse get long and windy words on, say, Carmilla, where after awhile I got to hoping for the following dialogue to be Hammer movie hammered out:

She #1 (standing in front of crypt): “Should we do this inside, or out?”

She #2, drunkenly: “Oh, less’ be in.”

Although, if ya told such lines onstage, who knows with what overly ripe veggies, hexactly, so inclined disgruntled undeadettes might Fanu? Or what they'd hoodoo, uh, necks't. Fangfully, if such lines hexist, Mr. S. neglects to men shun it.

My maim GG gripe is these essays are way too academic rather than horror fan eeeek!-atom-ick. THING is, this book's a bounce it off the waller AND call the friggin' corner-or. Yep, the kind witch would make even the brain of Dr. Frankenstein’s hunchback Frye! Hecate, it jest fright even give Colin the Clives! And I say that as a person who has been reading factoidly fright film pieces since Carlos Clarens’ ILLUSTRATED HISTORY, wayback when my idea of hell was: whenever some Poe kid’s mom burned all his Castle of Frankensteins. Now THAT was what you call Joe Dante’s Inferno!

Lord Byron knows, it’s not like I don’t ape-reciate essays on the history of the horror form as GG goes on about. Ah, but if only once in a grue moon B.S. would break down and -- rat hair than GG go on & yawn -- ghoul on, abat any unholy THING. I demean, last week I finished the Hooblers’ THE MONSTERS, MARY SHELLEY & THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, witches gloom and doomy and strait-jacket laced as never get out, yet I found it quite enjoyable and so Woolstonecrafted as to be, in the battles against the powers of mortality, an over Godwinner.

What IT is, is...had no problems with the Hooblers, so what's the problem I have with GG here? And why hoodoo I get this feeling if Mr. S. had been a historical crime and court reekporter, the style would have come out all cut and Dreyfussed?

Worst of all, a book on fantastic lit and film cries for help from pictures tomb break the monster rot tomby. Like Bert I. Gordon might have said, one pic of Maila Nurmi melting away like butterscotch fudge on a Black Sundae is always worth a thousand MAGIC SWORDs. I "B"lieve I'm gore-wrecked to slay that even the most literate spinners of HAUNTING words turned to chillers...of whom there's gore than some critics stink...on the big scream would agree. And that’s for Shirley, Jackson!

Yes, fear reader, you’re quite a fright, I mean, right! I too think I may need a second opinion steada pun yawn. Could be my widdle bwain’s Pit-tweetpotrezeebin’ from all those Flavo’s shrimp rolls at the Mu-Way Drive-in. Honest, I’m slow overwhelmed with GG’s words that even now my said sad brainPanics In The Year Zero. You know, like the old sky-fi stories and futuristic flicks where the whole world’s blown to atoms…Wait, Adams! Whew, my old buddy’s name came back to me in the Nick of time and space!

Like I started to say, I hustled some Gothic Groties up to Burke, PA, where Mr. Adams is buried, took some sample pages of what I’d read for him to site. Luckily I caught him in a mood when he wasn’t feeling REBEL yell-ious.

His first reaction, some ways in? “Nertz, even I have one heckuva LOT more plot!”

“Uh, Nick,” I said, “me and you, we’re boat from nordern PA. Think NUN fiction!”

He paused. “So, I should knuckle under, huh?”

“Yah, man,” I agreed. “Nuns ruler!”

Way the ground shook I could tell he wanted to perogie-school-kill me. I said, ‘Down, boy, down,” and he said, “Downer I can’t get!”

“C’mon," I coaxed, "hoodoo it for the sisters!” Ground kept moving, so I quick and the dead said, “I mean, the local sisters. Rite here. I been listening here waiting for ya, and all the gals underground ‘round here say you make ‘em hot tomb plot!”

Well, that calmed him down some. Don’t wanna mention I kinda thought he was wrutching around some with a stiffly stiffie. Finally he said, “Lemme some pages.”

“Sure, thanks, Nick.” I laid some more Grotie Gothies on him, started walking. Clouds fell, lightning rumbled, and Nick yelled to my back, “No, stupid, I meant BETTIE Pages.”

I turned. “You ain’t heard she died?”


“Uh huh. Tell ya what, you read some’a this stuff, I come back I’ll try to have dug up her telle-bone number. But if you don’t have something I can use ‘bout these here pages of Mr. Stableford’s I’ll tell the nuns over in Nanny Coke ya been a knotty boy.”

Well, that did it. Being knotty witchout sources, the next week I brought him Bettie P.’s number. I know, her being passed on I shoulda jest got her eeek!-mail. Still, Nick was so grateful, uh, dead I asked him if maybe he’d give bits of Mr. S.’s copy to one of Nick’s old co-stars to review. “Who, X-act-ly?” he asked, I said, “Uh, Mr. Karloff?” He went “Gimme a sec,” yelled “Hey, ole Bill! Hey butt!” That’s, I guess, Coletown speak gone spook.

Next week I came by, no one home. There was, though, a note, said, “Got ole Bill Karloff to read a lil that book. He wants to know if the guy’s deliberately trying to Boris!”

Next visit still no Nick. This time I left him a note, asked if he’d sample a few GG pages to Godzilla. I mean, ya never know when the Big G. is only sleeping, or dead for reels...

No Nick in spirit next time, ether. Another note was there, though, complete with a big slimey and green footprint that had obviously been used as a STAMP! Note said, “Godzie tried to read it, says he’d rather torch it than touch it! Also says ya couldn’t pay him enough to read more, and that’s from a Big G. who works for scale. And even THAT’s only when he feels the friggin’ yen.”

Following week Nick was there, but still not in spirit. Hey butt, instead I found another, more heart-felt note:

“Hey, kid, me and Bett say thanks for getting us in touch. In fact, reason we haunt here? We’re off on our honey booin’! Eeee-yowser, and I thought those gals up in Scrant-‘un could really tie one on!”

Yeah, for a dead ‘50’s and ‘60’s movie star he sure hepcat helped out! In fact, just for me he writ it up like top taglines on old horror movie posters, like over at the Black Diamond, or down at the M-W D-I at Pummeled Dwarf! And yeah, unlike myself or a Mu-Way dusk-to-DONNA THE DEAD, he kept it short.

It reads:
“Just tried to read the Groty book again all deady!
It hain’t CANNIBAL STEWpendous!
FROM HECATE CAME! GG Book’s So GD Dull, Even The Sisters Up In Wilkes-Barr Say It’s DIE, MONSTER, DIE-dactic!”

Under that, it read: “The guy does one of these next time, give it to the next TOMB! We Borgo Pass.”

Note was signed, that is, slimed the way he always does for me: “Nick’s Atoms.” Under that, in different writing, were words from a feminine hand more enchainedting. They said, “What he said. Trussed me!”

Wotta gal. And wotta guy Nick, sorry, remains. Even in the state he’s in, and I don’t demean PA., he always finds a way to be up in atoms AND, no matter the weather, Adams balmy!

Still and all, last time I “saw” Nick, he had for the first time, “on a Bette,” seen one’a Brian De Palma’s early horror flicks and said I should send a DVD of it “Over tomb da SISTERS.” That Nick, such’a Kidder! He also told me to tell the “folks out scare” that Bettie and himself still think Mr. Stableford does “humorless paragraphs that go on for PAGEs!”

Oh, they also said that no matter GG’s horror subjects, “X-personally, we think a whole other book of such paragraphs might give even a werewolf in the longest Stephen King book ever … howl to slay … serious PAWS!”

Way to gone up to heaven go-go, guy and good goil coiled! Fangs a rot, you’ve urned it! (And yeah, I’m still trying to sell youse guys’ script to D.Ceased Comics!)

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