Sunday, July 31, 2011

Guts, by Chuck Palahniuk

Like the story begins, take a deep breath.

Here's an excerpt from what is hands down the most painful, gritted-my-teeth through-it-I-swear-to-God-never-let-me-read-it-again, story I have ever choked down. Guts by Chuck Palahniuk. Cringe factor is off the charts.

" ...That's the only way this makes sense. Some horrible sea monster, a sea serpent, something that's never seen the light of day, it's been hiding in the dark bottom of the pool drain, waiting to eat me.

So… I kick at it, at the slippery, rubbery knotted skin and veins of it, and more of it seems to pull out of the pool drain. It's maybe as long as my leg now, but still holding tight around my butthole. With another kick, I'm an inch closer to getting another breath. Still feeling the snake tug at my ass, I'm an inch closer to my escape.

Knotted inside the snake, you can see corn and peanuts. You can see a long bright-orange ball. It's the kind of horse-pill vitamin my Dad makes me take, to help put on weight. To get a football scholarship. With extra iron and omega-three fatty acids.

It's seeing that vitamin pill that saves my life.

It's not a snake. It's my large intestine, my colon pulled out of me. What doctors call, prolapsed. It's my guts sucked into the drain."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bride of Frankenstein Blues

In bars around the world, this scene from Bride of Frankenstein plays itself out like a looped nightmare. Lights, camera, rebuff. As with scenes from the original Frankenstein, what's so achingly hard to watch in this clip is the brutality of rejection distilled down to its essence. His pleading hands, and her "Get the f---- away" scream. Can't blame him for wanting to touch. She is quite beautiful but sadly, aloof. (Where is Madeleine Kahn when you need her.) Equipped with a little Andrew Marvell, "Had we but world enough, and time, This coyness, lady, were no crime", etc., I think Frank might have fared better. Hmmm. Frankenstein's monster as a master of Courtly Love?

Going back a few years, when I was cobbling together a poetry chapbook, I worked up this shortie using Frank's pain as a jumping off point ....

Bride of Frankenstein Blues

Consider the moon, my friend, how its absence
troubles this unromantic air. Here in the dark,
like slow lightning, smoke unwinds,
creeps; everywhere you look, mouths, small dark graves
chew on drinks.
This is no night or finding brides.
Still, you come, touch her wrist,
and spring the classic recoil. It begins in her black eyes, darting
like spooked minnows around her stark face
and jitters down her spindly arms as they jerk back
from your touch and clasp up
her breast sacs as that piercing goose hiss escapes
her lovely lips. These damn castles are cold.
Some nights, arms outstretched
on the stairs, you think you could love the torches,
anything to light you up.

Currently with a few e-zines for consideration. Eyes crossed.

Baaaaad Scary Monkey

File under Random Creepy Shit.
Working on a freelance project today that could involve stuffed animals, I was sad and a little terrified to come across this one while searching for images. It is a monkey, so they say. I would go so far as to say it tops the clown from Poltergeist with its weird Chucky meets flying Oz monkey vibe.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Enjoy The Sound of Bradbury's Thunder

I am pushing hard, probably too hard at times, to get my son (who I call the wood-chipper when it comes to reading) to try out some of the stories I read as a kid - and the first master to come to mind is Ray Bradbury. Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked. etc. I have no idea how to estimate the impact his writing had on me and my own writing, but as I leaf through his collected short stories I come across The Sound of Thunder and think Ah! perfect for a kid. So I just read this to my son Whit. Here is a great excerpt describing a tyrannosaurus the hunters go to shoot ... also, here's a link to a synopsis if you haven't had the pleasure.

“It came on great oiled, resilient, striding legs. It towered thirty feet above half of the trees, a great evil god, folding its delicate watchmaker’s claws close to its oily reptilian chest. Each lower leg was a piston, a thousand pounds of white bone, sunk in thick ropes of muscle, sheathed over in a gleam of pebbled skin like the mail of a terrible warrior. Each thigh was a tone of meat, ivory, and steel mesh. And from the great breathing cage of the upper body those two delicate arms dangles out front, arms with hands which might pick up and examine men like toys, while the snake neck coiled. And the head it self, a ton of sculptured stone, lifted easily upon the sky. Its mouth gaped, exposing a fence of teeth like daggers. Its eyes rolled, ostrich eggs, empty of all expression save hunger. It closed its mouth in a death grin. It ran, pelvic bones crushing aside trees and bushes, its taloned feet clawing damp earth, leaving prints six inches deep wherever it settled its weight. It ran with a gliding ballet step, far too poised and balanced for its ten tons.”

Sigh. How gorgeous is that?!?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Full Moon, High Heat

Full moon, high heat, what’s the difference. I am turning. Here I sit, swamped in four straight days of humidity. Here I sit, sleepless and groggy, growing a little meaner by the minute. I am wired this way. Prolonged exposure to weather soup, the kind that keeps me wet even when not moving, evaporates my focus, patience and what small measure of civility I own, makes papers stick to my arms when I sit to work, prolonged exposure to weather like this undoes me, changes me in beastly ways. Remember the rhyme: “Even man who is pure at heart and says his prayers at night, can become a raging dickhead when the humidity blooms and the effin sun is way too bright.” (Apologies to Talbot) Now, someone might be inclined to point out that Iowa had a heat index of 131 yesterday, as if that negates my melting as if because someone somewhere has it worse I am not drowning. I would love to be the person who says, “Oh, that part of the country has it much worse” and get over it, but unless I have a copy of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Being Peace handy, it’s a lost cause. I am turning. Werewolf. Heatwolf? Sounds corny but feels right. In the past few weeks, after simmering in my skin for days, and feeling that unhinged snap behind my eyes when I blink, I think this might be what turning feels like, the maddening pull to get out of your body and run screaming--or maybe it's more a sense of your body fracturing apart from you and leaving. It is July and I am under the spell of the sun, though, and not the moon. Tomorrow the heat index here is supposed to reach 105. Howl.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bein' Green

Thanks to Horror Smorgasbord
for putting up a link to this Make Me a Zombie site. I am going for the gas chamber green or Exorcist barf green look here.

Scary Bad Art

Scary art abounds here. Not in a Night Gallery sense. But in the run over rabbit dragging itself off the road sense. Shine your shoes, toss back a green breath mint, and stroll through the Museum of Bad Art . There is something about that dog, maybe the eyes, that reminds me of Joey from Friends.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Face It

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say. Cool, I get that. I just hope the beholder is looking at my face because I am nursing a decent beerpizzaburger belly these days. Thanks to the extra weight, here I sit, gimped by a stress fracture in my leg from jogging ... jogging because I am working on that buff body shape I think I need. Shazam! Come to find out, it's about the face. Here is a study that presents hope for the bodily challenged, for the misshapen. Not that I want to let my body go ... any more than I have ... but I can't imagine getting all Jabba the Hut fat folds and jiggles and still being appealing regardless of my kisser. True, I'm not Nick Cave hot, but compared to the rest of me, my face is probably the lesser of two evils. Anyway, let's all raise our cracked glasses and drink to Erik (aka Phantom of the Opera) and all monsters who, butt for their faces, might have done alright with the ladies. Dig the Phantom's moisty complexion.

Friday, July 8, 2011

What's Up Doc or Holy Shit, She Birthed Rabbits

Here is an curious book: Imagining Monsters, re: a fantastical occurence involving a human giving birth to rabbits. The Mary Toft hoax. I almost finished the Toft book but someone loaned me The God Delusion and I was forced to abandon it.
Love the monstrosities, our response to them, the weird tension between repulsion and attraction, our need in some cases to invent monsters to explain or excuse. Raeblais' giants, Greek mythology. Creature from the Black Lagoon (can he be on the same stage?).

Here is a synopsis I grabbed from Amazon.

"In 1726, an illiterate woman from Surrey named Mary Toft announced that she had given birth to seventeen rabbits. Deceiving respected physicians and citizens alike, she created a hoax that held England spellbound for months. In Imagining Monsters, Dennis Todd tells the story of this bizarre incident and shows how it illuminates eighteenth-century beliefs about the power of imagination and the problems of personal identity. Mary Toft's outrageous claim was accepted because of a common belief that the imagination of a pregnant woman could deform her fetus, creating a monster within her. Drawing on largely unexamined material from medicine, embryology, philosophy, and popular "monster" exhibitions, Todd shows that such ideas about monstrous births expressed a fear central to scientific, literary, and philosophical thinking: that the imagination could transgress the barrier between mind and body.

In his analysis of the Toft case, Todd exposes deep anxieties about the threat this transgressive imagination posed to the idea of the self as stable, coherent, and autonomous. Major works of Pope and Swift reveal that they, too, were concerned with these issues, and Imagining Monsters provides detailed discussions of Gulliver's Travels and The Dunciad illustrating how these writers used images of monstrosity to explore the problematic nature of human identity. It also includes a provocative analysis of Pope's later work that takes into account his physical deformity and his need to defend himself in a society that linked a deformed body with a deformed character".

A cautionary note: the book is fairly graphic in its account of the pieces parts aspect of the "births".

B-Movie Terrors: The Shoes Closet Below"

This month's B-Movie ...

" Dust and dust bunnies piss off. Dropped socks, go to hell. This is the real shit." --Why Ain't It Cool News

"I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats."
--Out of Touch Cinema

"A Nine West horde of size 9 flats, sandals and heels. A different kind of Blob."
--Crispin Science Monitor

(Shakey cammmmmm)

My wife Blaze has two shoe closets. One in the study, and one under our bed. In all fairness, in the WAY back you can see my piles of bedside books.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"It's in the trees, it's coming!" Dryad Blues

Ha. The irony's thick enough to cut with a chainsaw. Note the Google ads that appear after the Dryad entry copy I pasted in.

specifically, a dryad is a spirit associated with an oak tree, as “drys” means “oak” in Greek, but over time, these spirits have come to be associated with trees in general. According to legends, the dryads look after the forest and keep an eye on the health of the trees ... devout members of society would make offerings to appease or thank dryads when they needed to harvest trees or branches. A specific type of dryad known as a hamadryad actually lives inside the tree, according to legend, and if the tree dies, the hamadryad dies with it. For this reason, the Greeks believed that it was necessary to ask permission from the gods before felling a tree, to confirm that they would not be killing a hamadryad by mistake. The gods were also said to punish people severely for cutting down trees ...

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Reading the Classics (the other classics)

Back in the day, when dogs were puppies, summers smelled of cornfields, and Kathleen wore those cut off jeans to perfection, when I was reading comics I was reading this (Love the fractured tree stump that seems to be growing out of the rock). Not pictured but always loved: Eerie, Creepy, Man-Thing, Turok Son of Stone, Monster Times, Werewolf by Night & someone's copy of Happy Hooker.
Zombies, werewolves and swamp creatures as righteous heroes? Not bad, eh? I loved Spider-Man but well, he wasn't scary and scary is/was manna.
Xaviera, wherever you are, thanks. You were scary in a special way.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hamburger Neck

... and the award for shittiest (but hey, you gotta love the effort) make up goes to ... this is my little Bubba, who let me mess around with make up on his neck back when I was doing the spook house gig and applying mutilation effects nightly. (See Mr. Chunkles' head shot. Click on the image to embiggen the gore and you can see the detail work. Meaty goodness.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Squirm Factor 10 - Bonk, notes on Sex

Laughing Scared has room from non-supernatural horrors as well, like this excerpt from Bonk, the Science of Sex, by Mary Roach. Coincidentally, I just had a punch biopsy recently, and was feeling kinda worked over and sorry for myself until I remembered this "procedure".

Word spread. By 1916, the nut graft had gone mainstream. The next step in the operation, Dr. Hsu has named the inside out maneuver. Though it is not so much inside out as just out. Using his gloved fingers, Dr. Hsu pulls the man’s penis up and out of the skin, through the three-inch slit, by its midshaft. ….. Dr. Hsu’s nurse is unwrapping the second implant, for the other erectile chamber. This one does not go gently. The insertion is done in two stages. One end is submerged down to the pubis bone …