Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I'm still listening to that cassette and there's a great trailer from THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN, as stated above. I just wished I had thought of posting Col. Glen Manning (after being exposed to a plutonium blast) at the same time I put David Hasselhoff out there. The best part of the film is that, when actor Glenn Langen grows and starts wearing that diaper, everybody normal-size sound like the Pillsbury Doughboy to him. He terrorizes Las Vegas, falls into Hoover Dam after being shot, then appears in the sequel as The Amazing Colossal BEAST, with pretty much half his giant-size face a grinning skull. The man-diaper stayed on during the fateful fall.
Back to last night: Screaming Yellow Theater was on WFLD Channel 12 (now Fox)on Friday nights, starting in 1970, and hosted by Jerry G. Bishop, a radio DJ. Dressed as Svengoolie, he was a hippie vampire with long green hair and red and white striped bell bottoms, and a red sweatshirt and peace medallion. He'd sing the goofy lyrics above and did a bunch of gag jokes, car commercials, and then all of Chicago would see, what seemed like every other week, a Vincent Price movie. In the 80s, Rick Koz took over as Son of Sven, eventually dropping the Son part with Bishop's well wishes as the latter retired to Florida. Koz is one of the coolest, most patient fellows who has hosted or guested at maybe six conventions I've been to this decade. But we had two night of greatness, if only one horror host, as Creature Features aired on WGN Channel 9 Saturday nights at 10:30. The theme was, as Richard Chwedyk emailed me, Mancini's "Experiment in Terror," which was also used in a Sherlock Holmes film. The best thing about CF was that every single film they showed was a Universal Monsters film. The Old Guard themselves, Dracula, The Monster and His Mate, poor Larry Talbot, with Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde tossed in along with Abbott & Costello...fun times, a long, long time ago.
Two posts as day, am I crazy or what? When talking about my cassette mix about 12 hours ago, I neglected to mention one of the all time coolest songs ever, by The Hollywood Flames, a do-wop band barely known outside of LA. Pull up a tombstone and sit down, Frankenstein is back in town. He has a den, forty feet below the ground, all the monsters and ghouls are there, and the house beverage is strychnine and soda pop. The best line is in the chorus, "Frankenstein's got a den, you won't come out a-like a-you went in." One of the band members changed his last name to Byrd and made a hit with "Rockin' Robin" and they did the original version of "Little Bitty Pretty One." The first few lines, as the music kicks in, one of the dudes does a pretty cool accidental Dean Martin, riffing "Ooh, that's mighty fine..." I shall continue my trip down memory lane tonight, sans photos of Merv and the Hass. Oh, the Burger King shot is care of the Ghost Town blog, it was the only Google image I could find...Hallowe'en time sure aint fun at high noon....Wayne
Monday, October 29, 2007
I'll be talking music, but I've posted photos from some of our great horror programs here in Chicago over the years...
Awhile back, Sid had a "What's On My iPod?" post on his blog. I don't own one, being like The Amazing Colossal Man, I cannot operate such things as cell phones and those i-doodads. A NighPhone or a NighPod might be cool, something that foresees the near future. Or play songs like "Something In The Air Tonight" or "Deadman's Curve." Call me a futurist. My problem is I'd make everything REALLY big. Well, I could tell you what's on my cassette recorder. Its playing right now, I have two mixes from the mid-90s that have survived the new century better than I have. One is called "Beach Blanket Bodycount" and has some Frankie & Annette and Elvis and Mitchum singing some calypso along with monster songs. The other is a mix of trailers for VAMPIRE PLAYGIRLS and I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF along with gems like "Bury, Bury, Baby" by Zacherly, "Surfin' Hearse" by Jan & Dean (not too cherry, but she could be worse), "Murder In The Graveyard" by Screaming Lord Strutch, and some songs by unknowns titled "Dead Man's Stroll" and "Do You Think I'm Psycho, Mama?" Strangely, the cassette ends with "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence." A favorite of mine that no one has ever parodied (except me, I guess) would be Elmer Fudd riffing on the Bauhau's "Bela Lugosi's Dead": "...the bwats have weft the bewtowwa, the wictims have been bwed wed vwelvwet wines a bwack box, Bewa Wugosi's dead..." I'll write about Svengoolie, past and present, tomorrow. Creature Features opened with Henry Mancini's creepy song, yea, that one, something with the word Terror in it. Since I had to be scared by that as a kid, as adults you can all be frightened by Hasselhoff and his puppies...Wayne
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Stayed off the keyboard the last few days until I got some anti-inflammatory shots in my neck and back--my right elbow this time, as well--just in time for a surprise 15 hour workday yesterday. There were three days of the Hunter's Moon here, but only the first night was clear. Wednesday I walked down that winding side street I'll miss so much when the plant moves, and it was way cool that night because with the moon behind me, my shadow was clear on the blacktop in front of me, not spackled like you get from streetlights. As I walked, though, my mind drifted to the line in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON..."Stay off the moors." I kept looking at the dark lawns on either side of me. I bought an orange backpack, I guess the idea of Walking Jim getting hit and runned got to me, so at least I can't be blamed for dressing like a ninja Steve McQueen if I'm ever run down. As Kate aptly pointed out, it is funny that I can only download Naturally Speaking in French and Dutch, seeing as those languages were the last sets of foreign edition books I'd received in the mail. I'm a bit annoyed that I can't be talking this into a microphone, but then again, I'm annoyed that the shots from the doctor only work about 75% by the third day. (I just need to stay on top of things by stretching and excercising). When I got off the bus that night, I stopped in a Walgreens for dog bones and Blue Oyster Cult's song that is my subject title was playing. That song has been in my head ever since I read THE STAND twenty-seven years ago, my hardback edition still having Captain Trips killing everyone off in the summer of 1980. I read quite a bit of that book in the town I've called Tallow Lake in several of my stories, most notably "Blood Border." I used to go there with a few guys from college for the weekend. Lake Geneva was nearby and, this is just a strange memory stuck forever in my head like the theme song to TOBOR, THE EIGHTH MAN, we were listening to a live band on a cloudy summer day play "Don't Fear The Reaper" and I saw this girl Mary, a waitress from Fat Cat's on Main Street. Now, Mary is the name mentioned in the song, and in the Stephen King quote. But, even now, whhenever I hear the song, I think of the sky that day, the smell of the water, and the waitress, the color of her blouse and the make up on her face. I can see that image as I type this, as if I have a photograph right here. And the candles blew and then disappeared. And she had no fear...Wayne
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Catching up on lots of stuff, since my 21 Days of Night when I saw the moon, Venus, and Regulus in the at the bus stop each morning like the Three Evil Stooges. I'm posting several of the foreign edition covers I have been in. I now have Dragon Naturally Speaking 9.2 but I can only download it into French or Dutch, so again, The Computer Remains My Nemesis. Got the final FINAL proofs in for the Midnight Library edition of THE HOLY TERROR. I guess I didn't have much to say after all.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
My blog is like my fiction writing, I'm all over it on a daily basis for almost a week, and then radio silence The work schedule, blessedly over, is behind me, but I was caught in the mother of all rainstorms waiting in that dude with the dolphin mailbox's driveway fully expecting to be hit by lightning and with my pants slipping on my hips from the sheer weight of the water. Everybody was asking about Walking Jim, even Kate, which shows that, initially, the crime didn't even warrant the north suburban news. The police thought it was an SUV from the sheer power of the impact, but the truth was, it was a regular old Ford, but the reason the cops didn't think of a smaller car was because the asshat that killed the guy drove away with his body in the damn car. Vollmer Road is one of those diagonal cuts we have in our mostly gridlike sprawl in the city an near south suburbs, like Lincoln Avenue out by the Red Lion or Archer Avenue from downtown to out near where I live. One can assume the driver--who was driving his sister's boyfriend's car to pick her up from her job at a McDonalds--kept going down Vollmer until he recognized exactly how deserted 123rd Street can be, because there are three cemeteries pixelated between the industrial parks. Hence, the place where Walking Jim became, at least for awhile, a Hallowe'en prank. How did the driver, the sister, and the boyfriend get caught? After Jim was left to be found and matched to his leg and feet, Blue Island police got the call of a burning vehicle. The boyfriend torched his car and--in a case where blood simple becomes blood stupid--never took the license plates off. If you go to any Urban Legends site, there will always be one classified True, wether it be a hanged person or a body on the road. Dismissed, at first, as a prank, a spirit of the season. These three will not be gone from the streets for long, back in Oct 0f 97, a drunk driver severed a car in two and killed three high school girls, is now out of prison with his license permanently revoked. Having broken parole by being discovered driving, he has been sentenced back to jail for a year, although he is allowed out during the week to go to his job. In other driving news, a depressed model/stripper is on trial with pretty much everybody saying she is/was insane, because back in July of 05 she wanted to commit suicide an so drove through three stop lights in Skokie and rear-ended a car while going 90 MPH. Both cars flipped over, the three guys on their lunch break in the one car dead, and the depressed model with a broken ankle in the other. Crazy week for hit and run news and I'm just waiting for the time when, as might have happened with all the idiots driving in rush hour rainy Thursday, the next news item might catch up with me...Wayne
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
That's what they called him, the guy who was found without his feet. He was 60, had dementia, and its almost like I wish it was a senseless murder, instead of what it was. A damn hit and run on Vollmer Road, where the feet were found. He was hit by an SUV going 50 MPH per the Medical Examiner, making it hard to define the initial severing of the flesh and bone. The SUV driver somehow grabbed Walking Jim's upper body and took him to the dead end, which is seen in the top photo. Even more sad, people driving and/or walking down Lavergne Avenue to work or lunch saw him and thought he was a Hallowe'en prank, an overturned scarecrow. He had been there three days. Darci (oh, are we still using code names?) commented that it was on the news as a car killer (my phrase). The ID was made because Jim walked down Vollmer Road most of each day, talking to himself and smoking cigarettes. I am also posting photos of others, as I did yesterday. The woman on the bench is an alcoholic, and the grey-haired woman will punch at you if she is awake and feels like lashing out at random. There's a guy in Las Vegas and one in the doorway of Toys R Us on a Sunday morning. Complete unknowns who walk the streets every day and night. At least people knew Walking Jim enough to have police looking for him, just not in the right suburb, so it took a few days...Wayne
Monday, October 15, 2007
I was going to post about other books I have been in overseas, also bring up the fact that, for the life of me, I can't figure out why "doing a Dutchie" is police slang for suicide. I see it in slang dictionaries, but with no explanation. It's like looking up "urinate"--not that I did, it was, ah, someone else--and finding the phrase "teach a Chinaman how to tap dance." But circumstances beyond my control compel me to tell you all of a tale of two severed feet. With socks on. They were found Saturday night in Matteson, somewhere south of me, the suburbs just kind of roll into each other like drunken clowns in bumper cars. But you see...last night the rest of the body was found. Within a few blocks of where I work, in yet another industrial park strip that starts over dere by the motel. On clear nights, I can see the rim of the bright pink sign as I walk that winding street towards 127th. Past the motel is a deserted strip that goes past the Onion Field restaurant, long closed, and the failing Condessa Del Mar. 123rd and Lavergne. I talked with Bart over by the DocuColor 8000 and we tried to consider the scenario of a person hoping to hide the identity of a murder victim by cutting off only his feet and taking his shoes. The person might be homeless, as you can see by my other photos (going back to 1990), there are many out of luck in the land of the free, and certainly some are complete meltdowns, but most are being fucked over by the American Dream. It is hard to understand, if the killer was startled, why did he start with the feet in the first place? It wasn't an industrial accident, and there were no railroad tracks; Bart suggested the guy might have been a train-hopper and has his feet severed and finally bled out and fell off the train in Alsip. There's a story somewhere in this tragedy. When people ask why I write what I do, I want to say "do you ever watch the farken news?" The sad thing is, this event barely made the news. A young kid was buried today, a John Doe, unidentified for two years. One in the ground, another one found. Chicago, the city that rhymes...Wayne
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Kees Buis is one cool guy. I came across Dutch editions of Year's Best Horror while Googling images one night, and after waiting a few days to contact Kees, not certain if he was a collector or bookseller, I emailed him about the two books above and he found them in his inventory. I received them in the mail on Thursday, it was kind of neat getting mail from The Netherlands. I put together a box of signed books for Kees to mail during the coming week. I have other books I am in, French, German, and quite oddly, Danish. It is strange seeing familiar words and names. These books, the table of contents in particular, make me melancholy, as they are editions from very early in my career, 1987 and 1988. The stories were "Bleeding Between The Lines" and "The Touch." I see names of people recently dead, several gone for over a decade. Thinking about how young I was when these stories came out almost twenty years ago. Anyone who can pick up a copy of ANY edition of Year's Best Horror (published in the US by DAW) can expect to find some of the finest writing of the late twentieth century. And time goes on, keyboards clacking away, those of us who still can and still have stories to tell...Wayne
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Harry Fassl (and his sweetheart Diana Gallardo) presented me with the above when I was doing a reading at the Red Lion in October of 97, a belated birthday present. This is what he emailed me after reading my Perdition blog entry...
Fingers Like Nosferatu
Body by Baron Victor Von F
Luck by Loki
Going forward by day and night.
Holed up on Desolation Row
In the Heartbreak Hotel.
Where less brave spirits have checked out long ago.
His voice sounds there still.
Disturbing the dust, and any who would dare listen.
(For WAS - 2007)
Quite a few of you have suspicioned that I have been despondent over my not having the Voice Activation software yet, and I will soon, thanks to Roger Dale Trexler over at Annihilation Press and the guy who will watch my back in the coming zombie war. But really, is VA what its all about when my body has all these scars and the boring old stories that go with them? (I remember when I once had witty anecdotes). Or the fact that I can't have the VA when I'm at work 55 hours a week in this new Twilight Zone aspect of my life. Look at the photos if you will, or stop here. Enough with my moaning, it was worth it if you know that I've got a pretty decent story idea out of it, and tomorrow I'll post about fun stuff like anthologies with my stories reprinted in The Netherlands.
Monday, October 8, 2007
Yes, I am in hell, but this is the month to be here, even if only for a quick visit. Its just been one of those weeks where I feel as if I am again 12 and in the white room with the clinical psychologists on the other side of the one-way window. Watching me pick up things, different shapes. Watching me draw, deciding their own conclusions as I pick up a black pencil and write, first with my left hand and then with my useless one. Bastards all. Close eyes, open. Repeat.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
I am grateful for my bipolar meds, because they are the only thing powerful enough to keep me from passing the source wall and joining the happy dead. I realize that I have so many friends that willingly carry me on their shoulders...he's not heavy, he's my monster. Fingers are broken glass as I type this. Knee braces on, a pressure band around my forearm to keep it from spasming like Frankenstein when the Tesla coils light up. Listening to dead people sing on a Hallowe'en CD now, the Ramones and their pet semetery. Makes me think of a conversation I had with an Irish girl at work recently. She showed me marks on her wrists and asked if I ever thought about suicide. I told her with all honesty that I probably did and simply came back. If there was no spell-check to this thing, you'd think I was writing in Urdu or Sumerian. I am insane, but at least it is the month when monsters freely walk the streets and demand candy from complete strangers....Dead Man Walking (With Help From Etain, Sid, Mike, Kate, Stewart, Charles, Lana, Robert out there in the desert, Larry and Tycelia, all my artist friends, Victor Von Frankenstein, the ghost of Dwight Frye. I'm the Monster but have fingers like Nosferatu. 42 minutes typing this, a new record. Thank you all, this walk is a long one.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
This is the way it is. I'm learning another guy's job at work so he can go on vacation from the lost city of the damned. This means that I myself must spend even more time in that damned lost city of the damned. I'm up at 5 AM and do not get home until about 7:40 PM, and this routine in the lost city of...well, you get the idea, will continue for another nine days. Yesterday I missed the last TwilightTales readings at the Red Lion, which is being torn down and rebuilt from the ground up. I didn't even have my computer on. I showered, ate as much food as there was in the house while I watched HEROES, and slept off my reality. The highlight of my day is that I get to leave work while it is still relatively light and can read while sitting at the curb. The 383 bus will appear from past the Cal Sag bridge and will pick me up near that light post with the green dolphin mailbox in the far left corner. This isn't even a good post, I am simply typing to lubricate my brain for an article on cyanide I need to research for Salem Press. A long time ago I heard the phrase "running on fumes" and I understand that now; I've worked long shifts before, but never with hours at a stretch of learning new computer input from a computer at another business altogether. If I eat now I will surely drop. Right now I think I might look like Conrad Veidt in THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI.