Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Misty Mother Fog

My Storytellers Unplugged entry for October 28th...

The Misty Mother Fog In A Dead Poet’s Dream

I wrote that phrase back in college and I still think of it whenever the fog hits Chicago. More often than not these days. If the photo shows up above, it’s the Trump Tower that dissolves into the greyness. That was last Thursday. But if I hadn’t been crossing the street and seen the building, I likely would have continued on to the subway stairs humming Hallowe’en songs. Instead of my dumb line from an okay poem I wrote almost thirty years ago. The Ramones’ “Pet Semetary.” Elvis’s most haunting song ever, “Long Black Limousine”, from the Memphis sessions in 1968. Henry Mancini’s “Experiment in Terror,” which was the theme for our long-departed Saturday night CREATURE FEATURES, which ran only the Universal Monster films. About the only one I catch myself actually SINGING is Jan & Dean’s “Surfing Hearse.” She might be cherry, but she could be worse, my surfin’ hearse. Fun fact: they also rhyme spooky with kooky. Oh, those wacky surf musicians.

I missed out on the entire month of October these last three years. Last year I was involved in a writing project not my own, typing maybe twelve hours a day, and the previous two years I was at the infamous printing plant, back then it was standing on my feet twelve hours a day. And I love October, not just for Hallowe’en. This entire month I’ve been putting monster-related content on my blog, including scanning most of a fumetti of HORROR OF PARTY BEACH just because it was time someone saw that thing online. I never had the time the last three years to do something every night, and before then my blog was barely had legs. I’ve had the chance to reminisce about childhood toys like the old Vac-U-Form that made Creeple People and an old vinyl record my older cousin had with audio clips of Lugosi and Karloff.

October is also a month of death. It seems that I know an abundance of people with September birthdays. Thankfully, the deaths are far between. Important deaths, just the same. Karl Edward Wagner, back in 1994. Harry Fassl last year. A neighbor girl with epilepsy, so long ago I can’t remember the year, the first non-familial wake I attended. Fog and crappy piles of muddy leaves and I wonder how it must be in Houston or LA, what orange and black decorations look like in sweltering heat.

There will be another death this week, my oldest cousin on my daddy’s side, down in Shelbyville. Off the respirator since Friday, now with a lung infection, she has a DNR. I was joking with Dave in an email earlier about how I had started this essay and was interrupted by updates from different aunts in Kentucky, then while I was in the middle of our email the phone rang yet again. My dad’s hard of hearing and so I’m the mouthpiece. He’s also the only one up here, staying after Korea to join the police academy. I’ll likely be on Greyhound to Louisville on Friday. We never traveled as I grew up, but for Father’s Day in Shelbyville when my granddaddy drove down from Dry Ridge. My first time anywhere besides Streator, Illinois and the I-65 corridor through Indiana was when I attended the World Fantasy Convention in Providence, in 1986. People come home to die in Kentucky. Quite the different world than Chicago.

I sometimes wonder what I’d be writing if I grew on a farm thirty miles from the big city instead of this place. Well, the farm is gone, and so are the road marks on Flat Rock Road, the “colored” cemetery (as I was brought up with that word on both sides of the family) on one side of a gravel road and another cemetery across the way, one with rusted spoons melded to thin pieces of metal that read BABY. Flat Rock Road is a subdivision now, the homes in an oval around an egg-shaped man made lake. Maybe it would be like course correction, my dad a Statie, or working for the Simpsonville police. And yet, the second most vile story I’ve ever written, “The Shank of The Night,” is based on events not in Chicago, but from a small town just over the Ohio River from Louisville. So I might have ended up writing what I do. All in the past now, I haven’t had grandparents in fifteen years. If I go to Kentucky, I go it alone, on Greyhound. The bus pulls in at Sixth Street and Muhammed Ali Road a block or two from the river. I’ll wait for my cousin to pick me up and sit in the food court while he makes the half-hour drive, in the early morning hours. There’s a Chevron across Sixth, and I drink coffee and watch shadows become people lumbering to their early shift like zombies, walking through that misty mother fog.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Universal Monster Monday VII (Sort Of)

Well, not really at all. These are my Outer Limits cards. The originals from 1965 or so. But first, the night. The Monday readings are somewhat split in two, and today there were no readings at all. I spent time talking with Mike about DC Comics and when the first Julie, Darci, and Becky showed, we just talked in a surprisingly empty room. I was in the bathroom when a girl opened the door, luckily it wasn't a scene from FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH. Oh, and I found an ad in FILMFAX for the old Diver Dan shows that aired on Ray Rayner. It was surprisingly warm up north but fairly chilly, so my hands are curled up like crab hands or whatever crabs have. First night of gloves for me. Rare for October. Hardly any cars on the rainy streets, neither on Cicero OR 87th, and it was very, very quiet out. No wind to hit the leaves and make them fall. Silent like a winter night when you can hear your footsteps on an inch of snow like erasers hitting a blackboard.

I love the face on The Thing From Mercury, but could care less about the medallion. Maybe they have have Scientology on other planets, I dunno. But I ALWAYS wanted me one of those masks, if they ever had them made. Television Terror was, I believe, the first episode. Cliff Robertson hangs out at this scientist's pad, the guy built what he thought would be, well, it was like an ant form with the supposed atmosphere for a planet circling Wolf 359. I think this is why the episode stuck with me, the name of the star. Certainly not obscure, it is about 14 light years away, but for me, just plain cool that they didn't just make up a star like they did on STAR TREK. Captain's Log, Stardate 1111.11, we are circling the star Proxima Batshit X-3, etc. etc. Well, actually this WAS the first episode, this is card #1. This silicon being comes out of a TV and wanders a deserted street, lots of leaves and scary reflections in business windows. Robertson gets rid of it by turning the TV off.

I believe The Man From The Future (#11) was played by David McCallum. He tells everyone about an atomic war and vanishes, then the world leaders all shake hands. This was way before suicide bombers. Another dude from Mercury, this one wearing a hip, mohair sweater. I have NO idea who or what Jelly Man is, maybe for the better.

I end this with what is both the coolest episode name as well as the far-outedness of the bugs with little Abe Vigoda-like faces. The Xanthi Misfits, how about that for a name? Bruce Dern wanders in the desert after his car breakss down, his girl staying behind. We see this spaceship land and the silhouette of these guys looking out a viewscreen at Dern pretty much getting paid for stumbling around in a circle. We all see the Abe Vigoda bugs in the very last scene. But I absolutely love that name...The Xanthi Misfits. Someone had their thinking cap on that day.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Midnight Mists Off Bubbly Creek

The above illo has nothing to do with this post, but I don't think anybody really needs another photo of Bubbly Creek. The same cousin who had that HORROR OF PARTY BEACH picture book did have this Famous Monsters vinyl back when we all lived on Crystal Street, so I am vaguely aware of it.

Re: Charles Unruh. Mixed comments, but I know I have a list in my head (which starts with ME, if I ever thought of hurting anyone else), but I'm agreed that it would be a simpler thing, though still wrong, if the hecklers and the hounders were killed instead of random people, as is our case with the drive-by shootings that happen about three times a week. How different would Columbine have been if Klebold and Harris had simply killed the three or four assholes that mocked them? Always the wrong people. I also forgot to mention that Unruh would have gone to church that day, he was dressed in a suit and bow tie while he shot everybody. But he saw the missing gate first.

Also, re: Dead Teenagers, the cassette. I forgot to mention Elvis singing "Long Black Limousine." On the short list for my favorite Elvis song AND song in general. Girl leaves town to be famous, dies in a car crash after a big party, and she returns in that big black car she told everyone she would. It's from an album, BACK IN MEMPHIS, recorded in early 1968. A lot of people overlook this album, because the Elvis Singer Special came out later in the year and both covers show similar backdrops. The blues on that album is amazing, wedged into a crack in reality's past.

Anyways. Harry's girl, Diana, passed on the info about a ghost story contest the Tribune was running, with a deadline of midnight yesterday. No prizes, some stories will be posted online. I hit the 700 word max mark off by one, deleted an adjective three lines up. I might lengthen the ending, should I try to sell this at a later date, but not by much. Enjoy the tale.

C 2009 by Wayne Allen Sallee

It wasn’t that far gone that I wrote an essay about places those of us might haunt in the afterlife. Not in a bad way, more along the lines of revisiting, well, old haunts. Maybe a tavern at the corner of Rockwell and Lithuanian Plaza, present day. Or outside the Orange Lantern at Division and Wolcott back in 1954, with the servicemen returned from Korea and flirting with the dice girls in the autumn glow. 1954, because that was the best year for you. Laughter and discreet smooches beneath the ZIMNE PIWO sign.
Myself, I plan to haunt Bubbly Creek. Specifically the bridge near Archer Avenue, that black monolith now covered with pastel graffiti loops and jagged territorial warnings. I’ve always been fascinated by the artery that is Archer, and of all my memories of Nite Owl bus rides long before the Orange Line. The old Chinatown, signage for Ray-O-Vac batteries, Chinese Maid and Ping’s Iron Works already ghosting into the brick walls of factories in the early 1980s. Taverns of times past, the Quinn Street Inn and The Doghouse, the street squeezed tight before widening just before Ashland.
Bubbly Creek ran beneath Ashland, beneath the Stevenson Expressway, the wayward south branch of the Chicago River. Methane bubbles from rendered cattle back when everyone in the neighborhood worked at the Stockyards. This was the place where I found my solitude. Where I’d write and observe.
Where I’d carry my long thoughts.
I’d get off the bus on a Saturday afternoon in the dead of winter, climb up the gravel and stand on the bridge, staring at the vanishing point towards the lake, the Sears Tower a smudge in my left eye. Sometimes I’d feel the thrum of an as-yet unseen Amtrak train, most often it was just the wind and I, Chicago’s wretched, howling hawk.
A swirl of mist when I exhaled through my mouth. And when the delivery trucks and cars streaked with grey and white had passed, I could yell for the simple sake of yelling. I’d hear my echo from the walls of a nearby factory, its’ windows like broken teeth. One time, I climbed down the other side, this time in the spring, and was surprised to find a Frigidaire with a missing door in a tangle of downed branches. On a lower shelf, copies of LOOK magazine, mid-60s from the articles listed on the covers. Pages sagging from rain or worse.
The creek was my muse, each season of every year I would get on the next bus, and then go to the Huck Finn’s on Kedzie and write my brains out. And I would drink coffee like a fiend.
Sometimes I wondered if people thought I might be a ghost myself, parishioners from St. Bridget’s or denizens of the Archer apartments seeing me as a recurring wraith.
When the Orange Line elevated line began operation in 1993, things changed. The Ashland station came on the scene with bright lights and commuters at all hours. New town houses were built to allow owners an easy ride to their jobs in the Loop.
My haunt was gone.
But I could still write about its’ past, though it wasn’t the same as living it.
Back in May, I was returning home from the northside, taking the Western Avenue express bus to the El. I was heat beat and antsy at an unfamiliar train station, and of course I took the wrong train. We passed 35th, I realized my mistake, and found myself at a deserted Ashland station. Bubbly Creek visible in slivers below me, lit by the moon.
A rush of relief as I saw a Midway-bound train at the vanishing point. Turned to surprise as I heard my name, spoken next to my ear as if in secret. I whirled and saw nothing but sharp shadows. A fading mist at water level, wrong for the season.
Echoes became the wheels of the approaching train. I hurried through the open door, knowing someone had found the intimacies of Bubbly Creek before me.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Charles Unruh, Finally RIP

I'll bet most everyone of you have no knowledge of Unruh. Back in the 80s, I looked him up on the basis of his name alone. We have Gacy, but also, the south side of Chicago had Richard Speck, more a localized mass murderer. Unruh was the same kind of killer, though I doubt if anyone in Camden NJ remembers the events of 1946. Mostly because Camden is a bankrupt town. I missed out on Unruh's death in the NJ mental hospital at the age of 82 because of that project I was involved with. The guy had problems after WWII, taunts from neighborhood jackasses the kind of which I am all too familiar with. What made him snap was when he came outside on September 6th, 1946, and found his gate missing. He then took his Luger and walked around the intersection of two streets, killing a dozen people and wounding others. Killed a kid in a barber chair, then the barber. Killed a guy who sold his folks insurance policies that he thought were worthless. Shot a ten year old peeking from a window, the kid died the next day. He walked back home, the shootings took seven minutes. Surrendered after cops tossed tear gas in his bedroom window. Now Camden was a small town in 1946, and is still more a crappy suburb of Philadelphia, the old Naval Shipyard separating the two states. But there was no doubt he did it. And he might have been flat out nuts. But if this had happened in Chicago, I'm sure a cop's gun would have gone off unintentionally. That happens here, six bullets fired by mistake. Still does. Anyhow, the sad bastard is dead and gone.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sonny's Cabbage

Two days of mortal hell and I got $400.00 cash at the end, handed to me by a girl who looked like a young Loni Anderson. I walked the subway pretending I was a guy named Sonny who had just made a deal in the bowels of Chicago. Yep, I have no life. Got up at 5:30 every morning, got home at 7:30 at night. Rush hour blues, had to go past the Loop towards the Hancock Building and then west. Missed a 70 degree day on Wednesday and met yesterday from the morning onward in rain and wind. Plastic chairs, no water or drinks, twenty minute lunches. A guy that talked like William Hurt if he had a broom up his ass all the way to his mouth was Mr. Pissy and his character was offset by Liz, who reminded me of the Cerevik girls of long ago, when I worked at The Gap in 1980. Without saying anything about how I spent those days, I can say that just before, ah, deliberations, a woman lawyer from NJ gave, um, closing arguments. I was in the front row, 36 of us in all, and whatever perfume she had on was enough to sway me into admitting a crime against my country. A bit of grey in her hair, she looked like Eartha Kitt circa 1966 playing the Bride of Frankenstein in a purple blazer. However you might think I described her, trust me. Wow. But anyhow, this explains my absence, fingers healing from gripping a clipboard and writing forty pages of cramped notes kept me off the keyboard here. I walked the subway as Sonny mostly to avoid the rush hour but to no avail. Yesterday, the rain was my nemesis. But I can still recall the lawyer, and I have fabricated a portion of her name, so Melissa Melendez will soon be a character in HOLLOWPOINT, my current project with John Kewley. I also missed out on the death of Charles Unruh, which I'll write about tomorrow.

Two Days Back In Hell

I spent the last two days somewhat fruifully, making $400.00 for the effort.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dead Teenagers

I'm wiped from the mock jury thing. Caught the bus at 6:15 this morning and got home about 7:30 this evening, one more time tomorrow and $400.00 scoots free and clear. But I'm wavering between being lucid and sleepy. I still have a cassette recorder, some of you might recall my lament about a mix tape splitting, and Lana ended up repairing it. I'm listening to DEAD TEENAGERS at the moment, a mix given to me in 1992, believe it or not. A scene from REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE leads right into "James Dean by The Eagles, there's "Dead Man's Stroll," "I Was A Teenage Zombie," "She's My Witch." One of my favorites is Jan & Dean's "Surfin' Hearse." (Not quite cherry, but it could be worse, my surfin' hearse.) Zacherly's "Bury Baby," and I really do enjoy that old horror host's over the top, ah, singing. Interspersed between songs are sound bite trailers for I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF and ATTACK OF THE ASTRO-ZOMBIES. Well, Screamin' Jay Hawkins is up, and according to him, I'm supposed to drink some elbow soup, bite my lip, and shoot my mother-in-law. Something about the Feast of The Mau-Maus.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Last Edge of Summer At The Freak Show

Maybe not the best title, but it will do. I'll explain the Ellroy cover, you'll have to wait. Hourman, he's easier. The guy in the yellow hood. Rex Tyler, bebopping around hopped up on his Miraclo pill, super-strength for an hour. That's me, an hour to type with one finger, maybe two at times. If they don't trip over each other. But this is not really telling the story, is it? Tick. Tock. 53:02. 52:58. And so on.

The Twilight Tales readings are on hiatus for the time being, and those gathered split into different groups. Outside it was me, Mike, and the two Julies. Darci and Becky had skidooed east. The main idea was that we'd continue to get together as an informal group. The clock neared 10 PM, I scooted down Fullerton to the el. And what an adventure it became. Warm enough that I could stand there with my jacket open, breathing in the sharp tang of an unfiltered cigarette dangling from the hand of a kid in a grey hoodie. A girl in shorts with runners legs. A black guy could have passed as a beatnik, gave me the peace sign. I returned it, chin nodding. Headphones, cellphones. Train light way back, I stare up at a fifth floor apartment, a revolving ceiling fan. I waited for the train, I was close to not being able to make my connection home. I wanted to hear the ceiling fan, but instead sucked in the smoke. The beatnik looked down at the cement. I could describe more people, but some I just singled out. And then the train, marked 95th Street. I want 87th Street, and by 11 PM. Tick Tock. Otherwise I can't get my bus ride home.

The Ellroy cover now. Once on the train I became even more alive, feeling immortal as I do in those dreams I have sometimes described here. The neon scattershot, only teal and blue, not lime and red. But you get the idea, bright, bright, bright as insanity. I'm trying to read Ellroy but I can't. A big tall guy, gangling, says he's blind, shakes a plastic cup. Wears a red and black jacket, maybe that's why he reminded me of a pitcher. Moves a white blind man's can that has silver duct tape near its middle. Talks about not being able to find work, even though he can type faster than people with sight. Out of work, join the crowd. Smell like booze and sweat, keep on moving. Took him until Lake Street to move on. Still can't read Ellroy. Woman in a vomit-green jacket and an orchid scarf starts yelling, seriously, got-damn squalling, about people not going to college, and if we went to a trade school we could rule America. Made no sense at all, but kept drilling the point, so I cut out. At Harrison, I went to the next car, moving quick, it was like Technicolor, two guys wearing the brightest blue jackets getting off as I brush in, everything sticking with me, like an adrenaline high. Mostly it was me knowing the weather was good and would remain so when I waited for my bus. Before I got me a seat, there was the blind man, I saw him head to toe before I sat down. Gangling. Wasn't talking about typing no more, this time it was all God Bless America. Got me thinking, if a blind man sneers, what does he think it looks like? Thoughts flying through my head, my skull a gravity well.

The bus ride was uneventful and I read my book. Bopped from the bus at 11:37, walked a deserted parking lot. Night shift at Dominick's down to three, by the cars. Behind me, the bus reminds me that it goes to 91st and Commercial. I put a toothpick in my mouth and keep looking over my shoulder like I'm a fugitive. Five block walk, I pass a kid and his BFF, he surprises me by asking what was up? No one talks on the night streets anymore. I gave him a hey, how you doin' back. Two blocks up, a guy and a girl, Hispanic, love talkin'. I say what's up, thinking, hey, this might work. They both say hey and hi right back. No moon tonight, just a few cars, more people than cars, which is really unexpected in this godforsaken suburb on a Monday night turning into Tuesday morning. Walk through the church parking lot. I look back at the white house next to the vacant lot, where, on a full moon Monday at the start of summer, a girl got out of her car and I heard a key in the lock. Because that's how quiet it is out here. 12:57 right now. Had the dog out, pissed on some dead grass. I went further down and looked over the fence, saw the suicide window. Where the light is always on, and I'll never get it, even after I eventually write the story. Then he's inside, chewing on a bone I had in my pocket, and I'm up here, teeth clamped on a toothpick because it helps, and I'm typing this all down before I forget. When I close my eyes, I'm not rightly certain if I want to hear carnival music or not. 11:47. 11:43.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dick Briefer's Frankenstein

Well, I am excited and feel stupid, both at the same time. I've written in the past about my love for the Briefer FRANKENSTEIN books from the early 50s. Between 1952 and 1954, they were 26 issues of pretty gruesome stuff. In the late 50s, after the original comic had been canceled after being used as an example in THE SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT, later issues from 1856-1958 made him fairly silly, like a monster Archie Andrews. Only without any friends. The last time I wrote here about Briefer, I used a cover from the later, sillier comics, one called "Death O'Clock." On looking for other covers (my sorry few issues are in Mylar and I don't want to scan them), I discovered this illo from THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME he did back in 1939.

Well, I learned today that a company called Idea Men had reprinted the original horror issues, all 26, only in B&W, which is still fine by me. Tomorrow, I am buying one. Oddly Amazon has them new at $23.00 and used starting at $46.00. Goofy dealers, pricing as weird as they do. Not as weird as those comics, man. I have just decided on my Hallowe'en present to myself...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

But You're The Only One Without A Costume

Or so my brother-in-law said. Don't let the Infanticide word scare you off, they were like vampire aliens. Lobo himself was created to sort of mock Marve's Ghost Rider and cosmic superheroes. Well, for each of the four issue mini-series, there was some sort of contest. One was "Lobo Lookalike." Chris Turek suggested I send my fake mug shot photo, which at the time was hanging in the comic shop window with a WANTED FOR MURDER sign above it, this was to scare off would be robbers when they saw me behind the counter. Simpler days. Mike Dunleavy calls me at home weeks later, there I was in the Lobo comic. Could have been worse, I could have been on the ad for Joker Comics.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Graveyard Millionaire Fundraiser

Contrary to the Loop background in the photo, this thing will be held at the North Avenue docks, where the kayak rentals are. Its a fundraiser for kayaking and boating for disabled people, and I'm down with that. I will at least advertise it, because the tickets are $65.00 each. The location makes it difficult for any real public transportation later in the evening, unless I walk to the North/Clybourn subway entrance. I am doing a focus study next week that pays $400.00 but some of that is allocated for my dog's annual shots. So we'll see. Not quite a Hallowe'en post, but I was just emailed the invite about twenty minutes ago. Might be worth mention that the background is what my repeated dreams look like, the el and the wet streets, late night, crowds of people in the distance as a bullhorn shouts orders. I actually saw that in my head when I opened the email, which came from the kayaking company.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Moonlight Mysteries

This is more spooky stuff, though I like the noir image with the car. Sid Williams sent me this link, Claudia Schiffer in the November issue of UK's Harper Bazaar. I told him of Chicago's DBB (Days Before Borders) and how we had Kroch's & Brentano's, Waldenbooks, Book-A-Million, Crown Books, and Bookseller's Row. Now there is only Borders, a few Barnes & Noble scattered around the city, and Quimby's on North and Wolcott, and after-words, on Illinois off State, which has a fantastic selection of used books in the basement. They also send me birthday coupons every year, but I'm not biased. I told Sid how the Kroch's & Brentano's not only carried the UK editions of magazine, but everything in French and German and Italian. Not just magazines, but newspapers, too. After Borders came to town, all the bookstores I mentioned above closed within four years. Oh. I forgot The Stars Our Destination on Belmont. A great store run by Alice Bentley. What a beautiful place it was. A few blocks down, there was a much smaller store, a father and son deal, they went under, too. I bought a hardback copy of BEN-HUR, copyright 1914, for four dollars. I've mentioned this one before, I also picked up some guy's 1939 diary. He worked for Harris Shirt Co. in the Loop and got a raise to twenty dollars a week. Seventy years gone, baby. Man, I have dementia. The best bookstore of all, also on Belmont (pretty much everything is on Belmont, right off the el tracks, from an Army Surplus store to Egor's Dungeon), the Gallery Bookstore, run by Bill Fiedler. If I had an extra hundred dollars--the found money kind--I'd spend most of it there, buy me some Sax Rohmer books, some hard-boiled mysteries from the 40s, and a few books that were made into movies, like a hardback of ANATOMY OF A MURDER. All of these are rather cheap, but I want to one day buy as many as I can carry. A $#!tload,, one might say.

But my main point, before I went off on a tangent, although it was one that brought back memories for me and likely those from here in Chicago. Rich Chwedyk. Scott Kroll. The displaced Chris Turek. Wally Cwik. Back to my main point already, I sincerely hope that the CEO of Borders has nightmares every night and will soon crap in his pants uncontrollably. Trick or Treat, Mr. CEO, I'm the candy-colored clown they call the Sandman, and I'm dropping some Murray Leinster books on your sack. Thanks for nothing.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

One Year Gone

I always want to apologize to Harry. Present tense, even though today is the anniversary of his death. Present tense, he is still around. I see him every day. Whether it's his own artwork, as seen above, for a story I have in SCREAM FACTORY. Sean Doolittle owns the original. Last week, Holly Day emailed me about unearthing a copy of VICIOUS CIRCLE, which had work by her and, unknown as I was to her at the time, myself. I emailed back on who Sean was, of the books she could find of his at Borders now, but back in 1992, when VC was a project for, I believe, business school, Sean ran into Harry and me at Minn-Con and thought we were enormously famous. Harry and I joked about that later, and when I last saw Harry and mentioned Sean's crime novels, he took a drag from his cigarette and, in exaggerated Harry fashion, vociferated that he "knew that young kid would make something of himself one day." I can still smile about Harry and the way he could deliver lines.

I see him every day through his loves, and when I talk with Diana on the phone (which is not nearly enough, but as with Facebook and Twitter, I'm just not a phone kind of guy). Hans Bellmer. Harry absolutely loved his work. He was fascinated with the work involving dolls, and so I have two images, the other being similar to something Harry himself might construct. Wires and painted wood and odd little window frames, boxes in his back room labeled DOLL PARTS and CHINA CATS, though I think the latter was Diana's stuff. You never knew from Harry's inventory.

I want to apologize to Harry (and Diana, as well), for not visiting nearly as much since I moved to Burbank. As I'd gotten older, I felt guilty about sleeping over, and my ride to Oak Park was doubled in time because it was no longer a straight ride down Pulaski to the Blue Line. Yet we still emailed and exchanged postcards, but I should have visited more. The mid-90s seem so, so long ago, the days of watching HORROR OF PARTY BEACH and TARANTULA, laughing and enjoying them just the same. And so it is I think not just of him, but of all the good times I had...we had, and it seems as if I can just reach far enough, I can pull those years back and relive them again.

I even see Harry in the moon. Yea, you got me. I think it's the whole harvest moon thing. So at 2 AM all week, as I wait for my border collie Mitch to take his piss, I stare up at that crazy half moon. And now I'll stare at my reflection in the window for awhile.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Horror of Party Beach, Epilogue

Well, Bob thought that maybe the monsters were Republicans, and Charles thought it had to do with pickling the humans. Neither was close. But we do find out almost immediately that the monsters somehow feed off the blood, and then Beyonce screams as one of the monster's severed hands moves. They pour sodium on it and it dissolves. Sodium. As in salt. As in salt water. Which is where the monsters came from. The. Idiots. Well, Elaine is off traipsing over at Glenwood Quarry and Hank is speeding past Times Square, party beach is in Connecticut, so you got me on this geography-stuff. Well, everyone converges on the monsters and dump the sodium on them. Elaine was slashed on the leg and Hank comes to visit her in her bedroom. THE END. Also, you might note that I have been tearing the book apart as I scanned the pages. And yes I did, because I have my own pristine copy, along with THE MOLE PEOPLE follow-up. This one I bought for two bucks back in the day and it was missing a back cover and generally falling apart. But I did have the advert on the last page, but I have never seen a copy of SPACEMEN magazine. Anyhow, this is the end of HORROR AT PARTY BEACH week. Thank you and please come again.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Horror of Party Beach, Act IV

Things are picking up now. Even though there's a rockin' party with the Del-Aires, and two girls have just been mauled, a bunch of other gals have a slumber party. We see where this is going. Well, the monsters (yes, there are two of them now!), stumble to the door, but the girls think they are jocks from "Chi Si" and have placed a bucket of water on the door. (This is TAP WATER, and it is actually a clue as to how stupidly stupid this movie ends.) The monsters get the water dumped on them (Hint: Nothing happens!) And for Out Of Context Movie Lines, one of the girls asks "How'd you like our shower?" before a massive amount of sound effects set in. My favorite is CRUNCH. Does anything really make that sound? CRACK, maybe, or even SNAP. But crunch is like the Hulk clapping his hands to make Thor's helmet (with wig attached) and making the sound KRAKA-BA-THOOM!

But I digress. I've skipped more pages, two bitchy tourists get lost and yet a third monster eats them right in their convertible, a lone girls goes swimming and, well...then, my FAVORITE part of the film, the drunks, Jimmy and Ed. There was no real way to show this in the fumetti, but each gets into his own car and promptly crash into each other at two miles per hour. They go to ask for help, see the guy with his face torn off, and then get eaten, as well. By then, everybody is freaking out so much that they have an entire page devoted to people freaking out. Next: more sound effects!

Horror of Party Beach, Act III

When last we left booze hound Tina, she had just seen Mr. Vienna Beef. This film, as I said, is interesting for its camera angles and quick cuts, something you can see here, as Tina is evidently crying EEYOW! as blood streams down her leg. This looks (and sounds) more like me shaving on any given day of my life. As everyone runs to the scene, there's a shot of this creepy demonic child looking directly back at the camera. Seriously, it's right there.

The cops officially use the name Party Beach, so now we are in business. I decided to scan the next few pages simply because of the enormous amount of dialogue. All kinds of crazy subtext here. The doctor seems to think that since the monster is amphibian, they must check out all the watery lairs in the area, but then says "let's call it a day." I'm thinking this is Dr. Kervorkian's dad. Remember Hank's older sis, Elaine? Well, a black maid whom we will not see again slaps open the door to her bedroom to tell her some guy is downstairs, "it's that Hank Green." Wait a minute! Maybe Elaine isn't Hank's older sister after all!

Well, anyhow. after the doctor had called it a day and the cops evidently went to the party to hear the Del-Aires sing "You're Not A Summer Love," two chicks leave early. One hears something. They look around. Crickets chirp. And the camera cuts to Mr. Ballpark Frank. Tomorrow: More Newspaper Headlines!