I’ve begun a new series of original digital art called “Demons of the Dark” on my flickr gallery. Demons of the Dark will be an imaginary bestiary from the shadows of hell. It kind of scares me. (Even scarier: in the spirit of the original gorelets poetry series, I’m creating these by ‘fingerpainting’ on my iPhone (using the great ArtStudio app)!
Returning visitors to gorelets.com may recall that the site once hosted a gallery of its own (and information about all my books in a bibliography). These elements of the site are being rebuilt from scratch, and are not ready for formal opening yet. But even though it’s under construction, the gorelets gallery page is available for browsing if you don’t mind tripping over the wet dustcloths at this link: http://www.gorelets.com/gallery/. Restoring the bibliography right now, however, is my highest priority, and I hope to have a full catalog of my books up soon, which will likely include a way to order signed editions directly from me, for those who collect such things (e.g., the cool kids).
Comments appreciated if you want to give feedback on what you’d like to see on this site.
Many see the Freaksicord as if it were a mirage when they first encounter it. It stands — astonishingly — like a walking stomach. Only as an afterthought does one notice the head, which dangles somewhere down below. Its head is so heavy with teeth, the neck can not bear its weight, and the head sometimes swings on its stalk like a pendulum between the beast’s stocky legs. Many presume that they might die between those muscular jaws, but what they don’t realize is that the neck, wings and head together function like a lever, lifting pray up into the air only to drop it back down onto the horns that protrude from a place near the bloated tic-like stomach. Blood is absorbed by the Freaksicord’s skin. It needs no mouth to consume you.
Thanks to Quinto Martin, who ran a teaching-with-technology training session this week at Seton Hill University on the subject of games in education. We installed Maxis’ free trial edition of the popular Spore Creature Creator. “You could have students make creatures and then write stories about them,” Martin suggested, pointing out the various character traits that can be manipulated in the software. He asked us to try it ourselves and submit what we came up with. The above was mine, which I thought I’d share here.
I think I was getting hungry when I wrote this. I also think the wings should be where ears might appear on the sides of the golf-club-shaped head.
Maybe I’ll try this activity next time I teach my undergraduate course in Horror and Suspense Writing.
“It was beauty that killed the beast.”
“Yeah. That and the syphillis.”
“Don’t bury me, I’m not dead yet.”
“Oh, no? Allow me…” (shovel to the neck)
(Aiming finger at the head) “Braaaiiiins…!”
(Aiming pistol at the head) “Buuuulllets…!”
“In space no one can hear you scream.”
“Oh no? Where IS Earth, anyway? That’s right. It’s floating in space, you freaking idiot. Let’s see if anyone can hear you scream when I press this hot iron into your underarm…”
“Like what? Your butterfly collection? Please, please. Let me show YOU what acupuncture really means.” (grabs head like a basketball and squeezes the pins deep)
“I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.”
“Beans! THAT explains the smell in here! I tht-tht-tht-tht-thought it was your breath.”
“When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.”
“There’s always the Holiday Inn next door. Competitive rates… and a cleaner pool!”
“Where? In the 1980s? Heeeere’s my palm.” (slap)
“I see dead people.”
“Yeah, yeah. They see you, too, kid. Don’t you get it? That’s your audience. They died of boredom.”
“I’m your Number One Fan.”
“Really? Because you smell like Number Two.”
“Long live the new flesh!”
“Viva your zits!”
“We all go a little mad sometimes…don’t you?”
“No, I go big mad when pervs like you peep at me in the shower.”
“Be afraid. Be very afraid.”
“Why? Becawse dare might be wabbits? Fear this, Fuddrucker.” (middle finger)
“Can I use this nail gun to accomplish that?”
“Sometimes dead is better.”
“Better than what? Your grammar skills? You go die now, and we be all better, Idiotface.”
Liked today‘s google doodle for Jim Henson’s 75th Birthday. It made me start thinking about just how bizarre Sesame Street (let alone The Muppet Show) really was. Also reminded me that I once wrote an alternative muppet piece in a (way) back issue of The Goreletter: if you missed it, check out “Grim Henzon Productions”.
p.s. The interactive logos are the best. I learned you can make the word ‘google’ eat itself in today’s doodle… I also made the bald man’s glasses spin off, but I have no idea how I did that.
Encouraged by early feedback, I’m starting a new digital art series on my flickr gallery called “Alternative Rorschach.” Check it out, free associate, and tell me what you see in the comments section on flickr or on facebook.
I’ve only done three “cards” so far; and if feedback keeps coming I will do the entire deck of psychologist inkstains in my own weird way in the weeks to come, so keep coming back (see Rorschach Inkblots page on wikipedia to learn more about the source of this stuff).
Just a vampire girl
Livin’ in a zombie world
She took the midnight train
Just a city boy
Dead and raised in south Detroit
He took a bite of brain
Find a human in a smoky room
The smell of blood and cheap perfume
For a lifetime they can share the night
It goes on and on and on and on
Up and down the boulevard
In the night
Living just to find emotion
In the night
Slurping hearts till the lust’s fulfilled
Everybody’s out to kill
Doin’ anything to feel the vice
just one more time
Some are green, some are blue
Some have mouths that cannot chew
Oh, the horror movie never ends
It goes on and on and on and on
Up and down the boulevard
In the night
Living just to find emotion
In the night
Hold on to that feeding
Hold on to that feeding
Cthulhu the Obscure
A Connecticut Devil in King Arthur’s Inferno
The Golden Bowl of Blood
The Isle of Dr. Moreau and Mr. Hyde
As I Lay Resurrecting
Creature from the Walden Pond
Of Mice and Tentacles
A Midsummer Night’s Scream
Oedipus Rex: The Boy With the X-Ray Eyes
Uncle Tom’s Cannibal Cabin
A Poison Clockwork Orange
Rabid Animal Farm
Lord of the Giant Flies
Clone King Richard the Thirtieth
A Morgue of One’s Own
With irreverence for: Quirk Classics.
[Update: The literati among you might also appreciate this essay at the 'Jane Austen's World' blog.]
I should be working, but how can I when there are maniac clowns on the loose?
The new “MySpace for Horror Fans Only” website, The Haunt, hosts a bounty of online “flash” games you can play online for free in their macabre Arcade section. I’m not too old to admit I thoroughly enjoyed the silly survivalist massacre known as Clown Killer 2. After a ten minute session, I became the champion player of CK2 with a new high score…which will surely be defeated soon by some John Wayne Gacy wannabe who has more time on his or her plastic-gloved hands.
But if you’re afraid of The Haunt, you can also play this game on the original programmer’s website at 2DPlay.com.
Wormit the Legless Frog
Everybody’s lovable green buddy crawls back from the grave on his two lanky arms, his backside grotesquely tapered much like the tadpole he once was. He haunts the parking lots of French restaurants…and in his nasal-congested voice cries out for “leggggsss!” He leaves a snotty trail behind him. He is frequently run over by cars.
He chaotically throws fistfuls of cookies into his mouth, munching wildly, growling “Gooooogeeee.” Sometimes you can see his razor-sharp teeth cutting into his own bloody gums. And sometimes you see human fingers jumbling in the mouth fuzz, and they’re not the puppeteer’s.
Clownt von Clownt
Combining the worst elements of a vampire and a clown, Clownt von Clownt’s lofty domed forehead broods above the eyes and mouth painted not with grease but with the blood of the innocent. But he is tortured with immortal irony. He loads the chambers of his revolver with five blanks and one live round, playing Russian Roulette in front of the camera. “Uh-one,” click. “Uh-two,” click! “Uh-three…,” BAM! And the pointy teeth go flying.
Big Dead Bird
His yellow feathers are fading and falling out. Patches of death-pale gooseflesh are visible everywhere. But worse: large earthworms writhe in his Big Rib Cage. His enormous eyes are always closed. He smells. Badly. The children avoid him.
This shy wooly mammoth is oh so cute…and everyone thinks he’s just Big Dead Bird’s imaginary friend, until he shuffles up within trunk-grabbing distance of you. His trunk is always larger than the children calculate. He teaches them how to count with each determined mash of their bones between his perfect, poisonous tusks. They never really get past three.
Burnie and Dirt
Burnie died in the apartment building fire, but now he’s back from the grave along with his old pal Dirt, his old roommate, who he now carries around in a funerary urn. Dirt perpetually reminds Burnie that the fire was all his fault and that he warned him and he should have listened…when he’s not otherwise whining about having to share his urn with Rubber Duckie. Together they roam the streets, forever homeless, seeking a bathtub.
Scar the Grump
There’s nothing but scabrous tissue where you thought you’d see lips. He’s still a grouch, but at least his nonstop complaining is less annoying, all mumbles and muffled screams behind that stretchy scab where his mouth should have been. His trashcan abode bears the placard for biomedical waste.
No one wants to tickle this stinky scab-colored creature (especially not in those nasty underarms), but that doesn’t stop this monstrosity from sitting in the alleyway, tickling himself in the dark shadows, chortling with perverse glee.
This skinny blue corpse dons his grim reaper cowl and scythe. He has come back to the Street, with a lesson to teach the little ones….
Tickle Me Emo
+ The giant monocle seldom looks flattering.
+ The forehead horn is completely worthless. It just gets in the way, actually.
+ The loss of depth perception makes it hard to know just where to bite when feasting on live meat.
+ No one gets it when you wink at them.
+ The eye chart at the optomotrist’s office is really an “eyes chart.” Not that you can read. But still.
+ The insensitive slurs from the two-eyed community (“myopic,” “short-sighted,” etc.) are never-ending.
+ Only Siamese twins get to look cross-eyed.
+ The giant single eyeball only assists the archer’s aim.
+ The pirate’s patch fools no one.
+ Cartoons have filled the children you eat with all sort of false assumptions about how you do so. (However, this can be a benefit, if you have the right Cyclopean attitude).
+ If you lose a contact, you’re doomed.
+ The Encyclopedia has been replaced by the Wikipedia.
[ Thanks go out to Karissa Kilgore for inspiring this month's Blather by pointing me to the freakouts at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclopia ]
Freddy vs. Jason was just the tip of the blade. Today’s horror movie audiences are going to be stabbed in the eyes again and again with new mix-and-match horror icon flicks like Alien vs. Predator or Van Helsing until the genre gets smart again.
I don’t mind a good monster mash, but the stuff I’m seeing on the screen lately is more like a boxing match than a graveyard bash. These types of stories are nothing new — in fact, they’re almost a hundred years old. After the 1930s, Hollywood was smart to capitalize on the success of Universal Studios’ Dracula and Frankenstein very early in the game, culminating in such campy hits as House of Dracula, or Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein. Back then, too, they were smart enough to know the story was irrelevant and that the whole affair was a glorified conceit — they typically went for the laughs rather than any pretense toward seriousness. And while it’s true that today’s monster mash is still nothing more than an excuse to return some famously fun monsters to the big screen, I think they’re making a huge mistake by taking the “vs.” in their titles way too seriously and packaging them as some sort of combat film. You get the sense watching these pictures that the special effects crew is still playing with army men when they’re not programming CGI.
Hollywood movies try to maximize their profits, so they tend to blur genres together to get as many different audience personalities into the theater as possible. Every big studio production is a sort of “mash” in its own right. This explains why a movie like Van Helsing comes across as an action/mystery/adventure/horror/love story for kids (though it doesn’t necessarily explain why the writing was so bad). But a real monster mash is a genre film tried and true because it appeals exclusively to a genre-savvy audience who knows these characters well.
Besides, as a film genre, horror is more than a century old and there’s plenty of material out there they could put to better use than, say, the Predator, which, while a good commando flick, was merely an Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle and not a famous monster horror movie by any measure. There are lots of monster mashes I’d like to see. Some of them could even make good comedy stories. For example, just off the top of my head…
Regan (The Exorcist) vs. Damien (The Omen)
It’s evil against evil when the antichrist incarnate battles the rebellious demon Pazuzu. The day care center would never be the same.
Hannibal Lector vs. The Mummy
Is mummy meat too dry or is it simply cured? And how will Lector match his literary wit with a creature who speaks only in grunts and hieroglyphics?
The Hand vs. Thing Addams
An arm wrestling match unlike any you’ve ever seen. I can see the final shot now: one of them, popping up from out of a grave. But which one is it?
Chucky (Child’s Play) vs. Fats (Magic)
Some ungodly is bound to happen when these two smart alecks are in the same room: Who’s the dummy now, big boy?
Young Frankenstein Meets Dracula, Dead and Loving It
Watch good horror comedy battle bad in this opaque attempt to resurrect Mel Brooks’ career.
The Green Slime vs. The Blob
Hot gelatin on gelatin action! Let’s see, red plus green equals…um…viscous terror!
Norman Bates vs. Norman Bates
Watch Anthony Perkins try to slice Vince Vaughn trying to slice Anthony Perkins. Schizo slashers in the shower!
Okay, so I can only think of silly examples, but that’s what monster mashes should be: silly fun. They’re charming in the nostaglic way that old friends are, even if they’re dripping with evil. A good monster mash reminds us of what we love about the movies of the past, not what we dig about the technologies and fixations of the present. And they’re ultimately about the characters, not the big screen fireworks. Bring them back from the dead with some decency, Hollywood!