Saturday, August 20, 2011
Franklin Richards is whatever age he wants to be.
And he not only makes himself that age, he makes it so that he’s ALWAYS been that age, and no one ever remembers anything different BECAUSE HE CHANGES THE FUNDAMENTAL NATURE OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE. In a very real way, Franklin Richards IS ‘Marvel Time.’ And the entirety of his universe ages more slowly because Franklin doesn’t want to grow up and he certainly doesn’t want things to change too much while he enjoys his extended childhood...
I couldn’t help but see him, though. A small ashen man, he was practically crumpled into himself, barely able to stand and blankly staring upon his child. His very dead daughter was in a heap, like yesterday’s laundry atop a gurney brought by the morgue to our small mortuary and funeral home. Even from the corner, I could see she was beautiful. Like a perfect rose, preserved in death with a haunting glow, his young twenty year old daughter radiated grace and a quiet calm in death. True, I felt that way about many I’d seen, but this one appeared special...
Jimmy Sangster, the man who wrote the screenplays for Curse Of Frankenstein, andDracula, for Hammer Studios, has passed away at age 83.
The two aforementioned versions of the venerated classics not only saved the archaic production house from imminent collapse, but turned it around on it's heel almost overnight, and into an immediate hit factory...
Thank you for Mr. Sangster for some great stories and some great memories.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
IN THIS TWILIGHT
The Mask Collector
Saturday May 31, 2003
Darren had only one thought as he shouldered past the man on the stairway, 300 pound guys should not wear bicycle shorts.
The 300 pound man in question had sleepy eyes and pale lips that were pursed in a continual grimace. A ragged beard covered his face, his thick greasy hair was pulled back from his forehead in a ponytail. The t-shirt he wore was too small, the pasty crescent of his belly protruded from the lower edge of the dark fabric. The logo on the t-shirt had long faded to discolored outlines that declared the man’s desire to ‘ ARTY AK D’. The legs that sprung from the bicycle shorts made Darren want to wince, they were bloated and marked with deep veins.
“Hey,” He said. “You must be my new neighbor I'm in 1668.”
Darren kept moving towards his apartment, “Yeah.”
“Did they fix your water heater?”
The 300 pound man laughed and kept walking down the stairs, “A sucker born every minute.”
And a Merry Christmas to you too Santa. Darren thought as he carried the box of clothes through the open door of apartment 1667. He set the flimsy liquor store box down with all the others. That was almost the last of it, he just had to get his TV up the two flights of stairs and he was done.
And I did it all by myself. Not bad for a guy that almost died a few months ago.
Taking a moment to rest Darren looked the place over once more. It was a little drab and cramped but it had possibilities, and it had a balcony, Darren had always wanted a balcony. He still felt a twinge of guilt over how things had ended with Marnie. When he had woken up in that hospital bed with tubes and monitors coming every which way out of him he’d realized that what the doctors were calling a congenital heart defect was really a wake up call of the highest order.
Those changes however hadn’t been very popular with his friends, mostly because they were Marnie’s friends too. Darren had expected people to take sides in the matter, he sure as Hell hadn’t expected that no one would take his. Everyone saw him as the bad guy, and they were all too busy helping Marnie move into her new place to even return his phone calls.
Nice going ‘buddies’. She’s not the one that had a heart attack at 31.
It was time to wrap the, maybe order a pizza and watch a DVD. Darren headed back down the stairs wondering bitterly how long it would be before one of his so-called friends would be balling Marnie.
Darren cringed a little at the thought and then made himself think of something else.
The 300 pound man was heading back up the stairs, he was carrying a battered parcel covered with stamps and labels. He stuck out his hand, “Hey, by the way, my name is Chad Lunt.”
“Brad?” Darren took the hand, it was soft and gelid to the touch.
“No! Chad. C-H-A-D. Of the Lunt family. It’s British,” he explained. “My parents were part of the nobility back in England but they had to move to this failed craphole of a country.”
“Uh, if you say so?”
“I mean this nation is pretty much dead isn’t it? I mean look at your President, look at these kids today.”
“You know I’d love to talk –”
“And these girls today, with their half shirts and their tattoos, they’re all dirty sluts,” He leaned forward with a conspiratorial grin, “the only good thing about this place is that we’re so close to the college campus that some of the little whores live here, you should see them in the summer walking around in their shorts and tank tops.”
“Well I –”
There was a faraway look in his eyes, “I mean you wouldn’t think of it to look at me now but back in the day I used to get laid all the time. You wouldn’t believe the amount of…”
“That’s great but I’m losing daylight here,” Darren said, “I’ve got to finish moving and then get the rented U-haul back. OK?”
“Yeah sure. We’ll talk once you’re settled in.”
Darren ran down the steps two at a time and got to the U-haul. Standing inside the truck he glanced back at the Kerwin Landings apartment complex, a collection of four three story buildings. Each building looked like a refrigerator tipped onto its side with three apartments per level. Each building had a dingy laundry room and plenty of florescent lighting in the hallways and stairwells. The clientele was mostly retirees and students, but Darren liked it because it was close to his job and far across town from his old life.
The television sat in the rear corner of the truck covered with an old blanket. It was a large model and it had been a nightmare just getting it into the truck, he didn’t relish the thought of carrying it up those stairs by himself but he was on his own now wasn’t he?
Darren smiled a little at the thought, On my own.
THE LOST EXPLORER is one of my favorite short stories ever and a big influence on me. I didn't know they were going to try and make a film of it. I hope to track down a copy soon...
Tim Walker, who shot his first story for Vogue sixteen years ago at twenty-five years young, chose to film a mystical story taken from Blood and Water and Other Tales by Patrick McGrath, who Walker refers to as ‘the apocalyptic Roald Dahl’. The Lost Explorer begins with a child, Evelyn, played by 14-year-old Olympia Campbell, stumbling on a tent among brambles at the bottom of her garden. Inside, an explorer is dying of malaria and clutching a revolver. ‘The Lost Explorer’ is played by Richard Bremner, he of Harry Potter fame (Lord Voldemort)...
This movie is everything I love in a horror film. In fact it isn't as much a horror film as much as it is a Weird Tale in the best sense of the word.
One Morning in New England, 1940, the entire population of Friar New Hampshire - 572 people - walked together up a winding mountain trail and into the wilderness. They left behind their clothes, their money, all of their essentials. Even their dogs were abandoned, tied to posts and left to starve. No One knows why. A search party dispatched by the U.S. Army eventually discovered the remains of nearly 300 of Friar's evacuees. Many had frozen to death. Others were cruelly and mysteriously slaughtered. The bodies of the remaining citizens are still unaccounted for. Over the years, a quiet cover-up operation managed to weave the story of Friar into the stuff of legends and backwoods fairy tales. The town has slowly repopulated, but the vast wilderness is mostly untracked, with the northern-most stretches off limits to local hunters and loggers. In 2008, the coordinates for the "YELLOWBRICKROAD" trail head were declassified. The first official expedition into a dark and twisted wilderness will attempt to solve the mystery of the lost citizens of Friar...and reach the end of the trail...
POLARIS by HP Lovecraft, IN THE HILLS, IN THE CITIES by Clive Barker, THE TOWN MANAGER by Thomas Ligotti, THE WILLOWS by Algernon Blackwood, THE REPAIRER OF REPUTATIONS by Robert W. Chambers, and THE LOST EXPLORER by Patrick McGrath- these are the stories that have haunted me and stayed with me all my life. None of them have involved monsters or slashers or roving bands of exploding sheep- they have tales as weird as they were scary, stories as full of dark wonder as they are of doom and despair.
YELLOWBRICKROAD is just that kind of tale I can't recommended it enough. Some have been dissapointed by the ending but I was more than pleased and if I've learning anything from this movie it is that it isn't the destination it's the journey.
Check it out as soon as you can!
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Price Breaks And Heartaches
A journal of retail and failed romance
Al And Tallulah’s Wild Ride
The concert had left me with ringing ears, a wildly overpriced t-shirt that would disintegrate after two washings and some great memories. I suppose that’s what your early twenties are; memories in progress, moments you can look back on with fondness when you’re middle aged and waiting for the latest in a never-ending sequence of invasive medical procedures to begin.
My Mom and Dad had always told me that someday I would look back at high school as my glory days but even then I knew better. Those five years had been nothing more than a series of physical trials, emotional setbacks and crushing humiliations. There are plenty of folks I treasure from that time of my life and plenty of moments I can look back on and maybe, just maybe, smile about.
But glory days? Not a chance. As far as my twenty year old self was concerned these were my glory days. I had my best girl, my own car and completely unrealistic hopes and dreams.
And what more could a guy want?
“...and what more could a guy want?” I said.
The customer glared at me in disbelief, “Look, will you just tell me where the three hole punches are?”
“Oh. Sure,” I blushed, “aisle five.”
Our corporate overlords had decided that all Paper Shredder stores would now have a software section. The idea was that this, along with our copy center, office supplies, party supplies and books would make us the destination of choice for well heeled consumers throughout the capital district. All this bold plan managed to do was make us the number one source for kids looking to shoplift copies of Zork.
I found the computer games fascinating but I had no patience or money for them. All my friends told me that I should invest in a AMIGA but I was still trying to master the intricacies of the Colecovison.
There was an interdepartmental phone in the heart of the book department. I used it to dial the copy center’s extension and the minute Tallulah picked up I began reading to her from a lurid romance novel, “Lance pulled Audrey closer and kissed her so hard that she was left gasping for breath. He pulled at her nightgown, loosening it so it pooled at her feet. The candlelight dappled across her skin, he reached out to cup the soft curve of her breast. Her nipples burned with…”
“Albert!” She giggled, “What are you doing?”
“Just reading to you a spicy selection from one of our many bodice rippers.”
“Oh my,” she said, “but they can’t say we aren’t familiarizing ourselves with our products.”
“You know I should totally write one of these,” I said, “I wonder what an Al Bruno love story would be like.”
“Knowing you it would involve a redhead and a body count.”
“Spoken like a true fan.”
The copy center bell rang signaling that it was time for Tallulah and I try to and pretend to work for a while at least. I stocked shelves and helped customers but me heart and mind were elsewhere. Was my woman going to head straight home from work tonight or would we have the chance to spend some quality time together?
Finally boredom and my libido got the better of me and it was back to phone and the romance novel. I called the copy center and quickly picked up where I had left off, “She lay back on the bed, naked and quivering. She opened herself to him and gazed down at the insistent...”
“What the Hell are you doing Al?” Ms Cooper asked.
“Oh! Uhm…” I wanted to crawl under and end cap and die, “Is Tallulah there?”
“You two need to give it a rest.”
“Why whatever do you mean?”
Ms Cooper put me on hold and Tallulah picked up a moment later, “What did you say to her? She looked flushed.”
I sighed, “Let’s just say I was a few seconds away from describing the insistent throbbing of Lance’s desire.”
“That would have been awkward,” she said.
“And how.” I sat down on the floor beside the microfiche machine, in fifteen minutes I had to run the floor machine down the aisles. I wondered to myself how much property damage I would cause this time.
“So…” Her voice became a purr, “What are your plans for tonight.”
“I thought we might go someplace private and talk.” I said.
“Oh? Really? And what might we talk about?”
“The union of our bodies? The sweet friction of our lovemaking? The... the...” My horny chuckle dwindled when I realized there was a customer standing before me looking for a price check on a King James Bible.