Saturday, February 27, 2016

Friday, February 26, 2016

Old Time Radio - The Hermit's Cave - The Search for Life

One of the silliest and most gruesome of the old time radio horror shows.  A scientist who has conquered death tries to resurrect his love without the memory of her own true love.  Contains a gibbering, head-crushing man-beast.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Saturday Night at the Drive-In - Spaghetti Westerns

Some trailers, a documentary short from the 60s called Westerns, Italian Style, and Chuck Connors in Kill Them All and Come Back Alone, a film with the most trampolines used than in any Euro-Western.

Trash Menace Gallery

Man, Peggy from Mad Men is high.

Monday, February 15, 2016

All the Waterslides

Well, not all of them, but over 7000s POV waterslide videos by AmusementForce.  And it doesn't even cover North America.  A lot of duplicates, but still, that's a lot of waterslides.

Click here - it may take a few minutes to load up.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

More Tales of the Defective Detective in the Pulps

More Tales of the Defective Detective in the Pulps
Edited by Gary Hoppenstand, Garyn G. Roberts, and Ray B. Browne
1985 Bowling Green State University State University Popular Press

The Defective Detectives refers to a fad in the late 30s for private detectives with a disability, largely in the titles Dime Mystery Magazine and Strange Detective.  The genre largely replace Weird Menace when it was clear they couldn't get away with it anymore, and was part of a larger movement of detectives becoming more gimmicky.  As the pulp magazines died out with the paper shortage in the 1940s, it looked to me that things were going in separate directions - either more gritty and hard-boiled, or cape-wearing comic book style.

But before this, we had detective pulps with a lot of outre elements.  The defective detectives ditched the amateur protagonist and (some) of the sexual sadism, but there was still plenty of gore, perhaps more.

The stories from More Tales are very formulaic, and it would have stood out then, as all the stories were taken from just four 1939 issues of Dime Mystery Magazine.  The detective has a disability that may or may not come in to play in the story.  Folks are getting killed off by mysterious and violent means, and a damsel in distress begs our hero for help.

The hero runs from murder to murder and doesn't do a whole ton of detecting, only uncovering the murderer because he's trying to kill him.

The defective detectives here are:

Ben Bryn (by Russell Gray) - childhood illness gave him short legs and upper body strength that allows him to snap necks one-handed.  His only handicap, if you could call it that, is that he's 5' 2".  If this was an RPG character I wouldn't re-roll him.  His height only comes up when the author mentions that women still think he's a hunk, and there's a titch of jealousy around taller men.

He appears in:

The Dead Hand Horrors - A gang of skeleton-handed cultist try to recruit Bryn.

Flesh for the Monster - someone is ripping bodies apart bare-handed, and Bryn is a suspect.

Prey for the Creeping Death - Blackmail victims are plagued by spreading acid burns

The Bleeder (stories by Edith & Eljer Jacobson) - Nat Perry is a hemophiliac who can bleed to death from the smallest injury - good thing nobody really tries cutting him or anything.  He knows a mysterious Eastern form of martial arts that involves studying anatomy (Judo, though not named here).  And he is a bit of a psycho, killing a thug in cold blood for talking smack about his foster dad.

The Bleeder doesn't bleed in:

Funerals - C.O.D. - An inventor uses the vacuums in air conditioners to induce suspended animation, which is not how vacuums or air conditioners work.

They Die on Schedule - Victims die from precisely timed poisons.

Peter Quest (by John Kobler).  My favorite of the bunch, and Kobler may be my new favorite writer.  He's a former crime writer and I get the vibe of him having a sick sense of humor.  Peter Quest has glaucoma and will eventually go blind.  Kobler plays this up to the hilt.  The glaucoma kicks in when he's under stress, and he has a bottle of eyedrops to restore his sight.  Unlike the Bleeder, Kobler uses this effectively to create suspenseful setups.  Quest is a bit of a lunatic drama queen about it, and he purposely puts himself in danger because he wants to die before he goes blind.  He goes so far as to stamp all of his solved casefiles "Failure" - because they failed to kill him.

Peter Quest is in two stories (published within three months) involving evil doctors replacing bodies with doubles:

Bubbles of Murder - The best piece in the book.  The killer uses floating soap bubbles filled with acid that dissolve bodies into black goo on contact.

Clinic For Killers - This one is messed up.  A clinic controls a sadistic lunatic.  Surgery is used to give the killer the body of the wealthy, who then proceed to steal their wealth, as well as rape and kill any witnesses.

Dan Holden (story by Leon Byrne) is a twofer - deaf and has a silver plate in his skull.  In Society of the Singing Death he seeks to protect socialite women who have joined a Hindu cult who have been exploding in graphic fashion.  His deafness is cured at the end, and I don't know if he made any other appearances.

Surprisingly for these kind of collections, it's in print and available in paperback at Amazon.

More on Defective Detectives at Thrilling Detective.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Sunday, February 7, 2016

In Amundsen’s Tent by John Martin Leahy

In Amundsen’s Tent 
by John Martin Leahy
originally Weird Tales January 1928

Very early Antarctic horror, and perhaps the first depending on how horrific is 1926's "Beyond the Pole" by A. Hyatt Verrill for Amazing Stories, which is about a race of lobster folk.

This piece is a bit more Lovecraftian and foreshadows the later In the Mountains of Madness.

Told in epistolary format of found notes, a group of explorers find tents in the Antarctic where no explorers have been before.  A nice eerie piece marred in a couple places by two of the worst cliches of weird fiction:

"It's too horrible to describe.  No seriously, you'll go crazy."  It's hard to get away with this, and Leahy doesn't.  Half of the story is characters trying to stop each other from looking in the tent repeating lines like the one above.  They then proceed to discuss where it might come from, what its purpose is, and what to do about it.  This kind of indescribable Stygian cyclopean only works in small doses when things are hinted at, not when you're bashing the reader over the head with it while rationally discussing the implications.

It luckily goes back to sparse explained creepiness for the end, though we have the inevitable "Oh no, I have to stop writing now because I'm about to...oh no, it got me.  I'm about to drop my pen" stuff.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Saturday Night at the Drive-In

Featuring Thriller with the guy from Newhart and the Inquisition / brain eating classic Brainiac!

Trailers, a TV episode, an intermission, and our Feature Film

Now in the Gallery - Strange Sisters of Twilight Worlds

Trying something new - slideshows of the huge collection of book covers and movie posters I've accumulated.  These will be posted in the Trash Menace Gallery.

We'll start with guaranteed click-bait - Strange Sisters of Twilight Worlds - Lesbian Pulp Fiction and Sleaze Paperbacks of the 1950s and 1960s

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Showdown at Guyamas by Logan Winters - Spectros 1

Showdown at Guyamas
by Logan Winters (Paul Lederer)
Spectros 1
1978 Manor Books

Spectros and crew get mixed up with a range war and train heist.  The cover and branding of this first installment don't betray any of the series' supernatural elements.

Some good storytelling, but Lederer is juggling so many plotlines I got lost trying figuring out what character is in what subplot and how they knew where everyone else was.  People just kind of show up when they're needed.

I know he needs to keep the villain alive for the next book, but don't make it so obvious.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


by Logan Winters (Paul Lederer)
5 installments 1978-1981

Click cover for review if available.

Doc Spectros was shanghaied to the Orient, where he fell in love with a woman named Kristina. Kristina is kidnapped by the evil wizard Blackschuster. Spectros spends years learning the occult arts to face Blackschuster and rescue Kristina.

He is joined by three companions:

Ray Featherskill - womanizing gunfighter
Montak - giant mute and knife expert
Inkada - Also a gunfighter, wields a kris.  Might be an eastern Moor or East Indian.

There's some room for some Doc Savage style cast of colorful backup characters, but this hasn't been developed much in the installments I've read.

The series formula is in the Fugitive model.  The team comes to town chasing after Blackschuster and his henchman Wango.  They involve themselves in two stock western scenarios, one of which involves Blackschuster trying to get silver for his magic fumes he uses to keep Kristina in a trance.  One of the team will be briefly separated from the rest before rejoining them later without incident.  It ends with Blackschuster basically being allowed to escape and nobody making any effort to rescue Kristina.

Not a lot of magic going on.  Doc Spectos can turn himself into young gunfighter Kid Soledad for brief periods of time, and both wizards can turn themselves into animals for the two sentence animal fight that throws down each installment.

Lederer basically weaves three stories together in not much space.  The first book has a kindle page count of 138 pages, and 20% of that is an excerpt from the next book.  What he leaves out are backstory, characterizations, and decent action scenes.  What's left seems to be characters just going from point a to b to c to move the story along.

The numbering is a bit confusing for this series. The first is Showdown at Guyamas published in 1978 as a standalone for Manor books.  The series started again with number one for the next four installments at Tower, all published in 1981 with better covers and branding.

Being used to the Piccadilly Cowboys around the same era I found Spectros very old-fashioned, more Tom Mix than Clint Eastwood.  I like my westerns violent and/or gimmicky, and this wasn't enough of either for me.

The third book has Bigfoot and the fourth has zombies, so I might come back to this series later.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Small Worlds of the World - Happy World - Happy Valley Beijing

Very busy with lots of shiny hard plastic.  Maybe the only dark ride with a segment dedicated to beer.  There are seem neat origami style figures in there.  Kind of nice to have Ode To Joy being the repetitive theme.