Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sweet Dreams by William W. Johnstone

Sweet Dreams
by William W. Johnstone
1985 Zebra

Alright, strap yourself in.

Our jumping off point is the phenomena of ghostly lights seen around Missouri.  I don't know if this is specifically the Missouri Headlights, I mean, Spook Lights -

There's also an archaeological dig at an Indian burial site.  A Manitou, or Indian spirit thingee, uses the light to travel in and rape women.  He rapes a doctor's wife and explodes her head with electricity, but it's ok because she was an evil harpy because she didn't like that he was cheating on her with his secretary.  Dames.

Said doctor performs an autopsy on his own wife then sleeps with his new psychiatrist girlfriend the same night.  This is our hero.  The two doctors befriend a couple of little kids who are special.  Special how?  Maybe we'll find out later, if Johnstone remembers (he doesn't).

We move into the Devil series template here.  The town is isolated, with people getting amnesia if they cross the border in either direction.  The townspeople inclined towards evil get superevil and work for the Manitou.  Of course, this includes all the teenagers.  A handful (the kids, the doctors, a preacher, and a couple of cops) stay normal.  Everyone else becomes a zoned out zombie, shuffling through a semblance of normal life.

The kids' parents have incestuous orgies while they're trying to sleep and the kids' toys come to life and start banging each other.  What's going on?  Luckily, there's a magic Indian man to explain everything.  And, yes, he's a drunk.

The Manitou is very dangerous and can't be stopped by Western Jesus magic.  Only another Manitou can stop it, or maybe the kids, or the medicine man's magic, or maybe he can't be stopped, but definitely not by anything God can do.

So, something something about being between two worlds.  We have to go to the haunted house!  The drunks, kids, doctors, and cops force their way through a storm to get to the haunted house.  The woman cop gets blown away by the wind, raped some, then teleports back to the house with a sore tush.

Yeah, the raping.  There's a lot of rape in this book.  Like, twenty or something.  Every character's backstory involves rape.  Child rape, monster rape, ghost rape, all the rape is in this book.  Never seen so many anuses get "bulled" into.

So the group gets to the haunted house and hit a time warp to 1890.  Their clothes change to old timey clothes, but they're invisible spirits so it doesn't matter, and they run into the evil man that lived there in 1890 who is also a ghost at the same time.  He rapes a bunch of kids.

They befriend a ghost dog and the Manitou starts confronting everyone with illusions of their darkest fears.  The evil man that is also a ghost says he works for Satan, who might be teaming up with the Manitou, but let's not go anywhere with that.  The cops fight a living wall of human flesh with pointy sticks.

We're three fourths of the way through, so let's introduce a bunch of new characters.  Some cops figure out how to get into town and keep their memories.  They team up with a priest and go to the haunted house.

There's a running subplot about a teacher (yes, she gets raped) who get's possessed by the Manitou, wears Indian clothes, and skins men alive.  The skinned men still live and she joins the evil rapey people on a raid on the haunted house.

The rapey people get shot, and the skinned people melt under holy water and crosses, because that works now.  That thing about Jesus magic not working?  Never mind, it works fine.  God just opens up an earthquake, the Manitou falls in, the end.

But wait...EPILOGUE !!!

The Manitou crawls out of the ground into a lake a couple days later.  So much for Jesus magic.  Only a few pages left, can we squeeze in a couple more rapes?  Because the Manitou babies grow fast, and in one year they'll be full grown and the Manitou will strike again.

How are the kids doing?  They're apprehensive, because they've got the feeling that in one year this will all happen again.

Johnstone was nice enough to even list all of his own plot holes and lost threads there at the end:

  • The kids were supposed to be special, didn't do anything.
  • The magic Indian was supposed to be special, all he did was give wrong information and die somehow.
  • The spook lights got forgotten.
  • So much was made about God not being in the same world as the Manitou, yet this couldn't be more of a deux es machina if it got wheeled down on ropes.
  • None of what anyone did mattered.  God could have zapped the Manitou whenever he wanted and saved the town a lot of rape.

But don't worry, all these loose threads will be tied up in one year in the sequel that Johnstone is shamelessly plugging that never happened.

There were no dreams, sweet or otherwise.

The Kindle edition was done by the Lyrical Press imprint of Kensington Books, an ostensibly real publishing company.  They evidently had an intern just scan in a paperback, complete with OCR errors and the original back matter.  I just sent Zebra my 50 cents for their catalog.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Blackpool Pleasure Beach - River Caves

This one goes way back to 1905, though not looking like this, I'm sure.  Despite the carny Tunnel of Love load area, the rest is very well laid out.  Kind of comes across like a dimly lit Small World without the dolls - not a bad thing, mind you.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Blackpool Pleasure Beach - Grand Prix

Riding go karts or Autopia style cars are a bore in themselves, only brightened by the scenery.  The one at Blackpool is a treat, if you like winding in and out of bridges, tracks, and pathways.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Nursery by William W. Johnstone

The Nursery
by William W. Johnston
1983, Zebra Books

"What is this preoccupation with anal sex?"

You been liking those Devil books?  Good, here's pretty much the same thing, but with fewer werewolves and even more butt rape, if such a thing was possible.

Macho retired military man Mike Folsom returns home to Butler, Louisiana to find that folks aren't too friendly anymore.  He hooks up with small town girl Rana Carter, who slowly fills him in with the details.  The town has been taken over by millionaire philanthropist John Becker.  Folks attend his satanic church, he controls the police, the phone lines, and the roads.  Children are sent to re-education camps and come out different.

Oh, and by the way, they'll kill you if you try to leave.  Kind of buried the lede there.  Mike collects Rana's foul-mouthed daughter and his old high school friends who haven't turned to the dark side yet.  People hang out in the house and recap the same information to each other for a couple of hundred pages, with the occasional incestual butt rape scene to keep you awake.

Things pick up quickly when Mike figures out he's God's Warrior and starts mowing down teenagers in the street with an AK-47.  He attacks the titular nursery, which is a laboratory where stolen fetuses are grown in stolen uteri and brainwashed to hate God.  He heads out to Becker's mansion and kills the Old One, a semi-immortal demon type who has to go into Odinsleep wrapped up with a bunch of bodies to feed on.

The townsfolk become semi-comatose and have forgotten the last ten years.  The military moves in, and we're left with the chilling notion that brainwashed children are spread out through the country.

This is like the Mexican flea market version of the Devil series, and better for it.  Pretty much the same, with just enough differences to separate it from the series.  We've got yet another cowardly Catholic priest who ends up being centuries old.  There's a double agent working for the government who ends up being a ghost or an angel.  We've got Mike just knowing stuff, and even though he keeps it to a minimum he still manages to screw it up.  "This all ends in seventy two...I mean, twenty four hours."

No beasts this time around, and the undead are different.  Instead of being mindless vampires, they're more like spirits with extensive powers, such as the ability to teleport anywhere within the state lines of Louisiana.  The undead are more independent and split from Becket's control, using their newfound abilities to (altogether now) buttrape.

Happily, there are no scenes of God and Satan whining to each other, or much talk about cosmic rules.  Doesn't mean there isn't too much meaningless talking.  Johnstone could have had 300 pages of teenagers torturing old people and Mike Folsom shooting off crotches and I don't think anyone would complain.

The story is bookended with a page about children who can bring their stuffed animals to life, which is maybe setting up a sequel.  He does use the living stuffed animals idea again in Sweet Dreams, and from what I remember it involved buttrape.

The Nursery is only one of two Johnstone horror novels not to be re-released in Kindle.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Blackpool Pleasure Beach - Transportation Rides

Let's take a look around, first from above from the now-defunct monorail

And my favorite view, from below, via the train

I love how, even on rides so painfully generic you can't possibly be accused of knocking off Disney, they still knock off Disney.  Or does every train ride have dinosaurs?

Monday, April 3, 2017

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Two words I don't associate with England: Pleasure and Beach.  The British seaside resorts strike me as equal parts sleazy and depressing, but my closest direct experience has been through Benny Hill skits, so what do I know.

At a distance, the seaside parks struck me as a third rate Coney Island, which itself is a third rate Six Flags or Kennywood, which etc., etc.  Taking a closer look, they have up-to-date rides, meaning roller coasters, corporate sponsorship, and light guns.  However, there are a few treats to be found.

What Blackpool Pleasure Beachs lacks in theming in makes up for in multilayered claustrophobia, with rides and walkways piled up haphazardly on top of each other.  I've always enjoyed intertwining paths and being able to see other rides from the ride I'm on, something Disney only has with the Peoplemover.