Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Things I Didn't Finish - Apesh*t by Carlton Mellick III

by Carlton Mellick III
2008 Avant Punk Books

Years ago I thought I might actually enjoy a Carlton Mellick III book.  By the time I got around to reading one, I had soured on the idea of bizarro fiction as talentless, pretentious, hipster irony.  So this was going to be a bit of a hate read from the jump, though I picked a title I thought I'd most enjoy.  After beginning, I not only stand by my initial impression but am convinced that the entire genre was written to personally piss me off.

Let's start with the Author's Note, because every great author writes about himself first.  He had the idea of writing a script for a slasher movie, but not your grandpa's slasher movie!  The killer would have a chainsaw mullet and corndogs for blood!  How totally random!  But instead, like his literary peer Harlan Ellison, the story took a life of it's own and went in a different direction.

No real point to this Author's Note except to say that, like his buddy Chuck Palahniuk, he's accused of writing shocking stuff for the sake of being shocking, and he isn't really (he is).  Also, he knows Chuck Palahniuk.

On to the actual page and a half of story I managed, during which Mellick dug himself so deep under the barrel he's hanging out with moloids.  Keeping true to its origins as a script idea, it's written in present tense and lifeless, repetitive prose.  Strict "see dick run" sentence construction, and all tell and no show.  Maybe Chuck can suggest a better editor.

And no, I'm not linking to his $9 novella, you can keep your affiliate money.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Trash Menace Gallery

Too Many Girls by Alex Roget
The turbulent story of a top-notch fashion photographer and the models he used to satisfy his passionate cravings!

Scavengers in Space by Alan E. Nourse
This fast-moving tale of the far future deals with the quest of the Hunter brothers for a mysterious bonanza located somewhere in the asteroid belt. The dangers and details of asteroid mining are carefully outline, and the bonanza itself proves to be and open gate to wider future in the stars. 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Trash Menace Gallery

Hatchett by Lee McGraw
Chicago has supercrooks the way Philly has founding fathers, but now there is a new kingpin of the rackets. A new Mr Big with a finger in every fat illegal pie in town, one step ahead of the crowd, and a mile ahead of the cops. No one knows who he is, but Hatchett, the wiliest private eye in town, aims to find out any way she can. 

Assignment Carlotta Cortez by Edward S. Aaron
She offered her beautiful body as a bribe for Sam Durell’s silence

From Outer Space by Hal Clement
The two ships raced in from outer space, crashed head-on into the Pacific Ocean. One carried:The Hunter; the other:Hiis quarry, Satanic planner of unearthly crimes 

Trash Menace Gallery

Fantastic Novels
What is 'The Blind Spot?' A room in San Francisco where strange things happened -- a doorway into another cosmos, a different world, perhaps a key to the past... or future? 

Shadow Hawk by Andre Norton
Rahotep was the son of a noble Egyptian family, but an older half-brother had unjustly deprived him of his place at court and had secured his transfer to a distant desert outpost. There he led skirmishes against the Hyksos invaders who, in about 2000 B.C., had overrun Egypt and destroyed much of her ancient might.

It was a time of intrigue and danger, a time when a young man might do great things. And Rahotep dared! With his band of splendid Nubian archers, skilled in the arts of desert warfare, he joined the sons of the Pharaoh in the first organized attack on their oppressors and proved himself, against great odds, a valiant citizen and courageous warrior. 

The Shadow: Crooks Go Straight

Friday, January 26, 2018

War Dog (1987)

War Dog (1987)
aka The Assassination Team

A man looks for his brother who went MIA in Vietnam and uncovers a conspiracy of super soldiers.

I've seen other Swedish 80s action movies, but those were dubbed over by Americans.  God bless them for trying to sound American, but of course it came out Minnesotan.

Despite the goofy accents and schlubby heroes we've got some decent action scenes, thanks to the constant gunfire and enormous squibs.  Highlights for me include shot up children, a corpse on a water slide, and a genuinely awesome vehicular combat scene that rivals Road Warrior or Raider of the Lost Ark.

The close captioning people at Amazon are just taking the piss now, with sound cues of (fleshy thunks) and (gun bloops)

On Amazon Video

Trash Menace Gallery

The Son of Dr. Jeckyll

Man Hungry by Alan Marshall (Donald Westlake)
Janice blazed through the campus scene, leaving a trail of burned-out lovers
Donald Westlake’s nearly forgotten pulp sleaze classic, Man Hungry, is actually one of his first published novels, a 1959 literary take on the genre, complete with lesbians, prostitutes, a swinging college campus, and a washed-up writer-turned-writing professor who’s been unable to reprise the success of his bestselling first novel. And, oh yeah, a certain salacious young college junior who’s hungry for more than just an education. 

Ellery Queen , January 1984

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Cross of Frankenstein by Robert J. Myers

The Cross of Frankenstein
by Robert J. Myers
J.B. Lippincott 1975

Victor Frankenstein's secret son is recruited, and later kidnapped, by an orgiastic religious cult in America to produce the synthetic blood for the wounded Frankenstein Monster.

The prose is suitably old-timey, while the story has an adventure pulp feel, only stretched out to paperback length.  This was a titch tiresome through the first half of the book, which punctuated the capture/escape cycle with an extended rock climbing sequence.

At this point I was not expecting the Frankenpenis to make an appearance, but it does, as the monster bones Victor's gal during an orgy.  Things pick up after this, with Victor making his escape after blowing everybody up.

There's a weird moral tone of guilt to the whole book.  Victor is clearly not a nice man, but given that he's kidnapped and faced with a plot to create an army of undead, I'd give him a little leeway in the whole "blowing people up" department.

Paperback from AbeBooks

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

TV Obscura - The Ellen Burstyn Show

Triple Crown winner Ellen Burstyn, with Ron Swanson's ex-wife and that comedy white-boy rapper who was on Dr. Katz.  The third lowest rated show that year.

Money quote from Barry Sobel's Wikipedia entry:

He adopted his hip-hop comedy rap in 1987 when he was featured on HBO's Uptown Comedy Express. He was the only white performer there among an all black line-up and a predominantly black audience. Eddie Murphy and Earvin "Magic" Johnson were in attendance, and appeared to laugh at his jokes.
That's enough for an "N word" card right there.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Scratch a Thief by John Trinian

Scratch a Thief
by John Trinian
1961 Ace Books
Reprinted by Stark House Press, 2016

An ex-con on parole can't catch a break living straight and participates in one last heist.  He's double-crossed, and he turns to the cop who hates him the most to rescue his kidnapped daughter.

Well written, but the plot is way too basic.  The story is 90% being miserable, the heist takes like two pages, and the ending is literally everyone meets, shoots each other, and the good guys live.

I try to be fair to older books that use these cliches, as it was less well-worn at the time, but all I could think of was almost the exact same story from Captain America comics involving a giant armadillo man.

Reprint paperback from Amazon

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Trash Menace Gallery

Ace G-Man Stories
The Suicide Squad’s Last Mile
The F.B.I.’s ace manhunt trio fight their way to hell and back—to end the rule of a crime-czar who had decreed death for all G-men and paid highest cash prices for secondhand corpses! 

The Time and Place by Laura Duchamp
They were no longer to remain teacher-pupil, no longer able to deny the truth of their desires

Spicy Detective Stories, November 1936

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Trash Menace Gallery

Sex Cure by Elaine Dorian
For the rich, beautiful women of the suburban fast set, young Dr. Justin Riley had a favorite prescription.
Rips the mask from Doctors who mix women and medicine

Tenement: Game of Survival
The game is played with knives, guns, drugs & sex...
There can be only one winner!

Black Fire (1985)
After suffering a concussion from a grenade blast in 'Nam, Sgt. Frank Johnson has been getting flashes of his childhood. He is a ninja in those dreams. Because of this, he is given a codename: "Black Fire" by the US Army and is sent to San Sebastian together with his buddy Sgt. Jim Anderson to work as U.S. military advisers. One night, Sgt. Johnson discovers Capt. Salcedo trying to transport arms. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Power by Ian Watson

The Power
by Ian Watson
1987 Headline Book Publishing

The little boy was dead.  Of course he was.  Would you expect a half-naked child, whose bowels had been hauled out through his devastated anus and knotted around his neck, to be alive?
Set against the backdrop of 80s Britain, with aging student radicals protesting nuclear proliferation and the presence of the US military.  Lots of this for a while, until protester Jeni gives birth to a giant pink worm who promptly swims down the toilet.  A child is found dead, then the four horseman of the apocalypse ride through the village.

While everyone is trying to decide if this is all an hallucination, the world ends.  Nuclear war breaks out, and the village is protected by a kind of force field.  Most of the villagers carry on a semblance of life while the flesh rots from their irradiated bodies.  The Power, which may be Satan wanting to protect humanity so evil can live on, speaks through the severed head of the town vicar.

Time goes backwards for the Power, which means it still needs to be conceived.  To save the world, Jeni must have sex with one of the rotting zombies in a scene played largely for laughs.  Healthy children emerge from the rotting bodies and the world begins anew.

I get the feeling Watson was a high-falutin' science fiction writer who tried his hand at that horror stuff that sold so well in the late 80s.  He missed the mark a bit there, as he doesn't deliver scares as much as revulsion and weirdness.  Which is fine with me, though the prose is quite thick to get through:
This is the razor blade buried in the cake of the miracle; but it's the only cake in town.
And I'll never have the recipe again.

Kindle ebook from Amazon

Click here to read a sample

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

TV Obscura - Charlie & Co.

Here's a one season answer to the Cosby Show, with Flip Wilson (who deserved better), Gladys Knight sans Pips (who deserved way better) and Urkel.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

House of Evil by John Trinian

House of Evil
by John Trinian
Pyramid 1962
Reprinted by Stark House Press, 2016

A conman starts a religious cult and begins to believe his own con.  Other con artists move in to steal his cash, and the stash of compromising films.  A b-movie actor is accidentally roped into the scene, and he's out to rescue a girl that the cult leader has a lecherous eye on.

Some tone issues with this one.  It threatens to get dark, then turns to goofball humor, and ends with the actor flopping around in a fishman costume.

Original paperback from AbeBooks

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

I Like the Thing in the Thing Better than the Thing

CQ (2001)

CQ stars Jeremy Davies (who I like to think of as an alternate universe Henry Thomas) is a pretentious wannabe director who is working as an editor for a 60s Eurospy movie, Codename: Dragonfly.  He steals film to work on his horsepoop art piece of him pontificating on a toilet, the better to smell his own farts.  The Eurospy movie (think along the lines of Barbarella or Danger: Diabolik) is supposed to represent the crass commercial side of film making, while the art film represents the detached artist.

Or something - not a clear purpose or reason for this film to exist, and fails to either enlighten or entertain.  I think we're supposed to be aware of the characters faults but ultimately be on the side of art, and to not like Codename: Dragonfly as crass commercialism, but it seemed clear to me that Davies played a complete wanker and that they would have been better off just making Codename: Dragonfly.

Sure, it looks good, but don't bother watching the whole thing just for these parts.

I felt the same way about Stephen King's The Dark Half.  The Dark Half is about a writer living in Maine (but you already knew that) who writes violent crime fiction on the side under an assumed name George Stark.  The stories within the story feature a character named Alexis Machine, who is similar to Richard Stark's Parker, if Parker were a serial killer.

Of course, I would much rather read the George Stark books than anything by Stephen King.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Ninja Condors (1987)

Ninja Condors (1987)

Brian the ninja became a ninja after watching his father drawn and quartered by motorcycles.  He grows up to be a ninja, the White Eagle, and works for gang boss Lucifer.  The killing bothers his conscience, so he quits after chainsawing a pregnant woman, off frame.  He hooks up with jive turkey Eddie, who is an undercover cop, and rescues his ninja master.

There's honky fights, ninja fights on a merry go round, ninja fights on a skating rink, two fisting M16s, and hundreds of throwing stars.

Most Filmark/Godfrey Ho movies are just random Hong Kong films spliced together with clips of Richard Harrison fighting ninjas in the park.  There's still plenty of that, but this was an actual original movie, with a coherent plot and everything.

The martial arts I've seen in a Filmark movie, and pretty good in general for 1987.

Available on Amazon video

Monday, January 1, 2018

Frankenstein 2018

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, an important milestone in both horror and science fiction, 2018 will be the year of Frankenstein, both the doctor and monster.

First, a quick checklist of derivative novels through the 1970s (not including children's and parody works).

Most of these are continuations of the original, with the primary difference being whether the creature is smart like the book or dumb like the movie.

Series by Jean-Claude Carrière, published in France.  The first two have been translated into English. 
1957 La Tour de Frankenstein (The Tower of Frankenstein)
1957 Le Pas de Frankenstein (The Step of Frankenstein)
1957 La Nuit de Frankenstein (The Night of Frankenstein)
1957 Le Sceau de Frankenstein (The Seal of Frankenstein)
1958 Frankenstein Rôde (Frankenstein Prowls)
1959 La Cave de Frankenstein (The Cellar of Frankenstein)

Series by Donald Glut, the first three or so originally published in Spain, the first four titles were released in English in 1977, with all the titles in German around 1976-7, all finally released in English in late 2017.
Frankenstein Lives Again
Terror of Frankenstein
Bones of Frankenstein
Frankenstein Meets Dracula
Frankenstein vs. the Werewolf
Frankenstein in the Lost World
Frankenstein in the Mummy’s Tomb
The Return of Frankenstein
Frankenstein and the Curse of Dr. Jekyll
Frankenstein and the Evil of Dracula

1972 Frankenstein Wheel by Paul W. Fairman

1974 Frankenstein Unbound by Brian Aldiss

1975 Cross of Frankenstein by Robert J. Meyers
1976 Slave of Frankenstein by Robert J. Meyers

1977 Hound of Frankenstein by Peter Tremayne

I'll add more as they're discovered.