Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Tie-Ins: Halloween

It would take a scientist to explain the branches of reboots and canon for the Halloween movies.  You can ignore most of that since the only good Halloween movie, Part III, is a standalone.  All of the below easily go for 3 figures online.

The novelizations:

1979: Halloween by Curtis Richards
1981: Halloween II by Jack Martin (Dennis Etchison)
1983: Halloween III: Season of the Witch by Jack Martin
1988: Halloween IV by Nicholas Grabowsky
2018: Halloween by John Passarella

Young adult tie-ins by Kelly O'Rourke:

1997: The Scream Factory
1997: The Old Myers Place
1998: The Mad House

Sunday, October 28, 2018

TM Gallery: Horror Paperbacks

The Deathstone by Ken Eulo
The occult nightmares of Chandal Knight are long past and she has spent seven good, loving years with her husband, Ron Talon, with whom she had a wonderful little girl, Kristy. When “The Deathstone” opens, Ron, under enormous stress at his Hollywood talent agency after a writer’s strike, is drinking heavily, and little Kristy isn’t acting like herself, either. Chandal is thus eager for the family to get away on vacation and they set out to drive across the great American West. An accident in Utah strands them in a remote mountain village. The townspeople there are friendly but some of their customs seem a little strange. While Ron is secretly experiencing violent, psycho-sexual visions and hallucinations, little Kristy is obsessed with creatures no one else can see. When the family participates in the village’s Carnival of Summer, Chandal is traumatized by the realization that an insidious specter of evil is determined to wreak revenge by taking her husband and child. 
Kindle ebook from Amazon

Black Easter by James Blish

Boris Karloff’s Favorite Horror Stories
Robert Bloch (The Opener of the Way)
Roald Dahl (Man from the South)
 August Derleth (The Thing That Walked on the Wind)
Frank Gruber (The Thirteenth Floor)
Edmond Hamilton (Child of the Winds)
Evan Hunter (The Scarlet King)
John W. Jakes (The Opener of the Crypt)
C. M. Kornbluth (The Mindworm)
H. P. Lovecraft (The Haunter of the Dark)
Robert Silverberg (Back from the Grave)
Theodore Sturgeon (The Graveyard Reader) 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Colt 38 Special Squad

Colt 38 Special Squad

Probably the dullest poliziotteschi I've seen, notable only for a weird, out of place car stunt on top of a train and a swinging disco with a very normal looking Grace Jones.

DVD from Amazon.

Friday, October 26, 2018

TM Gallery: Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks

Savage Night by Jim Thompson
Jake Winroy had no looks, no education, and little else before he'd worked his way to the top of a million-dollar-a-month horse-betting ring. But when the state's latched onto his game, the feds take a bite and the lawyer fees eat away at the rest, all Jake's got left is the bottle and a beautiful wife whose every word is ugly.  

Gonzagas Woman by John Jakes
Paperback from AbeBooks

Private Chauffeur by N.R. DeMexico

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Author Overview: John Byrne

John Byrne is mainly known for his comic work, as artist/writer on legendary runs of X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Superman, as well as for being an occasionally bigoted loudmouth.

He also made a brief foray into the world of horror prose fiction:

1988: Fear Book - featuring a haunted mail order catalog

1991: Nocturne in Hotter Blood: More Tales of Erotic Horror

1992: Hide in Plain Sight in Shock Rock

1992: Whipping Boy

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

TV Obscura - Letters to Laugh In

Daytime quiz show spin-off from Laugh In.  Contestants mailed in jokes that were read by Laugh In regulars.  Probably as funny as the original show.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Tie-Ins: Resident Evil

It all started with the 1989 film Sweet Home

which had a video game version, which was the basis for the video game Resident Evil, which was the basis of the film series, both of which had series of tie-in novels.

The first prose installment was the novella Biohazard: The Beginning by Hiroyuki Ariga, included in the preorder bonus The True Story of Biohazard.  A version of this was released in English titled Resident Evil: The Book, which doesn't seem to be available commercially.  There are additional Japanese novels that haven't been translated to English.  As of this writing, all of the below are available for Kindle.

S.D. Perry wrote a series of novelizations of the video game, with a couple of tie-ins between installments:

1998: The Umbrella Conspiracy - novelization of the original Resident Evil
1998: Caliban Cove - between 1 & 2
1999: City of the Dead - Resident Evil 2
1999: Underworld - set after 2
2000: Nemesis
2002: Code Veronica
2004: Zero Hour

There are novelizations from each movie except for Afterlife:

2004: Genesis by Keith DeCandido (novelization of Resident Evil)
2004: Apocalypse by Keith DeCandido
2007: Extinction by Keith DeCandido
2012: Retribution by John Shirley
2017: The Final Chapter by Tim Waggoner

Monday, October 22, 2018

TM Gallery: VHS Covers

Shogun’s Ninja
Set in the 16th Century, Hidyoshi is an aggressive and power hungry warlord in search of the treasure of the Momochi clan. 
On Amazon Video

Crying Freeman
A lethal assassin for a secret Chinese organisation, who sheds tears of regret each time he kills, is seen swiftly and mercilessly executing three Yakuza gangsters by a beautiful artist. She is captivated by the grace of his kill and later falls in love with him. An intense power struggle for the leadership of the Yakuza Clans ensues as they seek vengeance for the death of their leader. 
On Amazon Video

Almost Human
Guilio Sacchi (Tomas Milian) is a small-time hood disillusioned with the crime syndicate for which he works. Looking to make some big money fast, he and some friends kidnap the beautiful Maril├╣ (Laura Belli), the daughter of a billionaire and demand 500 million Lira as ransom. However, hot on his heels is Inspector Grandi (Henry Silva) a hardened cop who only becomes more hell-bent on catching Guilio and his gang with each corpse he finds! Director Lenzi reflects on the Years of Lead in Italy, a time when terrorists caused chaos and police action was judged as deficient. 

Friday, October 19, 2018

TM Gallery: Movie Posters

Revenge of the Cheerleaders
The cheerleading team at Aloha High are popular with their fellow students (except for a couple of stuck-up rich girls), but they're a major cause of the school's lecherous reputation for underage sex and drug abuse. The fun-loving gals spike the lunchroom spaghetti sauce with a concoction of pot, pills, and powders, hold wild orgies in the boys locker room, and never bother to attend their classes. The school board considers a merger with Aloha's biggest rivals, the vocational school Lincoln High, but the cheerleaders refuse to mix with the low-class juvenile delinquents that go there. A new principal, ex-Marine Hall Walker (Norman Thomas Marshall), might whip the school into shape, but it'll mean forcing the cheerleaders out of the squad and back into the classroom. Though the girls prove their importance to Aloha spirit at the crucial moment of a big basketball game, it turns out that more sinister forces are at work when the school is blown up and the principal is kidnapped. It's up to the cheerleaders to save the day and unravel a conspiracy to steal Aloha High's land for a shopping mall. Carl Ballantine, David Hasselhoff, and genre vet Rainbeaux Smith appear in this energetic sex comedy. 

The Creeping Flesh
A Victorian-age scientist returns to London with his paleontological bag-of-bones discovery from Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately, when exposed to water, flesh returns to the bones unleashing a malevolent being on the scientist's family and friends. 
On Amazon Video

An early 20th century family has been under the spell of an evil and ancient bane. Colin Glasgow comes home to bury his father who died after a long illness or was he murdered? Colin discovers his father's will has been altered. His investigation leads him to his father's grave for answers. After discovering his father was under the curse of the werewolf he finds the spell is being kept alive by the mysterious Reverend Leonard who performs satanic rituals along with Colin's cousins. Colin falls under this spell after being attacked by wolves in the graveyard. Even though he remains under this spell he fights to break this evil curse and release his family from their awful fate.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Things I Didn't Finish: The Strange and the Unknown

The Strange and the Unknown
Fate Magazine
Paperback Library, 1965

I grew up devouring unexplained phenomena books from the 60s to 80s - not particularly believing it but wishing it was true, and at least entertained by the reading.  These tales are so dull they probably are true.

We open up with a defensive screed against mainstream science, the corrupt industry that famously makes billions of dollars by not ever discovering anything new.

A book falls off a shelf.  Is it a poltergeist or a banshee?

A man dreams about something other than his wife.  Weeks later he dies.  Explain that, science!

I've become considerably less tolerant of pseudo-science since I stopped being an idiot child, but there's not even enough here to bother scoffing at.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Tie-Ins: Blair Witch

I'm a bit lukewarm to the actual films, but I appreciated the expanded mythology around the series from the "documentaries" and website.  There are no straight novelizations, but there are two fictional non-fictional companions written by D.A. Stern:

1999: The Blair Witch Project: A Dossier

2000: Blair Witch: Book of Shadows

D.A. Stern also wrote two tie-in novels about cases in the mythology's past:

2000: The Secret Confession of Rustin Parr

2000: Graveyard Shift

There was a young adult series by Cade Merrill that followed the cousin of the first film's lead:

The Witch's Daughter
The Dark Room
The Drowning Ghost
Blood Nightmare
The Death Card
The Prisoner
The Night Shifters
The Obsession

Sunday, October 14, 2018

TM Gallery: Action Paperbacks

Able Team 36: Final Run by Dick Stivers
Paperback from AbeBooks

Hit 29 by Joey the Hitman
In the fall of 1969, a public execution in an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn earned Joey a mention in the New York Daily News and a twenty-grand payout from the mob. On the surface, his next job seemed just as routine: The bosses suspected their trusted numbers controller, Joe Squillante, was skimming the nightly bets to settle personal debts. Joey gave Squillante two weeks to live.

But there was one problem: Squillante once had a hit out on Joey too. No clueless patsy, #29 was an unpredictable bull’s-eye, and the contract holder was a dangerous mobster with a personal grudge against Joey. Taking the job meant entering into a game of predator and prey as nerve-racking as the cock of a .38 hammer.

From first tail to all-night stakeouts to the intricate planning of the final confrontation, this is the shockingly detailed first-person account of a professional hit. Full of twists, turns, and double crosses, Hit #29 “tells it like it is” and delivers an unforgettable insider’s view of the mob 
Kindle ebook from Amazon

Edge 25: Violence Trail by George Gilman
Edge begins an incredible trip to the Mexican border in a wagon carrying a dying man, his beautiful daughter and angry son. There are just a few obstacles: their path through the wilderness is in a collision course with the Shoshone nation. If warring Indians weren't enough there is one other problem: they’re riding in a wagon containing a fortune in gold. Though well camouflaged it soon lures the violent and greedy from both sides of the border. 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Chamber of Horrors

Chamber of Horrors (1966)

A madman forces a priest to complete a wedding ceremony with a corpse, then goes into hiding at a brothel where he orders women to lie very still - more explicit  shades of necrophilia here than the hints in the Poe based film this draws from.

To escape police custody, the madman chops his hand off with a hatchet.  Underwater.  He then seeks revenge, using different deadly accessories on his stump.  Amateur detectives associated with a wax museum investigate.

Originally a pilot film for TV series, it was padded out to be released theatrically.  It has William Castle style gimmicks, such as the Fear Flasher and Horror Horn to warn of impending implied off-screen violence.

TM Gallery: Gruselroman

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Crime and the Psychic World by Fred Archer

Crime and the Psychic World
by Fred Archer
William Morrow 1969

Say "Murder Most Foul" and the instant response is "Jack the Ripper!"

I would have thought of Macbeth seeing how it's Macbeth, but Archer spends the first paragraph of his book defending the assertion.  The perfect introduction to the writing style of Fred Archer.  Rambling, anecdotal, impenetrable attempts at wit, name-dropping obscure figures, and I guess a little psychic stuff.

Most claims of psychic skill demonstrate the uncanny ability to predict things after they happen, but Archer's psychics can't even manage that.  In the first two cases, involving Jack the Ripper and the Brighton Trunk Murders, the psychics claim facts shown by Archer to be wrong, and each case remains unsolved.

Most of the cases are even more vague than that, and Archer's rambling style doesn't help.  Several times I had to go back a few paragraphs to try and match the psychic phenomena to the outcome of a criminal case, and it still didn't make it any clearer.

Happily, there was very little of the full-time con artists that manipulate grieving families.  Most of the stories involved mediums or prophetic dreams.  The whole affair seemed horribly outdated even by the 60s.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille

Story of the Eye
by Georges Bataille

Bataille was a French intellectual and philospher, influential to the school of poststructuralism.  Story of the Eye is a rambling porn of two teens doing increasingly nasty sex stuff.  No fancy French philosophy, just peeing and fapping and screwing.

Two teens fool around, involving another teen girl who goes insane and is institutionalized.  They break into the asylum, do more sex stuff, and drive her to suicide.  The couple go to Spain where they get horny on bullfighting and hook up with a sugar daddy.  They bang a priest to death and sail off into the distance, the end.

It's pure nastiness with no philosophical message beyond maybe "screw your morality".  It's as philosophical as GG Allin.  This doesn't stop eggheads from declaring it's not porn and worthy of deep critical analysis, because there's a central theme of soft round stuff, from eggs to bull testicles to eyeballs.

Let me put some patches on my tweed jacket, grow out a goatee, and light my pipe.  Yes.  Yes, those things are similar, and are all in the story.  Mostly as ben wa balls.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

TV Obscura: Masquerade

Kirstie Alley and My Second Dad B.J. star in this "Mission Impossible meets Love Boat" series, the fourth time this concept was attempted.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Tie Ins: Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror franchise is based on the alleged haunting experienced by the Lutz famiy, and the real life murder of the previous tenants by Ronald Defeo Jr.  We begin with:

1977: The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson (presented as non-fiction, filmed in 1979)

There are a few branches off this tree, as books become movies with sequels with novelizations and book sequels have movie made from them.  I'm only going through the early 90s with this one - since you can't copyright a town's name, there's been a glut of self published books (some by sequel writer John G. Jones) and indie horror films over the last couple decades.

1982: The Amityville Horror Part II  by John G. Jones (presented as non-fiction)
1985: Amityville: The Final Chapter  by John G. Jones (still "based on" but with even less connection to the Lutz' account)
1985: Amityville Horror: Untold Stories by John G. Jones
1988: Amityville: The Evil Escapes by John G. Jones (presented as fiction. TV movie made in 1989 and Direct to Video movie Amityville 1992: It's About Time released in 1992)
1989: Amityville: The Horror Returns by John G. Jones
1991: Amityville: The Nightmare Continues by Robin Karl

A separate branch of books written by Hans Holzer concentrated on Ronald Defeo Jr.

1979: Murder in Amityville (re-released as Amityville: Fact or Fiction?; filmed as Amityville II: The Possession)
1981: The Amityville Curse (filmed in 1990)
1985: The Secret of Amityville

And the only novelization of a film:

1984: Amityville 3-D by Gordon McGill