Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Reading Rumble Round 15


Robert "Author of Psycho" Bloch worked from Weird Tales through Tales from the Darkside. Known mainly for the Hitchcock adaptation, my favorites from him have been in horror anthology TV and film.

Catnip by Robert Bloch
Weird Tales, March 1948

A school bully is menaced by the cat of a witch whose house he burned down. Just gruesome enough to stay in the ring.

The Dragon of Kao Tsu by Robert E Howard
Spicy Adventure Stories, September 1936

A woman wanting a dragon statue and our "hero" run around a warehouse getting menaced and knocked out. No adventure, an unfair mystery, and caps off with a bad-even-for-spicy-pulps light hearted rape.

Her Lover - Death! by Wyatt Blassingame
Horror Stories, January 1935

A mill owner prone to blackouts believes he's been on a murder spree and is a danger to his wife. Standard shudder stuff, though Blassingame crafts a more dreamlike atmosphere than most.

Not From Detroit by Joe R. Lansdale
Midnight Graffiti, Fall 1988
Collected in Lost Highways: Dark Fictions from the Road from Amazon https://amzn.to/3U7JTkE

Lansdale waxes sentimental with an elderly man fighting death to save his wife.

Slaves of the Worm by Richard Shaver
Fantastic Adventures, February 1948

Deep in the inner earth, the evil Fellowship of the Black Cross worships a giant worm with a human head.

Death Dines Out by Paul Ernst
Dime Mystery Magazine,  January 1936

Everyone drops dead at the death themed restaurant CafĂ© Styx, where guests sit at coffins and are served by waiters dressed as skeletons. Felt like he wrote a mystery into a corner  and just abandoned it as a horror tale.

Murder in the Family by Leigh Brackett
Mammoth Detective, March 1943

A homeless man finds a woman dead in the jaws of a lion statue at the La Brea tar pits. Promising premise runs aground in a series of false finishes in a single locatiom.

Brackett goes over the ropes. Robert E. Howard is disqualified and escorted out of the ring by security.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Reading Rumble Round 14


Our next entry Wyatt Blassingame started with Weird Menace before moving into juvenile non-fiction.

Dread Exile by Paul Ernst
Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror, June 1932

Spooky story of interplanetary body transference.

People of the Dark by Robert E. Howard
Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror, June 1932

A man seeking to kill his romantic rival is bonked on the head and awakens in the past as Conan the Reaver, who has square bangs, wears a loincoth and worships Crom. This supposedly isn't officially Conan, but whatever. These framing stories of people regressing to past lives feel like ways to fill out story fragments.

Death Seems So Final by Richard Shaver (as Alexander Blade)
Amazing Stories January 1947, Vol 21 No 1

Narrative of a man still conscious after dying in a crash. Cliché subject saved by Shaver's inept yet impassioned take.

You Can Go Now by Dennis Etchison
Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, September 1980

Guy dies in a car wreck, dies in a plane crash, looks for his houseboat, killed his wife.

Subway Jack by Joe R. Lansdale
The Further Adventures of Batman, 1989

Batman fights Lansdale's interdimensional serial killer The God of the Razor, from his novel Nightrunners. Mostly prose, but parts are written in comic book script, which was distracting.

I Feel Bad Killing You by Leigh Brackett
New Detective Magazine, November 1944

Disgraced former cop navigates the world of criminals and crooked police to uncover the truth of his brother's suicide. My favorite tough guy prose, but the plot was a little limited.

They Thirst by Night by Wyatt Blassingame
Dime Mystery Magazine, June 1935

An Alabama preacher is seduced by a vampire. 

Etchison goes over the ropes.