Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.: http://tombakerbooks.weebly.com
Max Fleischer's SUPERMAN
I watched all seventeen short episodes of Max Fleischer's excellent, excellent "Superman" series from the early Forties, from start to finish. They were great, well-animated, slam-bang actioners the lot of them, and, although there was little plot to get in the way of the derring-do, they were all that much more a visceral bang of enjoyment, an old-fashioned childlike pulp fiction, comic book dive into all-American costumed hero mythology.
- Top Story - November 2023
"Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November..."Top Story - November 2023
"The State sanctifies its own violence as law. Yours it calls crime." Max Stirner I've quoted the above little observation by proto-anarchist and egoist Max Stirner, author of The Ego and What it Possesses, many, many times; perhaps too often, but there is no other way I could think to introduce an essay on Alan Moore's V for Vendetta, the most important graphic novel ever penned, a book so transcendent in its scope, so vast in its vision of humanity (both dark and light), it has become a piece of cultural iconography. The Guy Fawkes Face Mask is now an endemic, ubiquitous symbol of covert rebellion. Adopted by the Anonymous hacker group, it has gone the rounds of the internet and the face of the globe, a way for the most radical and dedicated and subversive elements of cultural fuckery to disguise themselves, as well as meld into one single "hive mind"; a collective unit pushing against repression and corruption; or, alternately, pushing the world forward past the edge of the envelope of nihilistic rebellion. V for Vendetta, more than any other single comic book creation I can think of (outside of Superman and Batman) has transcended the realm of mere entertainment into having a permanent place in the cultural zeitgeist.
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed is a so-so entry in the Hammer Horror canon, starring Peter Cushing as a particularly loathsome incarnation of Herr Doctor, and Freddie "Mr. Bytes" Jones as some version of Frankenstein's creature, albeit not one stitched together out of the decaying parts of dead men. Simon Ward stars as Dr. Holst, a young drug-dealing (cocaine) psychiatric doctor who becomes the virtual slave of Cushing, who, masquerading as "Dr. Fenner," blackmails Holst to help him with his experiments to transplant brain El Numero Uno from the dead and insane (not in that order I guess) Dr. Brandt (George Pravda), into the body of Freddy Frankenstein. It is, as they say, a pip.
The City of the Dead
City of the Dead is a somewhat subdued little spook show shocker wherein Christopher Lee holds forth as a professor of witchcraft studies or some damn thing, who gives a real detailed and evocative description of a witchcraft burning in a small New England town where there is always a thick layer of fog on the ground with fake tress thrusting upward toward a sky that is always dark. Okay?
Halloween is a time for soaping cars, vandalizing your neighbor's house with toilet paper rolls, playing with Ouija Boards, trespassing into graveyards at night, and who knows? maybe committing mass human sacrifice at some hitherto undisclosed location run by a drug cartel in Buenos Aires and presided over by a huge, skulking, black-clad woman named Juanita. It's all fun and games until someone loses a soul.
Legends from "The Book of Halloween"
The Book of Halloween is an obscure little tome from 1919 or thereabouts, full of the legendry and lore of Hell's Christmas (to use a term I invented). Within it, we're greeted with the strange customs and creepy lore of this twisted season of terror. As an example, in Scotland, it is said the "Samhanach," a goblin, goes about on November Eve, stealing babies from their cribs. Perhaps he blows the icy breath of Hades upon their pudgy, unsuspecting faces. But, off with them he flies, gliding into the night, presumably, like Krampus, in a sack slung over his shoulder. And whence goeth he? No one has ever found out. (At least, none who lived.)
A Halloween Tribute to Sammy Terry
The year might have been 1982. I was lying in bed in the back bedroom of my paternal grandparent's house, lightly dozing. I remember it was cold and dark outside, appropriately enough, and I had been thoroughly engrossed in thumbing through an old newsstand copy of Conan the Barbarian, the old black-and-white oversized mag Marvel put out in that era. I had found it sandwiched between one of my father's airplane mags and an old issue of Soldier of Fortune. On the television, used car commercials and weight loss infomercials suddenly gave way to something a little different, something I had never seen before. It was weird, eerie; even downright spooky.
Tom Baker's Terrorific Halloween Horror Hits
There's something you should know about me: I'm not normal. Yeah, yeah, I know you were thinking to yourself, "Self, that Tom Baker sure is some guy: tall, handsome, undeniably built like a Greek god, possessed of a roving, never-exhausted intellect, and a massive personal endowment that keeps the ladies swooning. Why, he must be fabulously wealthy and deliriously happy, vacationing in all the most exotic and remote locales, and have a bevy of supermodels on each arm. I bet he's forced to schedule makeout time with them when he can squeeze them in (and the mother is booked up farther in advance than my proctologist)."
To Wet the Earth With Blood
In ancient times, in the lands ruled by Druid and inhabited by Celt, human beings were burned alive on terrific bonfires, often caged (as the famous bad movie depicts) in "wicker men," tall wicker effigies in which they were imprisoned. The fires were to light the pathway of the Sun, as it fell into the kingdom of the Lord of the Dead. This Lord was SAMHAIN, ("Saveen"), and it was on his most unholy of nights when the "Hell-Gate of Ireland" was opened, and the ancient spirits so malevolent to the ursuper man, ushered forth. These creatures had been driven back, once, at the battle of Mortura, into the sea--the ancient Fomor; but, like Lovecraftian hybrids of man and monster, they would return, "when the stars were in alignment," and they needed propitiation. They, in short, demanded BLOOD.
- Top Story - October 2023
Heavy Metal Cheese Top Story - October 2023
Yeah, heavy metal is dark, spooky, and undeniably the TOOL OF SATAN to ensnare young people and get them to grow their hair out, wear denim vests, and not bathe as frequently as they once did. Some metal, however, not having got the memo from Central Casting, goes above and beyond the call of duty, taking the infernal into the realm of the comical.