Dear Surfers and fellow Darksters:
”Blog” – what a strangely fascinating, Cyber-age, word. Almost rhymes with “Blob,” which – as I believe is written somewhere else on this website – was the movie that originally interested my partner-in-gore, Mani Isler, in the overall subject of horror.
Not me. The nail in the coffin for me was a sub-B movie from Britain called “Horrors of the Black Museum.” I saw it when I was 9 or 10 years old, a year or two after it came out, already being recycled on TV, no doubt on “Shock Theater” or “Creature Features,” two marvelous Friday night horror-fests that were put on by Denver’s Channel 2 back in the dark old days.
The infamous “Black Museum” featured a diabolical pair of binoculars, given to an unsuspecting scream queen (pretty, in an early-60s kind of way, but whose name I never knew) by the dastardly villain of the movie. She opened the nicely wrapped gift box, promptly put the binoculars to her eyes and proceeded to adjust the focus.
Instantly, out of the eyepieces projected two horrific spikes, dreadfully sharp and long, which bore themselves into the poor woman’s eyes and, no doubt, her brain.
“Horrors of the Black Museum” — hey, you ain’t kidding!
The utter dread I experienced while hearing her scream, and watching the blood flow from between the fingers which covered her ex-eyes, would eventually transform itself into the horror-writing freak you now behold and whose words you are presently reading.
There were many stops along the course of this evolution, of course. All the old Universal classics. The Twilight Zone and Outer Limits. Boris Karloff’s Thriller (Yeah!). Poe. Stoker. Lovecraft. Matheson. King. Even a little Maurice Level (mercilessly cruel endings) and Poppy Z. Brite (astonishingly bizarre and uncompromisingly horrific, but brilliant at the same time).
All of which leads me to that which I presume led you here – a love of horror. All horror freaks have a starting point – a movie, short story or novel, perhaps even a poem or a painting, a particularly macabre piece of music – which lit that original spark. I’d love to hear from others like myself what that spark might have been, what circumstances surrounded its lighting, what effects it has had on your lives and your appreciation of the dark and horrific.More than this, my partner-in-gore and I would love to hear your comments about anything in the wide and wonderful world of the macabre, whether new or old, whether written, filmed, televised or recorded, whether good reviews or bad, whether just shooting the breeze or waxing all intellectual and literary.
That includes, of course, our own contribution to the genre, Chaosicon, which I presume some of you have read and others might consider reading in the future. Go ahead, savage it, if you will. (We can take it, rest assured, but occasional praise is welcome too.)
Upon which subject, allow me to submit for your consideration a little anecdote about the novel. Although the cover with which it was originally released by Write Way is a lovely specimen (and full deserving kudos goes to artist Gail Cross for that) it was not the original idea. That came from my ultra-talented sister-in-law, Vicki McDonald Leppek, who painted the macabre masterpiece below. It features Nyx, the ancient Greek goddess of the night, who is spreading her mythological cloak (denoting not only nightfall but the primacy of Chaos) over the unsuspecting American town of Coffeyville. It’s full of mystical symbolism which readers of the novel can have fun trying to decipher, based on the story.
The lovely and eternal “Nyx” by Vicki McDonald-Leppek
Long story short: Although Mani and I both loved the painting and its uncompromising aspect of terror, our erstwhile publisher felt it way over the top, likely to discourage counter sales, perhaps even lead to complaints about its, shall we say, skeletal nudity. The publisher flatly nixed the idea (pun fully intended!) and the cover came out quite differently.
So here it is at last – unveiled before what I sincerely hope will be a fully appreciative audience – the dark goddess Nyx in all her nocturnal and chaotic glory.
A final note: This delightfully sanguine website is the imaginative progeny of webmaster Jack Strube, a techie who not only loves the macabre but might be one of the world’s most authoritative Star Wars experts. He’s damnably good at what he does, as you can see, and can be reached via this website.
Goodnight kiddies, til next time!
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