Let's Talk About Horror Fiction and Film

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Spaceman Spiff, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    Abbott and Costello are canon! :D That's kind of cool-- actually, it could go either way, depending on the writer-- but it's nice that he's drawing from all the movies. :bolian:

    I hope the producers of the new movie understand that a Larry Talbot who does not wring his hands is no Larry Talbot at all. :cool:

    Unless they're babies. Shaking babies is very dangerous and can be deadly. For adults, however, you really need to disembowel them with your claws.

    I've been doing mostly SF lately, too, but I did catch a movie called Boy Eats Girl on Fear.Net. Not hilarious, but fairly amusing. It co-starred the woman from the Planet Of The Apes remake-- don't hold it against her.

    I've got all the Russ Cochran editions of the EC Archives (well, maybe most, I'm not sure if I'm still missing anything). But I'm looking forward to the Creepy archives. Lots of classic names will be listed among the creators. I still remember seeing those black-and-white magazines at the cigar store where I used to buy my comics in Dorchester-- they called out to me, but I was forbidden from buying them. :rommie:

    That was a great show (until they screwed it up toward the end). Solid stories, as you say, and a nice cast with nice characters. There was believable friction between them, but they were basically ordinary people trying to do the right thing. This is definitely a show worth collecting.

    Coincidentally, I just saw The Gorgon on TMC not long ago; it was pretty good. Typical Hammer film; very atmospheric and moody.

    They're saving that one UNTIL LAST. :rommie:
     
  2. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    Here's some good news: I just found out that the HP Lovecraft Historical Society has published the second CD in their Dark Adventure Radio Theatre series. This one is an adaptation of The Dunwich Horror. The first one was At The Mountains Of Madness and it was very good. I just sent away for Dunwich Horror, so I can't comment yet.

    For those who don't know, these are the guys who did the silent movie adaptation of The Call Of Cthulhu a couple of years ago; the conceit being that the movie is just as it might have been were it made the same year the story was published. It's fantastic. :bolian: The group currently has a second movie in production. :)
     
  3. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2001
    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    You know I'll get that.

    Return of the Wolf Man is pretty good and interesting so far. It's pretty obvious that the author knows his stuff where Talbot is concerned, because he ties in little moments to all of the films in which he appeared, and best of all, gets the "sound" of him right. You can very easily imagine Lon Chaney, Jr. delivering the dialogue.

    Hopefully, this next bit isn't too spoilery for you, but since it deals with part of the premise of the book--even the title, really--I'm assuming you won't mind too much.

    The author brings the Wolf Man to the present (well, 1998, anyway). The interesting thing is, he does it within the trappings of the story. Shortly after the events of Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, Larry convinces the Joan Raymond character to help him die by getting him in the heart with a shard of mirror with a silver backing. He makes her promise to hide his body somewhere and make sure the shard never comes out, lest he be restored to life.

    Raymond ends up sealing his body up in the basement of the castle, where Dracula had tried to swap out the Frankenstein Monster's brain, etc. She then buys the castle and lives to a ripe old age, all the while keeping her promise to Larry. In the meantime, she's made her fortune writing horror stories about werewolves and the like.

    She dies in 1998, and her great-niece ends up inheriting the castle. She intends to respect her great-aunt's wishes and keep the basement sealed up, but forces beyond her control end up finding Talbot's body and removing the shard.

    This all happens on the night of the full moon (naturally!), so the Wolf Man is reborn. He attacks the pair of individuals responsible for resurrecting him, but the niece manages to get away. The next day, she finds Talbot, who explains his story, and the girl decides there must be some way to help him. Then we find out the Frankenstein Monster was sealed down there, too. That's where I am now. ;)

    I wasn't sure if I'd like the move to the present, but in a pleasantly creative decision, the author doesn't just fast-forward to 1998, he plants it in a 1998 of the Universal, er, Universe. So there are no "Wait, Dracula's real?!" moments or anything corny like that. When Talbot tells her of how Henry Frankenstein built a monster out of dead bodies, she's never heard of Frankenstein or his Monster. So there aren't any goofy metafictional moments, like we've sort of come to expect. I braced myself for a sentence like, "That must be the source for Mary Shelley's novel!" but it never came. :)

    In that sense, it accomplishes bringing the novel to modern times, while still making it feel like a genuine continuation. And in perfect Talbot manner, when he's told the year, he says, "Then there really is no end to this horror. The curse is forever." :D That's our guy.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2008
  4. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    Oh, yeah, that's what I like to hear. :D

    Nah, I devour spoilers like a wolfman devouring his prey. :cool:

    Hmmm.....

    You know, I always wished there was a House Of The Wolfman movie. :)

    Yeah, jumping to the present is a decision I'd question, if only because it negates the possibility of so many stories set over that time span (who wouldn't want to see the Universal Frankenstein and Wolfman in the days of drive-ins and sock hops?). But it's not a deal breaker. It would certainly be interesting to speculate on what literature and pop culture looks like in that universe, since those novels are so influential; not only would thousands of books, movies, TV shows and comic books cease to exist, but there would be no Munsters! :eek:

    Yup. Poor melancholy Larry. :D It really sounds like this book is a labor of love from somebody who really knows, understands and respects the source material, which is wonderful (I wish that was the case with every concept revival we see). The Dark Horse books were good enough on their own, but as alleged Universal continuations they were lacking in that respect and continuity.

    I just thought of something else. Not only were Dracula and Frankenstein real in that universe, but so were Abbott and Costello; so the history of comedy would be very different, too. :rommie:
     
  5. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    The Dunwich Horror CD arrived in yesterday's mail; I haven't had a chance to listen, of course, but it looks really cool. It's literally bursting with little extras; a newspaper clipping, some handwritten notes, a map and what looks like a page from the Necronomicon. :eek: It reminds me of the glory days of Infocom. :D
     
  6. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2001
    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    I'll post more on Return of the Wolf Man later (I'm enjoying it more than any of the Dark Horse Press books, I think), but in the meantime, I've noticed that Quint at Ain't It Cool News has been reviewing some of my recent mentions here as part of his "A Movie A Day" blog.

    The Skull

    and the four films on the Icons of Adventure set:

    Terror of the Tongs

    Pirates of Blood River

    The Devil-Ship Pirates

    The Stranglers of Bombay


    He really likes that set, and I can't blame him. He's right about them bringing "A performances to B movies." This is the kind of thing I was talking about in this thread. I wish B films were still made like this.
     
  7. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2001
    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    I got the latest issue of Weird Tales today, and you'll never guess what I saw in there. ;) I laughed aloud when I saw it; it was totally unexpected.
     
  8. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    ^^ Heh. I was thinking about whether or not to mention that in this thread. It's nice to know that it's noticeable. :D

    I'm sorry it's a surprise, though; I thought I mentioned it to you in a PM a while back. I guess I forgot. :alienblush:
     
  9. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2001
    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    Return of the Wolf Man was a lot of fun. I think that it was, for the most part, a much more solid effort than the Dark Horse Press books. I didn't mind the move to modern times, because I don't really think that negates the possibility of other stories, except by this author. It doesn't look like it was a huge hit or anything, and the author doesn't appear to have written any other Universal Monsters tie-ins. It's disappointing on that part, because he's really good at capturing Larry Talbot, and there's a fun semi-cliffhanger ending that alludes to Werewolf of London.

    My nitpicks are few and far between. The weirdest bit in the book was an almost off-hand comment in which Talbot states that he hasn't eaten anything but human flesh since he became a werewolf. That threw me a little, wondering where the author got that notion, but after thinking on it, I guess it's not really that weird. I don't recall ever seeing him eat in any of the movies, so it's not like it conflicts with anything on film. And he's clearly a supernatural creature--aside from the general werewolf affliction, he's seemingly immortal, etc. I guess it just surprised me because it's a disturbing thought. Still, it led to one of the better lines in the book:

    "I never eat ... chicken."


    Another minor nitpick was that even though the Dracula in the book is clearly the Lugosi version, the book confirms that he's Vlad Tepes. That's always a personal gripe of mine, though, and I can't really blame Rovin for going that route, as it's a popular one. I liked In Search of Dracula, but man, ever since that book, Drac and Vlad have been inseparable.

    All that said, the "flashback" describing his origin had a neat tie to the Dracula ring as well as some nods to Stoker's book.

    He also mentioned Drac's fangs a lot. He obviously had them in the films (that, or he sort of sucked the blood out psychically), but it still seems weird to imaging Lugosi flashing them like Christopher Lee.

    But despite the nitpicks, it was a really fun read. He's got a few nods to other films, while not taking it quite as far as Elizabeth Hand did in her Bride book. There are ties to White Zombie, for example, since that takes place in Haiti, and Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein is set in Florida. Apparently, Murder Legendre got replaced by Dracula as the plantation master. :lol: I was half dreading that Drac would "confess" to masquerading as Legendre, but fortunately, that didn't happen.

    When someone asks what happened to Chick Young and Wilbur Grey, they're told that after they told everyone about the monsters, they disappeared, and rumor had it that they changed aliases a few times and even joined the Foreign Legion. :lol: You have to love little bits like that.

    I definitely recommend it, especially if you can get it on the (somewhat) cheap.
     
  10. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    I love it, especially the bit about Chick and Wilbur. :rommie: (It would have been funny if he had said Chick Young went on to create Blondie :D).

    The more I read about it, the more I want to own it. It just shows you what is possible with solid concepts when you have a writer who is creative, and is both respectful and enthusiastic about the source material. Not that the Dark Horse books were bad-- they just weren't as advertised.

    The bit about not eating anything but human flesh is interesting-- it's tickling a memory about something Larry might have said in one of the sequels, but I'll have to rewatch them to see. But there might be some kind of a precedent for that....
     
  11. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2001
    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    I just tried Googling it, and when you search Larry Talbot human flesh, this thread is the second hit. :lol:
     
  12. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    I guess that means few people Google "Larry Talbot human flesh," which is a good thing. :rommie:

    The third hit was an Amazon review by a guy that disputes the claim. I could be wrong. Or it could be something like him refusing food when he should be hungry or something (like the guy in American Werewolf).
     
  13. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Location:
    Terra Inlandia, Kelvin timeline
    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction


    The line reminds me of an old one.

    drink... wine, and I do not smoke... shit."

    (Love at First Bite.)

    That could just be me, though.
     
  14. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2001
    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    Could be. It's been a while since I've watched them all in a row, but I don't remember any reference to Talbot eating anything at all. So I guess it could go either way, really.

    I just read that guy's post comment, and his reasoning seems to be that Talbot has to be eating more than once a month because of his size. That seems like goofy reasoning in light of the rest of the oddities of his anatomy where the curse is concerned. :lol: After all, he can be killed by a silver knife to the heart, but if you pull it out fifty years later, he comes back to life. I think plausibility is out the window. :p

    I don't know, it sort of makes sense alongside the other two monsters. Drac feeds only on blood, and the Frankenstein monster is powered solely by electricity.

    It struck me as odd initially, but it doesn't really bother me.

    I'm sure lots of writers have had fun with that line. :lol:
     
  15. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2001
    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    Dread Central has posted a great review of The Fly: the Opera.

    Man, I'd like to see that, just for how bizarre it sounds.
     
  16. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Location:
    Terra Inlandia, Kelvin timeline
    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    I've been hearing little blips about it on the classical station here. Apparently Howard Shore has expanded and adapted his original music from the movie and Cronenberg is directing?
     
  17. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    Hmm. The email notification seems to be working spottily. :confused:

    That movie always looked funny, but I just never liked that guy whose name I can't say without giving away the Spoiler.

    And soup. :D

    It doesn't bother me, either, but it interests me. Well, I'll be watching these for my Halloween Marathon, so I should catch any references.

    Magnifico! Actually, that video isn't working for me; I'll have to check YouTube later. That sounds almost as freaky as the Star Trek opera they were talking about a few years ago. :rommie:

    Well, I got the first volume of the Creepy archives yesterday, and it looks great. Incredible EC vibe in those early years, and not just because of the EC veterans. Also, some beautiful Frank Frazetta work. :)

    I just read some news about the new season of Supernatural of interest to readers of this Thread. There will an episode in black-and -white that will be an homage to the old Universal movies-- you know how much I love that sort of thing :D --and also an episode delving into the pagan roots of Halloween. This is one of the better shows on TV, so I recommend it to anyone who hasn't been watching.
     
  18. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2001
    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    You're running NoScript, right? If so, you'll have to temporarily approve theflytheopera.com and jeroenwijering.com in order to see the videos.
     
  19. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Location:
    Terra Inlandia, Kelvin timeline
    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    Even with those allowed, the video isn't loading for me right now (just spins the little clock-thingy for eternity.) The site may be just getting heavy traffic or something.

    Try this, though.
     
  20. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    Actually, I uninstalled that pretty quickly. It was giving me all kinds of trouble. :rommie:

    Yeah, that's what I was getting.

    I figured it would be on there. That's completely insane. :rommie: Good luck to them. It'll probably crash and burn, but you know what they say-- it's not over till the fat ladybug sings. :D