Apeshit

Carlton Mellick (the Third) freely admits that he enjoys the worst kind of horror movie starring complete unknowns who qualify simply by the intensity of their screams and an ability to slide around in gore, mostly bloody body parts (a natural agility with a pitch fork or a sickle is a plus). I have noticed that most of these slasher movies (or splatter movies depending on the studio marketing them) are about as low-budget as an episode of Hoarders. Oh, some start out with recognizable talent and maybe even a script, but by the time they reach the fourth or fifth sequel, you wouldn’t be surprised if Tom Carvel didn’t rise from the grave and turn the unsuspecting campers into ice cream cakes.

ApeshitI’ll bet you never considered the possibility that there was a real book behind your favorite splatter-fest and, with the possible exception of Agatha Christies’ novel, And Then There Were None, you might be right. Did Dame Agatha run around with Donald Pleasance, or was that Harold Pinter? Anyway, Carlton Mellick tells of his attempt to write a screenplay for the kind of horror movie he wanted to see, but he never  completed it; rather, Mellick turned it into a fine Bizarro novel titled, Apeshit.

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The Cool Ghoul Abides

For whatever reason, I have never responded to Horror genre fiction (at least not since Zacherley’s Midnight Snacks). When we stayed up to watch Chiller Theater on Saturday nights, those classic Universal horror movies were fresh and downright scary. Of course after seeing The Mummy for the sixteenth time, it loses some of its fright factor. It’s interesting that I once found movies scary but it never seemed to work in literature. The last book I read that had me in a sweat was James Dickey’s Deliverance which was almost as scary as James Dickey.

So is it any wonder that I don’t find anything of value in Stephen King? He’s boring and not good enough a writer to make me forget how silly his narrative is.  I did read the first Anne Rice—Interview with the Vampire— with some interest. But then I made the mistake of assuming the author was onto something and agonizingly slugged my way through the first half of her second vampire novel before fighting off the horrid writing and casting it into the pit under the sink. I haven’t done a scientific study but I believe Rice mentions blood more than Rowling mentions quidditch … but it’s close and could go the either way.

I have read and reread the standards of horror—Frankenstein, Dracula, House on Haunted Hill, Tales of Cthulhu, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Rosemary’s Baby, The Day of the Locusts, and various copies of the Fortean Times—all without a shudder or a grimace. They all remind me of a very silly joke that went around when I was in fourth grade:  “Do you want to hear a dirty story?” [the audience moves in close and begins to pant] … “A boy runs around the corner and falls in a mud puddle.” [groans of disappointment]. Horror stories have a similar effect on me.

So I’m trying to make a list of the books I read that I found even moderately scary. Did I mention Deliverance? I’m stuck … any ideas?