Werewolf Wednesday: It’s All in the Mind

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Another Wednesday, another post in my Killer Horror Critic column on the history of werewolf cinema! This week I’m looking at the time Universal tried to blend Gothic horror with science fiction: House of Dracula

Past instalments:

The First of the Cartoon Vampires?

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Sometimes when I’m writing about vampire cinema, I run into odd areas of research. Here’s one of the questions I’ve turned up: what was the first animated cartoon to feature a vampire?

Well, I ran my mind across a lifetime’s worth of cartoon-watching, and the earliest vampire-themed animation that I could think of was the 1963 Bugs Bunny short Transylvania 6-5000. Digging further I found an earlier animated vampire in the 1933 cartoon Mickey’s Gala Premier, where Lugosi’s Dracula, Karloff’s Frankenstein and Fredric March’s Mr. Hyde get seven-second cameos alongside various other Hollywood stars. However, I haven’t been able to find a cartoon predating Transylvania 6-5000 that makes a vampire one of its main characters.

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This left me with another question: why did it take so long for animators to get around to spoofing vampires?

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House of Eddas: Thor vs. Storm Giants in Journey Into Mystery #100

JourneyMystery100Time for another jaunt back into Norse mythology, as reimagined by 1960s Marvel comics…

Journey Into Mystery #100 opens with “The Master Plan of Mr. Hyde!” which concludes the storyline from last month. At the start of the tale Thor is a wanted man thanks to Mr. Hyde impersonating him while robbing a bank (how Hyde pulled off such a convincing transformation is never explained: was he wearing a latex mask and fake muscles, or does he have an additional shapeshifting form?). Trying to forget his troubles, Thor returns to his mortal guise as Don Blake and enjoys dinner with Jane Foster – until Mr. Hyde kidnaps the pair of them.

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Congratulations to the 2020 Splatterpunk Award Winners!

45448518._SY475_Now that the 2020 Splatterpunk Awards have been handed out at Killercon Austin, here’s a complete list of winners and finalists and a round-up of my reviews…

(I considered calling this post “Consplatulations” but soon realised that absolutely nobody would have been better off for it)

Best Novel

Continue reading “Congratulations to the 2020 Splatterpunk Award Winners!”

They Kill by Tim Waggoner (2020 Splatterpunk Awards)

TheyKillAfter losing her brother Jeffrey in a car accident, art teacher Sierra has a dream in which Jeffrey is raised from the dead by a sinister man in a black suit. It later turns out that this was more than a dream: Jeffrey really has been resurrected, and both Sierra and Jeffrey’s boyfriend Marc catch sight of him around town.

Naturally, however, Jeffrey did not return from the grave without paying a price. He has brought death back with him: his touch causes objects to decay and people to wither and die. Furthermore, Jeffrey is not the only one to be granted deadly abilities. A number of other people in Sierra’s life have undergone weird transformations, and proceed to leave trails of destruction. Sierra and Marc – each blaming each other for Jeffrey’s death – must look beyond their animosity to work out what is going on, and where Sierra’s dream of the mysterious man in the black suit fits into events.

Continue readingThey Kill by Tim Waggoner (2020 Splatterpunk Awards)”

Lakehouse Infernal by Christine Morgan (2020 Splatterpunk Awards)

45448518._SY475_Following a special merge, part of Hell has bled out onto Earth. Only a comparatively small part – enough to fill Lake Misquamicus in Florida, to be precise – but even a fraction of Hell is bad news for us on the mortal realm. With the lake now occupied by six billion gallons of infernal effluent, and a prime location for visits from demons, damned souls and other denizens of the underworld, the US government has little choice but to construct a wall around it and forbid any crossings.

In her author’s note at the end of the book, Christine Morgan refers to Lakehouse Infernal as “total shameless Edward Lee fanfic throughout”. In particular, it follows on from his “Infernal” quartet (City Infernal, Infernal Angel, House Infernal and Lucifer’s Lottery) but also makes reference to a number of his other works – and even includes Lee himself as a character. Anyone who is familiar with Edward Lee’s distinctive brand of fiction will recognise the tone and narrative style of Lakehouse Infernal.

Continue readingLakehouse Infernal by Christine Morgan (2020 Splatterpunk Awards)”

Carnivorous Lunar Activities by Max Booth III (2020 Splatterpunk Awards)

CarnivorousLunarActivitiesOne day, out of the blue, Ted receives a telephone call from Justin, a childhood friend who has not spoken to him for three years. The two meet up in Justin’s squalid abode, and Ted is soon distracted from the problems in his own life – including the terminal state of his relationship with his wife Shelly – by the utterly bizarre story that his friend has to tell.

Between numerous asides about childhood memories shared by the two young men, Justin reveals all about the dark turn his life has taken. He became involved with dogfighting, and decided to buy a particularly vicious dog that he saw advertised on Craigslist. The animal he ended up with, however, turned out to be something rather different from a typical canine: “try to imagine a wolf, okay? Only the wolf’s on steroids and its father might be a bear” says Justin.

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Werewolf Wednesdays: House of Frankenstein

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Here’s this week’s instalment of my Killer Horror Critic column on the history of werewolf films, in which I take a look at how the Wolf Man fared when he visited the House of Frankenstein,,,

Past instalments:

Omega Factor: Divinity Reviews are Coming In…

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I’m happy to say that so far, my Omega Factor novel Divinity has been going down pretty well with fans of the original 1979 TV series. First off, Rich Cross of Cultbox calls the novel a worthy continuation of the saga:

Doris V Sutherland’s novel conjures up the world of The Omega Factor very recognisably, and her realisation of the show’s main players is on point. The guest characters of her story are also convincingly sketched, and the shifts in focus between the different time zones are well handled.

Meanwhile, Liam Rudden of Edinburgh News goes for Divinity as his audiobook of choice during trips through the eeriest stretches of Scotland’s capital:

As much of the original series featured locations in and around the Old Town – looking somewhat more dilapidated back then – it seemed Divinity was the ideal companion to accompany me as I rediscovered the Royal Mile. Despite the latest investigation not being set in Edinburgh, it certainly added an extra dimension to the drama as I explored the shadowy closes and pends, some I had never ventured down before.

If you want to hear the novel for yourself, as read by the wonderful Louise Jameson, you can purchase it at the Big Finish website.