Thursday, August 17, 2017

Frankenstein's Tower

Frankenstein's Tower
by Jean-Claude Carriere as Benoit Becker
originally 1957 Fleuve Noir
English translation 2016 Grey Tiger



Jean-Claude Carriere is a respected screenwriter and collaborator with Luis Bunel.  He also wrote a series of mediocre Frankenstein continuations.

Frankenstein's Tower is set in 1875.  A disgraced mesmerist turned hobo creeper named Vrollo reanimates and controls Frankenstein' Monster, called Gouroull here.  Gouroll snaps a couple necks and kidnaps the fair maiden Helen.  The creature overcomes Vrollo's influence and kills him, then moves on to menacing Helen.

The townsfolk can't get in the castle where Gourollo is holed up, so they enlist the aid of a Hindu snake charmer to send an army of poisonous snakes in after them.  Sure.

Helen escapes, Gourollo escapes, and we're left with almost 30 pages of epilogue and afterword of a 158 page book.  I wouldn't mind the short page length if it was filled with more monster and less French talkiness.  And if I hadn't paid as much as I had - these are really more suitable for $1.99 ebooks than $11 paperbacks.

I appreciate Frankenstein's monster being evil (or at least amoral) and murderous, as opposed to the sympathetic approach usually given in the 20th Century, but at least in this installment he doesn't get a lot of page time.  This version suffers from either a poor, direct translation, or the fact that the French use way too many words.  Read Donald Glut for a better version of the same concept.

Overpriced paperback from Amazon.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dew Claws by Stephen Gresham

Dew Claws
by Stephen Gresham
1986 Zebra Books



Yep, this one.  I knew going in the story didn't match the cover (although there is a lot of banjo), that the story was more "quiet horror", but I'd go one further and say this isn't a horror novel at all.  More folksy southern fantasy.  Not that it's a bad thing - the story is well written and moves along nicely, but it's completely mispackaged.

Johnny Ray is a swamp boy who is taken up by the owners of a day care after his family disappeared in the swamp, killed by dew claws, some kind of water spirit elemental.  Johnny Ray is possessed by the spirit of the dew claws and spends the book visiting various folk healers: a swamp doctor, swamp witches, snake handlers, and Indian shaman.

There's a good sense of menace but nothing resembling scares, and nobody is more than scratched the whole book.

Used paperback from Amazon

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The NBC Saturday Morning Preview Revue 1974

There's a hierarchy of terrible television.  The seventies.  Kid's live action shows.  Specials.  So here's a special for live action TV in the 70s, staring all your favorite nightmares from Sid and Marty Krofft.




Supposedly, by the Pink Lady and Jeff era, the Kroffts were being horrible on purpose.  I can believe it here.  Every frame is more terrifying than the last.  HR Pufnstuf not terrifying enough?  How about marionettes.  Elvis Jimmy Osmond dancing with pimps not weird enough for you?  Bring in the clowns!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Killsquad 2: Mission Revenge by Frank Garrett

Killsquad 2: Mission Revenge
by Frank Garrett (Dan Schmidt)
1986 Avon



"These folks ain't right, Sarge.  Or I'd be gettin' a little chubby right now."

The Killsquad is a Deadly Dozen style strike force - let's meet the team:
John "Hangman" Smith - the leader.
Leroy "Lightning Bomber" Walker - ex-boxer convicted of murder.
Rollo "Icepick" Barnes - Harlem pimp and hit-man.
Tommy Williams - hillbilly bank robber.
Mac White - Bigot with a heart of gold, too mean for the KKK.
James Jackson - Fisherman and smuggler, framed for the murder of FBI agents.
Lucien Schnell - insane, serial killing, Nazi mercenary, in the brig this installment for attempting to desert in the first book.

The Preacher, Eli St. Judas, is on a mission to remove sinners from the Earth, starting with a shooting and firebomb spree by his followers on Times Square, the Preacher fapping away as he watches.  He's enlisted the aid of a team of mercenaries, who have their own agenda.

Probably the thinnest plot of any Men's Adventure book I've read, and that's saying something.  Some training, then off to raid the Preacher's orgy compound to see what they're up to.  They leave the Preacher alive for some reason when they discover the plot to kidnap Russian diplomats.  They run to foil the kidnapping, then run back for another raid on the Preacher's base.

Action scenes like midwest cooking - not that great, but there's a lot of it.  Well written but way too quick - this may be the first book that I wished was longer than it's 167 pages.

Used paperback from Amazon.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Great NBC Smilin' Saturday Morning Parade 1976

I thought I knew everything about obscure 70s kids TV, but almost every live action show here is new to me:

McDuff the Talking Dog
Big John, Little John
Monster Squad
The Kids From C.A.P.E.R.
Muggsy

Filmed at Magic Mountain, starring Freddy Prinze and all the cocaine in Columbia.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Saturday Morning Sneak Peek ABC 1973

Avery Schreiber.
Live action Bugs Bunny.
Australian Rick Springfield.
Yogi Bear dancing to Australian Rick Springfield.
Australian Rick Springfield's psychedelic nightmare "Mission: Magic!".