I am having some fun combining music and visuals with both completed writing and work in progress on my new Tumblr blog, He is Risen. (This Aint Your Mama’s Messiah.)
Twilley Don’t Mind, the Dwight Twilley Band’s second album arrived with a thud in 1977, only managing to rise to #70 in the Billboard Charts. A single, “Looking for the Magic,” was not a radio hit, despite an earworm of a pop hook. In the nascent days of music television, the song’s accompanying video got a lot of play – Twilley and his band mate, the late Phil Seymour, were very pretty boys – but that was about the extent of it. But now “Looking for the Magic” is back in a most peculiar place as a recurring theme in Adam Wingard’s wicked new horror thriller You’re Next.
The idea of a song that keeps repeating was written into Simon Barrett’s script, a story about a family that finds itself under siege in an isolated country home when masked intruders attack in the middle of dinner.
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Cool song that I am into at the moment.
There can be no value, meaning, or purpose unless objectivity is counterbalanced with the subjective.
“All great things must first wear terrifying and monstrous masks in order to inscribe themselves on the hearts of humanity.”–Friedrich Nietzsche. ”Quite awhile back I wrote this longish story. Twisted gross over the top horror. Unlike anything else I’ve ever written. I’ve gotten great responses to it from a critique group I was in and from editors but no one ever published it. Until now. Splicers is extreme vile and twisted. If that is your bag it can be found here under my writing name of Kane S. Latranz. I warned you. =^)
Ashes and Rust
46 page chapbook, $5.00 from Automatism Press and as an e-book for Kindle on Amazon.com for 2.99.
P.O. Box 12308
San Francisco, California 94112-0308
Loren Rhoads may be best known as the mind behind the fascinating decade-long magazine of dark, weird, and often oddly humorous personal anecdotes from various contributors, Morbid Curiosity.
Ashes and Rust is a chapbook reprinting four of her short stories. This distinctive volume includes elements of the past, the future, and more or less the present; the stories inspired by a period of the author’s early life in socio-economically ravaged Flint, Michigan during the fall of the Detroit auto industry. The chapbook is illustrated with black and white photographs taken by Rhoads in 1981 and 1982, of her then high school aged friends. So these are dystopian future tales inspired by a bleak place and time in the 1980s, all authored between 1994 and 2003.
Steeped in murder, horror, and rock-n-roll, The Acid That Dissolves Images, is very short. Composed with dense, energetic description and fresh use of language, it punches home an affecting vignette about the demonic possession of a rock star in a dying world and society, at least one terrifying aspect of whom is known as “Medusa.” As with all these pieces, it summoned to mind such 80s era horror staples as Poppy Z. Brite and Anne Rice, were they to write in a horrific science fiction vein.
Fitzgerald’s Shadow may be my favorite piece, in large part for a clever weaving of metaphor throughout. The “shadow” seems actually to be heroin, yet perhaps it represents more than that. Again, Rhoads’s powerful use of language is one of her enviable strengths as a writer. “He didn’t shake until the Shadow spilled out of the needle like lava, scalding everything in its path.”
Shadow’s Nick the junkie was a celebrated writer, compared to F. Scott Fitzgerald as the “voice of his generation.” Where ink once flowed from his fingertips, Nick has to fix, now, with a much darker substance, to compose a single sentence a day. His dismal routine on the remains of earth is broken when a slightly injured visitor lands on top of his building from a rocket capsule. Nick naturally assumes that the kid, “Bob,” has been rejected by a moon colony, as everyone who could has left our wretched home planet behind, and they occasionally cast out undesirables. Bob will turn out to be far more than he seems, however.
Throughout, but no less so in Justice, Rhoads constructs a story from only the barest details, letting the reader assemble the meaning of the artfully crafted linguistic fragments. Justice is another yarn of near future urban blight, in this case populated with interstellar drug runners and involving meditations on violent revenge, forgiveness, and justice, all bound together with literal alienation.
Mothflame concerns a young woman named Christy who believes herself to be commissioned by God to return His people to Him through loving acts of homicide. Christy prowls the underground club scene and there is much nihilistic youthful drug abuse and dark sleek androgyny in her quest to get close, in every sense, to the adored singer known as Ysanne.
In the afterword, Rhoads waxes about the fall of the Detroit auto industry and describes how “Devil’s Night,” (Which I remember fairly innocently from my early years in the motor city.), turned into something more resembling its hellfire depiction in The Crow. There is a bittersweet intimacy to this smartly crafted collection. If your bookshelf seems like the section holding the works of Rice and Brite yearns for one addition, this gaunt but memorable 45 page chapbook may be just the thing to round out that empty space at a mere 5 dollars.
Actor, poet, musician, and painter, Viggo Mortensen, may be best known as Aragorn in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In that and some of his other roles he has an association with horses and to some degree, specifically, with cowboys. It’s no surprise that Jane liked the equine adventure, Hidalgo, when it came out, which he starred in.
A movie I liked that was released before I met Claire in 1990 was a second sequel to the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre called Leatherface. Tame compared with the first movie; it had an underlying sense of black comedy. I recall one review that humorously likened the cannibalistic backwoods Leatherface clan to The Waltons gone horribly wrong. The as yet little known Mortensen played a murderous character that styled himself as a cowboy and demanded to be addressed as “Tex.”
When I was eight at my dad’s house in Pleasant Ridge shortly after Jane seems to have groomed me to be a little cowboy while on the road in Arizona, I had a dream that included a ringing telephone. I awoke from that dream on the sofa in the library and T.V. room to the then astonishing fact that the phone really had been ringing while I slept. While working on this book I had a dream that was set in that location, the library of my dad’s house in Detroit. Viggo appeared and sat beside me on the couch as himself, the actor, Viggo Mortensen. I had the sense that he possessed some understanding of something that was about to be revealed to me, and that he felt bad about it.
My eight-year-old self appeared through a wide squared arch from the dining room into the library where Viggo and my adult self sat on the sofa. My inner child had been forced to wear Jane’s skin, including a mask made of her flesh.
Available in hard copy on CreateSpace and as an ebook for Kindle on Amazon.