Talk the Talk

Regular readers of this site know I tend to make fun of H P Lovecraft’s prose style.  In his better written stories, it has a quasi-nineteenth century sound to it.  But in some of his less ably written material it instead just sounds kind of overblown.  But recently I’ve been listening to a YouTube channel called Horror Babble by some guy called Ian Gordon who sounds a little like the actor who played Jay Peterman on Seinfeld.  He provides an accent that, I guess, is supposed to sound like something between 1920’s Oxbridge English and possibly early twentieth century Boston Brahmin.

After listening to a few of these recordings I’ve realized that this presentation makes these stories incalculably more entertaining.  Let me qualify this statement.  It doesn’t make the stories better horror stories.  But the presentation is just more fun.  I think the accent makes the ridiculousness of the stories seem intentional.  It’s camp.

And maybe it works because that’s more or less the “voice” that Lovecraft was hearing in his own head.  It’s always seemed to me that Lovecraft’s work was sort of an homage to Edgar Allan Poe.  And because Lovecraft lived far removed from the era when Poe’s prose was contemporary and because Poe was a consummately better writer Lovecraft’s language always seems stilted.   But with a spoken word interpreter somewhat bridging the gap with his theatrical reading it somehow works pretty well.

Now most of you probably already listen to audio-books.  The only ones I’ve ever listened to were Larry Correia’s Adventures of Tom Stranger with Adam Baldwin providing the voice talent.  And come to think of it the specific voice really does make a big difference in the enjoyment of that story too.

Well, anyway, this little epiphany has got me thinking about the voice that you hear when you write something.  I mean, unless you’re writing a character that’s more or less you, how do you hear that character or characters speaking.  What do they sound like?  Is it a regional accent?  And that’s kind of a big deal.  If all my characters sound exactly like me that might make it hard for my readers to see these characters as real people.  Going back and reading some of my dialog I would say that there are definitely differences in speech for the different characters.  And this is most noticeable for characters that differ in sex, age and generation.  So, I’m not worried that I have to reinvent all of my dialog.

But it does occur to me that maybe I’d like to add some characters that have very flamboyant speech patterns just to give the story some extra zing.  After all, even Shakespeare added dialect characters to make some of the scenes comical or memorable.  His dialect characters were usually Irish or Welsh or Scottish.  I guess I could throw in a Southie from Boston or a South Asian character for good measure.  But if I really want to get exotic, I’ll throw in a Millennial Social Justice Warrior.  Now that’s a foreign language that’ll take some practice.

Cure (1997) – A Movie Review

“Cure” is a Japanese psychological horror film written and directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, starring Kōji Yakusho as a Tokyo Metropolitan Police detective named Kenichi Takabe investigating a string of murders by different killers that are only linked by the throats of all the victims being slashed with an X shaped incision.

(Spoiler Alert – Skip down to last paragraph to avoid spoilers and read recommendation)

Takabe and his partner the forensic psychologist Sakuma suspect that a powerful hypnotist is implanting the idea of the murders into each of the killers.  They track down a strange man named Mamiya that was present at several of the murder scenes.  He behaves as if he has no memory of his own identity or his history.  Sakuma has Mamiya committed to a hospital for observation.  Mamiya uses his hypnotic powers to learn the details of Takabe’s family problem from a hospital employee.  Takabe’s wife is seriously mentally ill and the stress of living with her is undermining his own mental balance.  Mamiya uses this information to torment Takabe during an interrogation.  Takabe begins imagining his wife committing suicide.  He has her placed in a psychiatric institution to safeguard her.

Next, we see Mamiya implant a murder suggestion in a young female doctor and shortly afterward she murders a man.  Afterward Mamiya even causes Sakuma to commit suicide.  Finally, Mamiya escapes from the hospital and Takabe who is now enraged against his tormentor tracks him down to an abandoned hospital and after being taunted by Mamiya shoots him.  When Mamiya’s last motion is to attempt to implant the murder suggestion in Takabe the policeman empties his pistol into the madman.

After killing Mamiya Takabe finds an old phonograph player in the hospital and listens to a recording that seems to be the source of Mamiya’s knowledge of the deadly hypnotic technique.  In the next scene we see the corpse of Takabe’s wife at the mental hospital with an X cut into her throat.  In the last scene we see Takabe in a restaurant finishing a meal.  As the waitress leaves his table, we see her walk over to a counter and grab a butcher’s knife.

This is a very strange movie.  And of course, since it’s spoken in Japanese that adds another layer of distance for the non-Japanese speaking viewer.  But the movie is quite compelling.  The Mamiya character is extremely unnerving.  Whenever someone attempts to interrogate him about his actions or even his history it always ends up with him turning the interrogation around.  The movie viewer develops a strong revulsion for the character.  He manipulates the interrogators and eventually implants his suggestion.  Because of this antipathy I felt a great sense of satisfaction when Takabe emptied his pistol into the homicidal hypnotist.

I’m not sure how to provide the recommendation for this movie.  My impression of this movie was definitely positive.  I did enjoy it.  But it’s such a strange movie that I’m having a hard time selecting what audience this movie is made for.  I guess we’ll have to start with audiences that enjoy crime dramas.  A somewhat similar type of movie might be “Silence of the Lambs.”  But added to that is the foreign language aspect which might be problematic for many viewers.  I guess I can only qualify this film’s audience with these two factors.  That will have to be my recommendation, as vague as it is.

The Shining (1980) – A Horror Movie Review

I recently rewatched the movie “The Shining.”  This is the Stanley Kubrick film with Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall in the lead roles.  I saw this movie in the theater when it came out and I am a huge fan of the Stephen King book that it is based on.  In fact, I believe the book was the best thing King ever wrote.

Kubrick is a famous director and I’m sure the deletions from the book’s plot and the changes made were necessary to bring the movie into a reasonable length.  But making these changes makes the movie a different story from the book.  And that makes the book a much richer story than the movie.

That being said, “The Shining” is a great horror movie.  Jack Nicholson was born to play Jack Torrance.  And Shelley Duvall is Wendy Torrance from head to toe.  Watching Jack descend into madness you could believe that no ghosts were necessary.  All of it could be credited to a combination of writer’s block, cabin fever and a disastrous marriage.

But the supernatural aspects of the story are blended into the psychological situation flawlessly.  You really can’t tell where one aspect ends and the other takes over.  The conversations between Jack and Wendy on the one hand and Jack and his spectral associates are so intertwined that it’s obvious that the ghosts understand Jack better than his own wife does.

The plot is telegraphed early on when Jack is interviewing for his job as winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel.  His employer ends the interview by revealing that a few years earlier a man named Delbert Grady who had taken on the job of winter caretaker had gone mad and chopped up his wife and two young daughters with an ax and then committed suicide with a shotgun.  His boss explained that living in the Overlook during the mandatory five-month winter isolation in the remote Colorado location had been known to cause “cabin fever” for some vulnerable souls.

Later on, Jack actually meets Mr. Grady when he shows up as a waiter in the spectral party that seems to run endlessly in the Overlook’s shadow world.  When Jack finds out his friend’s name he asks, “Weren’t you the caretaker here Mr. Grady?”  Grady claims to have no memory of that.  On being further prompted by Jack about his murders and suicide and Jack insisting, “You were the caretaker here.” Grady replies, “You are the caretaker Mr. Torrance, you’ve always been the caretaker here.”

And that’s the essence of how Jack’s destruction is accomplished.  The Hotel (in the person of Grady) plays upon Jack’s sense of failure and his resentment toward his wife and son because of the humiliating employment choices he’s had to make when he yearned to be a writer.  Now the Hotel plays up his importance and the trust that the Hotel has in his competence.  When the Hotel physically attacks his son Danny, Wendy tries to convince Jack to take them back to Denver.  Jack snaps and starts raving about his responsibilities to his employers.  But instead of meaning the owners of the hotel he’s talking about the ghosts.  And from there it’s only a short step to the ax and more murder.

I suspect most people have seen this movie and know the plot.  But I’ll stop there with the plot.  It’s too much fun to give it all away.  Suffice it to say that between little Danny’s gift (the “shining” of the title), the Hotel’s desire to possess Danny and that gift and Jack and Wendy’s deeply scarred marriage this is a powerful witch’s brew of supernatural and psychological horror.  In a later review I’ll tackle the book it’s based on.  And whether you read the book first or watch the movie I’ll leave it to you to decide.  But both are excellent within their medium.

Highly recommended.

(Strong Language warning for this clip)

Aliens (1986) – A Science Fiction Movie Review

It’s a funny thing I had never seen Aliens in its entirety until today.  Somehow, I missed the first half hour of the movie and only came in when the main action was beginning.  So finally, I have the correct basis on which to judge it.

I won’t synopsize the plot because it’s an Alien movie so the plot is for Sigourney Weaver to outlive the rest of her fellow humans battling the aliens before ultimately jettisoning a xenomorph into the vacuum of space.

As in the original “Alien” movie Sigourney Weaver is Ellen Ripley a commercial astronaut who works for the evil Weyland-Yutani Corporation.  Fifty-seven years after the first Alien attack Ripley is discovered still in suspended animation in the shuttle craft that she used to escape the destruction of her ship the Nostromo.

The evil Weyland-Yutani Corporation was very unhappy about her blowing up their ship but when they find out that their terra-forming colony on the planet that the alien was found on has gone silent they send “space marines” and Ripley to fix things.  They also send Paul Reiser playing smarmy corporate yes man, Carter Burke to provide the requisite “greedy corporation wants xenomorph for bioweapon” subplot.  And finally, they throw in an android to show that despite what happened in the first movie, androids can be pretty swell people too.

And finally, to soften up Ripley’s Rambo impression, they throw in an orphaned little girl named Newt that Ripley rescues a few times over the course of the movie, proving that a modern woman truly can have it all.

So, the producers pull out all the stops.  Aliens are popping up everywhere in the industrial complex that serves as the venue for this first-person shooter game.  Bits of aliens and “molecular acid” are sprayed everywhere and one by one the marine platoon is picked off by the monsters.  Until finally we’re down to Ripley, Newt, android and the pick of the Marine crew, Corporal Dwayne Hicks played by the ever-popular Michael Biehn.  But during the final rescue of Newt on the planet Hicks is wounded by molecular acid and from then on, all the heavy lifting is done by Ripley.  Which she performs with panache, culminating in the above mentioned obligatory spacing of the mother alien (of course there’s a mother alien).

So, what did I think?  Well, I have some quibbles.  The plot contrives it that the marines can’t use their heaviest weapons because the industrial plant is a “thermonuclear” power plant and if any of their explosive charges rupture a heat exchanger line the whole plant will detonate.  Since it’s a cinch that all the colonists (except Newt) are already dead why are they bothering to throw away their lives in this death trap.  As Ripley so astutely recommended, “I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit.  It’s the only way to be sure.”  Also, they overdid it with the strong female characters and weak male ones.  Yeah, I know, I know.  “There’s nothing wrong with that.”  But honestly it is insulting and stupid.

But taken all in all the movie does provide an exciting action-adventure/science fiction/horror experience.  I won’t claim it’s my favorite but it is a worthy representative of its genre.  I will give it a recommended status.

The Dead Don’t Die (2019) – A Horror Movie Review

Here is another movie for which I will not provide a spoiler alert.  This movie cannot be spoiled.  There’s nothing there to spoil.

For whatever reason, more than a few well-known actors and celebrities appeared in this ridiculous film.  The star is Bill Murray as Police Chief Cliff Robertson.   Adam Driver is Officer Ronnie Peterson, Robertson’s patrol partner.  Steve Buscemi is a farmer named Frank Miller.  Tilda Swinton is Zelda Winston, a samurai/funeral director/space alien.  Danny Glover is a hardware store owner.  Selena Gomez is Zoe, “a young traveler.”  Rosie Perez plays a tv reporter and Iggy Pop is a coffee guzzling zombie.  Carol Kane is a fat bloated drunken zombie who wants a drink.  And last but not least, Sturgill Simpson, who also sings the eponymous theme song of the movie (several times) is “Guitar Zombie.”  He is this by virtue of a guitar that is dragging behind his foot by the strings as he stumbles zombie-like through the night.

Most of the dialog is Murray and Driver speculating on the steadily increasing zombie body count in what I suppose is supposed to be the stoic tones of small-town cops.  They also break the fourth wall from time to time by mentioning what the script said would happen next.  And one strange character arc has Tilda Swinton interrupt her zombie slicing work to be picked up by an alien space ship and transported away.

The reason given for the appearance of the walking dead is that the Earth has “fallen off its axis” because of “polar fracking.”  Eventually, one by one, or in small groups all the townspeople are eaten by the zombies.  Finally Driver informs Murray that the movie ends with them dying while courageously fighting the zombies.  So, they get out of their squad car and get to it.  And not a moment too soon.

I’m not sure whether this movie had a script or whether the actors just extemporized.  There might have been a few moments that were mildly funny.  Steve Buscemi is funny even when he doesn’t mean to be.  But there aren’t many.  And by the middle of the movie, you’re just hoping it ends sooner than later.  But it doesn’t.  It goes on and on.  It’s a very long 103 minutes.

This movie must have an audience.  But that audience doesn’t include me.

Nefarious (2023) – A Movie Review

Here’s another film that I won’t have the spoiler alert attached because I won’t spoil any surprises.  My review will have more to do with the nature and the quality of the film than the plot synopsis.

The basic plot is that a psychiatrist, Dr. James Martin (played by Jordan Belfi) goes to a prison to interview a death row prisoner, Edward Wayne Brady (played by Sean Patrick Flanery) to determine if he’s sane enough to electrocute.  But when Martin enters the interrogation room, he discovers that the prisoner claims to be a demon from Hell possessing Brady’s body.  For the sake of convenience, he tells Martin to call him Nefarious.

And the great majority of the film is the interaction between Martin and Nefarious.  And that brings us to the question of what type of movie is this?  Is it a religious film?  Is it a horror movie?  Is it a suspense film.  I guess it’s little bit of each.  I’m not giving anything away by saying it’s not a gorefest.  The most visually disturbing scene is a prison electrocution.  But that’s hardly in the league of things like Saw.  I guess you call it a horror film in the same way that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was a horror movie.  I would say that a psychological drama might more closely describe the atmosphere of the film.

And the film is definitely an attack on the lack of respect for human life that our civilization exhibits with respect to its attitude toward abortion and euthanasia.  And it was produced by a Christian production company, “Believe Entertainment.”  So, from these perspectives this is a religious film.

But whatever else it is, it’s also a well made and compelling film.  The characterizations by the two lead actors are highly entertaining.  Flanery’s Nefarious is mesmerizing.  He has all the best lines and he plays the part over the top and to the hilt.

Belfi does a very good job of portraying a somewhat smug member of the intelligentsia, an avowed atheist who comes up against a persona who tears away many of his comfortable assumptions about himself and his way of life.  And to the film’s credit it’s not a simplistic strawman exercise.  It’s done with skill and very effectively.

Now none of this is to say that Nefarious is a perfect film.  There are a couple of scenes that were less successful.  But overall, it was compelling and kept my interest throughout.  And now here is my recommendation.  I recommend this movie but with a caveat.  I paid twenty bucks to see this movie!  Camera Girl thinks I’m crazy and I kind of have to agree.  That’s an awful lot of money.

Kwaidan (1965) – A Movie Review

Kwaidan means ghost story and was directed by Masaki Kobayashi.  This movie is a collection of four stories that I guess could be called supernatural tales.  They are based on stories written by Patrick Lefcadio Hearn, an ex-patriot of Irish/Greek extraction who settled in Japan in 1890.  Each of the stories deals in an unrelated supernatural event.  The stories are based on old Japanese folktales.

(Spoiler Alert – Skip down to last paragraph to avoid spoilers and read recommendation)

In the first story (The Black Hair) a samurai decides to divorce his wife who is a weaver of cloth.  He is tired of poverty and has orchestrated a marriage to the daughter of a nobleman.  But when he goes through with his plan his new marriage is a disaster.  His new wife is selfish and spoiled.  He misses the good-hearted weaver and after a few years he leaves his new wife and heads home to Kyoto for his old life.

When he gets there his old house is strangely changed but the samurai finds his wife overjoyed to see him.  She looks completely unaged and comforts her ex-husband not to blame himself for his actions.  She mysteriously mentions that they have only a short time together.  When he wakes up the next morning his wife is a shriveled corpse on the bed next to him. He tries to flee but her hair pursues him and while we watch he grows visibly much older as it attacks him.

In the second story (The Woman of the Snow) a young woodcutter and his older partner become trapped in a heavy snowstorm and seek shelter in a hut.  During the night a Yuki-onna, a female snow vampire freezes the older woodcutter and steals his life-force.  She tells the younger woodcutter that she had planned to kill both of them but because he was young and attractive, she decided to spare his life but on condition that he never tell anyone what happened that night.  If he does tell anyone she will know and then come to him and kill him.

Out of fear he tells no one including his mother with whom he lives.  Shortly after, a young and beautiful woman travels through their town and the young man invites her to stay at his house.  Both the young man and his mother are impressed with her qualities.  Eventually they marry and she bears him three children.  But one day as she is talking to him, he notices that she bears a resemblance to the snow vampire and he tells her the story.  His wife then reveals to him that she is the snow vampire.  Because they have children that she loves she will not kill her husband but instead will leave him forever.  But she warns him that if he is ever a bad father she will return and kill him.  After she leaves, he puts a present outside his house for her.  Later she takes the gift thereby signifying an abatement of her anger.

In the third story (Hoichi the Earless) Hoichi, a blind singer of heroic songs who lives at a monastery is visited by a samurai at night who brings him to a noble house lost in the fogs of the night.  There he sings The Tale of the Heike about the Battle of Dan-no-ura, a sea battle fought between the Taira and Minamoto clans during the last phase of the Genpei War.

Eventually his brother monks go looking for him and find him in a cemetery.  It seems that the ghosts of the defeated Taira leaders want to hear the story of their heroic defeat sung by a great artist.  The monks tell Hoichi that the ghosts will come back to claim his soul permanently so to protect him they cover his whole body including his face with the text of the “Heart Sutra.”  But they forgot to write it on his ears.  When the ghost of the samurai reappears, he can only see Hoichi’s ears.  To obey his master’s order to retrieve Hoichi he rips off the ears and takes them away.  Hoichi survives this injury and recovers.  When the rumor of this ghostly action spreads, rich patrons of music pays great sums to have Hoichi sing the tale of the battle.  And Hoichi becomes famous and very rich.

In the fourth story (In a Cup of Tea) a writer of old tales (sort of like Patrick Lefcadio Hearn) relates a folk story to his wife that he is planning to sell to a publisher.  The story is about a samurai who is part of the escort for a great lord who is travelling home.  The samurai goes to drink a cup of tea and sees the face of a man staring up at him from the tea.  He is shocked and angered by the occurrence but drinks the tea anyway.  When he arrives back home a man appears in the great house with the same face as the man in the tea.  The samurai attacks him with his sword but the man disappears.  Later that night the samurai is accosted by three men who say they work for the man from the tea cup whom he has injured.  The samurai battles all three men.  Now the writer tells his wife that this is where the story ends uncompleted.

That night the publisher arrives to see the writer but when the wife and publisher look for him, they see his image in a large pail of water just as in the story and they run away screaming.

As you can tell these are very unusual stories.  They don’t fit the category of western horror stories.  They’re reminiscent of European fairy tales or folk tales.  I wouldn’t describe them as frightening but instead odd.  I can’t say that I highly recommend them to a general audience.  They’ve been praised for the artistry that they display as visual cinema.  But I think that for a Western audience they might lack immediacy.  So, let’s call these a curiosity that probably only would interest connoisseurs of Japanese folklore or Japanese cinema.  I thought they were interesting and some scenes, specifically the sea battle portions were well crafted.  Your milage may vary.

The Wolfman (2010) – A Horror Movie Review

The 2010 film, the Wolfman was made by Universal as a remake of their 1941 film The Wolf Man.

(Spoiler Alert – Skip down to last paragraph to avoid spoilers and read recommendation)

Benicio del Toro stars as Lawrence Talbot.  Lawrence left his home in England after the death of his mother under mysterious circumstances.  His father Sir John Talbot (played by Anthony Hopkins) still lives at the ancestral home with his other son Ben and Ben’s fiancée Gwen Conliffe (played by Emily Blunt).  Lawrence is contacted by Gwen and asked to return home after Ben disappears.

When Lawrence arrives, he discovers that Ben’s body has been discovered horribly mutilated as if by some enormous predator.  Rumors in the village point to some involvement by a gypsy camp nearby.  Lawrence promises Gwen that he will investigate and find Ben’s killer.

Lawrence goes to the village and the locals tell him that the grisly killing is like one that occurred twenty-five years ago and was attributed by the locals to a werewolf.  Other villagers are convinced that a trained bear that the gypsies keep is responsible.  Lawrence determines to go to the gypsy camp to investigate but his father warns him that the full moon is that night and he should stay home.

Lawrence goes to the camp and the wolf-like creature goes on a spree killing and maiming gypsies and villagers alike.  Lawrence chases after the creature with a rifle but eventually the creature attacks him and tears his neck severely.  A gypsy woman named Maleva stitches up his wound while another tells her to let him die because he is now destined to become a werewolf too.

Lawrence is sent home and makes a miraculous recovery from his wounds.  During his convalescence Inspector Francis Aberline of Scotland Yard (played by Hugo Weaving) interviews Lawrence and hints that based on Lawrence’s childhood bout with mental illness (his father had had him committed to an asylum for a year) that perhaps he is a suspect in the horrific attacks.

And in the village, news that Lawrence’s wounds had healed unnaturally well, convinced the people that he was about to become a werewolf himself at the next full moon.  When they come to drag Lawrence away by force, Sir John shows up with a shot gun and forces them off the estate.

But sure enough the next night is the full moon and Lawrence makes the metamorphosis into a wolf man and goes on a horrendous rampage killing and tearing to pieces the villagers who have come out to catch and kill him.  Aberline is witness to some of the killings and the next morning when Lawrence wakes up outside the manor house soaked in blood, the inspector and the local police capture Lawrence and bring him to the same insane asylum he was committed to as a child.

There he is treated with shock treatments using ice water and electricity.  At the end of a month Sir John visits him and tells him his own story.  Twenty-five years earlier Sir John was bitten by a werewolf and became such a creature.  He was able to avoid the monthly murdering by having his servant Singh lock him up each full moon in a reinforced cell.

He admits to the murder of both his wife and his son Ben.  And gives Lawrence a straight razor in case he cannot face the murderous life he is faced with and would prefer suicide.  That night is the full moon and Lawrence once again transforms into a beast, breaks out of the asylum and goes on another killing spree through London.  In the morning he goes to the home of Gwen and tells her of what he knows of Ben’s murder and his father’s guilt.  He plans to kill his father and then himself to end the curse.  Gwen tries to dissuade him from suicide but he heads home.

That night Lawrence confronts his father in their home and the two werewolves battle.  During the fight the manor house catches fire.  At first Sir John has the best of the fight but finally Lawrence heaves his foe into the fire which weakens him enough to allow his son to decapitate him.

Following this battle both Gwen and Inspector Aberline confront the surviving beast.  Aberline is wounded by Lawrence but is spared when the wolf chases after Gwen into the night.  When he finally catches her and pins her to the ground, she is able to awaken his humanity and he spares her.  And while he is distracted by the approaching villagers Gwen shoots him with a pistol.  Lawrence returns to human form and before he dies, he thanks Gwen for releasing him from his curse.  Inspector Aberline witnesses Lawrence’s death and it’s obvious that he knows his own fate is sealed when next the moon is full.

Alright, here’s my take.  When you go to a movie called the “The Wolfman” you’re not going to get Shakespeare.  In fact, you’re not even going to get drama.  You’re going to get a fairy tale.  And that’s exactly what you get here.  What you want is good special effects, lots of blood and gore and some good guys to pity and some bad guys to hiss at.  It would be nice if the script isn’t too silly and the actors not completely inept.  And in those particulars, I think this picture is above par for the genre.  After all, Anthony Hopkins can make even nonsense sound interesting.  And the rest of the cast do their best.  As a remake of the 1941 film, I think this movie is quite close.  Benicio del Toro approaches the part in a similar vein to how Lon Chaney Jr. did.  Anthony Hopkins and Claude Rains are both distinguished English actors that project intelligence into their characters.  And the atmosphere of the film hits all the right notes.  This movie lost money so it’s been declared a bomb.  I disagree.  It’s a highly successful fairy tale.  Of course, you have to like fairy tales to enjoy it.  I recommend this to fans of horror movies.

17FEB2022 – Dunwich Complainer

Last night I attended the monthly meeting of the Dunwich Republican Committee or as we call it “The Pentaveret.”  The meeting was sparsely attended as many are recovering from a winter bout of Dunwich demonic possession.  First Selectman Cthulhu was under the weather after having eaten some bad “seafood,” which is what he calls people living on the coastline.  So he wasn’t in attendance, which was kind of a relief.  He is a big personality and what with stepping on people and drooling all over the place and dribbling bits of man-flesh when he speaks it is a distraction.

The agenda included a report from the Treasurer that showed a net liability of about ten thousand dollars in the account.  The explanation for this was the cost of repairs to the “old Bishop place” after an interdimensional portal opened up in the kitchen and swallowed up the newly renovated appliances.  And the cook.  Apparently the First Selectman’s cousin Dagon got the address mixed up in his GPS and instead of arriving at the all you can eat buffet at the Dunwich Red Lobster, he materialized in the Bishop place and ate the cook and the contents of the refrigerator.  Luckily the cook was a Democrat and an illegal alien to boot, so after a little hand waving by the First Selectman with the State Police and a fifty-dollar “gratuity,” things were smoothed over.  It really helps to have a way with the common people.

During the Q&A I stood up and asked whether the COVID restrictions mandated by the state legislature and other unpopular decisions by the Democrats would provide a chance for the Republicans to make gains in the legislature this year.  Our State Representative happened to be at the meeting.  He was there to beg us to set up a fundraiser and meet and greet with his constituents.  He fielded this question saying that earlier in February most politicians had agreed that the Republicans would make significant gains this year.  There was even talk of the Governor’s mansion being in reach.

But last week Yog Sothoth was quoted in the larger circulation papers in Arkham stating that if the Republicans retook the legislature and the Governor’s mansion that he would be appointed attorney general and he intended to dispense with all criminal justice functions and immediately round up the democratic voters and have a luau.  He figured the Great Old Ones, once assembled for the feast could eat their way through the Evil Party in about forty-eight hours.

For whatever reason this seemed to spook the voting populace.  The consensus opinion was described as, “Yes the Democrats are inhumanly cruel and a terrible governing elite, but they’ve never clearly stated that they intend to eat their opponents alive.”  When Yog heard about this reaction, he complained that he had been taken out of context.  The Committee agreed that it was most regrettable that Yog had couched his answer quite so specifically.  Leaving a little wiggle room when talking about eating people alive is probably a good idea when dealing with those unfamiliar with the Cthulhu clan.  Well Yog is known for his honesty and candid speaking style.  I’m sure he can win over the crowd in time.

The final order of business was the Green Energy Initiative.  The town had been provided with $600,000 by the state and federal governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Dunwich.  The Republican Committee had been approached by the First Selectman to create a team to draft a proposal for the town.  He told us to make sure we stayed within the budget but he encouraged “creative solutions.”  As an example, he mentioned that his cousin Azathoth owed him a favor and for almost no cost he could rearrange the very fabric of space-time so that only elements below carbon in the periodic table could still exist in our space-time continuum.  When the Republican Chair mentioned that all life as we know it not to mention all solid planets would cease to exist the First Selectman was heard to say, “That kind of nit-picking isn’t going to get you anywhere in this town.”  So, we’re still fielding ideas.  The committee is thinking maybe some solar panels on the abandoned church.

02DEC2021 – Dunwich Complainer – Local COVID Actions

Here in Dunwich as everywhere in America, COVID has been a scourge.  Of course, the spread and the symptoms in Dunwich are atypical and highly disturbing (as is everything here).  The disease is completely restricted to a one-mile radius around the historic home of Zebadiah Cobblestoner the legendary Whaling Fleet Magnate.

Zebadiah was known in the early nineteenth century as the whale prostate king.  His company sold pickled whale prostate throughout the New England region where its healing properties were much in demand.  And with the proceeds of this lucrative trade Zebadiah built a magnificent mansion in his native town Dunwich.  And there he lived in great opulence until the great whale prostate crash of 1841.  In that year the medical profession actually investigated the “healing effects” of whale prostate and discovered that its only effect on humans was to imbue its users with a decidedly bright blue coloration around their private parts.

Needless to say, Zebadiah’s fortunes fell on hard times.  In addition, a local witch named Hepzibah Goodbody was so outraged at the coloration she had contracted that she put a curse on Cobblestoner that not only killed him but rendered his mansion a nexus of contagion and miasma ever after.  At first this miasma was restricted to anyone foolhardy enough to inhabit Zebadiah’s mansion.  But over the years the contagion grew until now it had reached out to all the inhabitants of the formerly prestigious Toenail Hill area.  The malady starts out as general abdominal discomfort but in its terminal stage it presents as an exaggerated swelling of the lower abdomen followed by detonation of the prostate which usually leaves only the legs and upper body of the victim intact.  Surprisingly both males and females are equally afflicted in this syndrome.

Now you may be asking yourself how a nineteenth century witch’s spell that causes people to explode could be diagnosed as COVID.  Well, it turns out that the federal and state governments have provided, let us say, inducements to local governments for finding COVID cases in their areas.  And let’s face it, it’s not cheap cleaning up the biohazard when someone’s pelvic region explodes so First Selectman Cthulhu worked it out with the Dunwich Department of Health to sort of roll the Cobblestoner Curse victims in with the COVID census.

But with the recent state budget cuts the “subsidy” for the COVID cases has dried up and so the Board decided something should be done to clean up this problem.  I was contracted to do it.  And it was stressed that I could employ all means necessary.

Using satellite imagery, I was able to triangulate the source of the miasma to a corner of the Cobblestoner estate.  In fact, it turned out to be centered around Zebadiah Cobblestoner’s private cemetery.  I brought along one hundred tanker trucks, each loaded with 6,000 gallons of aqua regia which is a combination of saturated hydrochloric acid and fuming nitric acid.  My team excavated down to one hundred feet where we started to uncover a stone-like mass of enormous size finally we could see its shape was spherical with a diameter of over a thousand feet.  When we reached the bottom of this structure, we saw with horror that it was attached to the centuries dead but normal sized corpse of Zebadiah Cobblestoner.  We had uncovered his decidedly malign hypertrophied prostate bulging out of his body!

We climbed out of the excavation in a panicked rout but before following my team in a sprint for the hills I slammed the valve actuator that released the veritable lake of hyper-corrosive acid into the pit.  As I panted from the effort of escaping the scene, clouds of acrid fumes spread along the ground.  Earth tremors made it difficult to keep my legs under me but I finally reached a ridge about a mile off from the pit.  And there I witnessed a sight that has shaken my sanity and left me a shell of the man I was.

The ground around the pit convulsed and swelled.  The prostate swelled up to ten times its size and glowed a bright yellow.  Then the prostate shrank down and disappeared below ground.  But suddenly the corpse of Cobblestoner took its place swelling up to the size of the prostate and even larger.  Its face was distorted with pain and rage and I feared something truly horrible was about to occur.  All at once an enormous flatulence erupted from the nether regions of Cobblestoner.  A hurricane of unbelievably foul air stormed past me.  But almost as soon as it arrived it passed and a look of angelic peace suffused Cobblestoner’s face and then he slowly shrank back into the pit.

After a safe period of time had elapsed, I dared to return to the top of the pit.  There was no sign at all of Cobblestoner or his cursed prostate.  The area had been miraculously cleansed by the potent acids and the miasma was gone!  There are signs in the last few days that Toenail Hill is once again a healthy place.  I’ve notice that Zillow has quadrupled the value of all the local real estate and speculators have snatched up all the likeliest properties including the Cobblestoner mansion and gravel pit.

One other salubrious result of the exorcism is that for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic not a single COVID victim has exploded.  That means I’ll probably get paid for my efforts by the Town of Dunwich.  And I call that a win.