Monthly Haiku Corner – June

murky waters
from the abyss, comes madness
cthulhu

murky waters

 

June Gloom Picture Challenge

“Some said the thunder called the lurking fear out of its habitation, while others said the thunder was its voice.” – H.P. Lovecraft

In this volatile world filled with ominous creatures and unknown dangers, the fine line between madness and reason evaporates with the arrival of the lurking fear.
Curious humans stumble upon Mother Nature’s guardians, as they watch over the gates of the abyss, only to become prey to Summer’s haunting season.

Head on over to Instagram and post your favorite pics/photos representing June Gloom. Both art pics and photos are allowed this time around. Don’t forget to credit the artists when you can.

Join in any day and don’t forget to tag your pics using #junegloompicchallenge

June Gloom Pic Challenge

Spooky Spring Photo Challenge

Celebrating May Day with a 25-day photo challenge. Head on over to Instagram and post your favorite photos representing Spooky Spring. Join in any day!

Don’t forget to tag your pics using #spookyspringphotochallenge

HH Spooky Spring Photo Challenge Redux

 

Haiku of the Week – Special Xmas Edition

bloody xmas

white snow
rivers of blood
war on Christmas

Haiku of the Week

Copy of twinkling lights

twinkling lights
stranger in my house
not santa

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, I’d like to give thanks for all the Halloween fans and curious souls who have stopped by my little web blog to share in the love for Halloween. Be sure to check us out in December,  when we’ll celebrate the dark and spooky side of the holidays.

Wicked Art Wednesdays – Gris Grimly

Author, illustrator, storyteller, and filmmaker Steven Soenksen a.k.a. Gris Grimly grew up inspired by classic horror films, comics, art, and all the great horror writers like Edgar Allan Poe, Edward Gorey, and H.P. Lovecraft. After college, he moved to Los Angeles and fell into illustrating children’s books and built a successful reputation for his dark yet whimsical characters. Grimly was hired to draw illustrations for retellings of classic stories, such as, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Halloween Tree, Wicked Nursery Rhymes, Pinocchio and Frankenstein, a story which holds personal meaning to him.

 

 

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In 2005, Grimly wrote, produced and directed a horror short called Cannibal Flesh Riot! with his good friends, which received good reviews and toured the festival circuit that year. The film’s success led to other opportunities, making other short films and music videos, including a video for Texas psychobilly fiends, Ghoultown, starring the Mistress of the Dark herself, Elvira.

halloweentree GG
© Gris Grimly

Artist: Gris Grimly
Where to Purchase Goods: horror conventions, specialty stores, special events, and  online store (although temporarily closed as of October 2019, while it’s being revamped, check back later)
Website: http://www.madcreator.com/ or http://grisgrimly.com/
Social Media: Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/grisgrimly/
Twitter- https://twitter.com/GrisGrimly

Why we love them: Handsome, rock-a-billy, tattoed and super talented, what’s not to love? I’ve met Gris Grimly a couple of times at horror conventions and he’s incredibly nice. He recently moved his family back to the home state of Nebraska and looks like, he’s already working on a new book. I can’t wait to read it.

 

procession_print GG
© Gris Grimly

 

 

Tuesday Terror – The Pit and the Pendulum

The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
No one shall ever enter this room again.

pit-and-the-pendulum-1961-movie-barbara-steele-iron-maiden
© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Pit and the Pendulum was a film of many seconds for director Roger Corman. It was the second film adapted from an Edgar Allan Poe story, written by author and screenwriter Richard Matheson, who penned such successful novels such as I am Legend and the Incredible Shrinking Man. It was second big hit for distributor American International Pictures, grossing over $2 million USD from a measly $300,000 budget. It was also the second time that Corman would work with Vincent Price and Barbara Steele, each of whom would go on to become horror icons based on their work in numerous horror films.

pitpaint
© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

 

Loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe of the same name, the story revolves around a tenacious Englishman Francis Barnard who goes to foreboding castle in Spain, after hearing word that his sister Elizabeth has died. He confronts his brother-in-law Don Nicholas Medina, demanding to know how she died. While there, Barnard finds the grieving don is slowly losing his mind, convinced that his late wife is haunting the castle, a site once used in the Spanish Inquisition. The don’s sister and personal physician try to sooth Barnard’s suspicions that Nicholas had anything to do with the sister’s death by revealing the tragic childhood trauma (shown in color-tinted vignette style flashbacks) that inflicts the don, but as the dark night drags by, it becomes apparent that a more sinister plot is afoot.

pitbro
© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Richard Matheson creates magic here by fleshing out the Poe’s torture chamber story bringing in the doomed Don Nicholas Medina, who already believes he’s cursed with same madness that drove his father to inflict unspeakable horror on the Spanish population, as well as his own family. In some ways, Matheson’s story is better than Poe’s gothic tale, giving audiences a backstory into understanding the horror the Poe wrote about.

 

The Merchant of Menace, Vincent Price, is at his best here, playing both a grieving man losing his sanity and his sinister father in flashbacks. His acting is somewhat melodramatic but entirely encouraged by dark dreamy orchestral score by Les Baxter. The always beautiful and haunting bright eyes of Barbara Steele turn in another wicked performance, cementing her legacy as a horror vixen, and John Kerr, Luana Anders and Antony Carbone also give strong memorable performances.

 

 

Despite the low-budget, Corman’s gothic adaption looked like million dollar film, with its vibrant color, gorgeous costuming,  intricate set design, and carefully planned wide-angle shots by  Floyd Crosby, the lusciously filmed Pit and the Pendulum only took 15 days to film. Shot entirely on a sound stages in California, Corman’s meticulous pre-production with his team, in particular, set designer, Daniel Haller, who created a real pendulum for the movie’s nightmarish ending sequence. The imposing pendulum was 18-feet long, weighed over 2,000 lbs and hoisted thirty-five feet in the air at the top of the sound stage above the actors. The blade was made of rubber, but a real metal blade covered in steel paint was switched out for the close shots, giving John Kerr some serious anxiety, which shows in his perspiring face during the final scenes.

pitmad
© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

This is my favorite Roger Corman and Vincent Price collaboration. It’s the scariest and best overall production, an absolute epitome of gothic horror, inspiring dozens of other filmmakers, from Hollywood to the Italian gallo films of the 60s. Horror at that time was changing in a way that the scares were no longer implied.  Horror master Stephen King remembers the Pit and the Pendulum scene which Price’s don Medina finds the decayed corpse of his dead wife, as having changed the horror landscape, King says “the most important moment in the post-1960 horror film, signaling a return to an all-out effort to terrify the audience…and a willingness to sue any means at hand to do it.”

mgm pit pendulum
© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Poe Sundays

mourningwidow1873

For Annie
by Edgar Allan Poe
(1849)

Thank Heaven! the crisis,
The danger, is past,
And the lingering illness
Is over at last—
And the fever called “Living”
Is conquered at last.
Sadly, I know
I am shorn of my strength,
And no muscle I move
As I lie at full length—
But no matter!—I feel
I am better at length.
And I rest so composedly,
Now, in my bed,
That any beholder
Might fancy me dead—
Might start at beholding me,
Thinking me dead.
The moaning and groaning,
The sighing and sobbing,
Are quieted now,
With that horrible throbbing
At heart:—ah, that horrible,
Horrible throbbing!
The sickness—the nausea—
The pitiless pain—
Have ceased, with the fever
That maddened my brain—
With the fever called “Living”
That burned in my brain.
And oh! of all tortures
That torture the worst
Has abated—the terrible
Torture of thirst
For the naphthaline river
Of Passion accurst:—
I have drank of a water
That quenches all thirst:—
Of a water that flows,
With a lullaby sound,
From a spring but a very few
Feet under ground—
From a cavern not very far
Down under ground.
And ah! let it never
Be foolishly said
That my room it is gloomy
And narrow my bed;
For man never slept
In a different bed—
And, to sleep, you must slumber
In just such a bed.
My tantalized spirit
Here blandly reposes,
Forgetting, or never
Regretting, its roses—
Its old agitations
Of myrtles and roses:
For now, while so quietly
Lying, it fancies
A holier odor
About it, of pansies—
A rosemary odor,
Commingled with pansies—
With rue and the beautiful
Puritan pansies.
And so it lies happily,
Bathing in many
A dream of the truth
And the beauty of Annie—
Drowned in a bath
Of the tresses of Annie.
She tenderly kissed me,
She fondly caressed,
And then I fell gently
To sleep on her breast—
Deeply to sleep
From the heaven of her breast.
When the light was extinguished,
She covered me warm,
And she prayed to the angels
To keep me from harm—
To the queen of the angels
To shield me from harm.
And I lie so composedly,
Now, in my bed,
(Knowing her love)
That you fancy me dead—
And I rest so contentedly,
Now in my bed
(With her love at my breast).
That you fancy me dead—
That you shudder to look at me,
Thinking me dead:—
But my heart it is brighter
Than all of the many
Stars in the sky,
For it sparkles with Annie—
It glows with the light
Of the love of my Annie—
With the thought of the light
Of the eyes of my Annie.