Tag Archives: Horror

Goblins: An Essay on Troll 2

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I am in the middle of a lyric essay project abusing various “B” and exploitation films, horror and science-fiction gems under lyric essay umbrellas to make new meaning, to make more enormous the possibility of what these films could mean, of what they do mean to me.

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A film that stuck with me for years and years since seeing it for the first time on Cinemax as a young boy is the Claudio Fragasso (and Joe D’Amato) masterpiece, Troll 2. I even bought a copy of the script from one of the actors. I have it here now, don’t even want to read it for fear of being swallowed by its mysteries.

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Today, I revised a flash lyric essay on Troll 2 (to potentially be included in this horror lyric essay project), posted it to Shredded Maps. If you are a fan of the film or someone interested in the possibilities of synopsis-design, creative (re)/(mis)interpretation of film, how film blends with/influences memory, then please enjoy my lyric essay, GOBLINS:

I am at the house—again—to ignore a bag of bread, shell casings; guests stare, gnaw the perimeter like trees that get tangled in your hair when I bring you cake. You are hungry, tossing potato sacks down stairs. Let us sit at the table and wonder, we can conjure how to stop time. Rum raisin is not my prayer. You would know this if you didn’t fall asleep on street corners or use your belt and stave hunger, stay the father. I once saw my grandfather come out of the mirror. We built molotov cocktails in the bedroom and set priests on fire—the driveway is where goblins burn. Humans burn. Priests burn. We know how young men run through forests and drink milk, become branches or paste for maidens to eat. We hobble around the camper. I’ve brought popcorn and corn cobs for us to suck until we explode in gorilla suits with pink star-trails and organ flare. It’s not enough—melt. It’s not enough—save my mother from eating an apple. I’ve taken showers in green, hid under covers and shoo away teen boys who feign love for girls who take trips in vans to Nilbog. My grandfather is an angel. Goblins don’t exist. Repeat. This is not your kingdom of shadows. This is Provost in hell. We are a modern family: the van, sunlight, clover leaves and pianos lure mouths open—this is about not eating food. And if we speak, we shut our eyes to hear. And if we scream hard enough, our family just might sprout magic windows and stones of love. Press your hand against the stone. Press your hand against my heart of ham. Feel blood run. I’m made of sap, leaking son. 

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Other works in this series:

Things

The Maze

The Cabin of Your Lace Slasher

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We Are Made of Sisters

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My sisters and I end up at the river. This is the river of blood-water. We swim until there is no more water we have not touched. We are not thirsty. Thirst is not why we dive to the bottom. The bottom is too far down for my sisters and I to touch with our feet. When we place feet in water and melt bodies to water, we are made of blood–my sisters are made of nails that I have lost. I lose my sisters on a day when rain hits the river and we are swimming, too much drinking of blood, too much splashing the weather to shift, rain stones, logs, timber, thunder. I come to the river, my sisters and I, to taste how our parents feel when on nights like this, they wait on the porch for us to crawl like bugs on the lawn and, on hands and knees, beg to be let back in so we can sleep in our beds, rest in our beds until the next day comes. The next day, we swim. It is not normal for rivers to flow blood-water, but this river is not a normal river, it is a mouth and we are the tongue that makes the water speak in ways that the blood does: red, river, red. Sometimes boys come to the river to watch us swim–they say, “blood-girls, we’ll watch,” and those boys don’t get to go home if those boys watch us swim in the river, no, it’s not the way of our mouths keeping. Tongues lipping like oracles lure the boys into the caverns of our mouths. Yes, our mouths are rivers of boys screaming. I feel their nails claw my belly when I swim in the river, my sisters and I, but their nails are like logs and stones made of rain–little, too little. I like the sound. Our parents are gone now. The boys won’t come back and as I raise my head from the blood-water I call to my sisters, I say, “sisters, sisters let’s go home,” but they are floating away, too far away, in a place where the blood-water is no longer what I think it is–it is the inside of my body. 

The Thing

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The dog, because of what grows on the inside. The radio, because to be broadcast from here is an admittance of our failure to heal. Friend one, because we don’t know what’s under the skin. Friend two, because helicopters from strange places are unwanted on the ice in front of the complex. Friend three, because mind-sinews lack visual proof, lack trust. There are more–we will be safe if we kill those we don’t want to kill. Here we are surrounded by mountains, domed sky, cold spaces to curl up in and forget that this friend is not who he says he is. The more rooms there are, the more we load ourselves to the hilt, pull stacks of guns from cupboards, use scalpels to discuss the foreign, panic, because we know we are alone without love. but we are not alone and that is the problem. The obelisk is a mutant. It is repulsive like the word, “mutant,” when we say it out loud as if Friend four is not Friend four, but a host devouring men. The mutation occurs on the inside. I’ve felt a stir, how it shrinks one to another like the dog or the foreigner. We are alone. I do not want to become a foreigner. It would take too long to convince you of who I am, you who I write this to, you who I used to pull close when the snow-wind fell horizontal like knife to chin. I have a knife in my coat held close to my heart and I will keep it for Friend five, because Friend five is not you. You are not now in the corner clawing the wall to shred my skin from my face. This cannot be you. I’m sorry. I can no longer wait for a reply.

Tokyo Nights: Howl

I’ve been living in Tokyo for two months now. This is my first update since the move. I relocated from a quiet “bed town” in Ibaraki to a beautiful neighborhood close to Shinjuku. While my neighborhood in Tokyo is relatively quiet, I miss the dead-of-night stillness that comes from being in the countryside. I grew up in northern Michigan, so I am quite close to that quietude. It is odd to experience stillness in the midst of a metropolis like Tokyo, and for me, the experience is very different from that of the stillness in the country: being surrounded by open sky and dark woods as opposed to being surrounded by tiny streets, high-rise apartment buildings and cherry blossom trees. Being a fan of horror films, both of these experiences of stillness can be frightening, although the stillness of the woods is a fright closer to my heart. That makes the stillness of the city at night more frightening. The Unexpected can be conjured in both situations, but seems like a wholly different breed to unexpected fright. Are these both symptoms of a fear of what could be lurking around the corner? How do the two different landscapes affect the use and play of shadows?

What I like about the dark nights of the city is the sound of wailing voices coming from the street at night, the frightful chill of an unknown voice and then, upon looking out the window, realizing its only a drunken business man howling because he burnt his “manhood” with his cigarette while trying to urinate on the sidewalk. Now, that’s scary.

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The Evening News: Aphorisms

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The news: keeping abreast of one’s irrelevance dot com.

One popular news page, which collects stories from other pages tells us more about the morbidity of the editor, than it does about “the news.”

These days, keeping oneself “informed” about daily events takes precedence over developing one’s self to live a more humanizing life.

The news is never about what is happening, but is always about what has happened – a fast-food history textbook occuring in real-time, breaking, broken.

How dispassionately we can sit and watch tragedy after tragedy. It is the sense of disconnection and a pinch of boredom that makes bad news tolerable, and maybe even a bit…enjoyable.

Sometimes we crave the heebiejeebies.

Trust me: “Who is writing the news that I am reading?”

The Unholy Dimensions of Jeffrey Thomas

An article/interview I did for MishMash Magazine on horror writer Jeffrey Thomas is up. Check it out!

The Unholy Dimensions of Jeffrey Thomas

Also, for an excerpt from his novel “Deadstock” and 10 links pertaining to his work, please see: Deadstock: Excerpt

Enjoy.

Jeffrey Thomas: Deadstock (Excerpt)

In the midst of a typhoon, I have been working on an article for Mish Mash Magazine about the prolific author, Jeffrey Thomas. The piece for Mish Mash features a three-question interview with Jeffrey Thomas and thoughts on his work and its effect on me, the reader – a kind of phenomenological indulgence piece. In the meantime, as I spend this day editing, consuming gallons of coffee and enjoying the cloudy pre-autumnal weather in Japan, I present you with an excerpt (used with permission from the author) from Thomas’s book “Deadstock,” published in 2007 by Solaris.

Deadstock (Excerpt) by Jeffrey Thomas:

“It’s about my doll, isn’t it?” Yuki said. “My father is asking you to find it for me.”

The girls sat on a marble bench within the garden-like courtyard of the company that Yuki’s father owned. It was a cylindrical building hollowed by this open core, the bright blue sky of the planet Oasis showing far above them like a telescope’s view of heaven, but it was a deceptive view. Beyond the walls of this structure, Punktown was anything but heavenly. At least this courtyard seemed like a microcosmic paradise. A double-helix sculpture twined up from the fountain at the center of the garden, reaching almost to the top of the building like a ladder. Brightly blossoming vines had entangled the bronze chain’s loops. Encircling windows looked out upon this rising symbol, so significant to the work being done within the building’s offices and labs. Stake had passed through a lobby area, and been directed to wait here for Mr. Fukuda to join him.

“I really shouldn’t discuss my business with your father, dear,” he said to the girl politely.

“Well, I’m sure my father will want you to question me about Dai-oo-ika’s disappearance.” Yuki smiled again, but her lips quivered and her eyes suddenly took on a moist sheen. The reddish-haired girl reached over to clasp her hand on one of Yuki’s legs consolingly. Stake tried not to look at the small hand upon the plastic-smooth thigh.

“I’m sorry about… your doll,” he said awkwardly. “So it’s name is what?”

“Dai-oo-ika,” said the short-haired girl. “It means ‘great king of squid.’”

“I see.” Stake nodded, and now took in the three kawaii-dolls of Yuki’s pals. “Kawaii” was a Japanese word for “cute,” and kawaii-dolls of all types had been the rage with children in the Earth colonies for the past few years. Of course, the more expensive and elaborate dolls held more value for collectors, and hence more appeal—more esteem. Stake had done a little reading about these toys on the net this morning and could tell that these three dolls were of the highest order.

The short-haired girl watched Stake staring at the dolls, so took it upon herself to introduce them. She hugged her own and said, “This is Mr. Gau.” It seemed like a very realistic bear cub in some ways, but its eyes were too large and it had no nose or mouth and only stubby vestigial limbs. The lack of a mouth and ineffectual arms and legs were a common theme with kawaii-dolls, to make them look helpless, vulnerable, submissive. Stake had read that critics of the dolls viewed this as a conspiracy, sending signals to young girls that these passive qualities were what would appeal to men when they became adult women.

There was a little metal straw extending from between Mr. Gau’s legs. Yuki’s friend uncapped it, held the teddy bear up and sucked at the straw, keeping her eyes on Stake’s. At this, the bear lifted its head higher, blinking, and made a rumbling sound like a purr or muffled growl in spite of its missing mouth. Its tiny half-limbs swam in the air. Finished, the girl recapped the straw and the bear went immobile again. She smiled, licking her lips. “Ruou gau is a rice wine the Vietnamese like, made with bile from a bear’s gall bladder. The Chinese used to have bear farms where they put catheters in live bears to drain it. But Mr. Gau is filled with pineapple CandyPop.” She giggled.

“Mm,” Stake said. He hadn’t realized the dolls could be so educational. But however slight his knowledge of animal anatomy, he knew a bear’s gall bladder was not between its hind legs.

“There were only a hundred-fifty copies of the Deluxe Mr. Gau made,” the girl announced proudly. She gestured to the reddish-haired girl’s pet. “Suzu’s doll is number four in a series of only a hundred!” She pouted as if in sad envy. Suzu giggled, less sulky all of a sudden, and held her doll higher for him to see. It was a thing like a clockwork robot from some long-antiquated future vision, made from a goldish tarnished metal (or plastic resembling metal), somewhat turtle-like in form. The whole time they had been talking, this thing had been watching Stake avidly, turning its head ever so slightly to track his smallest shift in position. He found it unsettling.

Not to be outdone, the Hispanic girl spoke up loudly with a kind of arrogant pride to say, “Mine is only one of four hundred. That’s still pretty rare!”

Yuki was able to speak again. “Maria got hers for her Sweet Sixteen party two weeks ago, like I got Dai-oo-ika for my Sweet Sixteen party last month.” At the memory of this event, she looked like a woman who had watched her child murdered before her eyes. Stake saw Suzu’s hand give Yuki’s thigh a squeeze.

Stake recognized that Maria’s kawaii-doll was not an animated toy like the other two, but a bio-engineered organism. Its functions were simple; despite its seemingly higher evolution, it was as primitive a thing as a starfish. It was little more than an anthropomorphic starfish in shape, too: four pointed pink limbs and a pointed pink head with eyes like black marbles pressed in dough, and no other features but for its outie navel. The near-mindless organism squirmed with the uncertain slow-motion movements of a newborn infant.

“Yuki’s Dad’s company makes Stellar,” Maria said. “And he made Dai-oo-ika, too. But there’s only one Dai-oo-ika.”

Sniffing, Yuki nodded. “Dai-oo-ika is the rarest kawaii-doll in Punktown, Daddy says.” Her voice came close to breaking as she squeaked, “And I love him, too!”

For more information on Jeffrey Thomas, see the following links:

Jeffrey Thomas’s Official Site
Jeffrey Thomas’s Blog
Jeffrey Thomas on Amazon
Jeffrey Thomas on Myspace
Jeffrey Thomas’s Deadstock Review – Guardian UK
Bookgasm Review of Jeffrey Thomas’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Dealers
Punktown review
Another Deadstock Review
Jeffrey Thomas interview -Infinity Plus
Jeffrey Thomas interview – Post Weird Thoughts

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