Posted by Ms Harker | Filed under Life imitates Horror
Its been a little while since I presented you with a Life Imitates Horror offering. I was thumbing through my latest copy of Rue Morgue, reading their section entitled ‘Coroner’s Report’ and came across this:
“A fifty year old British man, David Phyall, recently committed suicide by cutting his own head off with a chainsaw that he had secured to a piece of furniture- because his Hampshire flat was scheduled for demolition.” (p12)
Intrigued I investigated this further and came across a news article, confirming the story. The incident took place in July 2008 and Phyall indeed rigged up the DIY decapitation in response to being evicted from his flat. Phyall was very methodical and set up quite the piece of machinery:
“He tied the Black & Decker tool to a leg of a snooker table in his lounge with string, taped up the on button and plugged it into a timer. Mr Phyall then lay down under the snooker table face up and placed the chainsaw against his neck, Winchester Coroner’s Court heard. A piece of the tool’s cardboard box initially cushioned the blades from his neck. The hearing heard the timer, which is usually used to turn lights on and off, was fixed to start up the chainsaw for 15 minutes.” (The Telegraph, 20/11/08)
Fifteen minutes… fifteen minutes, this gentleman had obviously seen a lot of horror flicks, new it was going to take time to get through the gristle and bone! But my goodness what a way to check out!
Posted by Ms Harker | Filed under Horror Reading
Reluctantly jumping on the Zombie bandwagon (as you all know I prefer my undead with fangs and a tidy set of glutes), I picked my self up a copy of ‘Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament‘ by S.G.Browne. ‘Breathers’ is one of a plethora of Zombie based fiction to hit the shelves in the past few months, other titles include ‘Patient Zero‘ (click for The Vault of Horror review), ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ and ‘World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War‘. So our much maligned manky friends are in the spotlight these days.
‘Breathers’ is told from the perspective of Andy, recently undead living in his parents basement, drinking his fathers expensive cellar of red wine and watching daytime television. As you see even though the zombie phenomena is growing on planet Earth, nobody really knows what to do with them. Any Zombie related disruption results in a trip to the local animal shelter/pound, as no one has figured out another way to detain the walking dead. Ergo they have no human rights, cannot work and are under the supervision of their human guardians. For Andy this is his parents. His mother tries to maintain the now decaying fabric of her family, however her husband would be happy to sell Andy off to the local science lab and take the cash to replace his ever diminishing wine collection.
Andy was killed in a car accident and laments the loss of his wife, his daughter survived the accident and has been sent to live with relatives and he reanimated without a voice (due to damage in the accident). Communicating by a chalkboard around his neck, the only social outlet he has is a government sanctioned support group ‘Undead Anonymous’. Run by undead ex-zombie counsellor Helen (gunshot victim), the group is an effort to help zombies come to terms with their newly undead status. Hilarious affirmations are rolled out at each group like ‘Hope is not a four letter word’, Andy also sees a therapist who provides him with no solace or empathy, due to his heavily botoxed face.
The group at Undead Anonymous form a tight bond throughout the book, despite their very different backgrounds and attitudes. Naomi a bitter ex-model whose husband killed her after a bad day at the golf course, chain smokes and butts them out in her empty eye socket. She fights incessantly with Carl the victim of a mugging who is equally as bitter, there is Jerry a young man who killed himself when he crashed his car after too many Jack Daniels shots and bongs. Then there is Rita, the object of Andy’s affection.
Rita, a suicide, who sits across from Andy in her pale splendour, applying red nail polish then lasciviously licking it off again… As zombies need to ingest a certain amount of formaldehyde to delay the decomposition process, which is mainly found in cosmetics and human hygiene products such as shampoo! Andy lusts after the waxen Rita and more freedom for his cadaverous comrades and embarks on a campaign to achieve his goals.
‘Breathers’ is a humourous romp cast through the eyes of an outsider, taking us on a journey of segregation, rebellion, homicide, friendship and a little necrophilia. Does it count as necrophilia if both parties are undead… Anyway this was a mirthful ride through the existence of the living dead, well worth a detour from my usual revenant reading rations.
Posted by Ms Harker | Filed under Uncategorized
Now that we are all on the come down from Comic Con, returning to a life bereft of news flashes, Tweens screaming, Twilight haters booing out Kevin Smith and sexy chicks dressed up in a plethora of well placed lycra. I found myself in somewhat of funk today. So what better to remedy my morose mood than to treat myself to some old Hollywood glamour, with some blood sucking thrown in for good measure. So I cued up the moving picture machine and grabbed some popcorn and had my vestal viewing of the classic horror film ‘Dracula’s Daughter‘.
The film stars the stunningly statuesque Gloria Holden as the Countess Marya Zaleska aka Dracula’s Daughter. The film is set in 1930’s London and we pick up our story at the point where Professor Van Helsing has slain Count Dracula. However he is being investigated by Scotland Yard, a troupe of key stone cop like British toffs who don’t believe his story that the Count was in fact vampyre, the undead, Nosferatu! Enter psychiatrist Jeffrey Garth who is called in by Van Helsing to assist in his defence however who has also been approached by the Countess to assist with her urges to feed on the London populace, both male and female.
The Countess, controversially for the time when the film was made, feeds on both male and female victims. We are confronted with a decadent scene where she entices a vulnerable young blonde into her studio under the guise of posing to paint for her, feeding her wine and asking her to disrobe down to her slip… For the time quite risque I would imagine! However Holden carries of the manipulation with grace and a pending desperation as she tries to rally against the hunger within. The hunger which has led to her loneliness which will eventually be her ultimate undoing.
The film has some haunting scenes, set against the backdrop of a foggy, gothic London. Contrasted with the art deco homes and gowns, creating a dichotomy of which Gloria Holden embodies in all her splendour!