Posts Tagged ‘Ghosts’

Well, yesterday probably as you read this, but October 29 is National Cat Day in the US “to bring awareness to the number of homeless cats,” as Triana herself was before I found her at the County Animal Shelter.  And what better way to combine that with a Monday Pre-Halloween movie than . . . well, as the Indiana University Cinema explains:  Making its U.S. debut at IU Cinema on the 80th anniversary of its original release in Japan, THE GHOST CAT AND THE MYSTERIOUS SHAMISEN is a rare surviving example of a pre-World War II Japanese horror film.  Suzuki Sumiko, Japan’s original horror star, plays a jealous stage actress who murders her romantic rival — and her lover’s cherished pet cat for good measure!  But her bloody past comes back to haunt her … literally.  In Japanese with English subtitles.  Yes, a cat horror movie!  And, one may add, Suzuki Sumiko is not your Western-style “Scream Queen” either, but more often played the monster itself or, in this case, the second best thing.

As to the monster itself, though, there is a Japanese tradition of the ghost cat that comes upon a murder victim and drinks its blood, becoming itself a kind of ghost-monster.  Here it has evolved a little, however, with Kuro the cat as a go-between in what becomes a love triangle.  Or maybe not — our shamisen player is already promised to Ms Sumiko’s character as he explains to the second woman, a samuri’s daughter — and too high-born to be a musician’s girlfriend anyway — who had found and returned his missing Kuro to him.  He does end up giving her his shamisen though just before his betrothed takes matters into her own blood-stained hands and, well, the ghosts of the cat and the rival combine.  And the shamisen thus becomes a cursed object being passed from person to person — assisted by visitations by the cat/woman ghost, depicted through a sort of kaleidoscopic effect — until it winds up in the hands of the dead woman’s little sister, while in the meantime the actress has dumped the musician, becoming instead the mistress of the local feudal lord.  And then it happens there’ll be a kabuki theatre performance where actress, musician, lord, little sister, and ghosts come together. . . .

But let us end now with a guest review, courtesy of IMDb, which I will agree with for the most part.  I will add via the IU Cinema docent, though, that only about four of these pre-war Japanese horror movies have survived in complete form (after 1940 the Japanese movie industry turned to propaganda films, and afterward “revenge” films were banned until the American occupation ended in the early 1950s) and the print we saw, while less than perfect, was probably the best now in existence.  Also the Japanese described such movies, including the 1930s Universal films (e.g., DRACULA,  FRANKENSTEIN, which were shown there too) with a word that means not so much “horror” as “weird.”

Charming movie which lets itself down with poor horror special effects
19 February 2012 | by oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx

Seijiro is a shamisen player for a kabuki troupe (a shamisen being a type of stringed instrument).  He is engaged to Mitsue, a sociopathic actress.  Seijiro’s kindly behaviour towards his cat seems to prove good karma when the cat (Kuro) brings home Okiyo, a kindly and beautiful lady from a higher caste, with whom he forms a friendship.  For this gesture the cat is murdered by Mitsue.  Movies with ghost cats are apparently a genre in Japan, the only one I had previously been aware of is Kaneto Shindo’s Kuroneko, but this is an early example.

A number of scenes feature subsequent hauntings by the cat’s ghost.  The special effects in these moments unfortunately come across as fairly ludicrous.  The ending of the movie revolves around a kabuki performance that’s fairly unintelligible to a modern audience and some frankly pretty unwatchable action/horror scenes.

All that said though, I felt that the movie was very beautiful at points and was rather elegantly framed and shot.  I think what I love about black and white cinema is busy frames full of detail, and the contrast of light and shadow in these busy frames.  This movie, especially in the first half, is quite voluptuous and ornate, and shows a very idealised form of Japanese life, it’s easy to sense that the Japanese are a people who turned living into an art form.

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‘Tis the season, time for the annual Bloomington Writers Guild summer “Potluck Social” and open reading (cf. July 16 2017, et al.).  As if to underscore that in only a few more weeks the fall season will start with August 5’s resumed First Sunday readings and, a month later, September 1 and 2 and the Spoken Word Stage at the yearly fall Bloomington Arts Festival, the weather was a bit cooler than it had been most of the week before, with sun alternating with off-and-on rain that was sometimes heavy.  But the company was warm and the site included a shelter to make for a pleasant Sunday afternoon picnic followed by an informal reading in which I offered “Tit for Tat,” a “Little Willie” warning preachers to be not too hasty in saying who’s bound for Hell, to celebrate its having been chosen for reprinting in B Cubed Press’s upcoming ALTERNATE THEOLOGIES:  PARABLES FOR THE MODERN WORLD (see July 7, 2, 1).  Also, if interested, more on the Bloomington Writers Guild can be found by pressing here.

Then also, from about 10 p.m. Saturday night, a huge “thank you” from me to Charles P. Dunphey, Editor/Publisher of Gehenna & Hinnom Books (cf. two posts below for a sale on titles this week through Friday, July 27) who published on FaceBook:  I’m going to try and post about more indie authors in our field, to help them find new readers.  James Dorr is one of the most talented writers I’ve read, and his novel-in-stories TOMBS is a journey into an imagination unlike any other.  If you love great prose and world-building, pick up a copy of this book.  I semi-immediately posted my thanks, adding that (in my opinion) [i]t’s this kind of passing the word among friends that can be a terrific help to an author.

C.P. Dunphey also reviewed TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH at some depth on his GHENNA POST shortly after it was published (cf. June 3 2017) for which I am also extremely grateful.  The review itself can be found on Amazon, et al. (just press the picture of TOMBS at the top of the center column) or via GEHENNA POST including a link to an interview of me as well by pressing here, while C.P.’s Facebook entry plus comments can be found here.

Comes June and with it a bright sunny afternoon, breezy and in the lower 80s and, with that, the start of the Summer Reading Season.  What better way to celebrate, then, than with a new interview of . . . me, this one by UK author and blogger Jacky Dahlhaus, tentatively to go live Wednesday morning?  So three days from now be prepared for more dish on TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, a mention or two (it mustn’t feel left out!) of THE TEARS OF ISIS, the importance of (*ahem*) reviews to all authors, plus details on the inspiration and influence of Poe and Bradbury (with mentions here of Ginsberg and Brecht), whether I start writing with a pen or on the computer . . . well, you may have seen interviews by me before, but maybe this one will have new stuff to say too.  You can’t really tell until you read it, coming up Wednesday.

And a quick second note, Ms. Dahlhaus is looking for a few more interviewees for the summer, if any other writers out there might be interested in some free publicity.  But there are a few qualifications in terms of work already published, more on which can be found at her website by pressing here.

Publisher/Editor Weldon Burge has noted that Smashwords has several Smart Rhino Publications titles on sale for the month of March.  Or, from the as it were horse’s mouth:  Smashwords is holding its annual sale of ebooks!  Now’s the time to get most of the Smart Rhino books at a 50% discount.  Browse the sale page or search for the specific titles.  Just use the following codes before checking out.  Look for the codes on the list below, but I’d also note that I’ve two specific hounds in this hunt (a third, ZIPPERED FLESH 3 with my “Golden Age,” seems not to be included, however), the “Assassins” books UNCOMMON ASSASSINS including my story “The Wellmaster’s Daughter” and INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS with “The Labyrinth,” for all of which on the Smashwords site one may press here.  And, for the list of all Smart Rhino sale offerings:

Promotional price: $1.50
Coupon Code: CY79N
Expires: April 5, 2018
Description: Get GREEN TSUNAMI, the horror/SF novella at a 50% discount!

Promotional price: $1.50
Coupon Code: MK84N
Expires: April 5, 2018
Description: Get THE BOX JUMPER by Lisa Mannetti at a 50% discount!

Promotional price: $2.00
Coupon Code: DT99X
Expires: April 5, 2018
Description: Get INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS at a 50% discount. Get it while the sale lasts!

Promotional price: $1.98
Coupon Code: JZ46D
Expires: April 5, 2018
Description: SOMEONE WICKED: A WRITTEN REMAINS ANTHOLOGY now 50% off!

Promotional price: $2.00
181_UncommonAssassinsChrome_smallCoupon Code: AE27W
Expires: April 5, 2018
Description: UNCOMMON ASSASSINS now at a 50% discount. Get it while the sale lasts!

Promotional price: $1.50
Coupon Code: JJ76E
Expires: April 5, 2018
Description: The first ZIPPERED FLESH is now at a 50% discount!

Promotional price: $2.00
Coupon Code: PB42R
Expires: April 5, 2018
Description: ZIPPERED FLESH 2 now discounted at 50%. Get it while you can!

Promotional price: $1.50
Coupon Code: FX52L
Expires: April 5, 2018
Description: Get Lisa Mannetti’s THE NEW ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER AND HUCK FINN at a 50% discount.

And speaking of things not overly jolly, let us hark back to November 26’s post (see also November 11; January 18 2016, et al.), “Cthulhu Christmas Special Cover Revealed, Publication Set for December 1,” and note that DEADMAN’S TOME CTHULHU CHRISTMAS SPECIAL AND OTHER LOVECRAFTIAN YULETIDE TALES is now out in both Kindle and print.  And it’s also already picked up a review, by “JME” who has noted four stories out of a total 11 for special mention.  AND the first of these mentioned is “A Christmas Carnage,” by meA favorite, this story is aptly named.  Lots of carnage, and in a sick way for a sick purpose.  Who comes up with this stuff?

(*A moment while I sit, quietly proud.*)

To see for oneself, one may press here.  And then click the book’s title above the review for more information, including ordering.  It’s a short book, listed as only 82 pages, but judging from the stories and poems I’ve read thus far, worth it!

The email arrived today, along with a pre-publication electronic copy, to the effect that (to give it it’s full name) DEADMAN’S TOME CTHULHU CHRISTMAS SPECIAL AND OTHER LOVECRAFTIAN YULETIDE TALES is scheduled to be out December 1 in Kindle, with a print edition expected “soon after.”  My story in this is third in the lineup, “A Christmas Carnage” (see November 11; January 18 2016, et al.), originally published in IN THE BLOOD (Mocha Memoirs Press, 2013) as well as THE FIRST ANNUAL GEEKY KINK ANTHOLOGY (Riverdale Avenue Books, 2015).  And, yes, Santa’s elves under the age of 18 may not find this tale entirely appropriate.

Indeed others may find “A Christmas Carnage” inappropriate also, including lovers of Charles Dickens’s immortal A CHRISTMAS CAROL.  Or lovers of puns (the dead don’t approve of such things, you know).  It is the tale of a rather high strung young man (he keeps a chainsaw in his closet for personal protection) with a very specific Christmas wish, and an “umpty-umpth-great” aunt named Carol who might be in a position to grant it.  Or possibly not — but to find that out you’ll just have to read a copy yourself, available for pre-order by pressing here.

‘Tis the season to be jolly . . . in about a month and a half!  But starting the jollity, at least for now, has come this email from Jesse Dedman:  Your story, [A] Christmas Carnage, has been selected for DEADMAN’S TOME CTHULHU CHRISTMAS SPECIAL.  The issue should drop on December 1st and will be available through Amazon in ebook and paperback.  With the email came a contract which has been perused, agreed to, and sent back earlier this evening.

As the title may imply, “A Christmas Carnage” is based quite loosely on Charles Dickens’s immortal tale of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, and has a Carol in it, the narrator’s many-times great aunt Carol who has been dead, lo, these many years.  It is a reprint, having premiered in IN THE BLOODSTREAM (Mocha Memoirs Press, 2013) and also appeared in THE FIRST ANNUAL GEEKY KINK ANTHOLOGY (Riverdale Avenue Books, 2015, and, yes, it’s that kind of story).  Also, of course, it follows the DEADMAN’S TOME guidelines requirement of Genre:  Horror, Dark Fiction, Lovecraftian, including, if not a cameo by Cthulhu itself, a goodly dollop of Lovecraftian lore.  Also a chainsaw.

July seems to be the month for sending a thing to one place, seeing it come back accepted by another.  One example, “Flightless Rats” (see July 7), the tale of an innocent vampire maid and a bounder’s attempt on her virtue in 19th century New Orleans.  For today, the call had been in April.  It took some time, but the time has come:  we’re putting together an anthology of  poetry and flash fiction about spirits, ghosts, seances, Ouija boards, famous hauntings, not-so-famous hauntings, possessions, and anything else relating to supernatural bumps in the night (or day, we aren’t fussy).  And there it was.  Reprints being okay, I responded with the 300-word saga of a young lady with an interest in witches, but, if these weren’t available, other bump-in-the-nightly creatures would do, and lessons she learned in a house she was told was haunted.  Originally published in GOTHIC BLUE BOOK IV:  THE FOLKLORE EDITION (Burial Day Books, 2014), the title was “School Nights.”
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Today the word came back from Managing Editor Kate Garrett, not for the anthology, WHITE NOISE & OUIJA BOARDS, but for the publisher’s seasonal magazine THREE DROPS FROM A CAULDRON.  I really enjoyed this story, and though it isn’t quite right for the ghosts anthology, I wondered if it would be okay for me to publish it in the Samhain 2017 edition?  I like spookier, horror-tinged work for that one, and would love to include your story.  The Samhain special will be published online and in print on 13th October.  (And it isn’t technically open for submissions until 21st August, but I really like this.)
 .
So I emailed back, “Yes.”

Yes, I am of course one of them, but one must scroll down and down past the other five, to just before the ending blurb for the ZIPPERED FLESH series plus PLAGUE OF SHADOWS.  Not surprisingly, the books featured for all six of us writers include ones by Smart Rhino Publications, including the upcoming ZIPPERED FLESH 3 (cf. June 19, et al.), in my case also covering the two “assassins” anthologies, UNCOMMON ASSASSINS and INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS.  But there are others too.  Also for all six of us there are interviews featured on Editor/Publisher Weldon Burge’s blog, BULLETS AND BUTTERFLIES (see, for me, also January 18).

All told, these are storytellers worth looking into, I think, with information on all of them — including . . . moiavailable here.

How about we get in the mood with a horror poem by Rick Powell, then I’ll share a SUPER EASY pumpkin cookie recipe you can make last minute to enjoy this evening, and to top it off… How about sex in a haunted house? Haha. That is, how about we watch the short horror film ‘Sex in a Haunted House’?😛




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