Pulp Consumption: Playback

Posted: July 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

Cameron talks about the one Chandler property that was never made into a film… but it did get a graphic novel.

Broadswords and Blasters

RaymondChandler_Playback

Raymond Chandler is one of the foundational authors of noir. His Philip Marlowe is the quintessential hardboiled private investigator, a character Chandler rode until Marlowe seemed to become a pastiche of himself. This is not to say the acclaim Chandler derived in his career was unwarranted, but the pressure took its toll the author, and in his later years he became cantankerous and hard to work with, partly because he’d been taken advantage of (or so he felt) by the film industry and partly because he was a sour, curmudgeonly man. It didn’t help that he was also an alcoholic.

All of his novels, bar one, were filmed in one incarnation or another. The Big Sleep is the most famous as it established him on the pulp fiction scene, and the film version with Humphrey Bogart is as iconic as Bogart’s turn as Sam Spade, the PI creation of Dashiell…

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Pulp Consumption: Chinatown

Posted: July 3, 2018 in Uncategorized

This week I talked about the neo-noir film CHINATOWN, and how it subverts a lot of the old hardboiled PI tropes.

Broadswords and Blasters

“Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown.”

Arguably one of the greatest noir films in existence, CHINATOWN exemplifies the best of the genre. Jake Gittes isn’t what anyone would consider to be a typical hero. He’s ex-police turned private eye, more interested in making a buck than seeing justice done. He’s hired by someone claiming to be Evelyn Mulwray, the wife of the city’s water commissioner. Only a simple job turns out to be not so simple when Mrs. Mulwray turns out not to be Mrs. Mulwray and the water commissioner ends up dead.

What follows is an excellent example of crafting plot and counter plot, of showing the not only the big picture plot elements (the water shortage and its cause), but the personal elements as well. Jake, while not what anyone would call a knight-in-shining-armor does come to care for the real Evelyn, which makes the ending even more of…

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Pulp Consumption: Fletch

Posted: June 25, 2018 in Uncategorized

Cameron talks about FLETCH, and how it fits into neo-noir pulp.

Broadswords and Blasters

Fletch DVD Cover This is the cover on my DVD. The original movie poster is much better.

We talk a lot about movies and tv shows here, and you might think we don’t read much pulp, but we do and are. Both Matt and I recently picked up a collection of Seabury Quinn’s Jules de Grandin stories and I bought a new collection of Hap and Leonard by Joe R. Lansdale (RIP the tv series after three seasons), so we’ll get back to written pulp in a week or two. However, I wanted to explain why so many of the Pulp Appeals and Consumptions seem focused on visual media.[1]

2018-06-22 This is a very young Geena Davis in only her second movie role.

In between the fall of the pulp greats and the rise of new pulp magazines in the last ten years, much of what we would consider to be pulp fiction…

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A debrief on the last reading period Cameron and I did for Broadswords and Blasters.

Broadswords and Blasters

I know, there’s probably ten or so of you that are absolutely devastated that this isn’t a pulp appeal article where Cameron or I talk about some pulp (or pulp adjacent property). Instead, this is going to be about our last submission period, and some of what we saw. So this is for the writers in the audience, which, going by our Twitter and Facebook feeds is, well, most of you[1].

The Guidelines Are There For a Reason (Part I)

We have guidelines on our website. They detail, in what we hope is clear and concise language, what we are looking for. They can be broken down in two parts. The first is the genres we are looking for:

  • sword and sorcery;
  • westerns (Weird or otherwise);
  • horror (Cosmic, Southern Gothic, visceral, and psychological);
  • detective tales;
  • two-fisted action;
  • retro science fiction

If you can squint real hard and fit…

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Cameron talks about BLACK CHRISTMAS and it’s continuing influence on the slasher genre.

Broadswords and Blasters

Black Christmas

Bob Clark’s[1]Black Christmas is a 1974 slasher flick widely considered to be one of the inspirations for John Carpenter’s masterpiece Halloween. While it is not the first of the slasher flicks, it is early enough to have had a profound impact on the slasher films that came after it.

Olivia Hussey Black Christmas’ Final Girl Olivia Hussey as Jess

The movie stars Olivia Hussey,[2] who was already famous from her role as Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli’s great interpretation of Romeo and Juliet, which I consider to be one of Shakespeare’s worst plays (with the exception of the character Mercutio, who I love). Notable supporting actors include Margot Kidder, Keir Dullea, and John Saxon, all of whom reached their biggest mainstream successes in genre films. Kidder was, of course, Lois Lane in Richard Donner’s Superman. Dullea’s most famous role is David Bowman (Dave) in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space…

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Switchblade 4 was good… but I liked Switchblade #5 just a bit better. Interested in seeing what’s going on in indie crime fiction? You owe it to yourself to pick this bad mother up.

Broadswords and Blasters

If you want to read some of the best crime fiction being written today, you owe it to yourself to pick up this issue of SWITCHBLADE magazine. More than good time girls and hard luck guys, the stories in SWITCHBLADE shows humanity at its most desperate but stops short of being voyeuristic. Each of the broken souls in the stories remains, at the end of the day, human, and to their credit, each of the authors featured zoom in on that characteristic and challenges the reader to not sympathize but definitely empathize with the characters contained within. There are stories of rotten luck and worse choices, of unintended consequences and occasional moments of grace.

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Today I talk about Switchblade #4, a great issue from anhot new indie mag.

Broadswords and Blasters

If you are looking for a magazine publishing the best in underground crime fiction, you would be sadly remiss passing on SWITCHBLADE. Edited by Scotch Rutherford, SWITCHBLADE fills a much needed gap in publishing hardboiled, stripped down crime fiction. Some of the shorter pieces are more vignettes than true stories, but each packs a punch like a bullet in the dark, or a knife twisting in the small of your back. Each story highlights the bad choices and worse luck that happens to those on the wrong side of the law, and there are few happy stories to be found within and even less redemption. These are stories that have you reaching for rot-gut whisky and unfiltered cigarettes, and might just have you thinking “There but for the Grace of God go I.” The magazine itself is smartly put together, with illustrations and photographs that set the tone well…

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The Network People
by Bob Freville
Psychedelic Horror Press

I recently had the chance to read  digital ARC of this book. My review follows, but the book could be triggering as it does depict child abuse.

Bob Freville’s writing hits like a baseball bat to the back of the skull… in the best possible sense. THE NETWORK PEOPLE collects three separate stories, all separate and disconnected but for the common thread of holding a mirror up to the worst of human behavior. The writing is sharp and powerful and pulls no proverbial punches. At times it’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion… beauty in the wreckage.

WE BUY SOULS

What do you do when everything around you is fake, when everything is a simulation of the real world around you and everything is plastic? What do you do when you are fresh out of jail and feeling more exposed than your first night behind bars? Who’s going to want to hire a felon anyway? Less a story and more a reflection on how cheap modern life can be, and the dangers of walking into a store with a sign that says “Hiring?”

THE NETWORK PEOPLE

“First they taunt you, then they haunt you.” A fortyish actor travels to LaLa Land, pursuing his dreams of making it to the big time. But he doesn’t count on the swift erosion of his soul at the hands of the titular Network People. Part cult, part conspiracy and utterly inhuman and uncaring, the Network chews up the young and spits out the old in a mechanical basis. As the poor actor finds out, it doesn’t take much for it to get its hooks into you, and you’ll end up pulling yourself a part trying to get free. The only other thing I’ll say is the human sacrifice bit doesn’t even top the most disturbing part of this particular story.

SEX TOY

A Clive Barker-esque body horror bad trip in the spirit of THE BOOKS OF BLOOD. When a suburban couple has done everything that they can with each other, what do they do when ennui sets in? What other sensations can they pursue together, and what happens when one of them decides to continue on a journey of sexual exploration without the other? It would be too easy to dismiss this as lurid horror, but buried beneath the grotesque is a moral about communication in relationships, and maybe coming to terms that you can never truly know what another person finds attractive.

THE NETWORK PEOPLE is currently available for preorder directly from Psychedelic Horror Press.

Pulp Appeal: Ghostbusters

Posted: April 30, 2018 in Uncategorized

Don’t think there’s anything pulp about Ghostbusters? Let Cameron convince you otherwise.

Broadswords and Blasters

cazafantasmas84004

When an ancient Lovecraftian-style evil rears its head in New York, who ya gonna call? The Ghostbusters, of course! What, you don’t consider Ghostbusters to reside under the pulp umbrella? I can only assume you skipped over nearly every piece of dialogue relayed by Harold Ramis or Dan Aykroyd. Ramis’ Egon Spengler and Aykroyd’s Ray Stantz are hardcore horror history nerds. They also believe in the paranormal, are swept up in the gathering manifestation of Zuul, the harbinger of Gozer–an ancient evil god once worshipped by the Sumerians–and fight back against the potential world-domination with hand-made nuclear-punk backpacks.

But before all that, they enlist their lecherous cynical compatriot Peter Venkman to be the face, hire on resident everyman Winston Zeddemore to do some of the grunt work, and call on the sarcastic and underpaid Janine Melnitz to do all the thankless but important secretarial work. After being called upon to…

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Broadswords and Blasters

Econoclash Review

Editor: J.D. Graves

Econcolash Review advertises itself as Quality Cheap Thrills, and much like Broadswords and Blasters, bills itself as a contemporary pulp journal publishing “publish only the best crime/sci-fi/noir/horror/humor/fantasy and everything else in between.” For a first issue debut, I can only gape in awe at the amount of talent pulled together into this anthology and will definitely be adding EconoClash to the list of small press magazines to keep a very close eye on.

You aren’t here to listen to me gush though, so let’s take a look at the stories included within.

Cover Art for Issue 1

“The Last Book” by Rick McQuiston

“In the Mouth of Madness” style metahorror piece. When a writer writes to entertain the eldritch horrors, what happens when he decides to quit the game? The meta-fiction aspect is a little heavy handed and not what I would have expected fresh…

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