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mark mclaughlin


We're extremely proud to include Bram Stoker Award winner Mark McLaughlin's column Four-Letter Word Beginning with `F' as one of the features EXCLUSIVE to HORROR GARAGE!

Mark McLaughlin

Mark McLaughlin's fiction, nonfiction and poetry have appeared in more than 800 magazines, anthologies, newspapers, and websites, including Horror Garage, Doorways, Hungur, Cemetery Dance, Space & Time, The Black Gate, Galaxy, Writer's Digest, FilmFax, Dark Arts, Midnight Premieres, and two volumes each of The Best of the Rest, The Best of HorrorFind, and The Year's Best Horror Stories. Collections of his fiction include Pickman's Motel, Slime After Slime, Motivational Shrieker, At the Foothills of Frenzy (with Shane Ryan Staley and Brian Knight), and All Things Dark and Hideous (with Michael McCarty). Also, he is the co-author, with Rain Graves and David Niall Wilson, of the poetry collection The Gossamer Eye, which won a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Poetry. His most recent poetry collection, Phantasmapedia, was a finalist for the Stoker Award.

In September 2008, Delirium Books/Corrosion Press released Monster Behind the Wheel, a novel Mark wrote with collaborator Michael McCarty. In that same month, Skull Vines Press released Attack of the Two-Headed Poetry Monster, also co-written with Michael McCarty. These and other books can be ordered at www.horror-mall.com. Be sure to visit Mark online at www.myspace.com/monsterbook and


Ah, so you have returned. Welcome, once again, to my online House of Horrors, my Mansion of Madness, my Palace of Peril, my Domicile of Doom, my Chateau of Shivers, my--you get the idea.

Today's four-letter word beginning with “F”-- the FEAR du jour--is actually a four-letter word beginning with “G.”


Dead human meat, usually rendered dead via the chopping or stabbing actions of some cinematic loony who had a traumatic childhood incident. Did you hear that, moms and dads of the world? You'd better be nice to your kids, or else they'll grow up with the slaughterhouse version of an itchy trigger-finger. I suppose that would be a meat-cleaver-fist, or a machete-wrist.

But be careful: if you treat your kids toooo nicely, they'll grow up to be victims instead. Yes, they'll grow up sorority-girl-pretty (or fratboy-handsome) and always want to have sex late at night in lakeside cabins or abandoned insane asylums. Then, when they hear a noise down the hall or outside in the bushes, they'll light a candle to see what's going on, and then blithely venture forth to meet their bloody doom.

So parents, try to find some kind of middle-ground: don't torture your young ones, but don't mollycoddle them, either.

Speaking of youth: I remember the first time I saw a scary gore movie. Way back when I was in college, three friends and I decided to go to the drive-in to see The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. None of us were familiar with the movie, but from the title, we'd figured it had to be some kind of comedy. Boy, were we wrong! As the movie progressed, two of my friends started crying and one threw up.

Me? I scrutinized the movie with great interest. I remember saying things like, "The camera work is weird, like a home-movie. I think that's supposed to make it seem more real!" and "Would a weird hillbilly-type family of psycho-killers be able to own property? Isn't there paperwork involved? How do they pay their bills?" and "Do you think the big fat guy wears the human-skin mask when he's asleep?"

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre wasn't the first super-gross movie, though. Not by a long shot. Movie gore was invented, as far as I can tell (and I've seen LOTS of movies), in 1963 by Herschell Gordon Lewis and the good folks behind Blood Feast. This movie was about a crazy caterer whose motto could have been, "You are what you eat." Or, to put a finer point on it, "You're made of the same stuff as my catered meals, okay? In fact, you might just BECOME my next catered meal." The movie features brains getting scooped out of a head, a tongue being pulled out by the roots--it's no Disney flick. And for 1963, that must've been pretty darned shocking. Heck, it's still pretty shocking by today's standards.