FOUR-LETTER WORD BEGINNING WITH `F'
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
A SALUTE TO
GROOVY EUROPEAN WEREWOLVES
In my previous installment of this column, I briefly mentioned Werewolf In A Girl's Dormitory (1962). Since then I've come to realize that the Sixties and Seventies were a pretty swingin' time for Spanish and Italian lycanthropes. So I'm going to put the column's phobia motif on the back burner this month to offer up a Salute to Groovy European Werewolves.
The Sixties and Seventies... a time when hair was long, clothes were loud and morals were loose. Most men in movies had either sideburns or moustaches and the women still had natural bodies. In today's movies, all the actresses seem to have puffy, collagen-injected lips and huge, surgically enhanced breasts hiked up practically to their collarbones. Lips and breasts in today's movies are also quite shiny, because they're so abundantly full... of collagen, chemicals, implants, and who knows, maybe even a little actual human flesh.
An alien watching Earth's movies would be quite perplexed. "What a strange race!" the creature would say. "In a relatively short period of time, the breasts of the females have evolved into huge, pressurized containers that ride high on their bodies. Their lips have doubled in size, too. If this evolutionary trend continues, in just a few more generations, the average human female will simply be an enormous bosom topped with a pair of gigantic lips."
Back in the Sixties and Seventies, people weren't worried about all the scary sexual diseases that are around today (these days, a new social disease seems to pop up every few months). Back then, all venereal diseases could be cured with a quick trip to a clinic, and the worst result of a sexual encounter was an unwanted pregnancy. Nobody ever died as the result of sex -- unless they were male characters in the 1973 movie, Invasion of the Bee Girls, in which human queen-bees sexed men to death by giving them erotic heart attacks.
The movies of that era reflected the carefree sexual attitude that ran rampant throughout America, and Europe, too. In fact, things were probably even sexier in Europe, if the movies produced there during the Sixties and Seventies were any indication. Their werewolf movies were especially sexy since werewolves are such carnal creatures. Think of it: men and women turning into ferocious, insatiable animals, lusting for blood and flesh -- a bestial metaphor for erotic liberation.
In Italy's Werewolf In A Girl's Dormitory, young girls in a correctional faculty eagerly trade sexual favors for money. Hardly anyone is virtuous in this movie. Many of the girls are mean and sluttish, the teachers are lecherous and/or deceitful, the handyman is creepy, and there's a shrewish old woman who's always threatening to sic her attack dogs on people. What a nice community! I should see about renting a house there next summer!
So who is the werewolf, you ask? Why, it's the handsome and austere fellow who's the school's director. I'm not giving away anything by telling you that. I had it figured out in the first twenty minutes. What gave it away was the fact that he seemed like a straightforward, upstanding guy. If they're going to all that trouble to make him seem like a paragon of virtue, then he MUST be the werewolf!
In one early scene, a new instructor mentions to the school's director that a young girl has just fainted in the courtyard. The director pooh-poohs the development, stating that the girl only passed out because she is "coming of age." Apparently European girls faint a lot during puberty.
In the Spanish movie, The Werewolf Vs. Vampire Woman (1971), we know from the get-go that the werewolf is Waldemar Daninsky, played by Paul Naschy. He has played this werewolf, or rather, El Hombre-Lobo, in loads of movies. In this one, he turns into a werewolf in the first five minutes. A coroner has just removed some silver bullets from his corpse: big mistake! Those bullets were the only things keeping him dead. After Waldemar kills the coroner, he returns to his family estate, where his broad-shouldered, insane sister Elizabeth spends her time wandering around with a dazed expression.
Patty Shepard plays the role of the title's Vampire Woman, Countess Wandesa D疵vula de Nadasdy. Two groovy young gals, Elvira and Genevieve, decide to search the countryside to see what they can learn about some strange legends concerning the Countess, who used to worship the devil, drink the blood of virgins, torture her victims and then chop off their heads (quite the to-do list!).
The groovy chicks stay at the werewolf's estate -- he's normal in daylight hours, so they have no idea that he's humanity-challenged during full moons. These three pals find the tomb of Countess Wandesa and open it right up. Genevieve pulls a silver cross/knife out of the desiccated corpse within, and in doing so, accidentally cuts her own arm, splashing blood into the dead vampire's open mouth. Oops!
Soon crazy Elizabeth falls prey to the vampire, and to make sure sis doesn't become a vampire herself, Waldemar drives a stake through her heart AND chops off head. Talk about overkill!
The vampires have ridiculously long fangs that protrude about an inch from their mouths. They can't even close their mouths all the way. If they did, they'd probably bite their lower lips.
Waldemar and Elvira fall in love and actually, make quite an attractive couple. Unfortunately, her ex-boyfriend, a policeman, tries to make trouble for them, and at one point says, "I am prepared to get a complete investigation underway, even though this is not my jurisdiction." Good luck with that!