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  • Tag Archives Robert W. Chambers
  • Random-Ass Interview: Joseph S. Pulver Sr.

    crazypulver

    Joe Pulver is the closest thing to an avatar of The King in Yellow that we have in this realm. His work is experimental, sharp as a fucking knife, and longs to expose the true faces found beneath the many colored masks.
    And this should be up by
    Necronomicon 2015, so hopefully I get to chat with the man in person, about stuff other than spirit gum, and beer.
    Check out his variety of collections,
    Blood will have its Season, and A House of Hollow Wounds.

    How would you feel if someone uses your likeness to create a comic book superhero called
    “The Pulverizer”?

    If the villains have cool uniforms (and names) (and KILLER superpowers) and are skullduggerous bastards that spit NASTY and vile, and I get the action figures and a copy of the DVD (if they make a film – and Eva Green, or Serena Williams, is my girlfriend in it), KOOL! !!

    In fact, a few years back a buddy of mine made a custom action figure of The Pulverizer. It’s pretty damn neat—looks like The “FF” Thing in a Deadhead t-shirt.

    Skittles or Starburst?

    No no—NO! Not a big candy fan, and when I do, it’s chocolate!!!!!!!!!!! Reese’s Pieces, yeah, I’d do that. Or, white chocolate… mmmm soft creamy—Yeah, white chocolate, yummy! !!

    If you could ask Robert W. Chambers one question, what would it be?

    Were there lost notes, sketches, outlines, drafts, plans for other King in Yellow works? And if allowed a second, do you think mine are of any merit?

    Spirit animal?

    I love night. I love birds. I was a nut for Archimedes in Disney’s The Sword in the Stone when I was a kid. For a hundred reasons, owl! Is there anything as beautiful as a Snowy Owl?

    owlsnow

    Ever used spirit gum?

    Once. Was going to a Halloween party and we used it to glue a cheap fake beard on my girlfriend at the time.

    How do you feel about The Spirit?

    I’ve got it! Love Eisner and the character. The Octopus and Mister Carrion were great – wish I had come up w/ the name, Mister Carrion. Myabe i can still steal that? Dr. Carrion. Yeah, I just might.

    Ever seen Spirited Away?

    There was a bar, a hole-in-the-wall bikerjoint, it was next door to a used bookstore that closed at 9pm. Me, sitting there w/ my beer. A woman sat down. Bought me a beer. Looked in the bag of used books I had just purchased. She liked a bunch of them, told me about others she had that I would like. She had a scar on her knee and long legs, very nice legs, the voice of a seductress, and magical green eyes. She told me she had a bottle of whiskey w/ my name on it
    in her apartment…

    Wait, maybe it was swept away? ??

    Whatever it was, I wrote about in it my tale, “And this is where I go down in darkness”.

    Oops. Sorry, please forgive Mr. Stupid, I read that wrong. Thought it said “Been” spirited away.

    No, I have not seen it. Just checked the trailer, looks kool.

    Have you ever written a story and been utterly and completely surprised with it, both in where it went thematically, and in its characterization?

    Yes, my novel, “The Orphan Palace.” Going in, I knew where and how it ended and next to nothing else but the main character’s name.

    Who do you think would win in a fight, Shirley Jackson or Anne Rice?

    Shirley! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She has everything you could ever want, power, vision, darkness! She has created plague and bloodshed and delirium stretching its strange over heart and soul, Shirley could win this with her eyes closed and without even getting up from her
    chair.

    Part 2 of my answer: Anne Rice is OK, but Shirley walks on water. ‘NUFF SAID!

    What’s the shortest turn around you’ve ever had on a story, from idea to completion of first draft?

    Not sure this really counts, but for a short short, 25:17. I put on John Zorn’s “Spillane” and wrote as it played, and the second it ended I was done (it helped that I knew Zorn’s composition well and knew what was coming). For a regular tale, say, 3000+ words, about 3 hours.

    You’re stuck on a desert island, and you can only bring 5 books. The catch is you have to share your reading with ancient lizard creatures.
    Anyway, which 5 books do you bring?

    World Poetry: An Anthology of Verse from Antiquity to Our Time by Washburn, Major, and Fadiman

    The Complete E. E. Cummings Complete Poems, 1904-1962 (Revised, Corrected, and Expanded Edition)

    The Weird by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer/The Centipede Press Michael Cisco box set (Yes, I know that’s cheating, but you know, I’m not one for following the rules)

    Flicker by Theodore Rozsak

    The Complete Dramatic Works of Samuel Beckett

    And then I cry, as 5 is not enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh wait, there’s a koolass bookstore here and they’re having a SALE on CISCO and Laird and ANNA TAMBOUR and Alice Fulton and Jack O’Connell—! I’m saved!!!!!!!!!

    Favorite swear?

    Like most, most used is Fuck! But “Go to Hell” carries the most venom to me.

    You used to work in a record store? What are some of your favorite memories from that?

    Robert Fripp sitting there on a chair in the store playing Frippertronics. Meeting Clapton and having a beer w/ him. Getting backstages and meeting Herbie Handcock—what a great generous cat he is. Getting tickets to a very-early-in-his-career Stevie Ray Vaughan show (during a New York flood) and hanging out in the bus w/ him after.

    If trees could speak, what do you think they’d say?

    Stop allowing assbags to burn books – we died once, that’s enough! !! And it’s just plain WRONG!

    Do you think a horror writer could have a career if they didn’t write about anything supernatural in their stories?

    Yup. I see folks like Laird Barron easily writing crime and noir. With the vast talent in the field right now—Livia Llewellyn, Molly Tanzer, S.P. Miskowski, Paul Tremblay, Brian Evenson, there are many who could write anything that catches their interest.

    Favorite beer?

    When I used to drink, Beck’s. In a frosted mug, of course. And when I was near broke, well, Genny Cream Ale.

    Deep ones are crashing your party. One of them knows a lot about philosophy, does that make him a really deep Deep One?

    Nah. Makes him gone if he can’t shut up. It’s a party, not a lecture on Heidegger, or an overwrought exploration of the periodic table.

    Also, how do you deal with them if they try to steal the women to breed with?

    Please don’t fool w/ mine… or you’ll be on the menu at the sushi bar around the corner in the morning.

    What is it about crime mixed with horror that you like? What is it about the mix you don’t like (if there is any aspect of the commingling you don’t like)?

    Mix crime/noir and horror and wham-bam, the moon is in the gutter, and you’re alone. Now that is a dark passage that’s irresistible. To me, they are natural bedfellows, birds of a feather, born to be partners in lowdown skullduggery. The criminal carries around darkness and pain

    (schemes or fears or cravings, or a festering brew of them all) inside, look at Poe, or Caligari, or Jack the Ripper and Bloch’s Norman and Juliette, in them, we get the best of both worlds.

    Mixing crime and horror is like pizza (or Mike Griffin’s chili), I can’t get enough. I mean Goodis and Ligotti, they’re brothers, right? Laird and Ellroy, don’t they drink together and swap yarns?

    When it is done right, there’s nothing about mixing them I don’t admire.

    You ever known anybody who went really off the reservation?

    Sadly, yeah. Cat I knew (he was few years ahead of me in HS) came back from The Nam, part of

    him came back, became a small time contract killer. Wound up shived in a prison shower. He was in for attempted murder.

    Do you ever worry your mustache will gain sentience, and start feasting on the blood of the innocent?

    Never on innocents, they need protecting. But so many nasties and viles and trolls need culling, that could take lifetimes for the stache to properly equalize things.

    What projects you got coming out, Joe?

    Cassilda’s Song. An all-women tributes to Robert W. Chambers’ King in Yellow

    The Leaves of a Necronmonicon. A novel-length round robin that follows the travels of a Necronomicon for 120 years or so.

    I just edited the Necronomicon Providence 2015 round robin, The Doom That Came To Providence.

    I’m guest editing another all KIY issue of the “Lovecraft eZine”.

    And I have three more anthologies I’m working on at present.

    Also working on a new novel, and have 5 tales sold for upcoming anthologies next year. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things . . .


  • The Horror Influences of True Detective

    tdladyhornchurch

    True Detective follows Rust Cohle (Mathew McConaughey) and Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) as they attempt to solve the murder of a woman in Louisiana. It contains many elements, from classical horror stories, to modern horror stories, and from old and new horror films and shows.

    There are many references to the classic Robert W. Chambers series of horror stories, “The King in Yellow.” The main reference is through the visual use of something somewhat similar to “The Yellow Sign,” on the victim in the first episode, though I’m not sure yet whether or not this show is in a universe where the stories were published. The first victim in episode 1, former prostitute Dora Kelly Lange, has something that appears to be “The Yellow Sign,” on her back.

    sign

    spiraltd

    However, when looking for a picture of the design on Lange’s back, I discovered an article which says it is actually derived from the Illuminati. I know nothing about the Illuminati, so I’ll leave it up to you, the reader, to make your own judgement call on what the sign is supposed to be. It could easily just be a spiral, representing the cyclical nature the killer thinks life and time exist within.

    Any time you hear about “The Yellow King,” or “Carcossa,” or even “The Black Stars,” that’s the show drawing from “The King in Yellow.” Indeed, “The King in Yellow” was before it’s time. First published in 1895, most of the stories revolve around a fictional play, aptly named “The King in Yellow” that drove readers to madness.

    As the show progresses, Cohle’s character grows increasingly unsettling. We start to really question his sanity. This doubt fits perfectly with the theme of the most influential of stories in, “The King in Yellow,” namely that of “The Repairer of Reputations.” In “The Repairer” a man named Hildred meets with Mr. Wilde, who has a book that contains shocking truths about lots of people. Mr. Wilde uses this book, with its secrets, to blackmail individuals, makes his money in this fashion. I’ve talked about these stories on one of the podcasts I contribute to, Miskatonic Musings, on the episode entitled The King of Creol
    so if you want to hear more about my thoughts on the stories, listen to that.

    Recently, I was thrilled to read in an interview at The Wall Street Journal with Nic Pizzolatto that he is a fan of the work of Thomas Ligotti, and indeed some lines in the show are almost word for word from Ligotti’s books. Pizzolatto even references other modern day weird fiction writers I’ve yet to even take in. It’s a really great interview, and has made me an even bigger fan of Pizzolatto, and even more excited for the next season of True Detective.

    Visually, there are of course other influences, which dare I say are borderline derivative. The devil’s Trap is a Southern thing, I haven’t checked yet whether they are a legit thing, but they remind me an awful lot of the little stick designs and people from The Blair Witch Project.

    deviltrap

    BlairWitchProject-thumb-550x300-12916

    There’s also the glaringly obvious comparisons to be made between all the antler stuff on True Detective which also features prominently in Hannibal.

    hannibalantlers

    And, the use of the gas mask on Ledue reminds me of the character Bing from Joe Hill’s Nos4a2. The description of Bing as a gas mask wearing killer is a hard one to escape, when you compare him to the gas mask wearing killer in True Detective.

    No matter what, the show True Detective is great for horror. It is just police procedural enough to draw in the mainstream audience who wouldn’t normally indulge in these horrific things (Well, save for the Hannibal crowd), on their own. It combines the mystery and thriller genres with horror in a seamless and beautiful blend. And at the end of the day, who cares what the genre is classified as, as long as it’s good.