The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Edward L. Cahn’s Cheap Horrors Day *

* (Halloween countdown post #10)

 

‘Edward L. Cahn was an American second-feature director of Polish ancestry. His brother Philip Cahn worked in the industry as editor. Edward worked in films from 1917 as a production assistant. He later joined his brother in the cutting room of Universal, eventually becoming one of the studio’s top editors (he did the last-minute re-cuts of the prestigious war drama All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)). From 1931, Cahn assumed the director’s chair, turning out cheap and cheerful crime melodramas and comedies. He became a mainstay of the MGM shorts department from 1935-49. He is best known for directing Our Gang comedies from 1939 to 1943. Having gone pretty much unnoticed, his directing career began to pick up in the 1950s. Ever conscious of public demand, the imperturbable pipe-smoking Mr. Cahn turned his attention to trendy teenage rebellion films and schlock science-fiction (with a special penchant for zombies).

‘His films during this period range from the sublime to the absurd, from the inspired to the ridiculous. Some are bad enough to be (almost) enjoyable (particularly after a glass of wine or two). Point in case: Creature with the Atom Brain (1955), which somehow manages to combine mobsters, Nazis, zombies and atomic power, all in one package. Just as awful was The She-Creature (1956), featuring the lovely Marla English reverting into an extremely silly looking anthropomorphic sea monster (Cahn was able to re-use the same papier-mâché-and-plastic creation for the equally inept Voodoo Woman (1957)).

‘Rather more fun (though little more than a pastiche of The Mummy (1932)) was Curse of the Faceless Man (1958), in which a 2000-year-old calcified creature found near Pompeii returns to life to claim a lost love. Invasion of the Hell Creatures (1957) was unintentionally funny, but at least featured decent creature effects. Sadly, dialogue and script were corn straight off the cob. It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958) was arguably the best of Cahn’s offerings (it was said to be the inspiration for Alien (1979)). It was tautly directed and (as so often happens) only let down at the end by the monster being revealed as just another guy in an unshapely rubber suit. The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959) resumed Cahn’s preoccupation with zombies and voodoo. At the center of the plot is an evil head-shrinking Swiss anthropologist (a suitably sinister performance by the brilliant Henry Daniell) who just happens to be a reincarnated Ecuadorian witch doctor. Unfortunately, though there is some visual style to the enterprise, the film as a whole can only be described as tame.

‘Cahn maintained an extremely prolific output through the early 1960s, working for AIP and United Artists on westerns and teen exploitation dramas right up until a year before his death at the age of 64.’ — I.S.Mowis

 

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Stills


















































 

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Further

Edward L. Cahn @ IMDb
The Films of Edward L. Cahn – by Michael E. Grost
ELC @ MUBI
“Fast Eddie” – the Films of Edward L. Cahn
ELC @ Letterboxd
Edward L. Cahn | The Invisible Man
EDWARD L. CAHN: L’Empereur du Drive-in
Bertrand Tavernier on Edward L Cahn’s ‘Afraid To Talk’
The Road to Hell: Three Early Films of Edward L. Cahn
INVASION OF THE SAUCER-MEN

 

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5 Our Gang Comedies directed by Edward L. Cahn


Fish Hooky (1933)

Our Gang Follies 1935


Our Gang Follies of 1938


Waldo’s Last Stand (1940)


Our Gang Follies of 1942

 

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The Doomed and The Damned: When The Clock Strikes and the Films of Edward L. Cahn
by Winston Wheeler Dixon

 

“Sitting in his chair, waving his pipe, he came on like [Franklin Delano] Roosevelt with a cape. He was the first one who gave me a cold chill of what it must be like to be a has-been.”
— Charles B. Griffith, screenwriter (as qtd. in McGee, 51)

“Eddie Cahn was the kind of a fella, especially on a small show, that wanted to show how fast he could go. So he’d start a scene and then step in front of the camera and yell ‘Cut!’ and then point to the next place where the next set-up was going.”
— John Agar, actor (as qtd. in McGee, 51)

“It isn’t what I want — it’s what I must do.”
Henry Daniell as Dr. Emil Zurich in Cahn’s The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959)

I’ve never met Dave Kehr, who writes a column on DVDs for The New York Times, regularly contributes to the journal Film Comment, and also maintains a blog on the web, or even corresponded with him, but it seems that we have similar tastes. I write on Josef von Steinberg’s Shanghai Express (1932), and so does he; I praise noir director Bernard Vorhaus in a post in my Frame by Frame blog, and in the pages of Film Comment, Kehr weighs in on Vorhaus’s career as well. I’m not implying any “cause and effect” pattern here — it’s simply obvious that we both admire the same sorts of films. So I was pleased to read Kehr’s excellent essay, “Shadow World,” published in the November / December 2011 issue of Film Comment, on the maudit director Edward L. Cahn, one of the truly damned and doomed figures of the cinema. Not that many people appreciate Cahn’s work – he’s hardly a household name, for many reasons – and Kehr’s piece came as a welcome surprise. As Kehr wrote of Cahn,

With remarkable consistency for so prolific a filmmaker, he portrays a world of relentless cruelty and callousness, where even cowboy heroes kill without compunction and where betrayal within a couple is simply something to be anticipated and planned for. His characters move through a half-formed shadow world of flimsy surfaces and generic, impersonal objects; they lurch along seemingly sapped of all independent volition. At best, they are impelled by greed (the crime films are frequently centered on a treasure hunt), rage (Cahn’s Western heroes are almost always out to avenge the murder of a father or brother), or sheer, mindless destructiveness (embodied by the many different varieties of zombies that inhabit Cahn’s horror films). But in the end, all they know is that they must keep moving — it’s that or cease to exist.

Yes, they didn’t call him “Fast Eddie” for nothing. Despite his considerable bulk, Cahn could move through a script at lightning speed, knocking off setups with an inspired, manic precision that only the truly gifted — or cursed — possess. In his lifetime, Cahn directed no fewer than 71 features and innumerable shorts before his death in 1963, and his distinctly detached visual signature, coupled with the unremitting bleakness of his personal vision, is present in nearly all his work. Born on February 12, 1899 in Brooklyn, NY, Cahn attended UCLA and broke into the film business in the mid 1920s as an editor at Universal, working at night to pay his college tuition. This apprenticeship served him well in his later career, as Cahn early on learned how to piece a scene together with minimal, yet efficient coverage, and by 1926, Cahn was head of the Editorial Department at Universal. So, for the moment, his career seemed on track. …

Finally, in late 1955, Cahn got his break, directing the astonishingly graphic and bizarre horror/crime/science-fiction thriller The Creature with the Atom Brain, in which the reanimated bodies of dead gangsters, remotely controlled by an unscrupulous criminal mastermind and his assistant, a renegade ex-Nazi scientist, wreak havoc by pulling casino robberies, committing murder, and thus amassing a “war chest” of stolen funds with which to take over the United States government.

Some measure of the sheer viciousness of The Creature with the Atom Brain can be gleaned from the film’s opening moments, in which one of the revived corpses, possessed of super human strength, breaks into a mob-run casino, lifts a mob leader over his head, and without a moment’s hesitation, snaps the hood’s body in two like so much firewood. Made for Columbia in a mere six days, under the notoriously penurious producer Sam Katzman, The Creature with the Atom Brain managed to do what all of Cahn’s other work had not — it put him firmly on the map as a feature director, but with one qualification — his films were now mostly 6-day affairs, with budgets in the $100,000 range, and he would never again have a shot at the true “A” feature.

But there was plenty of work, and suddenly Cahn was in demand. The then-fledgling American International Pictures grabbed Cahn and put him to work directing lurid teen exploitation films such as Girls in Prison, The She-Creature, Run Away Daughters, Shake, Rattle and Rock (all 1956), and then Voodoo Woman, Dragstrip Girl, Invasion of the Saucer Men and the bluntly named Motorcycle Gang (all 1957). By this time, Cahn had established himself firmly as a “speed artist,” someone who could bring in any picture, regardless of genre, in on time and on or under budget, but paradoxically, his work never betrayed the haste with which it was made. As Kehr accurately observes,

[. . .] Cahn seemed to embrace the aesthetic of speed with a passion and personal commitment not always apparent in the work of his more feverishly productive Poverty Row peers. On a level of production where simple coherence is rare, his work seldom if ever seems sloppy or indifferent. The framing is careful and varied, the lighting studied and expressive, the eyeline matches execute with classical precision — all evidence of the extensive planning that Cahn (who began in the silent era as an editor) invested in his work, and which reportedly allowed him to film an astonishing 40 setups a day.

Indeed, although their subject matter was very different, Cahn’s late films remind me inescapably of the work of Robert Bresson, the idiosyncratic French director known for his assured, measured style, in which each shot follows the one before it with almost mathematical precision. And, like Bresson – director of the noirish existential thriller Pickpocket (1959) and other equally dark films – Cahn seemed to identify with his protagonists; they’re society’s outcasts, the losers, the ones who can’t win. They’re Cahn’s people; he knows them, and they know him.

Then, in 1958, stepping way from AIP, Allied Artists and Columbia, Cahn found the perfect partner for his brutal, unrelenting, hyperdriven vision: Robert E. Kent, a producer and screenwriter so prolific that he scripted his films under not only his own name, but under a variety of pseudonyms as well. In Edward L. Cahn, Kent found a soulmate — someone who wanted to make genre films quickly and efficiently, and at the same time, bring their own mordant worldview to the screen, in the guise of genre entertainment. Working under a variety of corporate banners, such as Vogue, Zenith, Harvard, Peerless and Premium, and releasing their films, astonishingly, through the rather upscale company United Artists, Kent and Cahn formed a team that would create a blistering barrage of films that form the bulk of the director’s true legacy. Cahn’s bleak worldview – fatalistic, stillborn, embracing nihilism as its guiding light, was at last allowed free reign.

Starting with It! — The Terror from Beyond Space (1958), which famously served as the template for Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) 21 years later, Cahn and Kent began knocking out a wild series of outré, violent noir/crime thrillers, of which the title usually tells all — Curse of the Faceless Man (the dead return to life); King Kong Confidential (exoticist crime in Asia); Guns, Girls and Gangsters (is any explanation needed?), Jet Attack (got it?) and Suicide Battalion (again, a war picture with a pretty obvious narrative trajectory). Astonishingly, all these films were made in one year — 1958.

(cont.)

 

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Edward L. Cahn’s 11 horror films

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The Gas House Kids in Hollywood (1947)
‘The last of the three Gas House Kids films, the very poor man’s Bowery Boys, is a threadbare comedy/spooker with Carl ‘Alfalfa’ Switzer and a trio of chums visiting Hollywood to meet a star. Instead, they cross paths with a mad scientist, a dead body, a gruff cop and gangster Douglas Fowley = not good. One for Edward L. Cahn completists and/or fans of BELA LUGOSI MEETS A BROOKLYN GORILLA (1952).’ — DFvideodiary

 

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Creature With The Atom Brain (1955)
‘HERE IS HORROR THAT CAN HAPPEN NOW… TO YOU! Murders, with victims dying from spines broken by brute strength, erupt in the city and the killers, when encountered, walk away unharmed by police bullets which strike them. A police doctor’s investigation of the deaths leads to the discovery of an army of dead criminal musclemen restored to life, remotely controlled by a vengeful former crime boss and a former Nazi scientist, from the latter’s laboratory hidden in the suburbs.’ — Letterboxd


Trailer


the entirety

 

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The She-Creature (1956)
‘Propelled by a dynamite poster, The She-Creature is a prime example of a ’50s monster movie. This one can boast a terrific, fairly original concept that’s never allowed to achieve its full potential. The idea comes straight from the culture buzz surrounding the contemporary Bridey Murphy controversy. A carnival mountebank keeps a beautiful young woman under his hypnotic control, combining the Bridey Murphy reincarnation-regression hokum with visual opportunities from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Svengali. The script might remind people of MGM’s Forbidden Planet as well: the primordial monster in this show is basically an “Id Demon” set loose from a female soul. “Hell hath no fury,” the saying goes.’ — Glenn Erickson


the entirety

 

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Voodoo Woman (1957)
‘From Edward L. Cahn and American International Pictures comes the pulpy horror stuff of Voodoo Woman.

‘Somewhere in the depths of Africa, an American mad scientist attempts to mix “black voodoo” with “white” science with an eye to creating a superhuman. When his experiments on a native woman fail to bring sustainable results (she’s too nice, won’t kill on command), he turns to black-hearted treasure hunter Marlilyn (a vampy, oozy, and excellent Marla English), who has no such qualms.

‘The stereotypes of the black characters depict a deeply baked in racism. Not that Voodoo Woman is any worse than many others, but rather that these were pretty standard caricatures common to popular culture of the day. Marla and her nasty lowlife chums add a seediness that gives this otherwise unimpressive monster movie grit and teeth.

‘“What’s in it for you, Doc? The usual?”
“The…very unusual.”’– Ken Coffelt


Trailer


the entirety

 

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Zombies of Mora Tau (1957)
‘A young woman returns to her grandmother’s residence on a forgotten island. She has dedicated her life to being basic and forgetting her dark upbringing, where voodoo and zombies were part of her traumatic childhood. On the way to the house, her driver callously runs over a shambling, seaweed-encrusted figure. The woman is shocked to her core but the driver merely says, “It was nobody”. Wow. Quite an introduction.

‘My thesis is that producer Sam Katzman and director Edward Cahn were pioneers of the zombie genre, though hacks that they were. Katzman kept returning to zombie themes in his B movies and Cahn, even under other producers, did several of these films. Romero took the theme and made it iconic in 1968.

‘I would like to see Del Toro or James Wan take this script today and do their thing. There is a germ of a great zombie movie embedded in this slapdash Columbia production, but the puritanical self-imposed codes of the day wouldn’t allow the potential. Still, there’s something creepy here about the zombified crew of an old ship, cursed to spend eternity guarding the treasure of their sunken and decomposing hulk from greedy adventurers.’ — julianblair


Trailer


the entirety

 

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Invasion of the Hell Creatures (1957)
‘There is not a lot of plot to Invasion of the Hell Creatures as its 69-minute running time consists mostly of a bunch of idiots stumbling through the woods – this includes the stupid aliens – and we also get the standard generation gap conflict between teens and authority, with the police not believing Johnny and Joan about little green men, and the subplot concerning the military’s investigation of the landed flying saucer circles the drain for awhile before exploding in a burst of flames – apparently trying to cut through the hull of a flying saucer with an acetylene torch is not a good idea – because these aliens didn’t spend the extra money to get one of those invulnerable flying saucers found in The Day the Earth Stood Still, so even if our teen heroes didn’t defeat these little buggers they were still stranded on Earth.

‘I’ll give it that the aliens in this film are decidedly creepy, special effects technician Paul Blaisdel did a great job in creating this particular alien menace and the disembodied hand of the dead one roaming around gets bonus points for creativity, but while this film was originally intended as a serious science fiction/horror film it gradually developed into a comedy and the score by Ronald Stein sounds sound so much like a sitcom that you almost expect to hear a laugh track and it really comes across as weird and out of place.’ — Michael Brooks


Trailer


the entirety

 

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Motorcycle Gang (1957)
‘The title tells practically all in the American-International exploitationer Motorcycle Gang. The film’s main conflict arises from the rivalry between “good” cyclist Randy (Steve Tyrrell) and his “bad” counterpart Nick (John Ashley). Recently released from a jail term, Nick forces Randy (who received probation for the hit-and-run accident which landed Nick in the slammer) into a clandestine race. Despite the fact that he’s a “clean” cycle-hog who likes to keep on the right side of the law, Randy agrees to the race, with near-disastrous results. One of the featured cycle punks is played by Carl Switzer, who despite his raffish appearance still closely resembles the “Alfalfa” character he’d essayed in the Our Gang comedies.’ — Hal Erickson


Trailer

 

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It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958)
‘Extremely influential sci-fi romp involving a blood gorging alien wiping out members of a spaceship crew headed back to earth. Obviously a huge influence on Alien (airlock, tunnels, etc) but also one of John Carpenter’s favorite films and an influence on The Thing as well. I couldn’t help but also get a Howard Hawks Thing from Another World influence here as well, just not as quick or snappy.

‘There’s a slight lag in the middle before it picks up again for a smooth landing. The It is pretty cool but definitely a little cheesy looking (awesomely cheesy tbh) and makes me appreciate The Thing from Another World’s realistic monster portrayel even more. Watched with my huge 50’s sci-fi fan Dad, a glass or two of J & B, and popcorn. We had a blast :)’ — Ian West


Trailer


Excerpt


John Carpenter on “It! The Terror from Beyond Space”

 

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Curse of the Faceless Man (1958)
‘A mummified gladiator recovered from a Pompeiian excavation gets energized by x-rays and takes a shine to a rock-jawed researcher’s comely fiancee.

‘The only things keeping this from being a straightforward mummy movie are the European setting (ably played by some California cliffs) and the fact that this undead lover is ensconced in stone rather than bandages (ably played by something far more flexible than any stone I’ve seen). It’s not gonna change the way you think about mummy flicks, but as no-frills shambling monster movies shot in six days go, this is pretty near the cream of the crop. The creature looks suitably creepy, the leads keep straight faces, and Edward L. Cahn does his usual solid job of sneaking in a few striking compositions while keeping things under budget and devoid of logic.’ — Ira Brooker


Trailer


the entirety

 

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The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959)
‘The plot involves a curse placed on the family of our main character, Jonathan Drake. Seems that there was a Drake that was involved in a massacre of indigenous peoples in the Amazon two centuries ago…and every Drake male since mysteriously dies at age 60…and is beheaded! (Though no one knows who or what is doing the beheadings).

‘The actors move through the story as though they are in a dream…like a sepulchral kabuki play (sans the histrionics). This is very effective but one doesn’t know if this was intentional or the byproduct of a rapid shooting schedule and less than top-tier thesping.’ — julianblair


Trailer

the entirety

 

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Invisible Invaders (1959)
‘This was one of John Carpenter’s VHS’s sent to me. I was sent 9 random VHS along with an autographed photo after purchasing one of his “VHS mystery boxes” from Stormking comics.

‘Not terrible, but god this is cheap. You can tell it was shot in about two weeks on a budget of about $500. Very upbeat ending. The guns used to kill the aliens are annoying as hell when they fire.’ — BryceNeel/Comrie


Trailer


Excerpt

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** Tea, Hi, Tea. I would trade my non-kingdom for 36 hour days, you bet. When I was a kid I made a walkthrough haunted house in our basement every Halloween. It wasn’t very gory, but I did shove the visitors in a big meat locker and close the door and not let them out for a while. I think anyone who didn’t choose infinite wishes as one of their original three would be a moron frankly. Yay, Pavement. Awesome, I love them to death. They played here recently, and at first I didn’t get tickets because the whole ‘reunion’ thing bugs me when bands do it, but then I realised I was being an idiot, but by them it was sold out. My favorite Pavement song is ‘Grounded’. What’s yours? ** tomk, I’m partial to that one too. Ouch: neck. Any better now? It’s so cool to see your book being so warmly written about and you talking all around the literary internet, man. So sweet. ** Jack Skelley, Eskelleyator! Why didn’t we do one of those in front of Beyond Baroque back in the day, I’ll always wonder. The 23rd is so plausible it aches. I wish my voice sounded like the Melvins. I know, who doesn’t. Cut you off at the pass. xo ** Dominik, Hi!!! If it exists, it’ll bathe in your eyesight. Ha ha, proofing the escorts and slaves sound actually be a challenge given that their poor English and misspellings are often the key to their beauty. Thanks re: ticket. I’m hunting everywhere. Good pick by Mr. love there. Me? I do think that I would pick that especially scary one with the safe dropped on the dummy’s head ‘cos I’m a sicko, don’t you know? Love making the people currently staying in the Airbnb apartment above mine realise that they actually hate Billy Joel, G. ** Regina Agutter, Well, hello there. If I’m not mistaken, it’s been a while since I last crossed paths here with you, and welcome back, if so. Oh my goodness, you’re too kind. I am merely horror’s obedient intermediary, but I will accept the compliment and endeavor to continue doing my job adequately. Maybe you could give my blog a nice review on Yelp if you have a second. ** Den Nilsen, Some of my friends call me Den. ** Jamie, Three wows! I’m humbled, maestro. Sadly, the US owns Halloween. It’s not fair, and it’s very impractical, but there we go. Is the Daney only in hardback? Yikes! Weird for Semiotext(e). It must be library-friendly move on their part. Great about your draft! Let it wander. Words should always be like lost children. At least in the early drafts. Interview Magazine is asking a bunch of ‘famous’ people to ask Bret Easton Ellis one question for an interview their doing with him, and they asked me, and my question was “A nerdy but sincere question: Please describe, if you can, what makes a sentence you write in your fiction acceptable to you? And same question about your paragraphs if you’re feeling ambitious. Thanks!” I asked because Bret hates talking about his process, and I want to try to corner him. We’ll see. My day was okay. Eileen Myles is visiting, and she and Zac and I went to opening of the Joan Mitchell retrospective last night at the Fondation Vuitton, and the show was unexpectedly great, and the trio stuff was fun. Otherwise, film stuff and this and that. Did you write all day today or what in world did you do? I’m thinking maybe ‘The Wolf House’ might have been featured in the fairly recent Werewolf Day? That’s a guess. I hope your day is stoking up the bong or doing blotter, I don’t know which … which … witch! (courtesy of Mr. Malkmus), Sinned backwards aka me. ** _Black_Acrylic, Oh my god, ha ha! I must pass that along. Everyone, _Black_Acrylic: ‘Kind of relevant to [yesterday’s] post, today this 1:25 mini horror scene was posted to Twitter featuring UK light entertainment icon Mr Blobby inserted into it the film of IT. Defo the scariest thing I’ve seen of late.’ Signing day! That’s big. Oh, man, oh, man, can you really almost be there at last? A billion votive candles. ** Bill, Agreed! Happy you liked ‘Event Factory’. She’s one of my really big favorites. ** Steve Erickson, Strange how people complain more about fake lynching Halloween displays than about the real thing. Or not strange. Nope, I haven’t creased the billy woods yet, but I intend to. Everyone, Steve has weighed in via Artsfuse about the execrable seeming BROS here and, in happier news, interviewed filmmaker and programmer Adam Baran about his “Narrow Rooms” series at Anthology Film Archives here. Bon day! ** T, Ha ha, yes, I see your proposition leading to a world of wonders. No, I haven’t been to Nigloland. I want to know. I do hope to go to the Parc Asterix Halloween makeover very soon, as it has proven very fun in previous years. Want to join? Saw your ‘e’. Getting to it today. Yay. Oh, for a day like the one your imagination portends or should portend. I hope your day makes cocaine seem like Shakira, xo D. ** Brendan, Big B! I should be in your neck of the woods smelling fog machines’ output very soon! Apropos, thank fucking god if the heat is subsiding, and go Dodgers, and I got your horror movies right here right in front of you today! Whoa! Love, me. ** Paul Curran, Thanks, bud! God knows you would know! I think I should have the post all polished off today, no sweat. News hopefully by the time your famous sun has set or soonish thereafter. Any Halloween shit of note taking over Tokyo or tiny pieces of it this year? ** Okay. Normally I try to give you a breather between Halloween things, but I just decided to transport you directly from cheap horrors to cheap horrors without a break today to see what would happen. So, … what happened? See you in the aftermath tomorrow.

11 Comments

  1. Tomk

    aw, thanks man. It’s been surprisingly well received i think. I’d never have been able to write it without this place btw. So yeah, thanks to you and everyone here past and present.

    The neck no longer feels like its being crushed by my bowling ball head, so that’s an improvement, but it still sucks.

  2. Dominik

    Hi!!

    Haha, I almost sent a love about that installation with the safe dropped on the prop’s head, but then I saw the dolls carrying the corpses, and they won out. But only by a little.

    Have you found a doable ticket to L.A.?

    Love making the people currently staying in the Airbnb apartment above yours start listening to Vår’s “No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers,” Od.

  3. Misanthrope

    Dennis, Well, you lucked out. LLCs are pretty easy compared to nonprofits. Ech. So many rules and regulations. I mean, you gotta keep these people in check, but my God, you wouldn’t believe the hours and paperwork that go into it. Actually, you would.

    What?! One can never get enough of Harry Styles. That IS sacrilege. Okay, not really. I do like him all right, but more for his personality than his music. I think he’s actually a better actor than singer/musician. And yes, I do think he’s cute, but he’s kinda losing it in the department as he’s getting older, which, I guess, we all do. Well, except for me and you, right? 😉 😀

    Rain should finally be stopping today. I’m glad about that. And seems I have a 3-day weekend coming up this weekend bc of Columbus Day. I’d totally forgotten. That’s a nice surprise.

    I’m going to start working on something this weekend writing-wise. We’ll see how it goes. A short story. And then I’ll be starting my next novel soon. It’ll have a fart, or a mention of a fart, in the first chapter that’ll kinda set the tone for the rest of the novel. Though the first line will probably scare off every agent and publisher ever. Hehehe. But it has to be what it has to be. I take no quarter.

    Hahaha on the getting slammed. 😀

  4. David Ehrenstein

    Cahn was George Raft’s princicpllendirector

  5. Tea

    I think anyone who tried to shove me into a meat locker would end up battered. Okay, not really, they’d probably just be annoyed by how much I’d whine. Unless I was allowed to listen to music, then I could tough it out. I can’t function without it.

    My favourite track might also be ‘Grounded.’ That’s the one that made it click for me, but I also really like ‘Elevate Me Later’ and ‘The Hexx.’ Shame you missed them, though. I wish bands came to my city, but most tours only include Toronto—because that’s all Canada is, apparently. But if Swans tours for the upcoming album, I’ll go wherever I have to. I have a feeling ‘Michael is Done’—as stated by one of the tracks.

    I wish I had some fetish stuff to report on, but I don’t. I feel like I might have seen everything at this point. Is that possible? I hope your day was pumped full of goodness like a body inflation fetish piece. Or maybe not exactly like that.

  6. Jamie

    Hey Dennis,
    I’ve decided to do what everyone else seems to be doing and seriously up my intake of horror films this Halloween season, so maybe I’ll watch some of Edward L Cahn’s cheap horrors. The titles go a long way for me anyway.
    That’s an excellent question you came up with for B.E.E! I so hope he answers it. He’s been on my mind lately as I’ve been listening to Once Upon a Time in Bennington podcast and I realised him talking about writing Less Than Zero in that is the closest I’ve gotten to ever hearing him talk abut process. I’m of a mood to reread something by him soonish too, maybe LTZ itself.
    That’s cool you enjoyed the Joan Mitchell show. Hannah’s been fancying it and I wasn’t sure, but I think we shall come and check it out.
    My day was neither bong hit nor blotter, more of a passing whiff of an aerosol can. I finished my read though of the novella draft and liked it but think it needs a whole new ending. I kind of fudged it and made the story dissolve and fragment, but I don’t think I have the chops for that yet.
    How was yours? A hot knife or a danger bucket?
    Please-Celtic-win-this-football-match-that-I’m-having-a-lot-of-trouble-streaming love,
    Jamie

    • Jamie

      p.s have you seen The Wolf House? So good. I think you’d like it.

  7. _Black_Acrylic

    Thank you for this introduction to the work of Edward L. Cahn. Have to admire the steadfast commitment to mass market scares shown by this person.

    I’m gutted to see that the legendary Dundonian thesp Brian Cox will be appearing at this event at the DCA on Saturday. Were I still anywhere near that place, I’ll be there in a heartbeat.

  8. Steve Erickson

    When will the interview with Ellis be published?

    My October music roundup for Gay City News, featuring Shygirl, Ezra Furman and the Recitals, came out today: https://gaycitynews.com/october-queer-music-roundup-shygirl-ezra-furman-and-the-recitals/

    Are you planning to watch BLONDE?

    If you thought BROS sounded bad, wait till you get a chance to see MY POLICEMAN. Harry Styles looks hot in it, but he can’t act, and it’s the same ol’ boring tale of gay people being miserable and repressed in the past.

  9. Robert

    God, I’ve become such an intolerant reader lately. Have you ever had this problem? Probably half the books I read I get maybe fifty or a hundred pages into before I lose patience with them and then I have to give them up. And they’re objectively good books too, and I know they’re good books–I just called it quits on Omensetter’s Luck–and even though I’m following along fine with what’s going on I lose the interpretive thread or there’s some attitude to the book that irks me and then it’s a whole downward spiral of self-doubt and angry kneejerk. But once it starts you lose your hold on the thread and then you just feel lost in the thing thereafter. I’ve ruined way too many good books this way. Maybe I need to get into another line of work.

  10. Paul Curran

    Dennis, cheap horror to cheap horror is a fine route in my book!

    Thanks so much again, and let the countdown begin… I’ll update you on link news…

    I think Covid killed off a bit of Halloween spirt over here for a couple of years, but Shibuya probably coming back this year, and every year the 100-yen stores seem to get more and more stuff.

    Back to work on my seemingly never-ending J-novel now.

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