Tag Archives: EIghties

The Flood | Blackwater #1

The Flood | Blackwater #1
Michael McDowell | Avon Books | 1983 | 189 pages

The wet and mud-caked opening book in a serial Southern Gothic, the waters of The Flood recede and leave a singular presence, Elinor Dammert.

Surveying the flooded town of Perdido, Alabama, from the vantage point of a rowboat, mill owner Oscar Caskey discovers Elinor through the second-story window (now at water level) of the town’s deserted hotel, calmly sitting on the bed as if waiting for his arrival. Much to the consternation of family matriarch, Mary-Love Caskey, Elinor quickly takes a room with Oscar’s uncle, establishing herself his caretaker and de-facto guardian of his small child.

With a coldly calculating detachment, Elinor uses all resources to further her advantage, and soon becomes engaged to Oscar. A manipulator of people rivaling Mary-Love herself, Elinor engages in a battle of wills to gain entry into the family. The physical manifestation of that contest is the marriage house that Mary-Love promises, but stalls in its construction. Even the assumed bond between mother and child is challenged in the struggle to achieve the upper hand.

Meanwhile, a young boy glimpses Elinor in an unguarded moment, soaking in a pond of river water, and for a moment sees something not-entirely human. She exhibits a natural affinity for water, and displays fearlessness around hazards such as the naturally occurring whirlpool where two branches of the river meet. A shocking act of violence suggests that Elinor is capable of manipulation on a level beyond simple social influence, and other tragedies swirl about the plagued community.

From the dirty high-water mark in the hotel to the sandy lifeless soil (except for the strangely flourishing trees that Elinor plants) left behind by the receding waters, book one of the Blackwater saga is a triumph of place and mood.

Something is clearly wrong, or otherworldly, with Elinor, but as she insinuates herself into the Caskey family, the ultimate question emerges, “What does she want?

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Saturday Night Sock Hop | Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before


Call Me Morbid, Call Me Pale

During a recent performance at the Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco, Morrissey showed off his beefed-up torso in the classic lounge tradition, stripping off his shirt and tossing it to the adoring crowd—twice.


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Sex and Horror


Sex and Horror
The Art of Emanuele Taglietti
Mark Alfrey | Korero Press | 2015 | 160 pages

Sex and Horror features a spectacularly lurid collection of Emanuele Taglietti’s seventies and eighties Italian comic book cover art.

Taglietti first worked as a set designer in Italian cinema before becoming a freelance illustrator for the burgeoning fumetti (comic book) industry. The cultural revolution of the sixties ushered in an era of acceptance towards adults-only themes of sex and horror in comics, with outrageous cover art selling the prospect of titillation in the cheaply printed pages.

Painting upwards of twelve covers a month, often with little direction or information about the story contained inside, Taglietti rendered images of popular characters across the crime, fantasy and horror genres. Taking advantage of the relaxation of the country’s censorship laws to fully emphasis the female anatomy, his vampires, policewomen and musketeers burst from the confines of their clothing—only occasionally being encumbered with the presence of undergarments.

Easily dismissed by today’s standards as gratuitous or exploitative, Taglietti’s art illuminates a vanished period of gleeful abandon in comic book illustration.



A Film with Frankenstein, Cimiteria #46, 1980.



Red Roses for Killing, Wallenstein il Mostro #8, 1975.



The Machines for Love, Cimiteria #26, 1978.



Habakkuk the Magician, Belzeba #11, 1977.



Dollars and Blood, Sukia #2, 1978.



The Transatlantic Vampire, Sukia #120, 1983.



The Church of Satan, Vipera Bionda #15, 1978.

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