October horror shorts: Pheep Pheep Pheep

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog, where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and everyone is invited to write a story, poem or article constructed of six sentences based on a cue word given.

This week’s cue word is Volume

 


WARNING: The following short contains strong horror.

Pheep Pheep Pheep

The police would come to discover her macabre hobby and gain a grim confession, and the press would label her The Small Heath Scalper, though her real name at trial would be Delores Ann Callaghan, 38, unmarried, no children, of Muntz Street, Birmingham.

A night owl she was in a decade about to roar around her, while she burned oil in her salon in her cellar, with a cast iron bath in which to discard all the heads; her day job – switchboard operator at the city hospital, with Mr Byrd and Mr Hardy being her favourite porters.

And by the small hours in her subterranean salon she would whistle while she worked – pheep pheep pheep to the clip clip clip and the snip snip snip of her scissors, and the heat of her Marcel wavers and curlers, the swish of her combs and Bobby pin snap, pheep pheep pheep, the hum of peroxide and pomade heavy to the walls of that windowless room.

Byrd and Hardy knew her favourites: the harlot-y dancers of the city bars and revues, the painted strumpets as her mother once was when she parted her legs to let a man in, who paid her with horse-won guineas after leaving her with child… she… she pheep pheep pheeps as she admires her newest coiffured creation: such beautiful waves and curls, such shine, such volume…

Her work done for the night, she places the mannequin head next to the others beside her mirrors, takes a step back, pheep pheep pheeps, and admires her collection of scalps; while upstairs comes a-crashing as the police break in, and they creep like a line of black cockroaches to the cellar door, and the horrors upon horrors waiting to greet them from below.


Muntz Street and Small Heath map 1904. Image: Wikipedia Commons


Editor’s note: Muntz Street is a real street in the ward of Small Heath, Birmingham, England. I worked in Small Heath and its neighbouring Bordesley Green during the late 1980s and early 90s, and bought my first drum kit there from a shop known as Green Lane Music Centre. The small hilltop site of Small Heath has been used as a settlement since Roman times, and was developed into housing for both wealthy industrialists and working class labourers in Victorian times. Small Heath is the original site of Birmingham City Football Club (now in Bordesley Green), as well as home to the once mighty Birmingham Small Arms factory which produced guns, motorcycles, bicycles, cars and taxi cabs – and which was heavily bombed in World War II. Small Heath was also home to the notorious Peaky Blinders gang; the gang and their Small Heath territory featuring in the ongoing BBC TV series Peaky Blinders since 2013.

The Malt Shovel. Muntz Street corner, Small Heath, Birmingham. Date and photo credit unknown.

In my story Pheep Pheep Pheep, the porter characters Byrd and Hardy are fictional, but loosely based on the real Burke and Hare murderers a hundred years earlier. The character Delores Ann Callaghan is also fictional, but loosely based on the fictional character Sweeney Todd – the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The establishment in my story of Delores Ann’s location and the early twentieth century date stamp might easily put her at the same time and place as the Peaky Blinders gang, perhaps even making Delores a once quiet and unassuming neighbour of the gang, until the police discovered her grisly hobby. And after… was she hung? Was she sent to the asylum? Did she flee incarceration to escape into the night of another story and another time?


Six Sentence Stories: Comtesse Marie-Paule and the Ancient Menace

Dracula. 1983. Sweden/Finland.

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog, where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and everyone is invited to write a story or poem constructed of six sentences, and six sentences only, based on a cue word given. This week’s cue word is Noise.


Comtesse Marie-Paule and the Ancient Menace  

The noise began as a SCREAM, then pitiful groans, soft whimpers, lastly a hollow silence before the tools of Comtesse Marie-Paule set to work making noises of their own: hack, chop, grind, slice, rend; noises which leeched into the downstairs quarters of the lodge, where Emilio stared grimly at the rafters and said to Lucianne, “What’s she doing up there?”

“She’s making sure,” Lucianne said evenly, her old, grey eyes not daring to shift from the lodge door and the yet banished possibility of minions charging in to avenge a slain two-thousand year old master.

Upstairs, the noises persisted: thump, slop, splat, burst, spatter – and a reek pervaded the lodge like a creeping mist clad in the robes of all fevers, plague, leprosy, and rotting bodies strewn about fields of military campaigns.

Comtesse Marie-Paule closed the door upstairs, and clopped down the steps to meet her two servants, and she gave to Emilio her wrap of tools, bloodied, wet and stinking, as was her cloak, her chains and crosses and pale skin, and she said to him, “Clean them.”

“You took your time, Comtesse,” Lucianne said to her mistress.

Marie-Paule gave a knowing smile and said, “These ancient vampyrs… you know… such tough meat to cut while abroad… unlike the tender, young ones we always find at home.”

Dracula N°6. 1983. Sweden/Finland.

I Vampire N°308. 1982. US.


Thank you for assisting us with an ancient menace!  🧛‍♂️🦇


 

13:50 – Halloween flash fiction to chill your blood! Illustrated.

Warning: this Halloween blog post contains themes of adult horror which may not be suitable for all audiences.

Happy Halloween dear readers! This year I’m doing something a little different… I recently entered a Halloween flash fiction challenge, with the rules being the story must contain fifty words and be scary. You could enter as many times as you liked, so I’ve selected thirteen of my most gruesome tales which I’m reproducing here for TVTA’s annual Halloween party post!

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21 random horror films to tempt you this Halloween!

… or at any other time of the year!

I was sorting through my horror DVDs for some upcoming Halloween viewing and decided to scan a few of the cover images for today’s post. I’m itching to rewatch The Evil Dead, Profondo Rosso (Deep Red), Let The Right One In, Only Lovers Left Alive, and The Company of Wolves

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Halloween’s coming!

Swamp Thing movie. US. 1982

Not long now, dear readers, as TVTA crawls from its editorial swamp in time for one of its favourite events of the year… Halloween!  And this year I have something special in store… something a bit different than my usual fare of gruesome printed matter…

Clues:

They may only be short, but they’re long on scares… Something fiendish to digest before falling asleep… Grisly brush strokes… Thirteen (unlucky for some?)… Fifty (50-50 chance of survival?)

All will be revealed on All Hallows’ Eve!

Samhain is coming! 😈💀👻🎃🎃🎃

Weird War Tales issue N°1

Weird War Tales N°1. 1971. US. Joe Kubert cover.

I finally got hold of issue number one of Weird War Tales by DC, October 1971. I’ve been after this debut issue of the brilliant comic book series for a long while, and managed to snag a copy at a more than agreeable price.

Weird War Tales was an anthology series of war-related stories blended with sci-fi, horror and the paranormal. Each issue was hosted by a character called ‘Death’ who was often drawn wearing a different military uniform on the cover or introduction page. Recurring characters such as the Creature Commandos, G.I. Robot, and The War That Time Forgot became regular stories.

The original title ran from 1971 to 1983 across 124 issues. In 1997 it was revised as a four part series, and in 2000 a one-off special.

I have some more Weird War Tales hopefully arriving soon, featuring The Creature Commandos on the covers. As for my collection of the full Weird War Tales run – I’m just over the one-third mark for completion. Look out for the latest additions in upcoming posts.

As always, thanks for looking 🙂

The Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture Kit

Probably my new favourite print advert!

As regular readers know I’m a bit of a fan of Halloween, and I was going to save this beauty for the Big Day… however, the advert is simply too cool not to share right now!

Enjoy 🙂

The Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture Kit

Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture. 1976 print advert. US.

Endorsed by horror legend Vincent Price (I love the line: ‘Look for Vincent Price’s pretty face on the cover’), the Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture was a kit enablng you to decorate and bake apples in the form of nightmarish shrunken heads! Accessories included a baking capsule (The Shrinker) which you heated using a 40 watt common household light bulb , hair, beads, templates for carving facial features, cord, a paint brush, and a carving tool.

The artwork for my 1976 print advert was created by Mort Drucker, a long time contributor to Mad Magazine. The Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture was produced by Crafts By Whiting, a Milton Bradley Company.

Detail from 1976 Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture print advert.


TVTA bonus trivia!

As well as the Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture Kit, Vincent Price was hired by Milton Bradley to appear in advertising campaigns for two of their other popular products: the games Hangman and Stay Alive.

That’s all for now, vintage mates. Thank you for shrinking fruit with us 🙂

Ten misread internet instructions that prove I am a serial killer at heart

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D. 2013. Japan.

Or so Wooof reckons… The cheeky office cat suggested I might have serial killer tendencies due to my occasional habit of misreading text, replacing innocent words with a terrifying synonym, and adding murderous instructions onto the end of online mission statements!

Pfft. Wooof’s a fine one to talk… he’s killed more than enough mice, birds, moths and garden frogs to put Ed Gein’s cat to shame, if Ed Gein ever had a cat, that is.

Dear readers, trust me when I tell you I don’t have serial killer tendencies – just poor eyesight and cheap reading glasses, and a fondness for Halloween.

Yippee!! Only 200 days to go till Halloween!

Image courtesy of days.to


You misheard it here first!

10 misread internet instructions that prove I am a serial killer at heart…

  1. eBay – Don’t forget to leave feedback for your victims.
  2. Email – You have twelve undead messages.
  3. Privacy – Your privacy is important to us, which is why we are recording you undressing.
  4. Tabs – You have multiple open stabs. Do you wish to create stab groups?
  5. Facebook – We know what you did last summer (even if you aren’t on Facebook).
  6. Blogging sites – Proudly prowled by WordPress.
  7. Virtual Assistants – You have severley disabled Alexa.
  8. Defunct Social Media – In MySpace no one can hear you scream.
  9. Twitter – Find people you know (drug them, blackmail them, kill them).
  10. YouTube – Create a personal chainsaw. Fill out the details to name your new chainsaw and verify your account.

As always, thanks for looking for innocent victims to chop up according to the voices in your head  🙂