Monster Monday: The Hulk

In honour of Age of Ultron being really good fun – honestly, what did we do to deserve TWO pretty good Marvel Avengers movies? (Note, that’s British for – bloody amazing) we wanted to highlight this in a brief Monster Monday honorific to the Hulk, who is definitely one of Marvel’s most extreme mutated characters. It’s a classic Jekyll and Hyde horror story, after all.

As the human Bruce Banner, Hulk can be charmingly nerdy (at least the way Mark Ruffalo plays him), albeit with a very fucked up background. But seriously, don’t make him…

3412551-2374770-marvel_the_hulk

…angry. Duh.

And – Spoiler for Avengers Age of Ultron – (highlight to view clearly) the new Avengers movie really shows how terrifying an an out of control Hulk is, and it’s not pretty. Seriously, people screaming and crying, Iron Man barely able to contain him, it’s a mess and it’s kind of upsetting to see. 
– End spoiler

So the Hulk is today’s main monster because he embodies the popular fantasy of raging out in an uber-macho riot of unstoppable destruction, uncontainable even by the might of the world’s armies. All too often, this gets very ugly indeed. Bruce Banner’s constant battle to contain the big Green Guy is a truly compelling part of this character. And Hulk is incredibly popular. Whether you’re into it for the smash or the soul-searching, Hulk is as much a part of popular culture as Spidey and Batman, and gives licence to the wildest pumped up, bloated, testosteroney monster artwork.

Hulk Smash eyes glowing David Nakayama

However, not everyone finds the Hulk terrifying…and we’re all a little curious about those conveniently size purple pants. Right? No? Er…enjoy, and thanks for Eyeballing with us.

Monster Monday: Mr Swivel from Colder: The Bad Seed, by Paul Tobin & Juan Ferreyra

Comics are fast becoming our favourite way of consuming quality horror on the Haunted Eyeball. Our latest crush is the newish series ‘Colder’. The introduction to the first collected volumes run like this:

Declan Thomas is an ex-inmate of an insane asylum that was destroyed in a fire, he has the strange ability to step inside a person’s madness—and sometimes cure it. He hopes to one day cure his own, but time is running out, as a demonic predator pursues him.

However, what got our attention was this character from Colder: The Bad Seed. The terrifying Swivel is a very particular variety of monster with a chilling speciality…

It gets worse...

It gets worse…

Just looking at him is enough to make you shit kittens. But it gets worse. Swivel collects human fingers and isn’t too particular about whether you’re still attached to them. Yeah. Most issues from The Bad Seed open with him, er, ‘harvesting’ from hapless people who are innocently hailing taxis or walking dogs. Swivel might just make you careful where you waggle your most useful appendages from now on. *waves*

Swivel's mini-scythe has devastating effectiveness.

Swivel’s mini-scythe is devastatingly effective. *shits kittens*

That said, there’s a brilliant moment where he and his little mouth-fingers (still with us?) delicately remove a splinter from a little girl’s pinkie. Think it’s actually our favourite bit.

mm - Colder splinter swivel 6 panel

The guy just really, really loves himself some good quality fingers. Not your usual Eldritch being, right? The guy is a true aesthete…of fingers. Yeah. Shudder.

Colder is weird and troubling and truly insane. So naturally, we highly recommend that Eyeballers get hold of Colder volume 1 and volume 2: The Bad Seed, as soon as possible! If you love gorgeously upsetting visuals, this is for you.

Oh, and this is the cover for Colder: Volume 1. It’s awesome. It’s also terrifying. So you’ve been warned. Firstly, we present a kitten. If you scroll down further down than the kitten well,  just don’t have nightmares:

Don't scroll down don't scroll down just think about the kitten...

Don’t scroll down – don’t scroll down  – just think about the kitten…

Ready?

Issue 1 doesn't have Swivel and his fingers. But it's still freakin' weird. Also recommended.

Issue 1 doesn’t have Swivel and his fingers. But it’s still freakin’ weird. Also recommended.

Yeah. Would you like some brain bleach? Come back next time, y’all :-)

Friday Fictioneer: When Ben Burned Down the Bandstand

Joanna K Neilson:

Friday fictioneering, Bandstand Burn!

Originally posted on Joanna K Neilson:

A strangely psychotic piece this week – think it was partly prompted and crystalised by everyone’s shock, including my own, at the hideous air crash where the pilot apparently very calmly flew himself and 150 other people into a mountain – for no good reason (all will probably be revealed, I suppose). Still, fucking unbearable to think about. Shudder.

This act of senseless brutality freaked me out and filtered its way into my story, though it’s also still inspired by the band picture. Apologies to the band people btw ;-) At least this guy has a clear motive for his dreadful actions, however dreadfully weak.

**********************************

Friday Fictioneer By Dave Stewart

Bandstand Burn

When Ben burned down the bandstand, he didn’t seem the chap. He’d always been a nice guy,  we’d never heard him snap. But his one true love was music, and he had longed to play. But talent at it…

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Live horror: Don’t Go Into the Cellar Presents…13th March 2015, Art House Southampton

skull, cellar, morbid curiosities

Don’t go into the Cellar Presents…

A spooky evening was had by all as The Haunted Eyeball attended Morbid Curiosities, a production based around classic horror stories, adapted by Don’t Go Into the Cellar and performed at the Art House.

Jumping at the chance to enjoy a live performance of some of our favourite classic horror stories, the Haunted Eyeball raced to see Morbid Curiosities on, the appropriate evening of Friday 13th March 2015. Climbing up to the cramped, yet cosy, upstairs rooms of the Southampton Art House, we hungrily devoured four tales of ghoulish terror, originally authored by Victorian crime writing gentleman Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the 20th Century’s finest weird fiction writer, H P Lovecraft. The atmosphere was built by the obligatory spooky skull and strange, horned creatures perched on an intimately sized stage. We couldn’t wait to find out what stories would unfold and who would present them to us? Would it be Lovecraft, of Sherlock Holmes, or…or…

In fact, Harry Houdini (Jonathan Goodwin ) was to be our narrator, and he presented the evening using a rather jarring inflection. He SPOKE like this, “Ladies AND GENTLEMEN!” which was in some ways far scarier than the first act. Indeed, the HORRORS that he proclaimed would FOLLOW made us ALL the JUMPIER because of his randomly loud VOICE.

OK, we are nitpicking about volume. In a larger room it would be fine, and the presenting style perfectly fit Houdini’s outlandish, earnest sense of showmanship. It drew us directly into a ghastly world of horror and mystery.

After introducing himself, Houdini passed the first story to his associate, the genteel Mrs D’Odd (Amy Bullock). She described her rather tongue in cheek ghostly encounter, based on Selecting a Ghost by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Nailing the pomposity and the aspirations of a would-be aristocrat, this drew belly laughs and many eerie moments, all played out nicely with an excellent payoff.

With one ghostly tale laid to rest (or not), Houdini returned to ponder over a horned skull, and talk of false séances that enraged him. Although very well performed, Playing with Fire by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was simply less impressive as a story – and this is a personal reaction. Basically, when you bring unicorns into it, it all veers away from the horror we’d turned up for, and for some reason it was a little harder to follow. Although performed with gusto by ‘Houdini’, we wanted some real, gut-wrenching horror, dammit, and were on tenterhooks for the eventual appearance of anything by H P Lovecraft. Given Houdini’s presence, we already had an inkling what of one of the stories would probably be, but were wondering what the other one might be from.

Part two

It turned out that both of the last two stories were by H P Lovecraft, and here the show fully hooked us again.  ‘Miss Rhodes’ (Amy Bullock) gleefully told the tale of The Hound, wherein a twisted couple, whose playful games with the dead would make Leatherface blush, get a nasty surprise when they grave rob an ancient amulet. Amy Bullock clearly took delight in the monstrous side of Miss Rhodes’ character. A truly great interpretation.

To our considerable delight, another Lovecraft gem followed. Of course, the presence of Harry Houdini meant we had immediately suspected that one particular story had to be told, and we were not disappointed. Under the Pyramids was bombastically presented, and vivid enough to smell the incense.

The stories of Conan Doyle and Lovecraft more than overcame the cramped conditions of the Art House top floor, and despite the presence of bright light, electronic speakers and drunken shouting from outside. The second half of the show was strongest, from a horror fan perspective – but when it got there it delivered pretty much what we were hoping for. Morbid Curiosities was an enormously fun event, and  we recommend for all UK-based Eyeballers to attend one of their shows as soon as possible. We can only hope that the shows get the creepy locations which they truly deserve, maybe somewhere like an old manor house or the Vaults of a long-disused port. The Haunted Eyeball sincerely hopes to see ‘Don’t go Into The Cellar’ and its other uncanny productions again. Nothing compared to hearing Lovecraft’s uncanny words spoken aloud with a group of people, and we had chills when the show rounded off with:

That is not dead which can eternal lie,

And with strange aeons even death may die..

Cast and Credits

Houdini – Jonathan Goodwin

Mrs D’Odd, Miss Rhodes – Amy Bullock

Director – Gary Archer

Scripted by Jonathan Goodwin

Website

Sunday short story: 100 Words – Green

Joanna K Neilson:

The Green. Accidental alien invasion? Or malfunctioning alien technology…

Originally posted on Joanna K Neilson:

Started as a Friday Fictioneer, but as it’s now Sunday, I’ll just say it’s a piece of writing inspired by the photo from here:

The inspiration. All I saw at the first glimpse, was the green... The inspiration. All I saw at the first glimpse, was the green…

Green

An alien ship died overhead, spraying bright juice from degraded bowels. Hungry fluid chewed all life it touched. Insatiable green turned the trees to bone sculptures, fuelling a fast-growing, acidic moss that spread faster than I could ever hope to evade. Clothes burned to nothing. Everything suffocated. Holding my breath, I dived in the fountain. Water thickened with alien weeds. Moss clambered around my spine, flowers bloomed atop my screaming lips. Planets burst behind my eyes. Emerald stars burned my lungs. I swallowed the universe. Green was warm. I wondered numbly, nerves dissolving, if there were worse ways to go.

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EXPLOITS: Artist Bill Lewis and the Cosmic Unconsciousness

Joanna K Neilson:

Must look up this MR James story, Casting the Runes. Sounds wonderfully horrible :-)

Originally posted on THE REMODERN REVIEW:

Lewis

Remodernist Painter and Poet Bill Lewis at a recent exhibit in the UK

But where does imagination end and reality begin?

-Dr Julian Karswell                                                    

Carl Jung was a visionary psychiatrist who understood religion, spirituality and mysticism as key elements of the human experience. In his work he developed the concept of synchronicity, the significant coincidence. It’s when things happen that seem meaningfully related, but which happen without any apparent cause. For Jung it was a demonstration of the collective unconscious in operation, a universal awareness that everyone shares. In my life experiences synchronicity is a common phenomenon.

I recently experienced an amazing moment of synchronicity. It involved artist and poet Bill Lewis. Bill is one of the original  British Stuckist artists, having been part of the seminal Medway Poets group even before the art movement began. Bill Lewis has continued his work as a Remodernist artist, and as I got involved with…

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Monster Monday: Mama (2013) co-written and directed by Andrés Muschietti

This week, Monster Monday contains multiple spoilers for the movie Mama, so beware. It’s now on Netflix UK, so if you have it, we do recommend you watch it! Also, we include several GIFs, which work well for illustrative purposes but – we are the first to admit, GIFs are fucking annoying after a few seconds of being on screen – so apologies in advance for those….or perhaps enjoy (they are frickin’ creepy).

Mama is the titular monster of this creepy 2013 horror movie, produced by massive monster fan, Guillermo Del Toro. As the poster suggests, Mama concerns a spooky tall woman and a little girl (though there are actually two girls) and moths. Lots of moths…

"Mama 2012 poster" by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mama_2012_poster.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Mama_2012_poster.jpg

“Mama 2012 poster” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mama_2012_poster.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Mama_2012_poster.jpg

It all begins when a pair of little girls are taken into the woods by their deranged father, who was driven mad by losses in the recent stock market crash. The brute has already killed his wife and also wants to take his two girls to the grave with him – he’s a selfish shitheel who’s out of his mind and an utter monster (played by Jaime Lannister, who does a sterling job, btw). Crashing his car in the snow, he drags his daughters to an abandoned cabin in the woods, and prepares to shoot them and then himself. Luckily for the two girls, a strange entity in the house brutally removes their despairing daddy and looks after them, somehow feeding them cherries in the depths of winter. Several years later, in one of the creepiest scenes, a search party finds the two little girls and takes them back to civilisation. They’re terrifyingly feral but mostly unharmed. Think Newt in Aliens if she’d been raised by an alien in the mud. OK, bad example. Anyway, when their father’s identical twin brother (Jaime Lannister again!) and his rock goddess girlfriend (the kickass Jessica Chastain) take them in, it seems that the spooky entity who saved them is not quite ready to let her adopted children go…

Mama is a very solid fairytale. In fact, putting it under the fairytale category means the film gets away with several logic skips and very convenient dreams that reveal important plot points, that sort of thing. You see, among her talents, Mama has the convenient plot advancing power of uploading her nightmarish death into your dreams. This handily fills in the protagonists with the entity’s tragic back story. As everyone learns, Mama used to be a woman with a slightly odd appearance, who, back in the 1800s, was distraught that nuns were going to take her baby away. Chased by a mob after stabbing a nun (hate it when that happens…), Mama fell off a cliff, dying along with her baby and, well, it’s a major tragedy.

Mama Edith Brennan, Guillermo del Toro, scary women

The human Edith Brennan – before she became Mama

Of course she’s far more powerful now she’s dead. Still searching for release, Mama can suck out your life force, or possess you with her power, or sneak around as a sentient pile of goopey hair before lunging at you really fucking fast. Yikes. Basically, she can do all the standard stuff that apparently HAS to happen in ghost movies with a modern CGI budget, especially since they have it leftover from all those Japanese Horror remakes fourteen years ago. Mama is one of the better examples of CGI monsters, though. Which is why there are so many gifs in this entry. Sorry for that again, but the animation really shows Mama at her best.

Mama!!

Mama!!

Despite her terrifying undead appearance, and jealous rages, Mama really is loved by the two little girls she protected. But her unwillingness to let them go, and her habit of occasionally ‘playing rough’ make her more like a dangerous wild animal – like female cats when they’re pregnant being all loved-up on baby hormones, and which is why they don’t eat those mice they take in. For a while anyway. Mama is very effective when looming in a closet, the energy of her animalistic fury makes Mama into a terrifying creation when she finally bursts from the shadows. You do NOT want this coming down the landing after you.

Like this. Eeeeeeeeeeee

Like this. Eeeeeeeeeeee

Think its the spiderlike hands and the manic, uneven eyes…and it gets worse.

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

Or down the corridor either

In the scene most similar to the original. Scream!

In the scene most similar to the original. Scream!

And finally, this is what spending five years with her does to those two sweet little girls, so…

The movement just before this is CREEEEEPY as well. Something about spiderlike humanoid movement. Shudder. But two headed twins. Yes... it's truly primal.

The movement just before this is moment is CREEEEEPY as well. Something about their spiderlike humanoid creeping around. They’re also so skeletal. Shudder. But two headed twins. Yes… it’s truly primal.

Many reasons to be afraid of her, then. However, kudos to the end of the film for ultimately giving Mama someone who loves her – although we’d go with the idea that the little girl was also ‘dead all along’, so thank you TV tropes for that theory.

Mama (2012) expands on Andrés Muschietti’s short film (also it’s at the bottom of this article), which was truly terrifying but frustratingly inconclusive. The film version does over-explain everything, which is a common problem with most Hollywood horror, but in the context of  ‘a fairytale’ this isn’t really too annoying. Also, really love Jessica Chastain in this. She’s a worthy opponent, who bravely faces off against Mama’s terrifying fury.

Besides, no one in the film is more monstrous than the father at the start. This asshole clearly believes he has the right to murder his wife and their children, on account of being an entitled selfish fuckload who thinks they’re his property or something. So, still pretty much rooting for Mama most of the way through! Many fairytales seem to include a homicidal parent, too, so this works brilliantly.

Mama is worth seeing, but  check out the original first of all, as it’s free, and a great introduction to the madness of Mama.