New Paperback – Empress Of The Living Dead: 25 Tales Of Horror & The Bizarre

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Empress Of The Living Dead: 25 Tales Of Horror & The Bizarre by Mark McLaughlin

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1798060434/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1798060434/

EMPRESS OF THE LIVING DEAD collects 25 stories of horror and dark fantasy by Bram Stoker Award-winning author Mark McLaughlin. These stories are compiled in a paperback edition from three previous Kindle collections by McLaughlin — FOREIGN TONGUE, DRUNK ON THE WINE THAT POURS FROM MY WICKED EYES, and MAGIC CANNOT DIE. “Empress Of The Living Dead,” a tale of cult movies and zombies, completes this collection.

The stories in this book abound with monsters, supernatural beings, aliens, practitioners of magic, kaiju, tentacled creatures and more. Stories in the collection include “Empress Of The Living Dead,” “Cold-Blooded,” “The Vainglorious Simulacrum Of Mungha Sorcyllamia: A Weird Romance,” “Foreign Tongue,” “The Astonishing Secret Of The King Of The Cats,” “Zombies Are Forever,” “Silky, Slinky, Fabulous – To Die For,” “The Prince Of Dreadful Magick,” “Why Cosmo Used To Wear A Lab Smock Every Halloween,” “The Nightmare Quadrant: The Legacy Of Alphonse Sweetwater-DuBois,” and many more.

McLaughlin is the author of HIDEOUS FACES, BEAUTIFUL SKULLS and BEST LITTLE WITCH-HOUSE IN ARKHAM, among other horror collections. With Michael Sheehan, Jr., he has co-authored the Lovecraftian paperbacks, THE HOUSE OF THE OCELOT and HORRORS & ABOMINATIONS, as well as the Kindle collections, THE ABOMINATIONS OF NEPHREN-KA, THE HORROR IN THE WATER TOWER, THE BLASPHEMY IN THE CANOPIC JAR, SHOGGOTH APOCALYPSE, THE RELIC IN THE EGYPTIAN GALLERY, THE CREATURE IN THE WAXWORKS, THE TESTAMENT OF CTHULHU, and STAINLESS STEEL SARCOPHAGUS.

 

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At The Mustache Of Madness: Revisiting “The Dunwich Horror”

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by Mark McLaughlin

It can’t be easy, trying to make a movie out of an H.P. Lovecraft story.

If you’re a fan of his work, you might wonder why there aren’t more Lovecraftian movies. After all, his stories are all so thrilling and imaginative….

But, there are some technical issues to consider. Personally, I delight in everything that Lovecraft ever wrote, but I do realize he was writing for the printed page – not the big screen.

For one thing, most of his stories feature hybrid deities whose bizarre forms could easily confuse movie viewers. People who aren’t familiar with these creatures might think, “What’s the deal with that big fat lizard-guy with the tentacle-beard and bat-wings? Is he a demon, an alien, a mutant, a deep-sea creature or what? Why is he always asleep at the bottom of the ocean? What’s so scary about that?”

Lovecraft’s creatures carry a considerable amount of back-story, which can be imparted in a story with relative ease. But it can be tricky, trying to convey all that exposition in a movie. I suppose you could give the hero an assistant who asks a lot of questions, like any one of Dr. Who’s companions. Still, that can get tiresome before long.

How do you casually explain, on-screen, the basics of a character as wildly convoluted as Nyarlathotep? “Well, you see, he’s sort of a shape-changing demon from another dimension. He’s known as the Crawling Chaos, though I’ve never seen him crawling around. When he visits Earth, he likes to dress up as a young Egyptian pharaoh. No one really knows why.”

Also, Lovecraft’s deities/creatures are often divided up into groups that don’t sound all that different. There are the Great Ones, the Outer Gods, the Great Old Ones, the Elder Gods, and the Elder Things. Okay, most of them are really old and/or great … yeah, we get it. The real question is, who gave these groups those names? They sure didn’t name themselves. For example, the Elder Things were huge, winged aliens with heads shaped like starfish. They would’ve been more likely to call themselves the Huge Things, the Winged Things, or the Starfish-Headed Things, instead of just referring to how long they’ve been around.

American International Pictures released the Lovecraft tale, “The Dunwich Horror,” as a movie back in 1970, and it’s clear they had to make a lot of hard decisions about how closely they would adhere to the original plot.

In the written story, the lead character, Wilbur Whateley, was the hybrid son of a human woman and the cosmic entity Yog-Sothoth. Wilbur was a freakishly tall, misshapen humanoid with a riotous conglomeration of unearthly limbs and organs. Obviously that would have been an expensive challenge for the production company’s make-up department.

That’s probably why they hired a handsome hunk, Dean Stockwell, for the part … that, and the fact that he was far more visually appealing than some transdimensional body-part casserole. Of course, they did want him to look somewhat sinister, so they gave him a sinister mustache. It really was an awesomely thick mustache … a veritable mustache of madness. I suspect they also made his hair curlier, and his eyebrows bushier, to make him look randy and satyresque.

The original story didn’t have a romantic interest, which is no surprise to Lovecraft readers. Fiction-wise, romance was not Lovecraft’s strong suit. Love – and women, for that matter –  rarely figured into any of his plots. That must be why Sandra Dee was brought into the film. A nationally released movie without an element of romance isn’t going to get very far.

The print version of “The Dunwich Horror” made readers wonder whether or not ancient monstrosities would take over the Earth and destroy humanity. The movie version made viewers wonder whether or not Nancy, the perky coed played by Sandra Dee, would finally lose her virginity to Arkham’s handsome mystic outcast.

One of my favorite moments in the movie comes shortly after the distinguished Dr. Armitage asks Nancy, who helps out in Miskatonic University’s library, to take care in putting away the priceless Necronomicon. Nancy agrees, but in no time at all, she allows Wilbur Whateley to browse through the ancient grimoire because he has “great eyes.” I’m glad she’s not in charge of national security….

Later, in the movie’s saucy ritual scenes, one cannot help but notice that Wilbur has propped up the Necronomicon on Nancy’s luscious body. At one point, he even has to part her legs a bit to get a better look at … the book, presumably.

We’re entering spoiler territory now, so please, don’t read on if you plan on watching the movie and would like to be surprised.

Certainly the movie’s most dramatic scene is when Wilbur and Dr. Armitage have their final face-off at the pagan altar site. Out of the blue, they begin to jabber occult phrases at each other that sound like words being hollered backwards. Apparently, the good doctor is better at jabbering, and has learned a higher quality of backward buzzwords. His occult cries cause Wilbur to burst into flames, and the defeated lad falls screaming off a nearby cliff.

At that moment, Wilbur’s supernatural, snake-tressed twin brother decides to make the scene. But by then, Wilbur has perished, the magic has dissipated, so the twin must depart for some Yog-Sothothian limbo. I was hoping that the twin would look like a giant mustache, composed of thousands of slender tentacles, but I suppose such an expensive effect would have been beyond the production’s budget.

Will there ever come a day when Lovecraftian movies are as popular as superhero movies? Probably not. Like I said: For most viewers, they’d require too much explanation. Lovecraft’s fictional world is filled with otherworldly concepts and pseudo-scientific mysteries, and that’s the way it should be. He wished to generate a profound sense of cosmic awe, leaving readers with more questions than mere words could ever answer.

The movie “The Dunwich Horror” is certainly enjoyable, but it doesn’t capture the dark, brooding brilliance of Lovecraft’s story. At least it presents many of the written tale’s marvelous concepts and inventive plot points … and really, that’s good enough. Hopefully, many of the folks who have seen the movie have found and enjoyed the source material, ushering new devotees into Lovecraft’s literary domain.

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THE HOUSE OF THE OCELOT & More Lovecraftian Nightmares

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THE HOUSE OF THE OCELOT & More Lovecraftian Nightmares by Mark McLaughlin & Michael Sheehan, Jr.
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1795518367/
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1795518367/

THE HOUSE OF THE OCELOT presents tales of Lovecraftian fantasy and horror, as well as an epic poem regarding the return of Nyarlathotep to the modern world. Most of these adventures have only been available so far on Kindle. This paperback collection is a companion volume to HORRORS & ABOMINATIONS: 24 TALES OF THE CTHULHU MYTHOS, and has been released for readers who prefer holding books, as opposed to devices.

Stories in this collection include “The House Of The Ocelot,” “Queen Of The Vultures,” “The Foul One Lives To Destroy: A Tale Of The Dreamlands,” “Shoggoth Apocalypse,” “The Glorious Return Of Herbert West,” “The Last Witch-House,” “Stainless Steel Sarcophagus,” and many more.

The collection also includes the epic poem, “The Arrival Of Our New Master: A Lovecraftian Armageddon.” People believe that Caliban Storm, son of wealthy Bernard Storm, offers the wisdom and guidance that the world has needed for so long. But in truth, there is something very wrong with handsome young Caliban. He is in fact an avatar of Nyarlathotep, a malevolent deity also known as the Crawling Chaos. Caliban Storm presents the world with a series of amazing technological advances as he rises in power. But, each advance comes with monstrous surprises, and it soon becomes apparent that Caliban has a nightmare agenda in store for the Earth….

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An Excerpt From HORRORS & ABOMINATIONS: 24 Tales Of The Cthulhu Mythos

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*** NEW PAPERBACK RELEASE ***
HORRORS & ABOMINATIONS: 24 Tales Of The Cthulhu Mythos by Mark McLaughlin & Michael Sheehan, Jr.
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1791560520/
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1791560520/
Below is an excerpt from “The Thing From Beyond The Living Door” – one of the many tales in this paperback collection:

I asked Caspar about the scuttering sound and was surprised to learn that he’d actually witnessed its source. He hadn’t mentioned it to anyone because the whole incident was so outlandish, he’d figured that no one would believe him.

Shortly after midnight on a Saturday, he’d happened to be awake, watching a late movie with the sound turned down so it wouldn’t disturb other tenants. It was then that he heard the sound in the hallway. It only took a moment to cross to the door and open it.

He looked down the hall and there he saw it – a nimble, hideous thing, at least five feet long and three feet high. Caspar said that it looked like a starfish with seven legs, covered with black-velvet fur. It moved by running on the tips of its limbs, with its body held up in the air. On the top of its body, at the root of each limb, were flexible stalks that ended in glistening, spiderlike eyes, as red as rubies. He added that he could not see a mouth anywhere on the creature’s bizarre body.

The thing did not seem to notice him as it scuttered quickly down the hall. Caspar went back inside his room, but afterward, he wished he had followed to see where it was going.

“I have no idea what a thing like that could be,” I said. “It sounds like a weird cross between a land mammal and a sea-creature, but such a thing just doesn’t exist.”

“I know. It’s just impossible! I wouldn’t have told you about it if you hadn’t asked me about that noise.” Caspar shrugged. “I suppose it was all a dream. But still, can you smell things in a dream? That thing was close enough for me to smell it. Like ammonia.”

“Sometimes I smell ammonia in the halls,” I said. “I just assume Mrs. Veng has been doing some scrubbing.” I thought for a moment. “Can you show me where it might have gone after it ran off?”

 

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Horrors & Abominations: 24 Tales Of The Cthulhu Mythos

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NEW PAPERBACK RELEASE:
HORRORS & ABOMINATIONS: 24 Tales Of The Cthulhu Mythos
by Mark McLaughlin & Michael Sheehan, Jr.
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1791560520/

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1791560520/

Enter a midnight world of grotesque creatures and ancient deities from nightmare dimensions. HORRORS & ABOMINATIONS by Mark McLaughlin and Michael Sheehan, Jr. presents 24 stories of Lovecraftian fantasy and horror.

Learn the unholy secrets of such malevolent beings as Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlathotep, Azalareon, Mother Hydra, the King in Yellow, and Yagdolak. Discover the evil activities of the Tillinghast and Delapore families … wicked Mrs. Veng and her horrendous tenant, Dr. Brandywine … and the unspeakable, mutated son of King Tutankhamun.

Stories in this collection include “Deathless Bride Of The Crawling Chaos,” “The Abominations Of Nephren-Ka,” “Coins From Y’ha-nthlei,” “The Blasphemy In The Canopic Jar,” “The Curse Of The Tillinghasts,” “The Colossus In The Catacombs,” “The Nightmare In Delapore Tower,” “The Thing From Beyond The Living Door,” “The Gateway To Carcosa,” “The Testament Of Cthulhu” and many more.

These stories represent many of the writing duo’s most unearthly Cthulhu Mythos tales. So far, the majority of these stories have only been available on Kindle. HORRORS & ABOMINATIONS has been released for readers who prefer paperbacks. These stories were selected from seven Kindle collections previously released by McLaughlin and Sheehan: THE TESTAMENT OF CTHULHU, THE CREATURE IN THE WAXWORKS, THE RELIC IN THE EGYPTIAN GALLERY, SHOGGOTH APOCALYPSE, THE BLASPHEMY IN THE CANOPIC JAR, THE HORROR IN THE WATER TOWER, and THE ABOMINATIONS OF NEPHREN-KA.

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LOVECRAFTIAN MONSTROSITIES & ANCIENT EGYPTIAN HORRORS

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Lovecraftian Kindle Collections by Mark McLaughlin & Michael Sheehan, Jr.:

THE ABOMINATIONS OF NEPHREN-KA & Three More Tales Of The Cthulhu Mythos:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B015KCOYPE/
THE ARRIVAL OF OUR NEW MASTER: A Lovecraftian Armageddon:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H2QGQFG/
THE BLASPHEMY IN THE CANOPIC JAR & More Tales Of The Cthulhu Mythos:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M08J985/
THE CREATURE IN THE WAXWORKS: Tales Of Weird & Lovecraftian Horror:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07696HR14/
THE HORROR IN THE WATER TOWER & Five More Tales Of The Cthulhu Mythos:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DIHNRRE/
THE RELIC IN THE EGYPTIAN GALLERY & More Tales Of The Cthulhu Mythos:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071KK5B5Q/
SHOGGOTH APOCALYPSE & More Tales Of The Cthulhu Mythos:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N6VSKKW/
STAINLESS STEEL SARCOPHAGUS: Tales Of Lovecraftian Fantasy & Horror:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KXBTBQ7/
THE TESTAMENT OF CTHULHU: Tales Of Weird Fantasy & Horror:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DBX631N/

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STAINLESS STEEL SARCOPHAGUS: Tales Of Lovecraftian Fantasy & Horror

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STAINLESS STEEL SARCOPHAGUS: Tales Of Lovecraftian Fantasy & Horror
by Mark McLaughlin & Michael Sheehan, Jr. FREE on Kindle Unlimited:
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KXBTBQ7/
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07KXBTBQ7/

STAINLESS STEEL SARCOPHAGUS presents seven Cthulhu Mythos tales of horror and dark fantasy. In the title story, a work of modern art known as the Stainless Steel Sarcophagus unleashes a grotesque ancient Egyptian menace upon the employees of a luxury department store.

Several tales in this collection concern beings from the Lovecraftian Dreamlands and their disturbing interactions with the waking world. In “The House Of The Ocelot,” a curious barista enters a strange building in his neighborhood and encounters a hidden race of cat-creatures.

“The Dollmaker’s Vengeance” tells of a witch who uses a threat from the waking world to gain power in the Dreamlands. In “Queen Of The Vultures,” two magic gentlemen from the Dreamlands seek the Egyptian vulture-goddess Nekhbet, who hides in plain sight in an urban community. Three more stories present eldritch parodies, including the tale of a hideous atrocity who goes to work as a movie monster.

Mark McLaughlin is the author of BEST LITTLE WITCH-HOUSE IN ARKHAM and the Lovecraftian epic poem, THE ARRIVAL OF OUR NEW MASTER. Michael Sheehan, Jr. has co-authored THE ABOMINATIONS OF NEPHREN-KA, THE HORROR IN THE WATER TOWER, THE BLASPHEMY IN THE CANOPIC JAR, SHOGGOTH APOCALYPSE, THE RELIC IN THE EGYPTIAN GALLERY, THE CREATURE IN THE WAXWORKS, and THE TESTAMENT OF CTHULHU with McLaughlin.

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