Friday, December 4, 2009

Fear and Loathing In Horror #2: The Convention (or the horror, the horror)

Written by Dario Del Toro

(Note from the editors: The following report was transcribed from an MP3 file we received from our reporter in the field. Please be aware The Black Glove does not necessarily share Mr. Del Toro’s opinions or views, and we do advocate any social, political, mental, physical or emotional suggestions he may infer. Also, please be aware some of the verbiage and links he uses are NOT work safe. Read and/or click at your own risk.)

Somewhere on a boat on a river in a faraway land:

Christ! Is this fucking thing on?
Good. Finally. Rotten piece of foreign junk. I hate these new digital bastards. I need to see the fucking wheels rolling round to know what’s what. Hell, there were days seeing them spin was the only thing that kept me from sliding off the edge of the planet, falling, gibbering into deep space. Those wheels, goddamn it, kept me sane and grounded, even through the worst trips of my life.
Spinn’ wheel gotta go round, as the old Blood, Sweat and Tears song goes.

My wheels are spinning tonight…
I’m knee deep in the shit way out here in Yian. Those fucking silver bells are about to drive me crazy. How the fuck can the natives listen to this all the time?

Why Yian? Following up on a hot lead to find a reclusive horror author for an interview. Cook convinced me this was beneficial to my career as a journalist. Don’t know why I listen to that asshole. So far, all I’ve got to show for my time here is a waterlogged backpack, less than half a bottle of bourbon, and mosquito bites the size of dimes!

I’m told this is a sacred place. That many men seeking wisdom have come here. I’m told that a man can easily disappear in a place like this, this paradisiacal land of sunshine and water.
The man I’ve been sent to find is such a man.

According to the reports given to me by The Black Glove’s research team

our man decided he’d had enough of the backbiting small press world and took a long hike to Yian, seeking knowledge and wisdom.
I don’t why he bothered. Al he really needed to do was hitch onto any one of the hundreds of horror message boards and he’d get all the instant wisdom and knowledge he’d ever need. Christ! Those things seem to be filled to the brim with people so much smarter than the average person.
But back to our man…he’s been an elusive son of a bitch so far. I’m pretty sure he’s onto me. He keeps ducking and dodging into one temple or another, in an effort to keep some distance between us. But if my well lubricated sources are correct, tonight is the night I finally catch up to him. He’s gone to the one place he can never hope to hide from me. That’s right, a small press horror convention.
But these days, really, any horror convention by necessity is a small press horror convention. The big boys won’t touch us with a ten foot pole, in most cases. At least they don’t make much of showing at the yearly horror events nowadays.
But small press doesn’t pay all that much. The economy seems to have made a few dents in the old warhorse of small press. Well, that and the fact that anyone with a computer and some startup capital can call himself a small press publisher and start pumping out some of the most atrocious excuses for writing ever seen by man.
Don’t believe me? Check out some of the absolute tragic excuses for originality and forward thinking these people have the audacity to call literature. Go Google horror new releases. And then do yourself a favor, backtrack the authors to the press owners. You’ll find in too many cases that they are one in the same. This is just the old chap book syndrome all over again, only with the modern accoutrements of bytes and web sites. Sure is easier to fool people into thinking they're getting something great when they’re online than when they’re standing in front of you at a bookstore and they can see the obvious lack of professionalism and vision, in essence, the con job you're using to part them from their hard earned cash.
But I saw it posted recently on a certain well known message board for horror geeks that perhaps fans don’t want originality and style, that they actually prefer the mundane and comfortable, that the supposed majority of horror fans who are screaming for such things, are actually the minority.
By God, Waggoner, if that’s true, then what’s the use in trying to keep the genre alive? Who wants to wallow in pig shit all day and call it roses?
Not me, baby.
I’ve got too many books from the past to catch up on to waste my time with lackluster writing and style-less shit.
My guide, a former Cold War spy named Amelionko, says the place is near. Maybe it is. I can certainly feel a certain heaviness to the air that wasn’t there before. A sort of electric potential, warning me away.

This interview better be worth it.
Cook! You bastard son of a bitch! I hope someone injects you with Swine Flue, you fucker!
Where was I?
Small press horror in the modern age, that’s right.
Now I’m not saying all small press horror is run by tasteless, talentless, gibbering monkeys that couldn’t tell a decent MS from a cow’s asshole, but the majority have certainly taken to eating their own tails (tales?) in some tragic winding down act like the Ouroboros Wurm.

They have brought about, in effect, the same sort of self perpetuating death of style seen on a larger scale by the bigger houses at the tail end of the 80s.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some beautiful fucking examples of great horror writing that do come out of the small press world. But they are too often overwhelmed by their sluttier, toothless cousins, brought low by the editorial equivalent of crackheads trying to put together a ten storey tall skyscraper with only one good eye and eight fucked up fingers. They just don’t have the genre background or the basic horror education required to do it right. These are, boys and girls, essential fucking tools to call yourself an editor. You MUST read everything. You MUST teach yourself the basic rules of grammar and style. You must do these things because, by calling yourself an editor, you have taken on the mantle of expert in a field of diminishing returns when it comes to people actually taking the time to read what they write. Without this knowledge and attitude the whole thing is going to come crashing down around your complacent, oblivious Eloi ears, people.
(A loud noise, as of something heavy and metallic scraping nearby, is heard on the recording)
You son of a bitch! Drive, where you taking us? The blue bus? Where’s this God forsaken place?
It’s a temple, you Commie bastard! Whoever heard of a horror convention in a temple, you cretin?
(Here the transmission is to garbled to make out, with the exception of the words ‘lizard’ and ‘king’ which seem to connected in some esoteric way unknown to this editor)
And what in Zeus’ bolts am I supposed to do here?
(The sounds of stomping and muttering can be heard and then footfalls on leaves, as the noise of lapping water becomes more remote with the passing moments)
Holy Christ! This place smells like death.
No, you get the lead, you chickenshit bastard. This was your idea. I could’ve been in the swimming pool back at the hotel, drinking White Russians, listening to Jefferson Airplane.
What’s that noise?
(a rustling sound of brush can be heard)

Who are those fuckers?
You’re crazy, Amelionko, headhunters don’t wear name tags.
Unhand me, you swine bastards!
I’m here to see the great one.
(There are sounds of a struggle and some incoherent shouting)
I’m here for an interview, you clowns! Get your hands off me!
Bring me to the lost one…

(Editor’s Note: Our correspondent has not yet returned from Yian and does not reply to his emails or phone calls. If anyone knows of the whereabouts of Mr. Del Toro, please let him know to contact us about a lawsuit from lawyers from both Francis Ford Coppola and the surviving members of The Doors)