Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Editorial March 2011 e-issue #21

By Nickolas Cook
The Black Glove Magazine

With a new release hitting the shelves in a proper way, I've been working my butt off making sure the edits were done, the actually publishing date was accurate, and trying to set up book signings for this HUGE release, the biggest I'm likely to ever enjoy in my writing career. So it's left me little time to write anything--fiction or non-fiction. It's ironic that getting published actually eats up most of the time you would put towards writing new material. But that's the way it works in the publishing industry. You are needed to keep on top of what most author's call "unproductive time"--meaning you ain't gonna be writing any new material during this time. It's going to be all work for the new work coming out.
But I have this little blog magazine that means a lot to me...and I presume to the over 8,000 people who read it every month (sometimes it's more, but that's the average). So I feel that we, the staff who works tirelessly each month to write content for free (like myself, they don't get paid, folks), have such a vast love for the horror genre that we want others to know that horror's history in books, film, music, comics and games is worth remembering. We love to talk about the thing that we feel such passion about.
One of the things that I always feel was a huge influence on me growing up in the 70s and 80s was horror on television.
Yes, for the most part, it was turgid and limp entertainment compared to what I could see on the big white screen at the local drive-ins, but there were times when TV had an edge on the drive-in. I know, I know...I talk a lot about the year 1979, but this was an important year for me as a little Horrorhead. There were some extraordinary things going on in the horror world that year, and those things helped me become the man I am today--for better or worse.

In 1979, CBS had a showing of Stephen King's "Salem's Lot", a book that revolutionized modern horror. King was simply continuing the tradition which Richard Matheson began with his quiet landmark horror novel, "I Am Legend" (1954), by bringing Gothic horror into the modern age, in essence creating the Urban horror novel, set in contemporary times, with creatures of the night usually reserved for the old Gothic stylings of Poe, Machen and Lovecraft.

With King's TV movie, the stage was set for a horror uprising. And, boy, did horror ever change from that point onward. 1979 was a HUGE year for horror, King being one of the reasons why this was such a big time for the genre. We will probably never see such an explosion of interest in the genre ever again. It's very doubtful those particular stars will ever align in such a way again. So be thankful, I guess, for that decade or so of horror love we got to enjoy.
But back to "Salem's Lot". It was Big Steve's 2nd novel to be published, written in 1975, following the huge print and cinematic success of his 1st novel, "Carrie". "Salem's Lot" was an incredible piece of writing...hell, it still is. I mean, it really holds up to the rigors of time. It's gory, frightening and revelatory all at once. His characters feel like honest to God real people, as most of his characters do. But there was such a bleakness to the novel that one must be prepared for the unhappy ending. King knows his strengths in writing and he's not afraid to let the unhappy ending be the ending we get. He doesn't follow the trends. And he knows we're all mostly miserable bastards and really crave seeing others suffer more than ourselves. Right? Of course, it's true. He knows it and he writes to that part of our human nature.

But back to the television film. It was directed by the then famous "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" director, Tobe Hooper, who would later go on to direct some other fantastic films, but also way too many shiity ones. But back then he was riding a huge wave of success in Hollywood and people were throwing projects and money at him left and right. His 4th film was King's "Salem's Lot". They were made for one another, of course. These two were roughly the same age and had much the same passion for horror. Hooper and King walked hand in hand into horror history with this TV film. Starring then mega-star on television David Soul and Hollywood classic actor, James Mason, this was one for the record books. To have someone like James Mason playing in a horror movie, even one for TV, meant horror had arrived for real.
It was originally 4 hours long, but was later shaved down to 2 hours for cable TV. Trust me, when I say the 4 hour version is a must.
This was back when TV had a strangely contradictory censoring guideline. Horror was sometimes very, very frightening on TV, but you weren't going to see any bouncing boobies with your scares, not like the drive-ins. But it was still scary enough to cause some nightmares.
Not now, of course. Things have changes drastically in the entertainment industry, especially in television. TV now is scary for a whole different reason. It couldn't get any more brainless than what you find these days.
But back in 1979 there was still a chance you could get the crap scared out of you by a good made-for-TV horror flick.
This month I decided to post the entire movie in our editorial, so I could help remind Horrorheads why this movie was such an important production and addition to the genre. Presented below in 19 10-minute segments from YouTube, enjoy it...


Salem's Lot (1979) Part 1

Salem's Lot (1979) Part 2

Salem's Lot (1979) Part 3

Salem's Lot (1979) Part 4

Salem's Lot (1979) Part 5

Salem's Lot (1979) Part 6

Salem's Lot (1979) Part 7

Salem's Lot (1979) Part 8

Salem's Lot (1979) Part 9

Salem's Lot (1979) Part 10

Salem's Lot (1979) Part 11

Salem's Lot (1979) Part 12

Salem's Lot (1979) Part 13

Salem's Lot (1979) Part 14

Salem's Lot (1979) Part 15

Salem's Lot (1979) Part 16

Salem's Lot (1979) Part 17

Salem's Lot (1979) Part 18

Salem's Lot (1979) Part 19

--Nickolas Cook
The Black Glove Magazine