Archive for murder

Short Story: HER MASTERPIECE

Posted in Original Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2015 by smuckyproductions

I did this as a writing exercise, but ended up really liking the result. Let’s see if you guys think the same. 

HER MASTERPIECE

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            She knew he was watching, but she didn’t stop. Her palm skin had melted into the handle and her arm swung of its own volition. The burn of her muscles radiated to her mind and heated her thoughts so that she did not care about the eyes that had chained themselves onto the mess of a head beneath her. She knew he could hear the crunch more sharply than she, with the heat sizzling in her ears as it was, and she envied him for that. The sound of Mrs. Tergell’s breaking skull was the detail she had looked forward to the most.

With a blaring tang the blunt head of the hammer snapped off its mount and bounced into the air. She howled and ducked from it, but it clattered into the gutter a few feet away. When it settled and the street grew silent, her ears were still clogged with the muffled cries and squelches of impact. Several moments passed before she grew accustomed to the loathsome quiet. Then she turned to face the watching man, searing with rage. He, after all, had caused the hammer to break, and had cut her triumphant percussions cruelly short.

He stood where he had halted upon rounding the corner. When he had first appeared, his jaw had gone limp and his arms had dangled like severed puppet strings. She had expected him to scream or to faint, but he had remained upright, almost mocking her. The rage stemmed from this parody of her expectations. Now she faced him and wielded the jagged handle. He was meant to scream, plead, or piss himself. But he had not moved at all; only his expression had altered, pulling taut into a nearly lustful grin, cracking all the way up to his impossibly dark eyes.

“How wonderful,” he said.

The rage, so red and metallic before, sizzled into the steam of shock. Her thoughts produced no logical response – in fact, they had ceased altogether, chased out by the battering echo of his two words. She stared at him, dumbfounded.

Somehow managing to widen his grin, he extended a puppet arm – far too long – and pointed at the sticky pulp of Mrs. Tergell’s corpse. “What do you call it?” he exclaimed. “It’s marvelous! Brilliant!”

Her fingers lost all tension and the handle slipped through them. “Oh – I…” she stammered.

“No name, then? Even better – very mysterious,” he said. His legs began to quiver and he clapped rapidly. It seemed that he had begun to dance. “I’ll take it,” he shouted, pointing to the dark sky. “For one point five. No less. Or even two. Anything. Name your price.”

Understanding crested over her mind like a radiant dawn. She, too, could feel herself grinning. Beholding her masterpiece as a mother would her first, most angelic child, she said, “Two point five.”

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Films That Haunt Me: LES DIABOLIQUES

Posted in Films That Haunt Me with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2015 by smuckyproductions

It’s November now, a time for Halloween hangovers before the Christmas rush begins in full force. After the horror rush of October, some might think it’s time to calm down, watch some wholesome films, get away from the macabre. And some can never get away. For those in the latter group, I continue my discussion of the grotesque and the Gothic, starting off with the noir nightmare LES DIABOLIQUES.

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This gem of French cinema is often referred to as the alternative to “Psycho,” perhaps because Hitchcock and Henri-Georges Clouzot – the director of this film – engaged in a bidding war for the book rights. When one sees the film, this couldn’t make more sense. It’s a dark, psychological, power-play crime story about a brutal man and two women – one his wife, the other his mistress – who conspire to get him out of their lives once and for all. Which they do. But what if he’s not done with them yet?

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So, yes, it sounds like a noir-thriller… until things start to happen. I can’t say what those things are, but just thinking about them horrifies me. Something about classic horror and bathtubs, man. But this is a film that brilliantly combines two genres that often get mistaken for one another. There is the reality and logic of a crime-thriller – murder, cover-up, detective work – but then, out of the dark, comes the cloying nightmare of horror. The latter component has less screen time, to be sure, but it is certainly provides the most memorable scene. Suffice to say, this has one of the best shock endings of all time.

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Its unique atmosphere also sets it apart from most noir-thrillers, which tend to have seedy, hard-boiled tones. Even before the murder takes place, this one adopts a sodden, autumnal aura that might be more at home in a ghost story, full of rainy skies and ill-kept corridors. With the quiet Gothic-ness of the beginning, the horror does not feel out of place.

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And that aura of the uncanny only serves to support the quietly-building hints within the film that something is not right. This is a master-class of tension. The occurrences are minute, almost imperceptible, until it dawns on the viewer that they’re terrified. And that’s when things really begin to happen. The film is patient and trusts that it will achieve its effect – a confidence that is often missing from modern genre offerings, which are too hasty to grab a quick scare, rather than sustaining a mood of dread.

This film is a dream come true for lovers of classic cinema and horror fans alike – perfect for these damp November afternoons, when we need a chill to keep us warm. And perhaps a heart-stopping shock, too.

MINUTE MORBIDITIES #4 is up!

Posted in Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2015 by smuckyproductions

Greetings, ghouls – a new episode of MINUTE MORBIDITIES welcomes you this morning.

It’s called GARBAGE:

Take out the trash. And share the scare!