Sunday, August 7, 2011

"The Vampire Flies" & "Head of Horror"

This post is for my pal, Professor Grewbeard, host of the terrific Magic Carpet Burn; simply because this sort of decadent, cheap pulp makes him happy as a puppy with a bone.

Continuing our evisceration of Terror Tales Vol. 5 No. 5, October 1973, we offer up two dripping stories from Oscar Fraga. First splayed fully on our stainless steel table is the gloriously named, "Vampire Flies," which really rings the bell on the crawling skin meter. Have you ever been walking in the woods on a hot day and felt flies buzzing near the moisture of your eyes? Your nose and mouth? Jesus, they won't go away! Your hands flap and slap around your face in spasms - as if your muscles were twitching violently on their own accord in some instinctive repulsion. Well . . . for a bit of the same sensation without the woods, enjoy this first story!

This is a Fraga redraw of "The Improved Kiss" (Weird Terror, 1953).

The second story is also an Oscar Fraga redraw, originally "Face of Horror" (Chamber of Chills, 1952). Table of Contents says: "A creature with a hideous face turns a forbidding mansion into a blood-spattered nightmare house." I love the lettering in this number. Everyone appears to be shouting!! like: "Good Evening, Richard!!"


KW said...

They squeeze in as much black or dark gray as possible to get it more dreary. That seems to be an important technique for horror comics. Before you even read the words, you already know it's gonna be creepy.

Mykal said...

KW: "They squeeze in as much black or dark gray as possible to get it more dreary."

That's especially true of Eerie Pub, who often put swaths of gray tone over a reprint (as well as blotches of black gore) - just to dreary it up!

prof. grewbeard said...

Eerie Pubs were like the black metal of horror comix, made to look as grim as possible. or rather, !!!

did you know Genghis Khan fathered so many children in so many places that a lot of us are actually sort of descended from him? that's what i heard anyway- the museum i worked at had an GK exhibit a couple of years ago...

prof. grewbeard said...

p.s. Mykal you're a sweetie!

Mykal said...

Prof.: My favorite bit of Kahn trivia is his vow that where ever his horde made war, no blade of grass would ever grow again. Not a man of subtlety!

TwoFistedMark said...


There it is. One of my Eerie pubs all
time fave's. Nothing like a warm,
fuzzy story about the Mongol horde,
yessss! Cheer's for the post,knew
you would find that.

Mykal said...

TwoFistedMark: I like the historical aspect of this one, too. Plus, Vampire Flies! What a concept!

Matthew Coniam said...

Vampire Flies!
Just the title shows how exactly in tune with the marketplace these guys were.
I picture myself as a boy, coming across a magazine with a story called The Vampire Flies in it... I wouldn't be able to think of anything else for weeks. I probably wouldn't have been allowed to buy it, which would have just set my imagination working even more.

That picture of Hitler on the first page looks nothing like the man whatsoever. Do you think they just got a drawing of some guy - and a pretty handsome one at that - and just drew on a tache and that famous parting? That's certainly how it looks to me.

Still having loads of fun making my way through the Mike Howlett book. Didn't realise Fass published on so many other subjects, but always with so shrewd an eye for the denominator. I love those shark attack ones ("The marvel of sex and murder... Orgies of agony on living human flesh!") And that bear attack composite True or False cover on page 29 belongs in a frame!

Mykal said...

Matthew! My guess about the poor portrait of Hitler is that the artist, Oscar Fraga, just wasn't that good at drawing caricature - but I could be wrong - that one's really, really bad. I'm so glad you got Mike's book! It's the best.

Yeah, Fass was quite the fascinating character. I'm waiting for a full blown biography! I wonder if Mr. Howlett has considered it?

Daniel [] said...

Karswell has now reproduced “The Improved Kiss” (noted by you as the source for “The Vampire Files”) at tHoIA.