Archive for September, 2018

August Derleth’s “The Drifting Snow” (1939)

Posted in Arkham House, August Derleth, Not Long for This World (1948), The Drifting Snow, Vampire Fiction, Vampire Tales [Marvel Monster Group], Volume 2, Weird Tales with tags , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2018 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Fangs: The Vampire Archives Vol. 2 [2010,Vintage Crime/Black Lizard]

Flipping through the pages of Fangs: The Vampire Archives, Volume 2, I found and re-read The Drifting Snow by August Derleth. Initially published in the February 1939 issue of Weird Tales, it is one of his most popular supernatural tales and has been anthologized many times; it may also be found in his 1948 Arkham House collection, Not Long for This World. The basic idea is an elderly matron is visited by her relatives at her cabin in the Wisconsin woodland. A snowstorm is brewing and the younger family members are feeling antsy and they believe old aunt Mary has gone off her head because she wants the curtains drawn on the window leading out front. Mary has her reasons, which she eventually divulges, she believes her husband was killed by a revenant that he unintentionally created and that they both come back to lure others to their doom when they see their ghosts in the drifting snow (hence the title).
Not Long for this World_1948_Arkham House
It’s supposed to be a vampire tale, but I don’t think it works as such because the initial revenant, a former servant from their household whom old Henry had turned out of the house on a similarly snowy night, after he caught her sleeping with his son, has no reason to be a vampire; she wasn’t a suicide, she wasn’t bitten by a vampire, and she wasn’t involved in any deviltry before she died of alleged exposure. If anything, she might have been a sad or even vengeful ghost, but a vampire is stretching it. Also, Derleth gives away the vampire bit way too early and doesn’t back it up. The victims supposedly are found similarly dead from exposure, not drained of blood or youth, and the only tell-tale marks on their body are dainty little hand prints. After a decent build up, Derleth rushes to an end that just doesn’t hold up. I am surprised that it is as celebrated a tale as it is.

Climactic scene from the Vampire Tales 1974 adaptation of August Derleth’s The Drifting Snow.

In 1974 Marvel Comics did an adaptation for their Vampire Tales comic, and even they had to jazz it up a bit because it wasn’t vampire-y enough.

Update 09/27/2018

Posted in Black Hymeneal, Chapbooks, Dick Kelly, Krampus, Morbidezza, Thalía, Thérèse Lavery, The Grimoire of the Dark Young, Updates with tags , , , , , , , on September 27, 2018 by Manuel Paul Arenas

This past weekend I helped celebrate my cousin Jason’s birthday by giving him a little chapbook I created at Kinkos featuring Thalía and Morbidezza, since he is a big vampire aficionado. I was surprised at how easy it was to make and, although not exactly cheap, it wasn’t that expensive either. I think I might use their services to make chapbooks for both The Grimoire of the Dark Young and Black Hymeneal. It’s not quite the look I wanted, but to just get them out into the world as well as fulfill my promise to the people who donated to my cause back in 2014, I think it will work. If those come out okay I may make one for Nativity in Black since my friend, artist Thérèse Lavery, did a lovely illustration for it over the summer.

I am still working with my buddy artist Dick Kelly on a chapbook of my Krampus poem. He has been working diligently on the illustrations and sending me photos of his progress and giving me art samples whenever we meet up. I hope to have it in time for the 2018 holiday season.


Update 09/25/2018

Posted in Ashley Dioses, Carmilla, Edgar Allan Poe, Ernst Raupach, Eye To the Telescope, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, Ligeia, M.R. James, Montague Summers, Morbidezza, Obediah Baird, S.T. Joshi, Spectral Realms, The Audient Void, The Baleful Beldam, Updates, Vampire Fiction, Volume 3, Wailing Well, Weird Verse with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2018 by Manuel Paul Arenas

This morning, I logged on briefly to my email to find a message from Ashley Dioses saying that although it made it to the 2nd round, The Baleful Beldam did not make it to the final round for the Witch issue of Eye To the Telescope. She did however suggest that I send it on to Obediah Baird at The Audient Void and tell him she sent me. I did as she said and thanked her for her help. If Mr. Baird doesn’t take it, perhaps S.T. Joshi will accept it for Spectral Realms.

Coffins: The Vampire Archives, Volume 3 [2010, Vintage Crime/Black Lizard]

In other news, I stumbled across my copy of Coffins: The Vampire Archives, Volume 3 in my room and decided to peruse the pages. I found an M.R. James tale I hadn’t read before called Wailing Well. Like Count Magnus, it contains a fiend (or in this case fiends) which are vaguely vampiric in nature. Although I wouldn’t count it among his very best works (which is probably why I hadn’t come across it before) it was definitely a creepy fun read and it was nice to see something new (to me at least) by the master of the modern English ghost story.

Wailing Well [Frontispiece, number 137 of 157 copies, Stanford Dingley, The Mill House Press, 1928]

After reading the James story, I decided to dive into Edgar Allan Poe’s Liegia, which I hadn’t read in quite some time. About half way through it dawned on me that my Morbidezza is heavily influenced by Poe. I know this should come as no surprise, as Ol’ Edgar’s shadow looms largely over my creative output, but when I wrote Morbidezza I was only consciously thinking of the old accounts I’d read in Montague Summers’ series of books on historical vampirism and the earlier literary vampire tales like Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla or Wake Not the Dead by Ernst Raupach, but it has all the elements of a classic Poe tale: a historical setting with a moribund mistress, a besotted suitor, and implied necrophilia, all told in a little over 700 words in a baroque style using archaic language and arcane references. How I did not see it before, I don’t know. Either way, I think it’s one of the best things I’ve written thus far and I cannot wait to see the reaction from the Spectral Realms readership when issue #10 becomes available in March.

Update 09-16-2018: Thalía

Posted in terza rima, Thalía, Updates with tags , , on September 16, 2018 by Manuel Paul Arenas

I was cleaning up some of the clutter in my room when, rummaging through an old cardboard box, I found a notebook open to the first page, that had the original manuscript for my poem Thalía, which will be in the Summer 2018 issue (#9) of Spectral Realms. If you look closely, I have the terza rima rhyme scheme in the margins to keep track of what goes where. The writing in ink was the stuff I had initially come up with and the pencil writing was what I added afterward.

Working manuscript for Thalía.

Cover Art for Spectral Realms #9

Posted in Chiron’s Burden - Pleiades Children, Hippocampus Press, Kim Bo Yung, Spectral Realms with tags , , , on September 12, 2018 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Hippocampus Press has posted a picture of the draft for the cover art to Spectral Realms #9. Featured below, it is “Chiron’s Burden – Pleiades Children” by artist Kim Bo Yung. I cannot wait to receive my contributor’s copy and will post pictures whenever I do.

“Chiron’s Burden – Pleiades Children” by Kim Bo Yung.


Update 09/09/2018

Posted in Gothic Prose, Morbidezza, Prose Poetry, S.T. Joshi, Spectral Realms, Updates with tags , , , , , on September 9, 2018 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Well it seems that Morbidezza shall be appearing in Spectral Realms #10! S.T. Joshi said of it in his response to my email,

“”Morbidezza” is a superb prose-poem, full of deft use of arcane language–and I’d love to print it in SPECTRAL REALMS #10. Thanks for sending it along!”

I couldn’t be more thrilled! This gives me the courage to continue with my werewolf piece, “Rosaire”.

Joseph Payne Brennan’s “Slime” (1953)

Posted in Alfred Hitchcock's Monster Museum, Joseph Payne Brennan, Slime (1953), Weird Tales with tags , , , on September 7, 2018 by Manuel Paul Arenas

I was picking through the stacks of books strewn around my room when I grabbed up my copy of Alfred Hitchcock’s Monster Museum. I had gotten it as a gift a while back but it’s clunky, wasn’t in the best shape, and I am trying to thin out my clutter for an upcoming move, so I was looking to possibly sell it. Before doing that however, I decided to look through it’s table of contents to see if there was anything I needed to read first. To my surprise, one of the first tales listed is Joseph Payne Brennan’s “Slime”, which I’d been meaning to read for quite sometime and somehow didn’t realize I’d had it all along!

March 1953 issue of Weird Tales featuring the story “Slime” by Joseph Payne Brennan.

First appearing in the March 1953 issue of Weird Tales, Slime is the precursor to all the crawling goop stories and films. Even though it wasn’t the basis for the Blob, I wonder if it perhaps wasn’t the inspiration for the story by Irving H. Millgate. I just really like the origin story and the description of it being sentient and truly a creature of darkness. The human characters are fleshed out enough to incur some sort of sympathy from the reader but not too much like a Stephen King story, where he gives you all the proclivities and history of a peripheral character I don’t want to give the story away, but the ending was satisfying, if not exactly spectacular. Even so, I think it would have made a marvelous episode on a show like Boris Karloff’s Thriller or a portmanteau film like the ones Amicus used to do back in the day. Perhaps some enterprising young indie director might see its potential and give it a whirl one of these days.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Monster Museum (1965, Random House)