Ah summer….most people associate this time of year with barbeques, the beach and taking life slow, but for me summer always meant one thing. Non-stop horror!
Every summer vacation I would inundate myself with enough ghoulish entertainment to fill a hundred Halloweens! Long, hot August nights were spent in front of a roaring window fan, eagerly devouring Ghost Rider and Son of Satan comics, as flashes of heat lightning blazed in the distance and fireflies blinked like a host of demonic eyes across the midnight enrobed landscape. Occasionally a gust of wind would trespass through the rapidly spinning metallic blades, causing the tempo of the fan to increase, and my heart to skip a beat. Gingerly I’d make my way through the garishly colored lurid pages, trying my best to avoid touching the fragile newsprint with fingers wet with precipitation from my ever present glass of sticky sweet lemonade.
But tales of demonic bikers and hell spawned occultists weren’t the only companions that joined me on those long nights. Many trips to the local library provided a never-ending supply of tomes presenting to me a universe of crypto zoological wonders and phantasmagoric yarns of macabre deviltry. I’d tear through classics such as Dracula, Frankenstein and the writings of Poe and Lovecraft, then move bravely to tales of Mothman, Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil, and a myriad of other demons, ghouls and specters that could possibly be right outside my window, just waiting to drag me down to the abyss in a maelstrom of claws, teeth and fury!
And then there were the movies. If there’s one thing that our sleepy little town had in its favor was that we had an inordinate amount of outrageously stocked mom and pop video stores, that for some reason felt it was their civic duty to; 1. Carry every obscure horror film imaginable, and 2. Rent said films to a kid that in all truth had no business renting them! It started with slashers and splatter, and quickly escalated to a whirlwind of Italian shockers such as Suspiria and Zombi. As great as these video nasties were, nothing could take the place of Channel 45, upstate New York’s clearing house for every bizarre Bowery gorilla, Mexican wrestler or crazy kaiju film ever made and summer afforded me the time to try and catch every single one of them!
Perhaps I can inspire you to experience a mid-summer nightmare of your own. Throw on the window fan (who needs AC!), pour a tall glass of lemonade, and journey into the realms of the bizarre with a demented film or a spooky good read. If you are looking for a good place to start, may I humbly recommend my novella The House of Thirteen Doors? Its available now on Kindle for ninety-nine cents, and I guarantee a delightfully ghoulish time will be had by all!