Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Crossover Movie Poster: Explorers

A newspaper bears the headlines "Kingston Falls 'Riot' Still Unexplained" and "Homewood School Teacher Reported Missing." Among the items in a junkyard is a sled inscribed with the word "Rosebud." Kingston Falls is the setting of Explorers director Joe Dante’s film Gremlins, while the Homewood schoolteacher is Helen Foley from "It’s a Good Life," Dante’s segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie, based on the episode of the Twilight Zone  TV series of the same name, which in turn was based on Jerome Bixby's short story. In Dante's version of "It's a Good Life," Dick Miller appears as Walter Paisley, the character he originated in A Bucket of Blood and reprised in several other films, including Dante's The Howling, which is in the CU via the appearance of a character from Gremlins. Therefore, Dante's version of "It's a Good Life" is the one that is canon for the CU. In Orson Welles’ classic film Citizen Kane, Rosebud was the name on Charles Foster Kane’s sled as a child. Since Kane’s sled was tossed into an incinerator at the end of Citizen Kane, Rosebud must be a brand name, and the sled in the junkyard another of the company’s products.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Crossover Cover: Dark Hollow

Mid-list writer Adam Senft finds himself battling a malignant satyr, Hylinus, after it is summoned in the area of LeHorn’s Hollow and begins hypnotizing and raping the women of rural Pennsylvania. Senft once dated Becky Schrum. There is a reference to a group of deer hunters that died in a mysterious fire near the Hollow. Detective Hector Ramirez appears, and mentions his involvement in a strange bank robbery case two years earlier. Nelson LeHorn’s copy of the Daemonolateria plays a major role in the story, and LeHorn’s diary, written in 1985, states: “I’ve heard tell of a fellow down south, a Korean War vet. Folks call him Silver John. Walks the Appalachians with a silver-stringed guitar and works some really strong powwow. Hear tell he’s got a real nice singing voice, too. But I don’t think he’s ever made it this far north. Sticks below the Mason-Dixon. And there was an old Amish fella, but he passed on five years ago.” The diary also tells the fate of another occultist, Saul O’Connor, who was found dead covered in a strange fungus. Nodens and the rest of the Thirteen are mentioned. Becky Schrum is a minor character from Keene’s novel Ghoul. The fate of the deer hunters is revealed in Keene’s story “Red Wood,” which also marks the first appearance of LeHorn’s Hollow, a major setting in Keene’s work, including Ghost Walk, “Bunnies in August,” and “The Ghosts of Monsters.” Hector Ramirez and the strange bank robbery are from Keene’s novel Terminal. The Daemonolateria is a fictional book of magic that appears throughout Keene’s works. Nelson LeHorn, the original summoner of Hylinus, also appears in Keene’s short story “Stone Tears.” Although Keene’s Lovecraft references often seem at odds with other sources, and are thus only a tenuous link to the CU, the reference to Manly Wade Wellman’s wandering occult hero Silver John ties the main Keene-verse more solidly into the CU. The “old Amish fella” is Amos Stoltzfus, the father of Keene’s ex-Amish magus Levi Stoltzfus, who appears in Ghost Walk, A Gathering of Crows, “The Witching Tree,” and “Last of the Albatwitches.” The weird fungus is a creation of Behemoth of the Thirteen, and can be seen at work in an alternate universe in Keene’s Earthworm Gods trilogy. Nodens is neither the original Celtic deity nor the Elder God of the Cthulhu Mythos, but rather the greatest among the Thirteen, the main villains of Keene’s Labyrinth mythos.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Crossover of the Week

            The Spider (aka Richard Wentworth) battles dead men brought back as zombies by an Egyptian cult. When Nita Van Sloan expresses astonishment at the idea of resurrecting the deceased, Wentworth cites a monograph on the subject by a Dr. West who works at a university in New England, and also notes that Savage claims to have revived an Egyptian mummy using a process involving tana leaf extract; however, the tana plant is extinct, and Savage used the last known specimens of the extract for his experiment.
            Short story by Matthew Baugh in The Spider: Extreme Prejudice, Joe Gentile and Tommy Hancock, eds., Moonstone Books, 2013. This story explains how the Spider’s chauffeur and aide Ronald Jackson appeared alive and well in the pulp novel Reign of the Death Fiddler and later novels after his death in The Pain Emperor. Both of the aforementioned novels were published in 1935. Dr. West is the title character of H.P. Lovecraft’s “Herbert West—Reanimator.” The university West teaches at is Miskatonic University, which is featured prominently in Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Savage is Doc Savage, of course. Doc resurrected a mummy in the pulp novel Resurrection Day; however, both Philip José Farmer and Rick Lai’s Doc Savage chronologies place the events of that novel in 1936. Perhaps Doc resurrected a mummy in 1935 or earlier using the tana leaves, and turned to other methods when his supply ran out, leading to another mummy resurrection in 1936. Doc’s first revived mummy probably did not live very long. Tana leaves are from Universal Studios’ original cycle of Mummy films.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Crossover Cover: Cthulhu Unbound Volume 2

This Cthulhu Mythos anthology includes four stories with crossovers. In Douglas P. Wojtowicz's "The Hunters within the Corners," the masked vigilante Skaramine battles August Shorer, the last of Keziah Mason’s students and coven. Skaramine was mentored by an old man named Kent, who gave him his twin Colt .45s, and taught him how to heal his own wounds, change his appearance, blend into the shadows, and throw his laugh. Kent is said to have been "a shadow hunting shadows" in another era. Kent is Kent Allard, aka the Shadow. In Patrick Thomas' "Surely You Joust," Sir Dagonet, jester and Knight of the Round Table, and the mage Ganieda (Gani for short), Merlin’s twin sister, journey to the kingdom of Lyonese to recruit a knight of its court to join the knights of Camelot, but wind up nearly being sacrificed to Father Dagon. Sir Dagonet (aka the Infinite Jester) appears in Thomas’ Murphy’s Lore series and its spinoffs, which have already been incorporated into the CU, as you can see by clicking on  the Murphy's Lore label. In Mark Zirbel's "Santiago Contra el Culto de Cthulhu," the masked Mexican wrestler Santiago battles Cthulhu. Talking about the villains he encounters a regular basis, Santiago says, "One week, the great-great-great-grandson of Doctor Frankenstein is trying to steal my brain to turn his monster into the World Heavyweight Champion, the next week, some voodoo priestess wants to eat my heart in order to gain control of a legion of masked wrestler zombies." Santiago’s match with Cthulhu is rather tongue-in-cheek; he immediately defeats the Great Old One by punching him in the testicles. Therefore, it seems safe to say this story takes place in an AU. In "Nemo at R'lyeh" by crossover-loving author Joshua Reynolds, Captain Nemo and the crew of the Nautilus explore the resurfaced island of R’lyeh, and narrowly avoid an encounter with the dreaded Cthulhu himself. Robur is also mentioned.