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Frankenstein’s Monster, Mr. Hyde, and the Horrors of Science

For the past month, I have been diving into some of the Golden Age Horror films from the 1930s. Like most people, these are movies that have always been in the background of my cultural knowledge, but ones that I have never actually seen. I decided to change that this October, so I watched Dracula, Frankenstein, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Like a lot of older films, they can be slow and somewhat hokey at times. Since these were some of the first sound films ever produced, most of the actors came right from the stage to the screen, and it shows. As anyone who has been in acting knows, you have to overact on a stage production in a way that comes off as silly in a film, but since many of these actors were not used to the transition, a lot of the performances come off as overdone.

But none of that can suppress the genuinely great scenes in these films; indeed, they deserve the bone-chilling reputation that they have garnered over the decades. No one can ever forget Lugosi’s haunting performance as the title character of Dracula, Fredric March’s leering grin as Mr. Hyde, or Colin Clive’s electrifying screams of “It’s alive! It’s alive!” as the horrifying creature comes to life.

Caribbean Halloween Killing: A True Story

We never knew some things about my gentle Grandmother Loyd. She kept those things secret. Darkly secret. Black secret.

Halloween stories are ridiculous. And I say that as a man who has had probably four run-ins with ghosts, not including this one. But this all happened.

My earliest memory of her was of her sweet, loving face beaming at me when I was three and leaving with my friends to Trick or Treat down my suburban street in Austin. She wore a 1950s pleated sleeveless, collared dress and waved goodbye to me and said, with music light as a wind-chime in her voice, “I’ll see you again after you go around.” Only years later, after the unlikely deaths in Puerto Rico around our vacation home, her old home, did the prescience in those words strike me.

New Fiction for Halloween: The New Boss

A Halloween Short Story

Texas Governor George W. Bush has just touched down at Portland International Airport. The word is out on talk radio: Bush will hold a rally at Memorial Coliseum at 7 pm. Halloween in the year 2000 dawned with the eternal chance of showers that make a Portland fall forecast, and Kyle Waldenburg wonders why W is bothering. It’s common knowledge that the Rose City is the progressive capital of a state Bush has no chance of winning.

That doesn’t stop the Reagan Republican divorced father of two from rounding up his children, Lance and Lindsey, fifteen and nine respectively, after getting permission from ex-wife Kay to take them out of school early.

“You never want to miss a chance to see a president,” he’d told her.

“I’ll agree to this,” Kay had replied, “but God forbid that man should become the president.”

Gangster Town: The First 2 Chapters from Book 3 in the American Blackout Thriller Series

The action continues in Fred Tribuzzo’s action-packed adventure

Cricket was half awake, and her dream continued to play outside her bedroom window. Her father’s profile, head down, as he was thinking or getting ready to give an answer to her question soon morphed into her great-uncle Tommy, a young soldier returning from World War Two. Other faces appeared, dissolved, people she had known, loved, and lost.

She was filling her lungs with her first conscious breath when the face outside the window turned into a white leopard. The big, wide face peered at her peacefully, eyes warm on the surface yet streaming the vastness of nature.

She quickly lifted herself up on one arm, disturbing her husband’s sleep. The animal had to be on its hind legs.

Purchase Gangster Town here on Amazon. Also check out this sample from Pulse of the Goddess: American Blackout Book 1 and the opening chapters from book 2, Slaves Beneath the Stars.

Inside Quebec’s – and Canada’s – Replicant Culture

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 5: Dystopian Science Fiction

The doomed antiheroes Spawn (created by a Canadian) and Wolverine (who is Canadian) show that to separate from Canada carries with it a grave penalty, even the loss of one’s soul to Hell itself. And yet there is a region of Canada that has nevertheless flirted, dangerously closely, with separatism. I speak of course of La Belle Province – Quebec.

As this is a series on Canadian culture, I will not delve too deeply into Quebec’s history or politics. Any discussion of Quebec culture, however, must reference the year 1759 and the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, just outside modern-day Quebec City, where British forces established themselves as the sole power in what was then Canada.

An obscure and quite short battle in the much larger Seven Years War, this event created the pretext for French-speaking Canadians to view themselves as a conquered and colonized people. To this day, Quebecois display “Je Me Souviens” (I remember) on the license plates of their cars, and antipathy towards the English royal family is common throughout the province while the Queen remains (mostly) beloved everywhere else. This is the result of the Quiet Revolution, a cultural and religious shift two hundred years after the French defeat at the hands of the British. The Catholic Church may have lost most of its power, but a giant cross still stands atop Mount Royal and adorns the Quebec National Assembly, the provincial seat of power, and Quebecers curse each other with religious epithets (Tabarnak! Va a diable! Crisse!).

PreTeena: October 22 – October 28 2018

Sunday Comics!

You won’t want to miss these hilarious cartoons depicting the ups and downs of adolescence. Now each week’s strips will debut on Sundays as the lead strip of Liberty Island’s Sunday Comics feature. If you draw a comic and would like to have your work featured on Sundays, please contact us: [email protected] Check out Allison Barrows’ new PreTeena blog here.

Gray Skies & Hot Pink Sunset Colliding

*Submit your photographs of nature and the outdoor life to [email protected] to participate in this weekly feature exploring the natural world.*

New Poetry: The End of the Workday

A chorus of yelps
from the office towers
that scrape the sky,
from the buildings low,
barely dirt,
from everything, all…

Why We Would Be Able to Control Superpowers Relatively Quickly

Superpowers are a staple of comic books, science fiction and, occasionally, horror. The person may come into their abilities slowly before it becomes too hard to control and suppress. Or it shows up suddenly after an accident, a trigger event or hormones really kicking in. Whether you’re a fan of Marvel, DCU or series like Babylon 5, the solutions tend to be the same:

  • run and hide while being a danger to others
  • have your powers and work for the government
  • get locked in prison/reform school because people are afraid of your powers
  • external control

External control would be anything done to a person to limit or outright suppress their abilities. The telepathy suppression drug of Babylon 5 falls into this category. The hoods in “The Hoodmaker” short story could be worn by everyone else, but the Amazon version of the show reveals that wearing a hood provides silence for the telepath, too. More than one horror show has featured lobotomy of the psychic to silence the ability. A current young adult book took it one step farther, implanting devices into the brains of super-powered teens to suppress the ability.

The Greatest Conservative Films: The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Bonus: Why Not The Magnificent Seven (2016)?

Editor’s Note: In April of 2017 writer Eric M. Blake began a series at Western Free Press naming the “Greatest Conservative Films.” The introduction explaining the rules and indexing all films included in the series can be found here. Liberty Island will feature cross-posts of select essays from the series with the aim of encouraging discussion at this cross-roads of cinematic art with political ideology. (Click here to see the original essay. Check out the previously cross-posted entries on Jackie Brown, Captain America: The First AvengerCaptain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil WarUnforgivenHail, Caesar!, Apocalypse Now, Fight Club, Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice ULTIMATE EDITION, Wonder Woman, Kill BillGran Torino The Dark KnightThe Dark Knight Rises, and Blazing Saddles.) If you would like join this dialogue please contact us at submissions [@] libertyislandmag.com.

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