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mark mclaughlin


We're extremely proud to include Bram Stoker Award winner Mark McLaughlin's column Four-Letter Word Beginning with `F' as one of the features EXCLUSIVE to HORROR GARAGE!

Mark McLaughlin

Mark McLaughlin's fiction, nonfiction and poetry have appeared in more than 800 magazines, anthologies, newspapers, and websites, including Horror Garage, Doorways, Hungur, Cemetery Dance, Space & Time, The Black Gate, Galaxy, Writer's Digest, FilmFax, Dark Arts, Midnight Premieres, and two volumes each of The Best of the Rest, The Best of HorrorFind, and The Year's Best Horror Stories. Collections of his fiction include Pickman's Motel, Slime After Slime, Motivational Shrieker, At the Foothills of Frenzy (with Shane Ryan Staley and Brian Knight), and All Things Dark and Hideous (with Michael McCarty). Also, he is the co-author, with Rain Graves and David Niall Wilson, of the poetry collection The Gossamer Eye, which won a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Poetry. His most recent poetry collection, Phantasmapedia, was a finalist for the Stoker Award.

In September 2008, Delirium Books/Corrosion Press released Monster Behind the Wheel, a novel Mark wrote with collaborator Michael McCarty. In that same month, Skull Vines Press released Attack of the Two-Headed Poetry Monster, also co-written with Michael McCarty. These and other books can be ordered at www.horror-mall.com. Be sure to visit Mark online at www.myspace.com/monsterbook and


The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things...

Lewis Carroll's wacky sea-mammal chatted up a storm about a number of topics, but the one thing he didn't talk about was --


But you and I, we will make up for the walrus' conversational shortcomings.

Today's fear is the fear of looking back. Now, why should anyone be afraid to do that? Because it can bring back bad memories. Regrets. Or at a minimum, embarrassment. It isn't easy to look back -- and yet sometimes, like Lot's wife, you have to. You simply must.

Lot's wife should have resisted the urge (after all, we all know that too much salt can be bad for you), but you and I, we shall be brave. We shall conquer our fears and look back at some of fright cinema's most regrettable moments -- some funny, some sad, all utterly bizarre.

King of the Zombies (1941) is a tale of American special agents who crash land on a Caribbean island where a weird German doctor is turning folks into zombies. One of our American pals has a black valet who the movie's writers have weighted down with negative racial stereotypes. His eyes pop wide with cowardly fear at the slightest provocation. His every scene will make you wince.

One has to bear in mind that this movie was a product of its times. You'll find some racial stereotypes in a few H.P. Lovecraft stories from the 1920s and 1930s. Magazines of that era often featured unflattering racial stereotypes, like “yellow menace” tales about sinister Asians. Mind you, none of that is an excuse: just an explanation.

The Corpse Vanishes (1942) treats women as poorly as King of the Zombies treats its black cast members. In the middle of the night, a female reporter staying in a creepy old house is bothered by an insane imbecile – later, she witnesses his murder and finds some dead bodies tucked away in the basement of the house. When she reports these findings to her editor, he instantly dismisses her ordeal as ridiculous dreams. Apparently authoritative males in that fictional universe think women have such fragile minds, they simply can't tell dreams from reality.

The villain in the movie harvests young brides to keep his old, evil, crabby wife looking young. Most of the women in this not-so-Grand Guignol are either victims or witchlike crones. The reporter is a strong female character, but in the end, she gives up her career in journalism to become a stay-at-home wife. Considering that the man she marries is one of the guys who dismissed what she witnessed, I think she'd have been better off staying single.