In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.

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Pulp Appeal: John Carpenter’s They Live

Today I talk about one of my favorite cheesy 80s movies: They Live

Broadswords and Blasters

They LiveA pair of mysterious sunglasses, secret messages hiding in advertising, a weird religious cult preaching about the overthrow of a government, and aliens? That’s John Carpenter’s They Live at its core.

The film, starring former WWE superstar “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and character actor par excellence Keith David, is apparently loosely based on a 1960s short story called “Eight O’Clock in the Morning,” though I confess I wasn’t aware of this until doing research for this article. If you read the story, you can see where Carpenter cribbed the basic concept of aliens masquerading as humans in power, but the details in the film veer quite far from the source material.

Subliminal advertising had been discussed for decades by the time They Live came to theaters in 1988, but the idea of widespread messages hiding in mass media touched upon significant fears of 1980s America. Carpenter is no fan…

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Pulp Consumption: Jules de Grandin

Seabury Quinn’s Jules de Grandin – a racist French Sherlock Holmes living in New Jersey and investigating the occult.

Broadswords and Blasters

51721TMPfuL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Last month Horror on the Links, a collection of Seabury Quinn’s detective stories featuring Jules de Grandin, went on sale on Amazon for an amazingly low price. As a fan of Weird Tales and pulp fiction in general, of course I’d heard of Quinn, but his works are hard to find and have been out of print for awhile. The book starts with a little essay, as most of these collections do, which goes over the history of Quinn’s works and the rationale for why they’ve fallen out of favor while Howard and Lovecraft saw their fame grow. The fact is Quinn was more in demand at the time of the pulp heyday, and more of the magazine covers featured his works than either of his more famous contemporaries.

For those not familiar with the character, as I was not until reading this book, Jules de Grandin is a…

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Issue 6 is Now Available!

Issue 6 was just published and it has some great stories! Check out this summary and then go buy it. Support your indie publishers!

Broadswords and Blasters

Issue 6 is out now!

Broadswords and Blasters Issue 6: Pulp Magazine with Modern Sensibilities (Volume 2) by [Gomez, Matthew X., Walton, Robert, Rose, Rie Sheridan, Furman, Adam S., Hansson, Marcus, Cole, Catherine J., Graves, J.D., Mason, Jared]

Okay, so if all you do is follow the blog, you might think once a week articles on pulp (and pulp adjacent) properties might be all we do. Not the case though! We also put out a quarterly magazine, featuring at least seven stories of action and adventure and running the gamut of genres.

Issue 6 (currently available on Amazon in both digital and dead tree format), dropped this past Friday and features some of the best writing you can find anywhere.

“The Ogre’s Secret” by Robert Walton gets us kicked off in the right way with a nail biting mountain-climbing excursion. Definitely a different sort of Viking tale, but one that will have you holding your breath… and maybe laughing a bit as well.

“Marshal Marshall Meets the Mechanical Marauder” is an Old West Steampunk tale of a robber in search of one…

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Pulp Consumption: Playback

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RaymondChandler_Playback

Raymond Chandler is one of the foundational authors of noir. His Philip Marlowe is the quintessential hardboiled private investigator, a character Chandler rode until Marlowe seemed to become a pastiche of himself. This is not to say the acclaim Chandler derived in his career was unwarranted, but the pressure took its toll the author, and in his later years he became cantankerous and hard to work with, partly because he’d been taken advantage of (or so he felt) by the film industry and partly because he was a sour, curmudgeonly man. It didn’t help that he was also an alcoholic.

All of his novels, bar one, were filmed in one incarnation or another. The Big Sleep is the most famous as it established him on the pulp fiction scene, and the film version with Humphrey Bogart is as iconic as Bogart’s turn as Sam Spade, the PI creation of Dashiell…

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Pulp Consumption: Fletch

If you’ve seen Fletch, but never thought about it in the context of neo-noir pulp, then I urge you to read this, re-watch, and re-consider.

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Fletch DVD Cover This is the cover on my DVD. The original movie poster is much better.

We talk a lot about movies and tv shows here, and you might think we don’t read much pulp, but we do and are. Both Matt and I recently picked up a collection of Seabury Quinn’s Jules de Grandin stories and I bought a new collection of Hap and Leonard by Joe R. Lansdale (RIP the tv series after three seasons), so we’ll get back to written pulp in a week or two. However, I wanted to explain why so many of the Pulp Appeals and Consumptions seem focused on visual media.[1]

2018-06-22 This is a very young Geena Davis in only her second movie role.

In between the fall of the pulp greats and the rise of new pulp magazines in the last ten years, much of what we would consider to be pulp fiction…

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Pulp Appeal: The Green Hornet

Today I talk about another old time radio hero, The Green Hornet.

Broadswords and Blasters

greenhornet01

“The Green Hornet – He hunts the biggest of all game, the public officials that even the G-men cannot reach!” Thus starts the half-hour-long radio serial about a millionaire playboy with a crime-and-corruption fighting secret identity, The Green Hornet. The radio drama was created by George Trendle and Fran Striker, the same people behind The Lone Ranger, the Texas Ranger who was left for dead in the Wild West before striking it rich and turning that fortune into fighting crime. This connection explains why the main character, Britt Reid, claims The Lone Ranger as a relative, and why they also share similarities in backgrounds, ethos, and sidekicks. They are both rich, white do-gooders with minority bodyguards/sidekicks.

The Green Hornet (ABC) 1966-1967 Shown from left: Van Williams, Bruce LeeIn the fictional context of the character, Britt Reid is a newspaper publisher and former reporter[1] with tons of money from his inheritance–a silver mine. Chronically bored, he takes a trip to Asia…

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Pulp Appeal: Switchblade #4

Today Matt talks about Switchblade, a magazine of gritty crime fiction and poetry that is pumping out some really cool pulp.

Broadswords and Blasters

If you are looking for a magazine publishing the best in underground crime fiction, you would be sadly remiss passing on SWITCHBLADE. Edited by Scotch Rutherford, SWITCHBLADE fills a much needed gap in publishing hardboiled, stripped down crime fiction. Some of the shorter pieces are more vignettes than true stories, but each packs a punch like a bullet in the dark, or a knife twisting in the small of your back. Each story highlights the bad choices and worse luck that happens to those on the wrong side of the law, and there are few happy stories to be found within and even less redemption. These are stories that have you reaching for rot-gut whisky and unfiltered cigarettes, and might just have you thinking “There but for the Grace of God go I.” The magazine itself is smartly put together, with illustrations and photographs that set the tone well…

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Pulp Appeal: Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters has deep roots in mid-20th Century existential horror.

Broadswords and Blasters

cazafantasmas84004

When an ancient Lovecraftian-style evil rears its head in New York, who ya gonna call? The Ghostbusters, of course! What, you don’t consider Ghostbusters to reside under the pulp umbrella? I can only assume you skipped over nearly every piece of dialogue relayed by Harold Ramis or Dan Aykroyd. Ramis’ Egon Spengler and Aykroyd’s Ray Stantz are hardcore horror history nerds. They also believe in the paranormal, are swept up in the gathering manifestation of Zuul, the harbinger of Gozer–an ancient evil god once worshipped by the Sumerians–and fight back against the potential world-domination with hand-made nuclear-punk backpacks.

But before all that, they enlist their lecherous cynical compatriot Peter Venkman to be the face, hire on resident everyman Winston Zeddemore to do some of the grunt work, and call on the sarcastic and underpaid Janine Melnitz to do all the thankless but important secretarial work. After being called upon to…

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Pulp Appeal: Econoclash Review #1

Today Matt does a review of Econoclash Review, one of the other indie press magazines out there. This one focuses more on the crime stories, so if that’s your thing, take a look.

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Econoclash Review

Editor: J.D. Graves

Econcolash Review advertises itself as Quality Cheap Thrills, and much like Broadswords and Blasters, bills itself as a contemporary pulp journal publishing “publish only the best crime/sci-fi/noir/horror/humor/fantasy and everything else in between.” For a first issue debut, I can only gape in awe at the amount of talent pulled together into this anthology and will definitely be adding EconoClash to the list of small press magazines to keep a very close eye on.

You aren’t here to listen to me gush though, so let’s take a look at the stories included within.

Cover Art for Issue 1

“The Last Book” by Rick McQuiston

“In the Mouth of Madness” style metahorror piece. When a writer writes to entertain the eldritch horrors, what happens when he decides to quit the game? The meta-fiction aspect is a little heavy handed and not what I would have expected fresh…

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Pulp Appeal: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

The pulp appeal of SoCal stoners and their quest to move from air guitar to real guitar.

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Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure Poster

“Fourscore and…seven minutes ago… we, your forefathers, were brought forth upon a most excellent adventure conceived by our new friends, Bill… and Ted.”

Two high school losers, Bill Preston (Alex Winter) and Ted Logan (Keanu Reeves), are on the verge of failing their high school history class when they are met by Rufus (George Carlin[1]), a mysterious man in a trenchcoat, who tells them the future is in jeopardy unless they pass their final report.

After talking with future versions of themselves, the two set off in a time machine disguised as a phone booth. They meet and convince/kidnap historical figures from different eras to bring back to San Dimas, California so they can do their final report and pass the class. Chaos and hilarity ensue as the historical figures cause chaos in 1980s southern California.

Along the way they become friends with Billy the Kid, Sigmund Freud…

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