In Boozo Veritas # 64 by Teege Braune
Adventures in Halloweening: Part 3
This week I broke my finger. Or jammed it; I’m not really sure. If it isn’t better by the time this blog goes live, I’m going to have it looked at. I finally bought a splint, and now it’s starting to look a little more normal and regain some movement. Earlier in the week, not taking my injury all that seriously, I was working, typing, and using it as well as I could, but the swelling, bruising, and discoloration were actually getting worse instead of better. My finger had turned the bloody purple, grave green, and putrid yellow of a decaying, bloated corpse. It actually looked a lot like this grub.
Read “Taxidermist in the Underworld” by Maria Dahvana Headley in Clarkesworld Magazine. The story’s protagonist Louis is kidnapped by the Devil and taken to Hell for the purpose of mounting and preserving Satan’s exceptional ghost collection. Though Louis protests, the Devil calmly explains that he is the best taxidermist in both worlds and won’t be returning to the surface until he finishes. The descriptions of Hell (Satan travels around using pneumatic tubes) and struggles Louis has with the ghosts (“One must pet the ghost and pose it, and one must not disregard the ghost’s opinions, or one will risk ghost venom dribbled from tentacles, as well as luminous toxins, barbs, and boneless slither,”) are both inventive and humorous, but when Louis’s lover Carl arrives from Earth to help him complete his task some truly bizarre twists and turns occur until the unexpected ending, which while not exactly scary, on the contrary, comes at the reader like a joyous benediction.
I participated in two incredible readings at the Gallery at Avalon Island this week.
I was not originally scheduled to read at There Will Be Words, but blackmailed Ryan Rivas into giving me his spot. As per our agreement, I obviously cannot tell you what information I used to blackmail Ryan, so please don’t ask, but I will say that I’m glad I did because I have never before been to a reading that was so consistently spooky, creepy, and unnerving from beginning to end. You can listen to the entire thing right here at The Drunken Odyssey.
Afterwards, we went to Burton’s where we drank multiple pitchers of beer. Amped up by the spirit of Samhain we got into an altercation when some toughs claimed that Valentine’s Day is a better holiday than Halloween. Well, I may have broken my finger, but we ripped out their beards and stomped them into the pavement of Washington Street.
Later in the week, the illustrious host of the world’s greatest literary podcast (you know the one) gathered us back at Avalon for a horror movie themed poetry reading that brought together some of Orlando’s best prose writers stepping out their comfort zones and demonstrating their versatility alongside some of Orlando’s best poets just so us prose writers could see how the craft is really meant to be done.
Watched Hell Baby, written and directed by Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon, the guys who created Reno 911 and were founding members of The State long before that.
Like other screwball horror spoofs, some of which I actually enjoy, Hell Baby exploits the tropes of scary movies, but transcends the genre by not merely relying on cliches for laughs. Starring the always funny Rob Corddry, this time as the straight-man, and Leslie Bibb as a couple who has recently moved into an old house with a sordid past. Is the house possessed? Or is the wife Vanessa simply carrying the devil’s child? Well, you find out the answers to these questions, but the plot is really less important than the characters’ enthusiasm over po’ boys, their puke-fest at photos of mutilated therapist Dr. Marshall (Michael Ian Black), and the comings and goings of the intruding neighbor F’resnel (Keegan-Michael Key). The movie has as many groans as laughs, but it is, nevertheless, worth throwing in the middle of your Halloween marathon, maybe late at night after everybody’s already had a few drinks or made a couple passes with the pipe.
Jenn and I went to Horror Business Theater’s performance of Children in Heat Vs. The Teenagers From Mars, a musical that tied various Misfits songs together with a science-fiction/horror storyline about a small group of criminal gutter-punks locked in interplanetary battle against a team of extra-terrestrial jocks who are attempting to conquer Earth by impregnating teenage girls with their alien seed and killing everyone else. While the micro-production had no real set to speak of and felt like little more than an excuse to sing Misfits standards, there’s really nothing wrong with that. The costumes were fun, the songs executed fantastically, and the leading man, billed as Rodney Attitude, sounded preternaturally like Glenn Danzig himself. Furthermore, the constant barrage of beer cans and profanity slung at the cast throughout the duration of the performance, created a damned lively atmosphere. It was also the first play I’ve ever been to that had a mosh pit. Jenn and I stood (there was no seating) near the back with some other older members of the audience, but sang along to each number with the same enthusiasm as everyone else. At one point I looked over at the guy next to me, and he was the same creepy, ugly zombie I had seen at Zombietoberfest a couple weeks ago still lurking under that hat and trench coat.
“Getting as much use out of that fancy makeup as you can this Halloween season, huh, man?” I asked him snidely.
As usual a slight nod was his only response. I planned on talking to him after the show to tell him I really did admire his disgusting makeup and find out if I actually knew him under all that face paint, but he slipped out at some point near the end of the performance. I asked the people I was with if any of them knew who he was, but no one else had even noticed him.
Yesterday, to celebrate our sixth anniversary, Jenn and I went to the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot. Making multiple loops around the pavilion sampling just about every pescetarian-friendly dish available and sipping numerous, though modestly-sized glasses of wine, beer, and various cocktails, taking breaks in between to ride Spaceship Earth and watch Captain Eo, does not necessarily qualify as a Halloween adventure, but it was a blast all the same.
After we got home, to get us back in the spirit, we put on another Francis Ford Coppola film, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a movie I watch every Halloween, but never get tired of.
Brimming over with gothic decadence, its balance of sex and decay perfectly poised, even the intentional anachronisms contribute to a film that feels almost dangerous in its indulgent delights. Gary Oldman remains the greatest Dracula in the history of cinema and leads a fantastic ensemble with one glaring exception but is made up for by including Tom Waits, no less.
I know I’ll get hate mail for this, but I think the movie is even better than Bram Stoker’s Victorian classic.
Tune in next week for this year’s exciting final installment of Adventures in Halloweening.
Teege Braune (episode 72, episode 75, episode 77, episode 90, episode 102, episode 122) is a writer of literary fiction, horror, essays, and poetry. Recently he has discovered the joys of drinking responsibly. He may or may not be a werewolf.