Sunday, October 13, 2013


The day is overcast and grey, the leaves have fallen off the trees and the temperature is in the fifties.    This is the kind of day I love.   I could be perfectly happy living in a black and white Edward Gorey world.  

Sherlock Holmes stories have been a passion of mine since early teens.   To me the Jeremy Brett portrayal is the epitome of my vision of Sherlock Holmes.

However, when I read Holmes I always picture the stories in black and white. 

It is the same when reading Dracula.   If you haven’t read Dracula you should read it.  

However the best, in my opinion, vampire book ever written (and the worst vampire movie ever made) was Stephen Kings Salem’s Lot

I first read Salem’s Lot when I was in the Navy.   Salem's Lot supposedly took place in the vicinity of Maine where I was living.   I had been on a night flight and had been reading the Lot on board the aircraft.   I got home about one-thirty in the morning, the house was quiet and empty; I poured a glass of whiskey, settled in my favorite chair and picked back up the book.   I was just at the point where a young man was dead in an upstairs bedroom and the old man that owned the house was hearing noises from that room…fearfully he started up the steps…


The toile seat in the bathroom slammed down.   That noise, at that time of night, while reading Salem’s Lot, scared the hell out of me.   I threw the book down and went to bed. 

My wife and I read the book together after we had moved into an old decrepit 1832 farmhouse located in the woods one mile off a main road.   The house had no electricity and no plumbing – it had been vacant for twenty years.   We read ‘The Lot’ aloud each night, in bed, by lamp light; while the wind blew outside and the old house creaked. 

Salem’s Lot holds a special place in our memories.

I have been a horror movie fan since early childhood.  My grandmother and I moved to a small Mississippi Delta town when I was eight.   The movie house was three blocks from our house and a movie ticket cost ten cents.   I always went to the horror movies even though they scared me.   Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, The She Wolf of London: I would often hide my face during the scary parts. 

 But the real scare was the trip home.   There were no street lights and I had to cross the bridge spanning Deer Creek.   I would walk nonchalant as far as the lights in front of the movie house illuminated – and then I ran – it seemed my feet would never touch the ground – through the town with its dark store fronts, across the bridge, and a final sprint to my house and up the steps.   

 I remember those movies, and those nights as black and white. 

the Ol’Buzzard


  1. I've never been a horror fan but I've always loved Sherlock Holmes. I was a total Sherlock fanatic about 30 years ago. And I agree that Jeremy Brett is the quintessential Holmes but you know, I'm still fond of old Basil Rathbone too.

  2. I have been a life long fan of Edward Gorey. He really influenced me as a graphic artist. Have you ever heard the collaboration he did with the American modern composer, Michael Mantler...The Hapless Child...orchestral jazz fusion with Robert Wyatt's ethereally creepy vocals...Terje Rypdal, one of my very favorite guitarists, Carla Bley, Jack DeJohnette and Steve Swallow. Much of the music is available on You Tube. For Halloween though, this year I am watching Polanski's The Fearless Vampires Killers...a great mix of horror and humor...the classic line, "Oy vey, have you got the wrong vampire!"
    But can I recommend the 1958 b&w British Horror film, The Fiend Without A Face? After 50 years this film still haunts my of the creepiest films I have ever seen.

  3. Ordinarily, I say I hate horror but that's because the word brings to my mind stories about zombies or graphic violence. But then thinking about movies like The Shining- I loved it. Or, The Birds or any Hitchcock stuff.
    I just moved to one of the islands in North Puget Sound and am loving the foggy cloudy days. I find them rather soothing actually.

  4. Give me a horror movie starring Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price, Lon Chaney and I'm in heaven. Today's slash and stab with all that blood leaves me cold and not from fear.

    LOVED SALEM'S LOT. And the Shining, Needful Things, Cujo, Christine and It. Now those are scary.

  5. I have been to the town where some of the scenes for Salem's Lot was filmed. Saw the cemetery that was in the film. It was in Ferndale, CA.

  6. My husband and I read The Shining together. King is my favorite author. Maybe that's a little bit of hometown loyalty kicking in. I have loved all his books, but 11/22/63 is my favorite to date. Another great vampire story is Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles (in my opinion).


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