Sunday, November 29, 2015

Valentine & Lovelace Paperbacks

The Valentine & Lovelace series by Nathan Aldyne (McDowell + Schuetz) is now available in paperback from Felony & Mayhem Press.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Cold Moon Movie

Here's the first look at Christopher Lloyd as James Redfield in the Cold Moon adaptation. For more updates follow @ColdMoonMovie on Twitter.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Cold Moon Festival

Cold Moon Festival is being held on October 17th in Brewton, AL. Here's the official news from Brewton Reborn:

FREE CONCERT Jennings Park Oct. 17 6 pm -10 pm/ The Little Things, Sturmlandia and VIVA! Good to Go cuisine by Wind Creek. Costumes encouraged and bring a lap chair or blanket.

If you missed my earlier post, the city of Brewton is holding their first city-wide Big Read and the book chosen: COLD MOON OVER BABYLON!

Injured Eyeballs: Who the Fuck is Michael McDowell? Part 2

Jasper Bark is BACK!

This is Horror: Who the Fuck is Michael McDowell? Part 2

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Flood - Inside Cover Art

Here is a scan from the inside cover of The Flood. The artist is signed "Harrington" on the lower left side. Anyone with more info on the artist?

Brewton Reborn

The folks down in Brewton, AL are having their first city-wide "Big Read" and the book chosen for October is Cold Moon Over Babylon.

Cold Moon will also be the theme for the city's haunted Halloween trails this year. Once I see more information posted, I'll share it here.

In the meantime, you can check out the Brewton Reborn Facebook page here.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Brains of Rats

"This man Blumlein is either mad or he's a better writer than I am."

Michael Blumlein's collection The Brains of Rats includes an introduction by McDowell. The title story was nominated for a World Fantasy Award for best short story in 1987 and the collection nominated in 1991.

For more on the release history and a review, go over to Too Much Horror Fiction's blog post.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Donuts & Death

Donuts & Death! If you're in or around Springfield, MO, the Springfield-Greene County Library District will be discussing THE ELEMENTALS at Hurts Donut Co. on Park Central. August 11th. Check it out.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Senritsu no harouīn

Senritsu no harouīn aka Halloween Horrors

Edited by Alan Ryan

Tōkyō : Tokuma Shoten, 1987

Containing the Japanese translation of "Miss Mack"

Sunday, May 17, 2015

MM Review: The Kill by Alan Ryan

The Kill (1982) by Alan Ryan

McDowell's review:

"The book's unrelenting progression of short lulling scenes of the mundane punctuated by powerful gasps of the macabre built a tension in the narrative that didn't allow me to put the book aside until I had finished it. Mr. Ryan's prose is spare and convincing, and I can't think of any greater praise."

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Complete McDowell

Below I have gathered a list of works by McDowell. It includes his bibliography, filmography, interviews and more. I am still working on the Articles/Essays section.

If you find something that I've missed or have a correction, please send me an email at rscagle(at) or leave a comment below.

Note: ebooks and paperbacks from the same publisher are listed as a single edition.


As Michael McDowell

The Amulet 

  • The Amulet. New York: Avon Books, 1979
  • The Amulet. London: Fontana, 1982
  • Amuretto. Japanese edition translated by Fuyukawa Wataru. Tōkyō: Hayakawa, 1988
  • The Amulet. London: HarperCollins, 1996
  • The Amulet. Introduction by Poppy Z. Brite. Kansas City: Valancourt Books, 2013

Cold Moon Over Babylon

  • Cold Moon Over Babylon. New York: Avon Books, 1980 
  • Cold Moon Over Babylon. London: Fontana, 1980 
  • Les Brumes de Babylone. French edition translated by Gérard Coisne. Paris: Presses Pocket, 1990 
  • Cold Moon Over Babylon. Richmond, VA: Valancourt Books, 2015 

Gilded Needles

  • Gilded Needles. New York: Avon Books, 1980
  • Gilded Needles. London: Fontana, 1981
  • Gilded Needles. Introduction by Christopher Fowler. Richmond, VA: Valancourt Books, 2015 

The Elementals

  • The Elementals. New York: Avon Books, 1981 
  • The Elementals. London: Fontana, 1982 
  • Cauchemars de sable. French edition translated by Jacques Guiod. Paris: Presses Pocket, 1991 
  • The Elementals. London: HarperCollins, 1995 
  • The Elementals. Introduction by Michael Rowe. Richmond, VA: Valancourt Books, 2014 


  • Katie. New York: Avon Books, 1982 
  • Katie. Richmond, VA: Valancourt Books, 2015 

The Flood

  • The Flood. New York: Avon, 1983 
  • The Flood. London: Corgi, 1985 
  • The Flood. Ebook edition. Minneapolis: Tough Times Publishing, 2014 

The Levee

  • The Levee. New York: Avon, 1983 
  • The Levee. London: Corgi, 1985 
  • The Levee. Ebook edition. Minneapolis: Tough Times Publishing, 2014 

The House

  • The House. New York: Avon, 1983 
  • The House. London: Corgi, 1985 
  • The House. Ebook edition. Minneapolis: Tough Times Publishing, 2014 

The War

  • The War. New York: Avon, 1983 
  • The War. London: Corgi, 1985 
  • The War. Ebook edition. Minneapolis: Tough Times Publishing, 2014 

The Fortune

  • The Fortune. New York: Avon, 1983 
  • The Fortune. London: Corgi, 1986 
  • The Fortune. Ebook edition. Minneapolis: Tough Times Publishing, 2014 


  • Rain. New York: Avon, 1983 
  • Rain. London: Corgi, 1986 
  • Rain. Ebook edition. Minneapolis: Tough Times Publishing, 2014 

Blackwater: Volume I

  • Book Club edition. New York: Avon, 1983

Blackwater: Volume II

  • Book Club edition. New York: Avon, 1983


  • Ebook edition with introduction by John Langan. Minneapolis: Tough Times Publishing, 2014
  • Omnibus edition with introduction by Poppy Z. Brite. Lakewood, CO: Centipede Press, 2015
  • Audio cassettes from the The National Library Service for the Blind and Disabled, 1984


  • Toplin. Illustrations by Harry O. Morris. Santa Cruz, CA: Scream/Press, 1985
  • Toplin. French editon translated by Patrick Marcel. Paris: Gréco, 1989 
  • Toplin. Illustrations by Harry O. Morris. New York: Dell, 1991
  • L'inquilino senza nome. Italian edition translated by Nuccia Agazzi. Milano: Franssinelli, 1995


  • Clue. New York: Fawcett Gold Medal/Ballantine Books, 1986

Jack and Susan in 1953

  • Jack and Susan in 1953. New York: Ballantine Books, 1985
  • Jack and Susan in 1953. New York: Felony & Mayhem Press, 2012

Jack and Susan in 1913

  • Jack and Susan in 1913. New York: Ballantine Books, 1986
  • Jack and Susan in 1913. New York: Felony & Mayhem Press, 2012

Jack and Susan in 1933

  • Jack and Susan in 1933. New York: Ballantine Books, 1987
  • Jack and Susan in 1933. New York: Felony & Mayhem Press, 2012

Candles Burning (completed by Tabitha King)

  • Candles Burning. New York: Berkley Books, 2006
  • Candles Burning. New York: Berkley Books, 2007
  • Kaarsen branden. Dutch edition translated by Jan Steemers. Amsterdam: Luitingh, 2007 
  • Voces del silenscio. Spanish edition translated by Miguel Antó. Barcelona: Minotauro, 2007
  • W cieniu płonących świec. Polish edition translated by Tomasz Wilusz. Warszawa: Prószyński i S-ka, 2008 
  • Calliope: la voix des flammes. French edition translated by Claudine Richetin. Paris: Télémaque, 2009 
  • Come candele che bruciano. Italian edition translated by Annalisa Garavaglia. Milano: Sperling & Kupfer, 2010

Works not completed or unpublished:

Venus Restored

In Her Place

Blood and Glitter

Living Rooms


As Axel Young (written with Dennis Schuetz)

Blood Rubies

  • New York: Avon Books, 1982 

Wicked Stepmother

  • New York: Avon Books, 1983 

As Nathan Aldyne (written with Dennis Schuetz)


  • Vermilion. New York: Avon Books, 1980 
  • Vermilion. New York: Ballantine Books, 1985 
  • Karmesin. German edition translated by Walter-Berndt Fischer. München: Knaur, 1986 
  • Vermilion. Los Angeles: Alyson Books, 1997 
  • Vermilion. New York: Felony & Mayhem Press, 2013 


  • Cobalt. New York: Avon Books, 1982
  • Cobalt. New York: Ballantine Books, 1986 
  • Cobalt. Los Angeles: Alyson Books, 1998 
  • Tod in Provincetown. German edition translated by Sebastian Trautmann. Berlin: Gmünder, 1999 
  • Cobalt. New York: Felony & Mayhem Press, 2013 


  • Slate. New York: Villard Books, 1984 
  • Slate. New York: Ballantine Books, 1985 
  • Slate. Los Angeles: Alyson Books, 1999 
  • Boston Connection. German edition translated by Sebastian Trautmann. Berlin: Gmünder, 2000 
  • Slate. New York: Felony & Mayhem Press, 2014 


  • Canary. New York: Ballantine Books, 1986 
  • Canary. Los Angeles: Alyson Books, 2000 
  • Boston Strangler. German edition translated by Sebastian Trautmann. Berlin: Gmünder, 2001 
  • Canary. New York: Felony & Mayhem Press, 2014

As Mike McCray (written with John Preston)

The Black Berets series:

Deadly Reunion

  • Deadly Reunion. New York: Dell, 1984 
  • Kuoleman kuriirit. Finnish edition translated by Olli-Pekka Rönn. Hyvinkää: Viihdeviikarit, 1986 
  • Kuoleman kuriirit. Finnish edition translated by Olli-Pekka Rönn. Hyvinkää: Book Studio, 1994

Cold Vengeance

  • Cold Vengeance. New York: Dell, 1984 
  • Armoton kostaja. Finnish edition translated by Reijo Kalvas. Hyvinkää: Viihdeviikarit, 1986 

The Black Palm

  • The Black Palm. New York: Dell, 1984 
  • Musta kämmen. Finnish edition translated by Jukka Soramies ja Ari Inkinen. Hyvinkää: Viihdeviikarit, 1986 

Contract: White Lady

  • Contract: White Lady. New York: Dell, 1984 
  • Tiikerin ansa. Finnish edition translated by Erkki Erkkilä. Hyvinkää: Viihdeviikarit, 1986 

Louisiana Firestorm

  • Louisiana Firestorm. New York: Dell, 1985 
  • Tappava tulimyrsky. Finnish edition translated by Erkki Erkkilä. Hyvinkää: Viihdeviikarit, 1987 

The Death Machine Contract

  • The Death Machine Contract. New York: Dell, 1985 
  • Tappajien armeija. Finnish edition translated by Erkki Erkkilä. Hyvinkää: Viihdeviikarit, 1987 

The Red Man Contract

  • The Red Man Contract. New York: Dell, 1985 
  • Punainen kosto. Finnish edition translated by Tauno Peltola. Hyvinkää: Viihdeviikarit, 1987 

D.C. Death March

  • D.C. Death March. New York: Dell, 1986 
  • Kuoleman marssi. Finnish edition translated by Erkka Koljonen. Hyvinkää: Viihdeviikarit, 1988 

The Night of the Jaguar

  • The Night of the Jaguar. New York: Dell, 1986 
  • Jaguaarien yö. Finnish edition translated by Olli-Pekka Rönn. Hyvinkää: Viihdeviikarit, 1988 

Contract: Terror Summit

  • Contract: Terror Summit. New York: Dell, 1986 
  • Kauhun kokous. Finnish edition translated by Heikki Kannosto. Hyvinkää: Viihdeviikarit, 1989 

The Samurai Contract

  • The Samurai Contract. New York: Dell, 1987 
  • Tappajien liitto. Finnish edition translated by Erkki Erkkilä. Hyvinkää: Viihdeviikarit, 1990 

The Akbar Contract

  • The Akbar Contract. New York: Dell, 1987 
  • Tehtävä Intiassa. Finnish edition translated by Timo Kivistö. Hyvinkää: Viihdeviikarit, 1990

As Preston MacAdam (written with John Preston)

Michael Sheriff: The Shield series:

African AssignmentNew York: Avon Books, 1985

Arabian AssaultNew York: Avon Books, 1985

Island IntrigueNew York: Avon Books, 1985


“Miss Mack”

  • Halloween Horrors. Ed. Alan Ryan. New York: Doubleday, 1986 
  • Halloween Horrors. Ed. Alan Ryan. New York: Charter, 1987
  • Senritsu no harouīn. Japanese edition. Ed. Alan Ryan. Tōkyō: Tokuma Shoten, 1987 
  • Halloween Horrors. Ed. Alan Ryan. London: Severn House, 1988 
  • Halloween Horrors. Ed. Alan Ryan. London: Sphere, 1988 
  • Halloween: les citrouilles de l'horreur. French edition. Ed. Stéphane Bourgoin. Paris: Les Belles lettres, 1998 

“Halley's Passing”

  • The Twilight Zone Magazine. Ed. Tappan King. June 1987
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifth Annual Collection. Ed. Gardner Dozois. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988
  • The Year's Best Fantasy: First Annual Collection. Ed. Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988
  • Best New SF 2. Ed. Gardner Dozois. London: Robinson, 1988
  • Demons and Dreams: The Best Fantasy and Horror. Ed. Terri Windling, Ellen Datlow. Legend, 1989
  • Das neue Buch der Fantasy: Magisch-Unheimlich, Phantastisch. German edition "Der Halleysche Komet." Ed. Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling. Bergisch Gladbach: Bastei Lübbe, 1990
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifth Annual Collection. Ed. Gardner Dozois. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994

“Halloween Candy”

  • Tales from the Darkside: Volume One. Ed. Tom Allen, Mitchell Galin. New York: Berkley Books, 1988 

“In the Cards”

  • Tales from the Darkside: Volume One. Ed. Tom Allen, Mitchell Galin. New York: Berkley Books, 1988 

“Inside the Closet”

  • Tales from the Darkside: Volume One. Ed. Tom Allen, Mitchell Galin. New York: Berkley Books, 1988 

“The Devil's Advocate”

  • Tales from the Darkside: Volume One. Ed. Tom Allen, Mitchell Galin. New York: Berkley Books, 1988 

“The Odds”

  • Tales from the Darkside: Volume One. Ed. Tom Allen, Mitchell Galin. New York: Berkley Books, 1988 


“American Attitudes Toward Death: 1825-1865”
  • Dissertation. Brandeis University, 1979

“Outlines, Plots, and Guilt”
  • The Writer, Apr. 1982 

In Touch Magazine

After Dark Magazine

“The Unexpected and the Inevitable”
  • The Kingdom of Fear. Ed. Tim Underwood, Chuck Miller. New York: New American Library, 1986 
  • Castle Rock: The Stephen King Newsletter. Vol 2. No. 4, Apr. 1986: 1, 3 

“Herman Melville: The Confidence Man”
  • Horror: 100 Best Books. Ed. Stephen Jones, Kim Newman. New York: Caroll & Graf Publishers, 1988 
  • Horror: 100 Best Books. Ed. Stephen Jones, Kim Newman. New York: Caroll & Graf Publishers, 1998 

Introduction to The Brains of Rats by Michael Blumlein
  • Los Angeles: Scream/Press, 1990 
  • New York: Dell, 1997 
  • Richmond: Valancourt Books, 2015 


“From Harvard to Horror.” Interview by Douglas E. Winter.
  • Fantasy Newsletter No. 54, 1982
“Horror in Print: Michael McDowell.” Interview by Stanley Wiater.
  • Fangoria No. 40, 1984 
Interview by Douglas E. Winter
  • Faces of Fear. New York: Berkley Books, 1985
  • Faces of Fear. London: Pan, 1990
"A Conversation with Michael McDowell." Interview by Stanley Wiater.
  • Dark Visions. New York: Avon, 1992 
Interview by Stanley Wiater from previously collected material
  • Dark Thoughts on Writing. Grass Valley, CA: Underwood Books, 1997
  • Dark Dreamers on Writing. Ebook edition. Necon, 2010


  • Screenwriter. Dir. Tim Burton. Warner Bros, 1988 
Tales from the Darkside: The Movie
  • Screenwriter. Dir. John Harrison. Paramount Pictures, 1990 
High Spirits
  • Screenwriter (not credited). Dir. Neil Jordan. TriStar Pictures, 1988 
The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Screenwriter. Dir. Tim Burton. Buena Vista Pictures, 1993 
  • Screenwriter. Dir. Tom Holland. Paramount Pictures, 1996. 


“The Jar.”
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents. NBC. 6 Apr. 1986 
  • Amazing Stories. NBC. 29 Sept. 1986
“Lover Come Hack to Me.”
  • Tales from the Crypt. HBO. 21 Jun. 1989 
  • Bone Chillers. ABC. 28 Sept. 1996

Tales from the Darkside:

“Inside the Closet.”
  • Tales from the Darkside. CBS. 18 Nov. 1984 
“The Word Processor of the Gods.”
  • Tales from the Darkside. CBS. - 25 Nov. 1984 
“Answer Me.”
  • Tales from the Darkside. CBS. 17 Feb. 1985 
“Bigalow's Last Smoke.”
  • Tales from the Darkside. CBS. 9 Jun. 1985 
“Halloween Candy.”
  • Tales from the Darkside. CBS. 27 Oct. 1985 
“A New Lease on Life.”
  • Tales from the Darkside. CBS. 26 Jan. 1986 
“The Last Car.”
  • Tales from the Darkside. CBS. 23 Feb. 1986 
“Black Widows.”
  • Tales from the Darkside. CBS. 2 Nov. 1986 
“Seasons of Belief.”
  • Written and directed. Tales from the Darkside. CBS. 29 Dec. 1986 
“The Moth.”
  • Tales from the Darkside. CBS. 18 Oct. 1987 
“The Cutty Black Sow.”
  • Tales from the Darkside. CBS. 8 May 1988 


“La Strega.”
  • Monsters. CBS. 27 May 1989 
“Far Below.”
  • Monsters. CBS. 25 Feb. 1990 


Nominated for Saturn Award: Best Writing. Beetlejuice, 1990


"Michael McDowell and the Haunted South" by Michael Stamm
  • Discovering Modern Horror Fiction II. Ed. Darrell Schweitzer. Mercer Island, WA: Starmont House, 1988: pp. 51–62
"Grocer's Gothic" by Chris Morgan
"Summer of Sleaze: The Southern Gothic Horrors of Michael McDowell" by Will Errikson (TooMuchHorrorFiction)

Thursday, May 7, 2015


AMURETTO (The Amulet), Hayakawa, 1988

Japanese edition translated by Fuyukawa Wataru

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Your favorite game is now a movie—and a book

Paramount Pictures presents Clue, a novelization by Michael McDowell based on the screenplay by Jonathan Lynn.

Ballantine Books, January 1986

Includes an additional fourth ending

It was the kind of house you always see from the road, never up close. Seen through vast gates, at the end of a winding gravel driveway, half-hidden by the foliage of trees planted more than a half century ago. You slow down as you pass it, trying to catch glimpses over the vine-covered brick walls that surround it, of its peaked gables and its dark windows and curious porches.

Clue - Front Cover

Clue - Back Cover

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Dennis Schuetz (1946-1989)

Today marks the anniversary of Dennis Schuetz's passing. With McDowell he wrote six novels and the Tales from the Darkside episode "Answer Me."

Dennis Schuetz was born on December 30th, 1946 in Parkersburg, WV. He later moved to Boston, where he began writing, and in the 1980s he was part of a local author group known as the Cadavers. On May 17th, 1988 the Cadavers gave an interview with BBC Radio 4 entitled "Cadavers at Our House." Schuetz passed away from complications resulting from AIDS on May 5th, 1989.

Printed in the Boston Globe on June 8th, 1989:
A memorial service will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday in Arlington Street Church in Boston for Dennis Schuetz of Dorchester, coauthor of four books in the Valentine and Lovelace series of gay detective mysteries. 
Mr. Schuetz died of lymphoma May 5 in Brigham and Women's Hospital. He was 42.
Mr. Schuetz and his collaborator, Michael McDowell, using the pseudonym Nathan Aldyne, wrote "Vermillion" (1980), "Cobalt" (1982), "Slate" (1984) and "Canary" (1986). Between 1978 and 1980 the two writers, under the name Axel Young, published the novels "Blood Rubies" and "Wicked Stepmother." 
Since 1979, Mr. Schuetz was employed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Works, first in its right of way office, then as manager of the outdoor advertising board and recently in the department's affirmative action office.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Wicked Stepmother


Wicked Stepmother by Axel Young (Michael McDowell and Dennis Schuetz), September 1983, Avon first printing

Cover photograph by Hartwig Klappert and Isa Eisermann

 Wicked Stepmother - Front Cover

JONATHAN never really had a chance to be close to his father. Now he might not have long to miss him.

VERITY was too busy chasing men and good times to care. But she cares about staying alive.

CASSANDRA thinks she can finish off her stepmother. But her stepmother's had a lot more practice at it.

Wicked Stepmother - Back Cover

I really love the cover so I dug up three more photographs by Hartwig Klappert from the same time period:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Frankenturkey - Sept 28, 1996

Bone Chillers was a children's horror book series by Betsy Haynes and adapted for television in 1996. The fourth episode, "Frankenturkey," was written by Michael McDowell along with Adam Rifkin.

Unlike Goosebumps which relied on a new cast each episode, Bone Chillers centered around a group of students at Edgar Allan Poe High School.

From USA Today:
ABC hopes Bone Chillers will be the next Goosebumps.
R.L. Stine's Goosebumps children's books were adapted into a series by Fox last fall, quickly becoming its highest-rated kids' show.
Producer Fred Silverman came across the Bone Chillers series of books by Betsy Haynes and thought it, too, had potential. (The former head of programming for ABC, CBS and NBC, Silverman got his start in children's TV in the 1970s.) He has sold it to ABC as a Saturday morning live action series for fall. 
"One of the books had four kids at a haunted high school," he says. "I figured that if we could produce a comedy horror show with continuing characters, we had the opportunity for a gargantuan-sized hit."
The show was not a gargantuan-sized hit like Goosebumps and only lasted twelve episodes.

Synopsis from the VHS release:

Fritz, Brian, Sarah and Lexi try to save a doomed Thanksgiving turkey by building a fake one, but when it gets struck by lightning...see everyone turn chicken!

VHS release (front)

VHS release (back)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Shadowings: The Reader's Guide to Horror Fiction 1981-82

In Douglas E. Winter's guide to horror fiction, Alan Ryan contributed a piece entitled "The North and South of Horror," examining the use of isolated settings and the device of a particular house. The two books reviewed are Herman Raucher's Maynard's House and Michael McDowell's The Elementals.

A quote from his review:

"The Elementals is a fine novel with the quirky characters McDowell does so well, his usual rich and allusive writing, and a deep sense of 'the Southern way of life with its pervasive friendliness, its offhanded viciousness, its overwhelming lassitude.' "

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Book of Lists: Horror

In The Book of Lists: Horror, Poppy Z. Brite contributed a list of top ten "Dine 'n' Die" stories in horror fiction. McDowell's The Amulet made the list due to a very special scene involving applesauce. I won't say more than that in case you haven't read the book.

Many other great authors (and filmmakers!) are featured in The Book of Lists including Ramsey Campbell, Stephen King, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Stephen Volk, and loads more.

Oh, and James Jenkins (Valancourt Books) also has a list in this book: "The Ten Weirdest Gothic Novels."

You can purchase The Book of Lists: Horror here for a pretty good price.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Oyster Boy

I first came across this on Horror Drive-In which led back to An Empire of One. It appears McDowell may have originally written Tim Burton's "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy" in the late 80s. "The Oyster Boy" was submitted to Steve Bissette for inclusion in Taboo #8. It was submitted as a story written by Michael McDowell and included illustrations by Tim Burton. It was not used, but did get a shout-out in the issue:

"There were so many, many more [stories that had been completed, but not published in Taboo]: Michael McDowell and Tim Burton’s sardonic “The Oyster Boy,” completed but lost in the shuffle of Burton’s post-Batman career."

Many years later when Burton released "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy," he was listed as the sole author and gave McDowell a mere mention in the acknowledgements.

From Steve Bissette's blog:
My deepest regret over TABOO-related material was the loss of a set of photocopies. 
Back in 1987, before Tim Burton's life and career was turned upside-down by BATMAN, I was contacted by author Michael McDowell (author of many excellent novels, including GILDED NEEDLES and the BLACKWATER trilogy, along with many teleplays and screenplays -- including BEETLEJUICE). Working with his friend, filmmaker and artist Tim Burton, Michael had cooked up a story to offer TABOO, a delicious little illustrated verse tale entitled "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy." We received it in photocopy form. It was a marvelous slice of the macabre written and drawn in the style of Edward Gorey. I particularly loved Burton's rough sketches illustrating Michael's tale, and I was excited at the prospect of publishing such a gem. I wanted to publish it as it was, but Michael told me that Burton didn't want his rough sketches used; we had to wait for Tim to complete more polished pen-and-ink renditions.
I eagerly agreed, and then waited -- and waited -- and -- 
Well, you can imagine how it went. Once the BATMAN movie consumed Burton's affairs, "The Oyster Boy" quietly sank into the waves. A couple of years later, Michael called back to say they still wanted the story to appear in TABOO, and that I could go ahead and print it with Tim's original sketches. I was jubilant. The problem was, Tim couldn't FIND the original art, nor could either of them locate photocopies -- could I print from the set they'd sent me years before? 
To make a long, bitter tale short, we couldn't FIND the photocopies. We searched for AGES. I'm STILL looking. I traced every single set we had circulated: John Totleben had moved and thrown out all TABOO-related material; magazines and comic shops we'd sent photocopies to had since tossed or lost them; and so it went. To this day, I have found EVERY scrap of paper even remotely related to TABOO, except, of course, "The Oyster Boy." 
I practically did a jig when I found this nifty little hardcover book at a local bookshop. Here, finally, is "The Oyster Boy," headlining the showcase he long deserved. It looks exactly as it had been submitted to TABOO, lovingly reproduced from Tim's sketches. Burton's art is beguiling, and the accompanying stories are also grim delights. 
My only problem with this collection is the solo credit on the cover and title page proferring Tim Burton as the lone author. This seems deceptive at best. Through the events I've just described to you, I can attest to the fact that Michael McDowell wrote the Oyster Boy story; if you're at all familiar with Michael's own work, his voice rings loud and clear. I'd sure like to know who really wrote the rest of this book. Buried on page 115 are the acknowledgements, with "Thanks to" a number of writers -- prominent among them Michael McDowell. It seems fair to assume the others listed had a hand in the rest of the stories and verse, too. Can anyone out there provide some credits and credentials here? 
Those misgivings aside, this is RECOMMENDED, and makes a great gift.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Fangoria #19, 1982 - Cold Moon Over Babylon

*Used with permission of Stanley Wiater

-Some spoilers ahead-

Fangoria #19, 1982 - Review of Cold Moon Over Babylon by Stanley Wiater

One of the many enjoyable qualities of Michael McDowell's The Elementals is the obvious good time the author had in writing it. Before the first chapter is at an end, and we are told of the very odd funeral customs of the Savage family in Alabama, the reader knows he is in good--if perversely twisted--hands with McDowell.

Appropriately enough, the novel begins at a funeral, where we meet the central characters of Dauphin Savage, his wife Leigh, and their elderly black maid, Odessa. Related to them by marriage are Big Barbara McCray, her recently divorced son Lukar, and his thirteen year old daughter India. India, however, was not raised along the coast of Mobile, but in the heart of New York City, where she naturally learned not to be afraid of anything she could see or hear. Of course, what she encounters at Beldame with the five others is like nothing she ever imagined could exist either in New York or in her worst nightmares.

And what's wrong with Beldame? It's unclear at first. Beldame is a tiny piece of land off the coast, cut off by water at high tide, where the Savages and McCrays have been coming to spend their summer vacations for the past thirty years. They stay in two of the identically built Victorian-style houses which comprise the only structures in existence on Beldame. It's not too long before India learns why no one ever goes into the Third House, a house which is slowly but steadily being buried by the wind-blown sand. . . . Of course, India isn't afraid like her cowardly relatives, and had no hesitation to sneak over to the Third House and peer inside a window not yet covered by the sand dunes. She even waves at the little black girl she observes playing inside the house. Only the little black girl tries to break out once she sees India, and when her mouth opens to speak, only a stream of sand pours out. And when India tells this to Odessa, she learns that the black maid had a little girl who supposedly drowned here at Beldame. Even though the body was never recovered, no one was willing to go into the Third House to see if she might have gotten trapped somehow in there.

As The Washington Post has already declared, "McDowell has a flair for the gruesome." He continues to display it in The Elementals (his fourth novel: the first three have also been well received critically); he not only knows how to create startling images of horror, but the novel could stand on its own because of the equally interesting characters, who, to be blunt, are very odd creatures themselves. In other words, McDowell already has the reader on the edge of his seat by describing the tensions and pressures his characters are going through just by being forced together in various unpleasant situations, such as Big Barbara's drinking problem, or the possibility that her husband intends to sell Beldame to a company looking for oil off the coast. McDowell then brings in, seemingly out of left field, the icy touch of the supernatural--and effectively makes the reader's skin crawl.

This reviewer, for example, counted no less than five times when he experienced that feeling which the French call frisson, which is a more concise way of describing how a particular line or image in a horror story/movie gives you goose bumps up and down your arms. It's difficult to think of a better compliment to bestow.

McDowell knows exactly what he is doing, from the first page to the last. When the being inhabiting the Third House (the Elementals--the spirits) begin to move into the first two houses, the reader is swept along as McDowell refuses to allow us to outguess him as to which characters will survive to the end. For a while, we're lulled into thinking that these Elementals are really without any material substance, that they can scare us--but not physically harm us. They're just elements of sand and wind. That is, until the lights go out and something grabs India's ankle and almost tears her foot off just as she is about to escape from the Third House.

McDowell is fast becoming a writer to be respected, and is clearly destined to achieve greater glories as a horror novelist. At a talk at a recent convention McDowell mentioned how, when he writes horror, "I can only take it out of myself. I can only take the sort of things which scare me, and they're sort of formless, but I try to transfer that . . . so when I run out of nightmares, I don't know what I'm going to do! In The Elementals, I use some of my worst nightmares. I wrote that late at night--which was a real mistake. I wrote between twelve and two every night, and I would have to stop at two o'clock because I was so scared to be in the room alone, and come downstairs and go to bed. But I think eventually I'll run out of nightmares. I wake up in the middle of them and write them down, intensely grateful that something else has come my way!"

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fangoria #106, September, 1991 - Toplin

I doubt a spoiler is possible when it comes to Toplin so there's probably no need to post a warning.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Blackwater Art by Terry Oakes

Cover art by Terry Oakes for the Corgi editions of Blackwater. A few of these are for sale at the World of Wonder website. I didn't see II or III.

Part I - The Flood

Part IV - The War

Part V - The Fortune 

 Part VI - Rain

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Inscriptions #1

Inscriptions from McDowell on the Blackwater book club edition from Avon. Sent in by Nick.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Black Berets

I just picked a couple of these up so I thought I'd do a post about them.

Beginning in July 1994, Dell released a series of men's action novels under the pseudonym Mike McCray. This series was collectively titled The Black Berets and was a collaboration between Michael McDowell and another gay author, the late John Preston. The two also worked together on the Michael Sheriff: The Shield series under the pseudonym Preston MacAdam.

l - Deadly Reunion
2 - Cold Vengeance
3 - The Black Palm
4 - Contract:White Lady
5 - Louisiana Firestorm
6 - The Death Machine Contract
7 - The Red Man Contract
8 - D.C. Death March
9 - The Night of the Jaguar
10 - Contract: Terror Summit
11 - The Samurai Contract
12 - The Akbar Contract