Black Petals Issue #87 Spring, 2019

Mars-News, Views and Commentary

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Mars-News, Views and Commentary
God's Canyon-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Napper's Holler, Chapter 10-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Napper's Holler, Chapter 11-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Napper's Holler, Chapter 12-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
There's an App for That-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
The Sepia Photograph-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Chorus-Poem set by Christopher Hivner
Granite Garden-Poem set from Michael Keshigian
Cottonmouth-Poem set from Hillary Lyon

Spring, 2019-Chris Friend

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        Hi ho and Happy Easter from Mars! Chickens are not birds we normally associate with vampires, but according to folklore there are some connections. In many tales vampires, attempting to avoid the destructive rays of the sun, are forced to run back to their graves when they hear a rooster crow. Case in point is the 1922 silent horror film: when the vampire Count Orlack hears the rooster crowing he is forced to look up from his victim at the rising sun. It’s too late for the vampire disintegrating from the sun’s rays.

In folklore, if an animal (in this case a chicken) jumped over a corpse, then it would arise as one of the undead. In Romania the culprit was sometimes a black rooster because of its obvious association with black magic. In India, which may be the ancestral home of the vampire legend, it was believed that passing a rooster over a suspected vampire would cause the sacrificial bird to absorb the undead one’s demonic energy. The corpse of a sorcerer turned vampire would also allow it to shape-shift into a number of forms, including the common barnyard chicken.

On a related note, St. Andrew’s Eve, St. George’s Eve, and Christmas were not the only sacred holidays when vampires were believed to be most active. The Easter Vigil was also a time when the undead might resurrect, possibly as a blasphemous version of Christ’s resurrection.

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Recently TCM had the slasher film “Night Warning" (a.k.a. Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker) as its Underground pick. It pretty much starts out with an orphan forced to live with a weirdo aunt after his parents die in a violent car crash. She seems to have thinly veiled incestuous desires for her own nephew. As he grows into a young adult his aunt becomes even more clinging, and seems jealous of his girlfriend. Enter a gay TV repair man; old auntie, in a frenzied state, makes a pass at the disinterested guy. She becomes so outraged at his rejection that she bludgeons him death, then claims it was attempted assault.

Enter the local homophobic cop (Bo Svenson), who’s convinced that the nephew was secretly homosexual and killed the victim to hide his secret. Well, needless to say, we are into very controversial material here. I respect the film’s obvious good intentions and very pre-political correctness sympathies for gay men. In truth, auntie turns out to be the young man’s mother, whose overbearing and incestuous leaning suggests the old, disproved stereotypes about gay men. Ultimately, things are attempted to be set “straight” (if you don’t mind the pun), since the youth has a girlfriend. Jimmy McNichol (Kristy’s brother) plays the young hero, with Susan Tyrell as the wildly over-the-top mother/aunt. Being a gay man myself, I found some of the homophobic dialogue a little hard to hear, in spite of the film’s obvious good intentions. More than your average slasher film, with a shocking car accident in the film’s beginning, it is directed by William Asher. I have to give it a so-so review.

Happy Easter, Earthlings.

Chris Friend, mars_art_13@yahoo.com, of Parkersberg, W.Va , who wrote BP #85’s poem, “Demons Play Flutes”; BP # 84’s poems, “The Sentinel” and “Psalm of Mithra”; the BP #81 poem set, “Angel of the Bereft,” Beauty’s Sleep,” & “Dark Trinity”; the BP #80 poem, “The Temple of Colors”; BP #79 poems, “The Marquis” and “My Bloody Valentine”; the BP #78 poem, “The Old Yule Goat”; BP #77’s 4-poem set: “At 50,” “Owls,” “Vintage Halloween,” & “Xmas in the Doll Asylum”; BP #76’s 4-poem set: “Hag Fairy Communion,” “Love’s Sepulcher,” “Night Wanderer,” & “St. Andrew’s Feast”; 2 poems for BP #75, “Angel of the Pagan Dead” and “Churchyard Watcher”; BP #72’s 2-poem set, “Ed Gein” & “Sour Puss”; and the 2008 poem “All Hallows’ Eve”, writes and illustrates our “MARS News” column. He did a cover for Black Petals back in 2000 for the fall issue, and has been around ever since. BP keeps up two websites for him and prints his column in the issue quarterly. Chris has a gallery at http://chris.michaelherring.net/ and was featured artist in Kurt Newton’s Ultimate PerVersities (Naked Snake) [Jan. 2011].

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