Friday, October 17, 2008

Halloween Flash #4

Does horror always have to be horrific? Or can it have a lighter touch? Humor and horror seldom go together in my mind, and I don’t think the following piece is a very good example of the proper mix. The mere presence of a ghost, or a vampire as we’ve seen in a lot of recent published works, does not make something horror. But I figure we should have examples of the range of horror for our Halloween Horror October. Maybe someone else can do much better with horror humor. After the story I'll give you some new links to more Halloween Horror tales that have just gone up


The ghost fluttered like a butterfly in the wind, wailing like a banshee over the members of the Goth Rock band Scarlet Sphinx while they sat chopsticking some sushi.

"You hear something?" Ricki Naill asked his mates.

"Yeah, you eatin’ like a cow," Harley Storm said. "Didn't your mother teach you to chew with your mouth closed?"

"That’s not what I'm talking about," Ricki said. "It was high pitched, like a Memorex scream, with a...fluttering."

The others laughed.

"You are one psycho mother," Harley said. And thus was born the title and much of the content of their biggest selling album.

The ghost traveled with the band after that and got to live (relatively speaking) the rock-n-roll lifestyle. But even though he was the inspiration for the band’s greatest success, he didn’t get any royalties. And that pissed him off. Royally you might say.

So one night the ghost possessed Ricki Naill, the only one sensitive enough to experience him, and used Ricki’s hands to stab the drummer with his own drum sticks, garrote both the bassist and guitarist with strings from their instruments, and electrocute the keyboardist. Ricki then tried to swallow his own microphone and choked to death.

The ghost was quite happy. Until, in the wake of all the gruesome deaths, the Scarlet Sphinx album went multi- multi-platinum. And he still didn’t get paid.

--- the end ---

New Halloween Horrors, Just Up

The Lesson by Lucas Pederson. Lucas is a horror writer and has leaped into the fray with a nicely imagine piece.

overlord by Laughingwolf. This is Laughingwolf's fith piece. Can you say prolific?

Rather than list all the links to the older stories here again, I'll just refer you to my Wednesday, October 15 post, if you haven't already seen 'em. We've got a pretty incredible line-up, I'd say.


Vesper said...

A good piece, Charles! I like it's dark humour... and the ghost does turn to be an element of horror in the end.

Thank you for the links. All this Halloween/horror mindset is one of the things that I love about October. :-)

Heff said...

Other than the fact that the Band should have been named "Scarlet Sphincter", very good job !

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

The most humour filled horror tale I ever read was The Monster Club. Mind you for dark humour Stephen King's Survivor Type takes some beating.

writtenwyrdd said...

"and he still didn't get paid" Bwahahaha! This was more humorous than scary, Charles. Loved it.

Lana Gramlich said...

But...he can go double myrhh, right? ;) *L* Good one, baby.

X. Dell said...

This ghost needed better legal representation. He could have asked J.C. Petrillo to run interference for him.

laughingwolf said...

lol... heff, i LIKE that, a LOT! :P

charles, nicely done... on the humor angle, too :D

ivan said...

Ah, Heff,



Segue to sphincters.


Sphincters aren't funny till they're french fried. :)

Scott said...

Charles, I like it! Have you ever read the short story collection Shock Rock? It's pretty good.

Miladysa said...

I think you have something here Charles.

I really like the idea of this group and their possible adventures. Even though you killed them off here I would love to see the story expanded one day. The world is ready for a new kind of rocky horror show :D

BernardL said...

That was most definitely dark humor, Charles. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Vesper, thanks for visiting. I'm not sure the ghost is too horrific, although he does some nasty things.

Heff, I'll have to change that just for you.

Archavist. "Survivor type" I remember. Definitely some black humor. I haven't read the other.

Writtenwyrd, I think it was definitely too short to really develop much in the way of scares, but I was hoping for some humor.

Lana, lol. yes indeed.

X-Dell, I expect to see Lawyers taking these kinds of cases on increasingly over time.

Laughingwolf, thanks.

Ivan, french fried? ouch!

Scott, I have. And there is definitely some black humor in that collection.

Miladysa, well, I killed 'em but I could always bring them back. I will think on the possibility of expanding their roll in my universe.

Bernardl, thanks. I do like dark humor.

Donnetta said...

Good, Charles. Right up my alley. Guess I need to get busy and write something. D

writtenwyrdd said...

You're tagged for a Meme, Charles, should you wish to play.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I've always found humor difficult to write; You've done a splendid job mixing it with horror.

On a different note, before I read this piece--and I kid you not--I wrote and posted my own Halloween flash piece titled: Inspire. Much different though. No humor involved.

L.A. Mitchell said...

I'm with Heff....the first time I read it, the band name came out "Scarlet Sphincter."

Great blend of horror and humor. I think dark humor is the hardest thing to write and get right. Love to read people who can.

#4, I'd say you're as prolific as laughingwolf.

laughingwolf said...

he is, thx lam :D

Charles Gramlich said...

Donnetta, thanks. Yes, you should join in.

Steve Malley, thankee.

Writtenwyrd, uhm, thanks, I think. I'll check it out.

JR, that's very weird, the same basic title on two different pieces. I'll check it out, though. Yes, humor is hard for me to do.

L. A. Mitchell, sphincter? LoL. You need to join Heff's band "Butlik." I guess I'm actually fairly prolific, though I also spend a lot of hours writing.

Laughingwolf, ;)

Middle Ditch said...

Yeah, I liked this one. Good ending. Not a very bright ghost is he?

I have written an episode for MD which is a little spooky and (of course) with humour. It's titled The Whistling Chimney.

It might just be on next halloween time.


Greg said...

funny story! i've always thought humorous horror is something hard to pull off, but it's great when it works.

Rick said...

I know that ghost character is based on one of my relatives.

My kind of sense of humor!

Shauna Roberts said...

Cute! Thanks for posting.

Charles Gramlich said...

Middle ditch, yes, I listend to the latest installment. Creepy.

Greg, I think it's a very light effort but not every piece can be a winner.

Rick, maybe I was channeling one of your relatives.

Shauna, it's pretty minor but oh well.

writtenwyrdd said...

I also loved the opening of this one, loved the voice. Forgot to say that before.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Charles, humor as an aside in horror has always worked best for me. As already pointed out, humor may be the hardest writing of all. Comic asides to relieve tension at its height I always welcome in horror. That old adage of graveyard humor. Shakespeare's use of fools and bit characters to ease some of the most heightened moments in tragedy is a great example, along with all the modern horror films, Buffy etc. (got Willie and Buffy in the same sentence: now that's humor, no, wait, is it horror?) But on the whole, horror and humor don't blend well for me either.


writtenwyrdd said...

My effort will post tomorrow, Charles.

Charles Gramlich said...

Writtenwyrd, thanks. I'm going to post the link to your horror markets as part of my halloween horror the next time I post. Looking forward to your post.

Don, yes, as a tension reliever, some black humor. There were elements like that in Cold in the Light and a lot of readers said they really enjoyed them.

writtenwyrdd said...

I've got an upcoming post with submissions possibilities, as well. Glad you caught my lack of clarity on yesterday's post!

virtualjourney said...

Had to smile.
Hope you had a good week.

Travis Cody said...

Humor and horror should mix more often. The humor aspect lulls the reader into a false sense of security...takes the tension out of the atmosphere and eases the reader.

Then whammo comes the gotcha!

I'm combining my Manic Monday post tomorrow with a try at this horror flash fiction. I hope it measures up.

Donnetta said...

Charles: Another Okie wrote a clever little Halloween poem you might enjoy. Go visit Missy at Poetic Ponderings.

Hope you like it. Donnetta

dmarks said...

Cool. I wandered through some blogs linked from Johnny Yen, and found Laughingwolf again.

Britta Coleman said...

"chopsticking some sushi" - my favorite bit. Love the noun as a verb construction.

For horror/humor, I've got to go with Stephen King. Case in point: Needful Things.

Charles Gramlich said...

Writtenwyrd, cool.

Virtual Voyage, hope you did too. Mine was pretty good.

Travis, it's just such a fine line to walk. Looking forward to your flash.

Donnetta Lee, I'll check it out. Thanks for the heads up.

Dmarks, thanks for dropping by.

Britta Coleman, I didn't know Needful things had humor in it. I havent' read that one, though I have it.

dmarks said...

Not only that, but the villain in "Needful Things" has the coolest car in all horror fiction.

WH said...

Light horror? Absolutely. I think all genres have a range, and horror is no exception. This was an excellent piece--and proof of the point.

Charles Gramlich said...

Dmarks, indeed! I'll have to read that. Like I say, I've got it on my shelves.

Fancy, thanks for the invite. I'll check it out.

Billy, good to see you, my friend. Yes, there is definitely a range in every genre, and there should be.