Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fury of the Macabre Mannequins

Got another bizarre ACE classic for you today, complete with disturbing panels of gruesome deeds and putrid rotting flesh, a truly tender study in how to take things a little bit too far.

From the April 1952 issue of Web of Mystery #8








+++++++++++++++++++++++

On a more personal note, as a child I had reoccurring nightmares of headless mannequins coming to life and stalking me inside a dark and deserted department store after hours (sounds like The After Hours episode from Twilight Zone, doesn’t it?) I’m not exactly sure what they wanted from me, but being evil and headless I suppose one could make an educated guess...

Does anyone else have any good ‘n macabre mannequin memories they’d like to share?

35 comments:

todd said...

I want to buy a gold thimble!

I somehow had the misconception Ace did vanilla horror. Thanks for fixing that.

Anon E. Mouse said...

As a little tyke, I once went up to a real man in a department store and touch his leg.

He was standing motionless and I thought it was a mannequin. But he had shorts on and hair legs.

I walked up and touched his leg. I don't recall his response, but my mom was laughing pretty good.

Sorry, that's the best (and creepiest!) 'mannequin' story I can provide. :(

Anon E. Mouse said...

Jeez, sorry for the typos too! :P

The Vicar of VHS said...

This strip has given me a new way to answer all the questions I get during the day:

"Vicar, how do you write so many reviews?"
"I'M A GENIUS, OF COURSE!"

Wow, another wild one here--it's always a thrill ride when these stories take two or even three classic horror plots and throw them all together in a macabre blender--we've got the wax museum/corpses, the hand-switch-with-a-murderer, the vengeful ghosts, and even some mad science and prison-thriller plot thrown in! All in only seven pages! THAT'S Value!

The Doc must have a Wolverine-grade healing factor to be grasping a scalpel moments after surgery. Poor Tweeno! He was obviously a talented surgeon.

I love how in these old comics and movies the idea of "plastic surgery" was pretty much all-powerful--you can make anybody look like anybody else, just with plastic surgery! Though I'd never seen a story where the doc did it to himself! And it only took two weeks!

So much greatness here--the lax prisoner monitoring policies of the prison, the "shroud of ectoplasm," the over-eager mannequin buyers...say, who knew clothing store mannequins were so prized and lucrative? Enough to kill for, at least!

I could go on, but I'll stop. Great stuff, as usual, Daddy K.

Xande said...

Hi! Your blog is really very good!!! I'm from Brazil, and I like a lot old B movies and all these retro and vintage horror stuff. Your blog is one of my favorites, and also is in my links. I also made a post once about it. thanks for the good work.
I have a question: do you download all this stuff? or do you really have it on paper?

Bye!
Alexandre

http://ficousurica.blogspot.com/

The Vicar of VHS said...

Oh, almost forgot--my mannequin story. Not really a store mannequin, but when I was a kid there was a little amusement park nearby where I lived, one of those old-fashioned places with a carousel, a tilt-a-whirl, a few kiddie rides, and a spookhouse. The spookhouse was no great shakes--the old car on rails, twists and turns through a few lame scenes, cobwebs in your face, etc. By far the scariest thing was outside: Laughing Sally.

Laughing Sally was a fat-lady mannequin in a glass case outside the funhouse. She was horrifying Head on a spring, she would laugh and laugh, head bobbing, scaring the bejeezus out of all the kids in the city. I had recurrent nightmares, not about her coming to life, but just me standing in front of her while she laughed, unable to flee, knowing any moment she might reach out, even though she never did.

Years later the amusement park closed down and the rides and other properties were auctioned off. Many collectors and businesses were apparently interested in Laughing Sally, but there is no record of her having been sold, no receipt of payment. Nobody knows where she is. (This is true, honest!) I just imagine her in a warehouse somewhere, waiting, about to reach out and laugh...

I'm not the only one traumatized. Check this out: Actual Photos of Laughing Sally, the very mannequin of which I speak. Enjoy.

Chuck Wells said...

I don't know about manniquins, but I could see giving one of those RealDoll things a try if I could afford it.

(Did I really just say that?)

Karswell, I thought that this particular Ace story was topknotch. Web of Mystery is a fine series.

Anonymous said...

ACE DOES IT AGAIN! NOT MUCH ELSE TO ADD AFTER VICAR SUMMED IT ALL UP, BUT I LOVE THE BUSTED MANNEQUINS WITH THE GREEN CORPSES VISIBLE UNDERNEATH. MAYBE THIS STORY INSPIRED ROGER CORMAN TO MAKE A BUCKET OF BLOOD!

I DON'T HAVE A MANNEQUIN STORY TO SHARE, I'M ACTUALLY KIND OF GLAD ABOUT THAT THOUGH BECAUSE THEY TERRIFY THE CRAP OUT OF ME!!!

Xande said...

Nice! Thanks for the link! maybe peopleo who goes there through THOIA will not understand my portuguese, but, anyway.

By the way, a think manequins are bizarre, but sometimes the female are really hot, specially in lingerie stores :S hahahahaha

Tim Tylor said...

The Doctor Who Autons left me with a mild shop-dummy phobia throughout childhood.

Karswell said...

Ha ha, great mannequin stories and comments so far, I sincerely hope more people share on this creepy subject today (I also hope I'm not stepping on Kindertrauma's toes with this concept.)

And once again, I hate to be the messenger of bad news but apparently The Vicar was found dead (again) this morning, and once again his final words are immortalized here at THOIA. It seems The Vicar's body was found by a homeless man in the early hours of May 15th, his face completely caved-in by what forensics claims originated from a gale force level of "brute, terrifying laughter" which was aimed directly into his face at an extremely close proximity. In a stunning turn of events, investigators discovered that the sheer magnitude of the sound blast which had melted away most of his flesh has revealed that underneath he was actually a mannequin merely posing as a human being.

Further investigations showed that he was also not wearing clean underwear.

Horror pariah said...

I really can't say anything about the story that can't be said,but i do have a good mannequin story.When i was in Chicago a burglar broke in and traumatized my mother,she became paranoid.one day at work she calls me and tells me to call the cops for her(!!?)because a man broke in and she could see his shadow,standing,unmoving.,so i do and guess what? it was our old hat-mannequin that looked different with the lights out!.this always cracks the family up.

Zen Wizard said...

I would share a mannequin memory, but they say they will let me back into Sears next month and I don't want to ruin that.

T. R Xands said...

I was thinking of that TZ ep too! Something about living wax doll stories gives me the willies more than anything else...

Um...I don't have any mannequin stories really, just my Child's Play-esque story of a doll that I've had for...jeez, like 12 years now...I was trying to use it for a project and it just randomly came to life on me. And wouldn't stop talking! You'd think the batteries would be dead. This same doll no longer has hands because I cut them off (don't ask) and I just imagine it coming to exact revenge on me one of these days...

Oh god, I'm not sleeping tonight am I?

Anonymous said...

Andrew McCarthy in that 80's Mannequin movie scares the total hell out me.

Tim Beard said...

Well, thanks to the vicar I think that I will be having nightmares about 'Laughing Sally' for a good few weeks to come.

Dr.Phibes said...

One of my favorite horror movies with mannequins in it is Tourist Trap. I still like to hold doll heads and say, "See my friend."

Karswell said...

How about Mannequins vs Ventriloquist Dolls for a horror movie concept? Actually I'm surprised Full Moon or Troma hasn't jumped on that yet...

Dr.Phibes said...

If you want to talk about Ventriloquist favorites, I love the Alfred Hitchcock episode, "The Glass Eye". That is the first episode my daughter ever saw and it hooked her right away.

Karswell said...

We should save the ventriloquist nightmares for another day, that diabolical subject deserves it's very own lengthy post, plus references to The Great Gabbo, Dead of Night '45, Devil Doll, Magic, TZ's The Dummy episode, Charlie McCarthy etc...

Signed,
Maxwell Frere (for Karswell)

todd said...

Next theme week: werewolf ventriloquist nightmares from outer space!

Zombie Elf said...

*applause, applause*
Sorry I showed up late, gang. I've been home sick (and to think I almost missed this incredible Ace story!).

The Vicar's right, that story had enough plot threads for three lesser tales. But, as great as the panels of corpses in wax were, I think the most horrifying aspect of todays post would have to be freakin' LAUGHING SALLY! OMG, Vic, that vision will haunt me for quite some time. It's amazing you get any sleep even to this day!

I can't top that mannequin story, but I do vividly remember the first time that- at about age 8- I discovered not all mannequins were fake. I was in a department store standing in front of a mannequin wearing a wedding dress when- much to my piss inducing surprise- the mannequin moved. My Mother and Father were quite amused that the model paid to pretend to be a mannequin had surprised me so much.

The whole event produced an unusual habit in me. For the next, I don't know, 15 or 20 years I obsessed over staring at mannequins wrists since it was at the wrists that one could see the crack where the hands were attached. Many years later I was dating a former model who had been paid at one point to play a mannequin in a store, and come to find out that these models sometimes painted a black line across their wrists in order to throw off people who were mindful of such things. I'm just glad that I never ran across one of these models-playing-mannequin with the lines drawn on their wrists... it would probably have either caused an instant coronary or else ended me up in a padded room.

todd said...

When I was seven or eight, I used to like to stand still in storefront windows. One department store noticed the reaction and hired me to do it twice in exchange for a gift certificate. The woman in charge always mispronounced "mannequin."

The Vicar of VHS said...

>>Many years later I was dating a former model who had been paid at one point to play a mannequin in a store

For some strange reason I find that incredibly hot. :)

(For details about my resurrection, see the May 15th post! And thanks for the well-wishes!)

Wow, 24 comments...is that some kind of record, Daddy K?

Karswell said...

>Wow, 24 comments...is that some kind of record, Daddy K?

It is definitely a record. I had a couple days around last Halloween that generated almost as many comments but yesterday's mannequin madness (with a little help from Laughing Sally) really seemed to get people yappin'! Can we break the record peeps? Let's go for 30!

I also want to say thanks again to everyone who keeps coming by and commenting, it really makes doing this totally worth it. In my never ending quest to get this blog horrifically perfect, please feel free to submit any thoughts or ideas of what YOU want to see here, or what you don't want to see here, anything.

Out.

Jeffos said...

I was a little concerned with the splash page artwork (Duval's enlarged and differently-oriented reflection in the mirror, and Teeno's distended hand opening the door), but it was better as the story progressed. As noted, the green corpses inside the mannequins were great.

I'm not a fan of extended explanatory dialog, and too many plot holes turn me off. This story had plenty of both.

Yet in spite of both artwork and story problems, it was a good tale with a lot to keep the reader interested.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what's scarier, your posts or your commentors!

Mr. Cavin said...

Sorry to be fifteen days late--I was on vacation and am trying to catch up a little. I suspect few will ever see this comment, but here goes: in lieu of a story about mannequins, since I have so very many, I thought I'd just offer this photo of the side porch at my in-laws' farm in Kentucky:

Link.

I imagine that this might be frightening to some (though not after Laughing Sally--no wonder the Vicar's undies weren't clean), though the tell-tale fact that I married into this family seems to indicate that I'm not particularly mannequin-o-phobic. Nor am I, apparently, old-crazy-farmhouse-in-the-woods-o-phobic, either.

Karswell said...

Hey, better late than never Mr Cavin! FYI: I still go through all the old posts frequently as many people continue to leave comments as far back as last year. It's as uncanny as your mannequin nightmare cabin!

wizard said...

mannequins rule

wizard said...

lol does anyone have any idea what it does to a 9 year old when they see mannequins for the first time? I do cus im hooked good. my mom and dad would take me too sears all the time and i guess seeing people that didnt move, well it really fascinated me so much i would go up and down the isles indescretely looking at them. lol curse you sears and robuck! now i have a lingerie store in my dining room with at least 11 mannequins and the wishmaster mannequin and i cant get enough, man its a hell of an obsession because now im 42 years old. o_O lol seriously when i die who's gonna take care of these plastic people i have.

Anonymous said...

Stumbled onto your blog a few weeks ago, to say it is fantastic is an understatement.


Mannequin story (sort of)

I read in a reprint of a horror comic (maybe pre code)

A thief breaks into a department store, the mannequins come to life, they use surgical equipmment/transfusion equipment from the medical supply department in the store to drain the blood from his body, the mannequins drink his blood while he watches on helplessly in horror, day comes and the mannequins turn back into motionless dummies but not before they prop up the thief and make it appear he is a mannequin, but due to loss of blood is too weak to move or yell for help.
When the thief sees a few department store employees he falls over hoping to attract their attention, but they mistakenly believe he is just another mannequin, they decide his head is unattractive and needs a new head, so they cut off his head (but of course don't notice the neckbone, viens or muscles in his neck, it is a comic book story after all) and toss the thief's head in the furnace with the head of the thief thinking 'help me help me someone please help me' while the fire consumes his head.

The description of the comic is much more creepy and scary than the actual comic itself. Sorry I can't recall the title of the comic but this was waaaayy back in the mid seventies when I read it, though I recall the tale rather vividly. It may well have been a pre-code tale due to the artwork but I just don't remember the exact details of the writer/artist/publisher, I just recall the tale itself.

Anonymous said...

Stumbled onto your blog a few weeks ago, to say it is fantastic is an understatement.


Mannequin story (sort of)

I read in a reprint of a horror comic (maybe pre code)

A thief breaks into a department store, the mannequins come to life, they use surgical equipmment/transfusion equipment from the medical supply department in the store to drain the blood from his body, the mannequins drink his blood while he watches on helplessly in horror, day comes and the mannequins turn back into motionless dummies but not before they prop up the thief and make it appear he is a mannequin, but due to loss of blood is too weak to move or yell for help.
When the thief sees a few department store employees he falls over hoping to attract their attention, but they mistakenly believe he is just another mannequin, they decide his head is unattractive and needs a new head, so they cut off his head (but of course don't notice the neckbone, viens or muscles in his neck, it is a comic book story after all) and toss the thief's head in the furnace with the head of the thief thinking 'help me help me someone please help me' while the fire consumes his head.

The description of the comic is much more creepy and scary than the actual comic itself. Sorry I can't recall the title of the comic but this was waaaayy back in the mid seventies when I read it, though I recall the tale rather vividly. It may well have been a pre-code tale due to the artwork but I just don't remember the exact details of the writer/artist/publisher, I just recall the tale itself.

C. Stormy said...

for 2 years as a kid i would have the same dream of a dog sized headless mannequin walking on all fours that would drag me down the stairs of hte house, eventually these manifested themselves in dreams of being chased by headless mannequins in a deserted department store as i desperately outran the turning off of lights behind me as the store shut down

Karswell said...

Nice to see this one still getting comments, thanks for sharing, creeps! Aieeeee!!!!