Wednesday, February 6, 2019

True Love

Post #2 in our vicious Valentine Special for February 2019-- and it's a rather grim, mummy monstrosity, from the November 1953 issue of Mister Mystery #14, with art by Eugene Hughes. And yes, my MUMMIES book is still available HERE, and like my HAUNTED LOVE collection mentioned in the previous post-- also makes a great VD present! Go-go-go you crazy love birds!


Mr. Cavin said...

I really appreciate how this story spent as much time on the romance as it did on the horror. This one was sexy!

If I'd written it, I probably woulda dropped the devious murder plan. It's enough that the young lovers were going to run off after this one last job. I don't really love the way precode narratives (US narratives in general, frankly) always try to mitigate outright murder by the dubious mechanism of moral outrage in these things. Oh, well, if they deserve it. That's just a wish-fulfillment fantasy, wherein the reader imagines him- or herself entitled to carte blanche by the wrongdoings of others. I think it softens the horror to spend a story wishing to see bad things happen to people who somehow "deserve" it. Characters who somehow "brought it on themselves."

And frankly, there's no reason to think Dr. Hyden knew anything about the homicidal aspect of their plan, anyway. As far as he was concerned, his actions had nothing to do with self defense. He killed his own wife because she cheated on him, period. We are the ones let onto the fact that the couple role-played murderers to get themselves into the mood. Only we are meant to assume there's some greater moral equivalency at play here.

Grant said...

I can't help agreeing with that.

There's one little thing that makes the story accidentally funny, but it's something they couldn't have foreseen. Dr. Hyden looks more than a little like Howard MacNear, "Floyd the barber."

Mestiere said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian Barnes said...

I have to disagree a bit with Mr. Cavin here -- I like the murder plot -- but not because it justifies murder but because it builds a bit more belief into the affair subplot. They love each other enough to murder. It also can serve a bit as a red herring as you would expect Dr. Hyden to get murdered and then come back from the grave.

I enjoyed the ending but if there is justified murder it is against Dr. Hyden. I don't think he ever talked to his wife without constantly mentioning his OTHER love. Yeesh, guy, how about you put a damper on that for a bit?

I like how a wall would stop any archaeologist from going further into a tomb if there's a viewing window right there!

BTW, I know Egypt and Mummies where big back then but I have to hand it to the artist, it seems he did a bit of research.

JBM said...

After reading Grant's comment, I went back and looked at the Doctor. I could almost hear the "oo oo Andy's" Your previous posting's splash kinda put this one to shame. Only a fair unresolved ending here. I was expecting more of a twist. Something supernatural perhaps? Thank you Mr. K. As Santana sings I hope you're feeling better, yes I hope you're feeling good.

varanid9 said...

Nope. The murder plot is almost mandatory in these kind of things. Most of these old pre-code horror stories were morality plays. Yes, it would have been more horrific if the victims were innocents, and, occasionally, a story would break from that formula and it IS refreshing to see. BTW, if I'm out in the desert and my companions are plotting to murder me, darn right I'm justified in getting them first.

Unknown said...

Looks like Hughes having to pack in a lot of detail in a hurry (I doubt it was inked by another). Not as neat as his usual bad-but-good style.

Bill the Butcher said...

Formaldehyde? To keep the Mummy from disintegrating to dust?

That ain't no way how formaldehyde don't work, an' mummies neither.