Saturday, November 9, 2019

Carnival of Death

Just yesterday, Brian Barnes was asking me if I was aware of the great Laff In the Dark website (and yes, it's one of my favorite website ever, of course!), and that in turn reminded me of this freaky funhouse tale from the March 1954 issue of Journey into Fear #18. I do find it odd how very little precode content there is when it comes to stories about amusement park haunted attractions, ie: dark rides, spook houses, hall of mirrors etc (I've attempted to put together a book about it for years since it's clearly the perfect setting), but no can do, unfortunately. But the Iger Shop really outdoes themselves this time around with an insanely creepy creature design though, and like our last post, we also get another off hand comment about the lovely aroma of death. Enjoy! Hahahahahahahahaha...


Mestiere said...

"Please, young man, I'd like to buy a ticket!"

"Sure, lady. You know, usually couples go to the Crazy House so they can hug each other when something scary happens."

"Oh, it's okay. I'm a spinster. I'll just hug myself."

"Too much information!"


"Looks like one of those fiends, Mr Cox. Somehow he knew there was only one costumer and that all the scares are automatic and not operated by anyone. And, despite how gory the crime was, nobody saw a person covered in blood running away."

"Yeah. It's almost like it was an inside job. Which is, of course, impossible," says Mr. Cox.


"Well, Mr. Cox, I guess we have to close you up! But first we're gonna search this joint! We probably should have done it after the first murder but we were having too much fun at the carnival. It's not like we were going to find a rotting corpse under the floorboards!"


"Huh! Something wrong here. That floorboard, loose! And that smell! Ugh! I k-know that smell! In the war — I was in charge of cleaning the latrines... somebody took a dump under the floorboards! Oh no! It's turds, so many turds...!"


"That's right, I'm a killer from the sixth dimension! I came out of the fun house mirror, adopted Cox's appearance including changing my body to look like his clothes and hat and started killing single old people while running a carnival. And now I'm going to kill you!"

"Damn! My only regret is dying in such as predictable, cliché way!"

Dr. Theda said...

An enjoyable read for Saturday Morning, good Mr. Karswell

JMR777 said...

This story made me think of the movie 'The Fun House' 1981 and an episode titled 'The Partnership' from the now obscure anthology show Darkroom, also from 1981.

This was a great tale of horror fun. Thanks for this one and all you do, Karswell.

JBM said...

Well everybody is beating me to the punch. Thank you Mr.K. for another winner. It's always nice when a tale ends with an "AAAAAEEEEEE-" A well written story with decent art.

Glowworm said...

I'll admit, I didn't see that ending coming at all. Yes, in the beginning, I did suspect Mr.Cox of possibly being the reason for the murders, but mainly because most of these carnival/haunted house operators tend to be fairly crooked in these stories. In this one, though, it's obvious that Mr.Cox is actually a good boss and runs a clean and honest business--at least until the monster shows up. Matt's a good assistant too and it's a shame that he discovers what's actually been going on far too late in the story.
That monster did a damn good job impersonating his boss though.

Brian Barnes said...

That's actually an interesting point about dark ride stories -- they certainly exist in lots of media -- from little rascals shorts (Hide and Shriek) to horror movies (the above mentioned The Funhouse) -- but not a lot in pre-code, though there was a good amount of carnival stories. You might be able to get a book out of that! You couldn't really use EC but they had a large number of carnival stories.

I like the completely nutty splash ... the big snake head, the wacky skull eye.

Not sure what our monster's plan was ... just to kill? He's certainly drawing a lot of attention to himself!

Mr. Cavin said...

The snippets of funhouse background collage here were great, and really pretty imaginative. Once they solve their monster problem, I'd love to ride this one myself. Although, admittedly, that monster is also pretty unique, so maybe I shouldn't be so quick to judge.

Grant said...

That phrase "Sixth Dimensions" interests me, since it's usually "Fifth." In the musical group's name, in the first Twilight Zone opening, and in a lot of other places.