Saturday, February 5, 2011

Design for Death / Honeymoon Horror

Double Header Day at THOIA, with two more tales from the September 1952 issue of The Tormented #2. "Design for Death" is a typically insane pre-code story with nice art from Bill Ely... this one really reaches hard for the big twist ending but I'll leave it to you on whether it succeeds or not. Followed by Mike Sekowsky's second story in this issue "Honeymoon Horror", yet another re-telling of the classic Samuel Blas revenge tale, as previously told by EC (of course) and also as the very first fantastic episode of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955) television
series called "Revenge."

[While working through the archives, I was surprised to find that a story posted about 3 years earlier, "The Store by the Cemetery", appears to be a close remake of "Design for Death"-- they definitely share the same central premise, and "The Store..." was published roughly a year after "Design..."! Coincidence? Deliberate swipe? Read it here and let us know what you think! -- Nequam]


Mr. Karswell said...

And thanks again to Brian Hirsch for the scans too!

Turok1952 said...

The first story is a strong admonition to those parents who expect way too much achievement from a child, or far too much production from workers by an eternally unsatisfiable boss.
It is also a strong argument in favor of one being self-reliant and not depending on others. The ending being given away in the splash page did not matter, as readers such as myself could not wait to see the rich, spoiled adult brat get her just desserts and weakly plead for help and succor she denied others in her self-centered narrow cocoon of a world.
The second story's ending was unexpected. I thought I had it figured out, but did not. I wonder if Roberta was violated at all. She was, I am thinking, a totally meshuganer yenta. Know thy intended spouse at least somewhat before you marry!

Turok1952 said...

I just watched the Hitchcock version.
Yes, quite the meshuganer indeed she was.
And in the film version, she had not even lost her shoes in the "assault," either.
How grand are subtleties.

Enrico Teodorani said...

Great stuff as usual!

KW said...

Ha ha! they very 1st picture with the head on the plate is so great.

Tempest Nightingale LeTrope said...

Those short courtships always end in disaster. Poor old Ed.

SpaceLord said...

Hafta point out that HONEYMOON HORROR is an EC swipe. Johnny Craig did this story in CRIME SUPENSTORIES #1 as "Murder May Boomerang".
The EC version features not bride and groom, but father and son - and not on honeymoon (clearly!), but on a hunting vacation. The father gets attacked and tortured by an escaped convict. The son gets mad and runs a stranger (whom the father points out as the offender) down with his car.
But father has gone off his rocker and keeps pointing out more men...
Maybe it's not so much a swipe, but a clever re-working.

TheHolderOfTales said...

I think my favorite version of this story is one where the wife doesn't go crazy, and remembers the man's distinctive suit. The husband cruises around town, finds a man in a matching suit and murders him. He hides the body...and then four more guys in the same suit walk out of the building, wondering where their trumpet player is.

He MIGHT have killed the right man...but the odds are against it, and it'll torture him for the rest of his life.