Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The House of Demons!

Let's take a look at one more shivery 70's Skywald tale before we head back into the freaky 50's for the usual / unusual fare around here... today's story also comes from the nerve wracking, November 1973 issue of Psycho #15 (see our previous post too), and where as the last "horror-mood" classic relied primarily upon gruesome gore and shocking violence to achieve its mood, The House of Demons is more about shadowy atmosphere and lurking, gloomy evil. Nice, slick art from Amador Garcia too, full of heavy blacks and wonderful Poe-esque detail.


glowworm2 said...

Oh man, I loved this one. Everybody in this tale is a dark, immoral, twisted cruel, wicked character and I love it! The artwork is stunning, and the tale is dark and wonderfully twisted. I love the last panel on page 8 with the uncle and the nurse ready to murder Vincent.

Brian Barnes said...

This could have done without the twist. I like it, even though it's predictable, but the story could have stood on it's own without the last page.

The whole "reflection in the mirror" is a bit unannounced and kind of flimsy, but I'll give it a pass. GCD says Chic Stone wrote this.

The art: awesome. Good horror art, good "good girl" art, and an excellent use of black & white to show darkness and gloom. Fine work. This is the kind of fun, Poe-ish type of tale Skywald was so good at.

Mestiere said...

"They have traversed hundreds of miles to get here pausing only briefly in a nearby village for some dinner." A horse-drawn carriage can do maybe forty miles a day on level terrain and good roads—on mountainous terrain like the art shows, maybe half as much. If they only had dinner once after traveling "hundreds of miles" they must have been ravenous!

"His visitors step hesitantly through the drab-colored room, squinting at the dim lighting that originates from nowhere!" From nowhere? Christine is holding a candle.

Why is Sinclair DeMaine so sickly when our protagonists arrive at the DeMaine house? Eating villagers was supposed to keep him healthy and young. Was he having trouble feeding himself? But Christine was a ghoul too, and she was fine. Did he want to eat his nephew specifically? No, on page two he tells his nephew: "I don't know what to make of this, Vincent! Your coming to inquire about my health!... Have you come to learn how much space you rate in my will?" So Sinclair didn't send for his nephew.

Why was Steven, Sinclair's long lost son, at the DeMaine house the same night as Sinclair's nephew, Vincent? That's quite a coincidence.

Steven kills his father because:"...he had to be stopped! Too many villagers were disappearing!" So he went there to prevent more murders! But then Steven reveals that he himself is a ghoul, which implies that the murders will continue and immediately kills Melanie.

If ghoulism is hereditary why isn't Vincent a ghoul?

I understand that for Skywald creating a mood was more important than telling a coherent story, but this is a case where I wish the writer had worked even half as hard as the artist.

Grant said...

This really has the feeling of a BW Italian horror film as much as anything else. In fact, that picture of Melanie in the center of Page 4 makes her look like Barbara Steele in any given role in one of those.

This might be the only weird story that has a secret panel that's been so overused it doesn't work very well as a secret panel!

Guy Callaway said...

You got in one, Grant. Completely like those early '60's gothic horrors from Italy.
Excellent art, and "That scream! It came from the cellar!" - how can you not love it.