Friday, August 17, 2018

Pursued / The Screaming Skull

Well, we've come this far with the December 1952 issue of Chilling Tales #13, might as well finish it out for another FULL ISSUE THOIA presentation! It's definitely been a while since we've had a screaming skull story, so here we go with a rather soggy double header (one by land, and one by sea, and both are pretty much the exact same tale o'vengeance), but first we'll dive into the eerie, dark depths-- just try not to get water up your noses! Classic cover art by Matt Fox.































11 comments:

Mestiere said...

"Gentlemen... this man's lungs are filled with sea water! He died by drowning!" Interesting that Jake died that way because Harry sure didn't. Those helmets have a valve that let air in but not out. If the one on Harry's suit wasn't working he would know right away since the water pressure would empty his suit as soon as he got in the water. And congratulations to 1952's coroners for having a report ready when the body was still on the street.

As for the second story, what's not to like? What could be more scary than a freaking Screaming Skull!!!. You had me at "half-man, half-ghost", trailer!

Nequam said...

Interesting... the death of the protagonist in "The Screaming Skull" is an near-exact copy of the death of the protagonist in Robert Bloch's "The Skull of the Marquis de Sade". It really is quite a pity that so few of his stories were directly adapted to comics.

BTX said...

"The Skull" .... An Amicus Film starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

glowworm2 said...

I love how in the first story, Jake tries to brush off his encounters with Harry's ghostly corpse as a dream or a figment of his mind caused by his guilt. Yet Harry keeps clearly leaving sea water all over the place every time he leaves.

As for the screaming skull--was the skull really screaming? Seems more like it was laughing and trolling everyone, especially Vezin.

The funny part about both of these stories of revenge is that neither party is truly blame free. At one point or the other you can clearly hear the soon to be murder victim mentioning the possibility of bumping off his partner or keeping the loot all to himself. Unfortunately, the other guy beat you to the punch, mister.

James McNamara said...

First story, page four: in my head I read Harry's "Do you think my life line was cut by er.. accident?" in a JFK/ Mayor Quimby voice, and now I can't unhear it.
Good story, though. The diving suit zombie is a cool image.

Grant said...

Somehow, Jake in "Pursued" reminds me of the actor Aron Kincaid.
Of course, he was in a few horror films, including the comedy "Ghost In The Invisible Bikini."

JMR777 said...

From "Pursued" Harry would have made a memorable horror host, albeit a wet one, with ghostly tales from the sea. A diving helmeted horror would make a memorable guardian of Davy Jones's locker.


In "The Screaming Skull" I was disappointed that the last housekeeper didn't turn out to be a witch or descendant of the lost Brazilian tribe where the chest was found. It would have been a neat twist ending if there had been a connection.


Great horror finds, thanks Karswell.

Mr. Karswell said...

How many Atlas swipes can you find in that first story alone?

Brian Barnes said...

The first story missed the most obvious twist ending (was that rope setup clunky or what?). Have him fall out the window, and be saved by the rope, and the ghost cuts it, as he earlier cut his line. Not the world's best ending but much closer to the kind of snap ending you'd want to have in these kind of tales.

The one thing I really like about the screaming skull aka early job for the lost skeleton of cadavra, is how easily defeated he is by ... a box! Sure, he could scare everybody off, but that was about it!

Mr. Cavin said...

First story, I imagine Jake's string of Yelp reviews is also pretty creepy reading: "Nice hotel, great bar. But why is this Howard Johnson room also plagued by a dead man floating in a diving bell? What is it with this town? One Star." Swipes or not, I like the verve of the splash image, particularly the reefy sea life clinging to the dead man. And I dig the enthusiasm with which Carrobatta illustrated the story (the colorist also helps). You want to see a crappy looking hotel room? Here's cracks in the wall and giant spider webs and lord knows what hell is in that Lovecraftian canopic jar. Shiver.

I like the bit in the second story where Eames is consumed by ants. It's nice how they aren't foreshadowed, sort of a surprise fact of the jungle. I was sorry to see them go, imagining a story in which the skull (which should probably have been whistling rather than screaming, owing the missing tooth) vomits murderous ants on the bad guy on the last page. But alas.

Guy Callaway said...

The screaming skull is great but, apart from bouncing after you and shrieking, he doesn't have a lot going for hum.