Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Corpse in the House

As we creep closer and closer to Halloween 2019, it's time to nail down a few more putrid posts, and this rotten terror tale from the February 1954 issue off This Magazine is Haunted #15, (with art by Bob McCarty), is the perfect fix you upper / downer. I was trying to remember if I've ever posted a carpenter horror story here at THOIA before-- and I don't mean John! *gag!* 

(Cover art by Dick Giordano)


Mestiere said...

Paula adjusted to Gil's absence very quickly. How resilient.

Paula couldn't smell the rotting stench and never saw the footprints. None of the wedding guests saw the bloodstains on the ceiling dripping on Tom's head. It seemed that Tom's guilty conscience was making him see things. But no, somehow Gil's body migrated from the cement wall to the ceiling. A ceiling that looks paper thin. Could it be that Tom, on top of being a murderer, was also skimping on the materials?

It's a peculiar "little bungalow", tiny seen from the outside but big enough on the inside to hold a wedding and with framed paintings on the walls.

"He's after me. Gil's after me for killing him!" I guess there was no point in Tom denying he was the killer. People knew Gil had disappeared and that body was in a house finished by Tom. Still, it seems to me he confessed awfully quickly.

Too bad we never saw Paula's reaction to the reveal. She doesn't appear in the last page at all!

Glowworm said...

A typo actually mars the part where Tom throws Gil into the cement mixer. On the last panel of the first page, Tom addresses Gil as himself: "Tom, look inside there! There's something wrong with the mixer!" If it wasn't for the panel before clearly showing us which one of the men was which, I would have been very confused.

Until Gil's body actually pops out of the ceiling, I kind of wonder if Tom was just imagining it all due to his guilt-ridden mind. As mentioned before, Paula never noticed the odor and the footprints only appeared when Paula was absent from the house. Heck, nobody even bats an eyelash when blood from the ceiling starts dripping on Tom's head, so it must have all been in his mind. Heck, Gil's body doesn't even start lurching forward or start strangling Tom, (I actually thought it was going to crash out of the ceiling and crush Tom to death. That would have been pretty neat actually.) so it's basically his guilt that springs to life here--not Gil coming back from the dead. Also, I love that the ceiling starts to crack just after the classic "Speak now or forever hold your peace." Which I think is actually used appropriately here in this story because the groom to be is actually a murderer.

Brian Barnes said...

I've seen this. There must have been an eerie reprint, I mean, I remember it exactly, the dripping ceiling, the footprints, all great visuals.

I have no idea why the colorist picked green for faces at times -- I get the timing but I guess I don't agree with the choice of colors. A yellow maybe!

This is a great, compact little story, though the disappearance of Paula was kind of strange. I love a lot of the ghostly impressions (a bit of a tell-the-tale heart) and the body just plopping out of the ceiling at the worst possible moment.

This is what a good pre-code horror story should be. Grisly comeuppance!

Mr. Cavin said...

I dig this gooey, drippy art. And I think it's plenty cool how, whenever the crazy is really taking over in Tom's mind, his whole head turns green. If only that were the case in real life, too. We'd all be a lot more forewarned, that's for sure.

Todd said...

I'm not really a fan of this one—except for this part:

"Er—yes, Paula. —Er—low ceiling living rooms are coming into fashion. …I thought you'd like it."

No wonder she falls for him again so fast. He's one smooth operator!