Friday, July 3, 2020

The Dead

A spooky little dead end tale by Dick Ayers from the February 1954 issue of Adventures into Weird Worlds #26. No big twist finale this time, just a thundercrack of realization and eerie implication to send a chilling shiver down your spines on a hot summer day here in terrible 2020...


JMR777 said...

First off, congratulations again for winning the silver bolo award, and thanks for posting what it looks like on the side panel for all followers of THOIA to see.

As to the story, it reminded me of the tale Lighthouse of the Dead posted back in December 8, 2008 (man, were did the time go?) Both tales dealt with the deceased returning, not so much with evil intent, but only to pick up where they left off in life.

If this concept, the harmless dead return, were turned into a movie, would it be done as a horror movie, a horror comedy (horredy?), or a poignant view of death, morning and loss?

I suppose most of us would be terrified of deceased loved ones returning home, but I suspect there would be some who would feel wrong driving them away. Its like a story I read once of a widow who would see the ghost of her late husband for a few seconds at irregular times. She wasn't afraid of the ghost, but she was comforted knowing her loved one was still with her in spirit.

This was a thought provoking tale, at least for me. Thank you for posting it, Karswell.

Brian Barnes said...

Nice somber little tale that avoids an EC ending and just gives you food for thought (not that it matters, even if the old dead reject you there's always new dead coming in to whatever "other" world.)

I really like it. Yes, it's a bit text heavy and that's always a complaint, but it's a change of pace and it's a nice little story that works more on a drama level than a horror level.

Also contains what is probably some of the best text in a pre-code horror story: "... a river of walking dead, moving effortlessly side by side..."

I always applaud when an artist does a good job with a story that has little to no action.

Mr. Cavin said...

Just to quickly answer JMR777's question, the 2004 French film Les Revenants (retitled They Came Back in English) has a very similar set up as this, and is basically played as existential, albeit surreal, drama. With creepy overtones. It's pretty good! In 2012 the movie was remade into a French television series, also called Les Revenants (The Returned in the UK), fleshed out into eight episodes over two seasons. I liked the TV show a lot. It was then re-remade in 2015 for US audience as The Returned, which was cancelled after one ten-episode season, presumably cut short. I haven't seen the US version.

I liked today's story a bunch. It's subtle and lovely. I don't feel like there was too much in the way of text; but with the really organic and moody Ayers artwork, I kind of wish that text had been spread out over more space. I mean, look at that spooky-ass ghost town at the bottom of the first page. I'd love to see detail like that bigger. Both of the three-panel spreads--the dead rising on page three, and leaving town again on page five--are wonderful, and might have breathed more freely with a pause in the narration. It could have been done if this story was written over another page or two. But no matter really. What we got was awfully nice anyway.

Bill the Butcher said...

Anything called "The Dwarf Of Horromoor" is something I need to see.

As for this story, it was great. The ending was especially good since it avoided the obvious cliche that the so called living people were themselves dead and didn't know it. The brooding menace effect is excellent, more so for being so rare in a pre code story.

Eric said...

A great little story, thank you!

I imagine I'm not the only one who read the first page in the COVID era and thought that this could have happened to some poor guy whose cell died while he was vacationing. "Where's your mask, Hal? And if you don't need to be out, why don't you get your butt inside!"