Thursday, April 11, 2024

Final Payment!

Time for a hysterical visit to hillbilly Hell, from the August 1954 issue of This Magazine is Haunted #19. I'm not exactly sure the writer of this tale understands how scarecrows work (ain't they supposed'ta scare the crows away?!), but in any event, it sure leads to one endless string of perfectly entertaining precode insanity and ultra violent supernatural vengeance from beyond the corn(field.) BRANG it on!


Brian Barnes said...

This is the kind of tale where I have to talk about the optics of the vengeance.

So Kreeg was obviously an awful man; and I have no reason to disbelieve that he was not only awful but cheating the family, too (by the characters speaking), and pretty much deserved to get killed -- but he also gets revenge? Does he really deserve it? Against the son, maybe -- but the parents who not only did nothing but were obviously under duress from the son to do his dirty work?

This story is just really nihilistic! Everybody is poor, the two main characters are horrible people, and everybody dies! Now that's a good ol' 50s horror story!

Mr. Karswell said...

They don’t call it “Hillbilly Hell” for nothing… well, that’s what I called it anyway

Grant said...

Scarecrows come to life seem to be a big tradition in weird stories. Even the obvious one in THE WIZARD OF OZ can have an unsettling side no matter how likable he is.

The idea of a generally horrible landlord who also knows how to curse his tenants sounds like the Manley Wade Wellman story "O Ugly Bird!" which I know mainly from the film THE LEGEND OF HILLBILLY JOHN.

Mr. Cavin said...

Ma and Pa's land is described as barren in the first regular panel, but the land doesn't look very barren, what with all the rolling fields of corn rows. And speaking of that, what with the rolling fields of corn rows, these people seem a lot more like Okies than Hillbillies to me. Might be the fact that this story comes off all Grapes of Wrath at the beginning there. I do see the wee mountains here and there in the background.

Along with knees on mermaids, crows on scarecrows is one of those cliches that seems nearly unavoidable for many illustrators. It's like we've collectively decided that most scarecrow images should actually be cartoons of their ineffectiveness. In a quick image search before commenting I found that over fifty percent of the scarecrow art returned depicted crows hanging out on the stick figure. At least this story makes a meal out of this visual motif!

Also, the art is pretty super. I like Moskowitz's character work here quite a lot.

Bill the Butcher said...

The comic strip doesn't only not know how scarecrows work, it doesn't know how skeletons work and it absolutely doesn't know how shotgun pellets work. By the way,
t he shotgun blast in the splash curved from the point where it hit Kreeg to where it exited him, right? It isn't just me?

I agree with Brian, the parents were blameless.

Todd said...

I agree with Brian (and Bill). It seems weird for the villain to get vengeance against two basically innocent people he already took advantage of. That's why I like some of these old knockoff publications more than others; some have nice little allegories, whereas others are just mean, for lack of a better word.