|Vintage Pulp||Jul 24 2017|
Dead As a Dummy is a thriller set in the unlikely locale of Tucson, Arizona, where a premiere for a horror movie called The Invisible Zombie goes completely awry when it becomes the backdrop for three murders. The main character is Ben Logan. His job is kind of hard to describe. Basically, he works for a cinema chain, and he handles whatever needs to be handled. Think of him as a troubleshooter. He puts together a lobby display for The Invisible Zombie featuring a coffin with a mannequin corpse inside, only to find the set-up put to use by a clever killer. The main attraction here besides the plot is good southwestern flavor, something author Geoffrey Homes was adept at after previous forays in the same milieu. The cover art on this is generally credited to George Fullington, but that's one of those cases of the internet replicating an error. It happens. We've done it ourselves. The art is by Ray Johnson—says so right on the second page—and the copyright is 1949.
|Vintage Pulp||Jan 21 2017|
In Violent Saturday, a group of people are loosely connected to a smalltown bank that has been targeted by a trio of robbers. Yes, it's a heist double feature at the Noir City Film Festival. We meet the big shot at a local mine who is one of the bank's most important customers. We meet his cheating wife, who's having an affair with a bank employee. We're introduced to a group of Amish who have no idea their nearby community has been chosen as a rendezvous point. We get to know the bank manager—and the woman whose window he peeps through at night. As you might guess from our rundown, the examination of all these characters and their situations is detailed. In fact, it lasts two thirds of the film.
When the bank is finally robbed, some of these people will find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time as the criminals' careful plan degenerates into a kill-or-be-killed fiasco. Lethal results are coming but we have no idea who will survive. Everyone is flawed, everyone has hope for a good future, but not all of them will get to see it. Violent Saturday is a DeLuxe color production rather than a standard black and white film noir. Set in Arizona, it was dubbed "southwestern noir" by the Village Voice, but really it's just a tidy little thriller—with an untidy little finish. We think it fits nicely on the Noir City slate.
|Politique Diabolique||Aug 10 2016|
When asked for comment, Satanic Church leader Lucien Greaves took time from etching pentagrams and deflowering virgins long enough to suggest that children being threatened with eternal hellfire need the healthy alternative belief system Satanism provides. He's being disingenuous, of course—the Satanists are really just atheists with a finely honed sense of humor. The confrontation promises to be political theater of a uniquely American sort, but it will inevitably end in judicial defeat for Christian clubs. At least until they manage to write Christianity into the U.S. Constitution—not so farfetched, considering there are politicians like Arizona's Sylvia Allen publicly pondering whether her state can force citizens to attend church. Maybe the founding fathers should have taken a tip from Satan and written the Constitution in blood. That way breaking the deal would cost politicians their souls.
|Vintage Pulp||Feb 21 2012|
Above, an April 1959 cover of Man’s Conquest, featuring a man about to risk life and limb to obtain a harem of girls. It’s actually a fitting theme, because inside the issue there’s an article about the infamous Short Creek raid of 1953, in which Arizona police and National Guardsmen stormed a fundamentalist Mormon compound where thirty-six men were living with their eighty-six wives and more than 250 children. Afterward, Arizona governor John Howard Pyle claimed that Short Creek inhabitants were engaged in a conspiracy to produce “white slaves”, but the public wasn’t buying it, and the fallout from the raid cost him his job when the next election rolled around. In an interesting twist, though, the LDS church, through its official newspaper the Deseret News, originally applauded the raid on the grounds that polygamy had been stricken from Mormon doctrine decades earlier.
|Vintage Pulp||Jul 2 2010|
This Master Detective from July 1960 has cover art that incorporates two elements millions of people dream about every night—a beautiful girl and a dead BP executive. Inside is a grisly story on housewife Nancy Haas, who was murdered by nineteen year-old Robert Elton Edwards in March 1960. Edwards’ MO was to knock on the doors of houses with For Sale signs in the yards, then rob the people inside. In this case, he tried to chain Haas to a bed but when she struggled he shot her dead with a .22 pistol. She was the first woman Edwards had killed, and the last, because Haas’s daughter, who was only three, told police, “A bad man hurt mommy and drove away in a white car.” That simple description led to police arresting Edwards three days later in Arizona, driving a stolen white 1959 Plymouth Fury. Edwards pleaded guilty to murder and at his sentencing the judge said he’d contemplated sending Edwards to the gas chamber, but changed his mind. The judge explained: “I’m not doing you any favors.” Then he sentenced Edwards to life in prison.