“The Thing” that wasn't there.
We've shared several covers from Grandi Edizioni Internazionali's horror collection I Capolavori della Serie KKK but this one is kind of special. Translated into Italian by Fernanda Adami, this is a collection of horror master Robert Bloch's early short stories. In case he isn't familiar to you, he wrote Psycho. This book is called La Cosa, or The Thing because Bloch's first story, a piece called “The Thing” appeared in his school magazine in 1932 when Bloch was only fourteen. But guess what? “The Thing” isn't one of the stories in The Thing. Instead the book consists of four tales—“Colui che apre la via,” “Ritorno a Sabbath,” “Il segreto di Sebek,” and “Enoch.” In English these are “The Opener of the Way,” “Return of the Sabbath,” “The Secret of Sebek,” and “Otis.” Just kidding—it's “Enoch.” Lovecraft fans probably already know of the first three stories because they appeared in Bloch's Lovecraft inspired collection The Opener of the Way in 1945 and remain widely read pieces of Lovecraftian lore. So that makes this paperback a bit of a collector's item. As if the great art by Benedetto Caroselli didn't already do that. Yes, he painted a misleading illustration for a horror anthology but Caroselli and Grandi Edizioni Internazionali specialized in that. Want to see a particularly brazen example? Check here.
I usually wear floor length hoop skirts but for certain occasions this crimson mini is just the number.
Sometimes when classic literature was remarketed for mid-century audiences the pulp style makeovers were stretches. But in this case it works. Le amicizie pericolose is a 1964 Italian translation of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos's 1782 French epistolary novel Les Liaisons dangereuses, aka Dangerous Liaisons. The story features one of history's greatest femmes fatales—Marquise de Merteuil, whose pride and sexual vanity is the seed of an unspeakable tragedy. There's also an homme fatale—the serial seducer Vicomte de Valmont, whose dick eventually gets him in a crack so tight he can't escape.
The book has been filmed six times, and cinephiles argue which version is the best. While Glenn Close as the Marquise in 1988's Dangerous Liaisons was astounding, and Annette Bening's turn as the character in 1989's Valmont was also good, we recommend checking out Roger Vadim's 1959 adaptation, which was set in modern day Paris. Actually, even the 1999 Gen-X version Cruel Intentions is pretty good, which just goes to show how rich the source material is. There are also Korean and Chinese versions from 2003 and 2012 respectively.
The amazing femme fatale in red mini-dress and spike heels on the Grandi Edizioni Internazionali edition above—who of course looks nothing like the hoop skirted and white-powdered Marquise de Merteuil described by Laclos—was painted by the abundantly talented Bendetto Caroselli. Repackaging classics in this way (such as we've shown you before here and here) is usually a form of false advertising, but in this case we suspect many readers came away satisfied.
This is a mean old world, baby, to live in all by yourself.
Above, the cover of Gli Amante Perduti, which means “the lost lover,” published 1962 by Grandi Edizioni Internazionali. The author, Horace Robinson, was in reality the prolific Maria Luisa Piazza, and the evocative cover art, showing a woman distressed and alone against a backdrop of blackness, is by the incomparable Benedetto Caroselli.
You can eat an apple a day but it won’t keep this doctor away.
Above is I Capolavori della Serie KKK Classici dell’Orrore number 127, entitled Gli esperimenti del Dott. Hass, aka The Monster, published in 1969, written by Patty North, who was really Franco Marotta. And of course the brilliant art is by Benedetto Caroselli, whose work you probably recognize by now. Marotta also wrote Il robotto maledetto, which means so far he’s written about an evil doctor and an evil robot. The book also has a short story beginning on page 121 called “Violenza,” which was penned by Roland Greaves, who was really Renato Carocci. That’s a lot of entertainment for just a few euros, and well worth it.
A tongue is worth a thousand words.
Is it time for another Caroselli? Of course it is. So above we have his art fronting Grandi Edizioni Internazionali’s 1971 book Troppe donne per Casa… which means Too Many Women for Casa… Casa is of course the adventurer Giacomo Casanova, and he always had time for women, especially ones like these that get all Miley Cyrus with their wandering tongues. You know, we had forgotten how much we appreciate a blatantly visible female tongue until she reminded us. So we owe her thanks for that. But we still want every piece of music she’s ever made to be rocketed into the center of a quasar. Historical note: Casanova trysted with a mere one-hundred-twenty-two women during his life. Wilt Chamberlain probably did that in a slow year. But it’s all about quality, not quantity, right? See another Caroselli/Casanova pairing here.
Oscar Wilde was an okay writer and all, but you know what his fiction really needed? Women in catsuits.
Believe it or not, this book entitled Il vizio che brucia (translation: “The Vice that Burns”) is Oscar Wilde’s macabre classic The Picture of Dorian Gray, sexed up for the Italian reading market. Who is this supposed to be on the cover? Sybil Vane, the innocent young actress? The country girl Hetty Merton? Neither, we suppose, since they didn’t wear backless catsuits, as far as we remember. But even if this pulpification of Wilde’s classic has no relationship to the actual text, the Benedetto Caroselli art makes it collectible. The edition was published by Grandi Edizioni Internazionali as part of their I Romanzi Diabolici series and appeared in 1964. See more Caroselli here.
No matter how secure the lock, he had the key.
Grandi Edizioni Internazionali published a series called I grandi personaggi, or The Great Characters, and one of those personalities was Giacomo Casanova, the famed adventurer and lover. Looking around online, we learned that GEI printed seemingly Casanova’s entire thousands of pages of memoirs as Gli amori di Casanova broken up into small novels with pulp style covers like the one above. As far as we can tell there were (no joke) sixty-nine of these books, including this one, Il cavallo di Troia, or The Trojan Horse, which is presumably about how he secretly entered an impregnable, um, fortress. The art is once again by the great Benedetto Caroselli and we can only say that to have all sixty-nine of these with Caroselli covers would be quite a coup. If you haven’t seen the previous Carosellis we’ve shared, check here and here. In our minds, the guy is a master.
She's dressed to be killed.
We found another I Capolavori della Serie KKK Classici dell’Orrore cover with Benedetto Caroselli art for your enjoyment today. This time it’s La perversa by Reg Sattle, aka Oretta Emmolo, published by Grandi Edizioni Internazionali in 1964. We’ll see if we can dig up more of these somewhere.
Another obscure Italian artist produces a masterpiece.
Some random goodness today, a cover for Sangre de toro (“blood of the bull”), book 109 of I Capolavori della Serie KKK Classici dell’Orrore (KKK Masterpieces Series of Classic Horror), a popular collection published by Grandi Edizioni Internazionali beginning in 1962. This entry arrived in ’68, and was written by R.C. Perez, or in reality the Italian author Renato Carocci, who inhabited an array of pseudonyms that included René du Car, Christian Busch, Harry Carren, Roland Graves, Lucien Le Bossu, James Darren, and Elizabeth Cronin. The incredible art is by Benedetto Caroselli, who, believe it or not, is a fairly obscure figure—at least if we’re to judge by the extreme dearth of info about him online. This isn’t the first time this has happened with Italian art. What the heck is going on over there in Italy, guys? Surely you must love these artists as much as we do. Build a webpage or two (actually, there is one, but you don't get a good look at the art). Well, in any case, we’ll definitely have more on Caroselli soon. We won’t stop looking until we do. Too bad we can’t remember where we found this piece. We bet there’s some info there. But now a search brings up nada. Stay tuned.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1935—Downtown Athletic Club Awards First Trophy
The Downtown Athletic Club in New York City awards its first trophy for athletic achievement to University of Chicago halfback Jay Berwanger. The prize is later renamed the Heisman Trophy, and becomes the most prestigious award in college athletics.
1968—Japan's Biggest Heist Occurs
300 million yen is stolen from four employees of the Nihon Shintaku Ginko bank in Tokyo when a man dressed as a police officer blocks traffic due to a bomb threat, makes them exit their bank car while he checks it for a bomb, and then drives away in it. Under Japanese statute of limitations laws, the thief could come forward today with no repercussions, but nobody has ever taken credit for the crime.
1965—UFO Reported by Thousands of Witnesses
A large, brilliant fireball is seen by thousands in at least six U.S. states and Ontario, Canada as it streaks across the sky, reportedly dropping hot metal debris, starting grass fires, and causing sonic booms. It is generally assumed and reported by the press to be a meteor, however some witnesses claim to have approached the fallen object and seen an alien craft.
1980—John Lennon Killed
Ex-Beatle John Lennon is shot four times in the back and killed by Mark David Chapman in front of The Dakota apartment building in New York City. Chapman had been stalking Lennon since October, and earlier that evening Lennon had autographed a copy of his album Double Fantasy for him.
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