Pulp Consumption: The Ballad of Black Tom

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Victor LaValle’s novella The Ballad of Black Tom reimagines H.P. Lovecraft’s original story “The Horror at Red Hook,” notorious for being one of the most blatantly racist stories by the older author. “Red Hook” was originally published by Weird Tales in 1927, but it’s notably racist even for the time period. Additionally, Lovecraft himself wasn’t much a fan of the story. Some of Lovecraft’s proteges and biographers (Lin Carter the former and ST Joshi the latter) agree with his assessment. I don’t think there’s a need for me to agree with others, but I’ll just add in my personal dislike for the story, its narrative device (used to better effect in “Randolph Carter”), and the unchecked xenophobia, which is more than uncalled for.

Black Tom has won awards and was nominated for many others, primarily because it manages to add story beats that give the characters purpose. If “Red Hook” had been submitted to us, we’d likely have passed on it for multiple reasons–foremost the aforementioned racism–but even if that was missing, it would be because the action scenes are bland and the stakes are nearly impossible to discern. Simply put, readers don’t really care about the main character; Thomas Malone, an Irish-American police detective; nor the villain, Robert Suydam. What’s in play/at risk is impossible for the main character to prevent, and the villain’s motivation is lacking, at best. And that’s why Black Tom is as successful as it has been.

Suydam’s motivations, the calling forth of an Old One to hopefully remove humans from existence, are far better explained than in “Red Hook,” Malone’s knowledge and understanding of magic are heightened and explored in more detail, and finally, Black Tom, the African-American servant/slave of Suydam, is given his own storyline and motivation, rather than just being exploited by Suydam. His is Tommy Tester, a hustler who pretends to be a street musician in order to act variously as a transporter for magical items and books, and as a scammer using his position and knowledge to blackmail or extort money from people higher up on the food chain.

While almost everything about Black Tom is better than Lovecraft’s original, I do feel as though the mundanity and simplicity of LaValle’s language doesn’t carry the same appeal as Lovecraft’s more grandiose verbiage. I realize this is about personal taste rather than objective criticism (if such a thing exists), but when dealing with the scene-setting of pulp fiction, particularly that of Mythos-inspired literature, I vastly prefer the complex and perhaps archaic phrasing. Matt thinks the more stripped-down prose makes the story more accessible, but I’m just not a fan. There’s a time and place for short, direct sentences (Hemingway or Carver or Pinter), but it’s not when describing the ultimate evils ready to awaken and destroy all of existence.

I went back and reread “Red Hook” after about 10 pages of Black Tom because I wanted to see what I might be missing since it had been a long time since I read Lovecraft’s original, but LaValle really did his homework, so it wasn’t necessary to reread at all. LaValle’s story is simply better constructed, includes all the important details, adds new appropriate story points, and is all around a more entertaining experience. If you really want to have Lovecraft’s verbosity in your head, just read a different story (I recommend “At the Mountains of Madness”) and let LaValle tackle “Red Hook” for you instead. The Ballad of Black Tom is worth your time and money.

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Pulp Appeal: Econoclash Review #2

Econoclash Review #Two

Edited by J.D. Graves

Available via Amazon

 

Econoclash Review continues to impress with a grab bag of stories by some of the hottest indie talent around. To be sure, some of the stories were more miss than hit for me, but there’s enough in this slim digest to appease even the most discerning of pulp connoisseurs. That said, the tagline isn’t Quality Cheap Thrills for nothing, and these stories seek to entertain first and foremost and that they most assuredly do. But what exactly do you get you’re your money? Well… Continue reading

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Issue 7 Out Today!

Hey, guess what today is? I mean other than the first day of the rest of your life. Yeah, that’s right, we’ve got a new issue of BROADSWORDS AND BLASTERS for you.

Broadswords and Blasters Issue 7: Pulp Magazine with Modern Sensibilities (Volume 2 Book 3) by [Gomez, Matthew, Codair, Sara, Barlow, Tom, Francis, Rob, Kilgore, Joe, Reynolds, Z., Serna-Grey, Ben, Young, Brad, Rubin, Richard, Uitvlugt, Donald]

Maybe we shouldn’t have woken it up?

Richard Rubin first graced our pages in Issue 4 with “Commander Saturn and the Deadly Invaders From Rigel,” and now he’s back battling the space pirates of Ganymede. If you like retro sci-fi at all (we’re talking old school Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon), you’re going to want to check out this tale of experimental cloaking devices, double crosses and deception.

Tom Barlow gave us “Jigsaw,” a dysfunctional couple’s descent into horror brought about by a mysterious puzzle.

Ben Serna-Grey penned the twisted surrealistic sci-fi dystopia “Choice Cuts.” When everything (and anyone) is edible, conspicuous consumption takes on a whole new meaning.

Rob Francis is back this issue (last seen way back in issue 1) with “Land and Money and Old Bones,” the story of Anthony, heir to his uncle’s estate, who finds out some inheritances might be more work than they’re worth.

Sara Codair gets our cover story with two brave ocean explorers who encounter “A Curious Case in the Deep.” A different take on a nautical adventure to be sure… and maybe the depths aren’t meant to be explored after all. Sara graced us with a story back in Issue 2, “The Soul Plantation.”
Z.S. Reynolds gave us “Between,” a tale of a West that never was and the brave women who protect the transcontinental railroad.

Joe Kilgore has the cautionary Western about being careful about the promises you choose to keep, “The Best Laid Plans.” It’s the kind of story that harkens back to spaghetti Westerns, with hard men and hard women both.

Brad Young stuns with “The Whisker-Wood,” a weird, twisted horror tale about a man’s descent into madness. You might not look at the weeds in your backyard the same way again.

We wrap the issue up with Donald Uitvgult’s “Harvest Moon,” a cosmic horror jidaigeki that creates a unique story of betrayal, falsehoods, and blood.

Issue 7 is available at Amazon in both kindle and dead tree formats. It is also available for Kindle Unlimited.

We are also currently running a sale on all Kindle versions of our back issues, in case there are any that you are missing. You can find a full list of our catalog here.

And as a reminder, we reopen for submissions on November 1. Picking up a back issue (or more) could give you a good sense of what we are looking for.

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Pulp Consumption: The Black Company

220px-The_Black_CompanyI first read Glen Cook’s The Black Company and its sequels about 15 years ago, but the first book was recently on sale as a Kindle book, so I picked it up to read again as my paperbacks are stored away in a tote somewhere and I didn’t want to dig around to find them.

As the name implies, the Black Company is a mercenary company made up of villains and black magicians who were simply looking for a place to put their skills to better use. Some of them joined up out of debts, some for brotherhood, and a few, of which the main character, Croaker, may be part, for atonement for past sins. The Company has sold its services to the side of dark overlords for a long time, partly because in this universe it’s the bad guys who won a war hundreds of years ago and established a ruling authority. Recently, a contingent of Rebels has begun to fight back, which is where the story starts.

It amazing how story points leave your head, and I really only remembered a vague overarching plot. Croaker is telling the story through his journals, which are the in-universe Annals one designated member of the Black Company has kept as its official record since the Company’s inception.

/start Digression: This novel firmly belongs in the genre of grimdark, a fantasy subset that tends to follow a sort of nihilistic philosophy, with no true good guys and simply choosing one faction from amongst all the bad players to follow and identify with. The most iconic property in current speculative fiction is perhaps Warhammer 40k, but in reality stories like The Black Company set the stage for WH40K, and, are responsible in large part for George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (better known, and perhaps better titled, as “Game of Thrones” on HBO).

While grimdark didn’t really exist in the era of pulp fiction, it certainly traces its history to that time period. Inasmuch as Tolkien’s high fantasy was a continuance of themes popularized by Lord Dunsany, it was also reactionary imperialism as comment on the World Wars–and also a deliberate-seeming casting aside of the grimmer, darker fiction of the 30s and 40s, specifically pulp noir and sword and sorcery yarns. So in that light, the grimdark revolution, started in earnest in the 1980s (alongside cyberpunk, another genre of dark speculation), could be seen as recapturing an older essential mode of fiction. It’s cyclical, like most of history, and you can see the same trends in television and film genre popularity. /end Digression

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Wait, there was a roleplaying setting for the d20 system? The things you learn when writing articles for Broadswords and Blasters. To bad it’s out of print. Not that I need another roleplaying game taking up space on my bookshelf…

As indicated above, Croaker’s main goal, even if he doesn’t quite realize it himself, in joining the Black Company is a sort of personal atonement for past sins. It’s part of why he has so dedicated himself to medicine. He’s the Company’s surgeon and seems to be particularly good at his job. And while he puts on a strong face, since we see the story from his point-of-view we recognize the tough demeanor as the facade it really is. Without spoiling the plot, when given the chance to embrace true evil (in both figurative and literal senses), he rejects it, and instead, in an act of both mercy and a burgeoning hope he might escape the seemingly unbeatable nihilistic existence of the Company, makes a decision astute readers have seen coming for hundreds of pages longer than Croaker himself is aware.

This, of course, sets up for sequels, of which there are eight. Two of those are direct sequels and those three are collectively referred to as “The Books of the North” indicating their location on the world where the novels take place. I’ll have to dig around for those two now as I’m once again hooked into Glen Cook’s fantastic writing. Maybe after I get through my nightstand TBR pile which never seems to shrink no matter how much I read.

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Pulp Appeal: Switchblade Sixx

Switchblade continues its run as an excellent venue for short noir and crime fiction and issue six is no exception. These stories read like a lone saxophone playing in the night, following people with bad luck, who’ve made bad decisions, and who took the easy way much to their regret. My hat’s off to Scotch Rutherford for curating another excellent batch of stories. I know I’ve said it before, but anyone who thinks the short story form is old and tired hasn’t been paying attention to what’s going on out there. There is a tremendous amount of talent that is going unnoticed and unremarked. So do yourself a favor, pick up an issue. Give it a read. See what you’ve been missing.

Switchblade (Issue Sixx) by [Barnes, Rusty , Weiner, Rex , Barlow, Tom , Richardson, Travis, Sweetman, E.F., Carpenter, Scot, Thorn, Aidan , Payne, Mike, Deshane, Evelyn, Soldan, William R.]

You wished your covers looked half this good.

I also appreciate the artwork that Rutherford peppers the interior with, be it black and white street photos, vintage ads, or women who’d sooner cut you then give you the time of day. It fills out the magazine nicely and lends atmosphere to each piece.

“Seattle by William R. Soldan is a paean to loss and addiction, where music meets desperation and yesterday’s dreams turn into today’s recriminations. This is the kind of poem smoky, low ceilinged bars are meant for, but the edges are more polished than say Burkowski or Burroughs.

“Down Payment” by George Garnet is flash the way SWITCHBLADE likes it. In and out to tell the story, keeping it raw but keeping it human. It’s about what happens when you take options away from people and they react in maybe the last way you’d suspect. But it’s also about loss of innocence, and how adults can destroy childhoods, especially when they start going down a long and lonely path.

“Hooked” by Aidan Thorn. A fresh take on fidelity and bravery, as what happens to a man after he visits a prostitute. I can say with certainty that while the bulk of the story was unsurprising, the reveal at the end was.

“On the Way Home” By Rex Weiner. A man wants to go home, but he’s interrupted by hos coworker Walter, who tells a series of short, sharp vignettes: scenes from his own life and the mistakes made when assumptions take over. Not quite a story, the real strength in the piece comes through at the end, with the man sitting in his car, thinking about his own what-could-have-beens.

“Cold Comfort” by John Bosworth. A different sort of tale regarding infidelity and the darker desires that some men (and women) have. About the price indulging those desires might inflict. And what kind of people would crawl out of the woodwork to indulge them.

“The Vice Aisle” by Mike Payne. A night shift manager leads a wild double life of swinger’s clubs, drugs, and crime. Turns out working the night shift is a gateway into all sorts of illicit activity, especially in a declining neighborhood and where everyone “knows a guy.” But what happens when automation starts taking over, when that way of life is threatened? All that changes when the store is subjected to an armed robbery… but what do they ants with the shelf-stocking robots?

“Dead Men Tell Tales” by Jim Thomsen. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A hit man waits for his target at hi target’s home. He gets there. The hitman shoots him. Hitman gets paid. Only, that’s not quite how this story goes. This hitman’s terminal with cancer. The mark is a college-educated young man whose ex-father-in-law wants disappeared. They sit. They talk over a beer. So, when does empathy win over professionalism? And what form might that take? Easily one of my favorite stories from this collection, Mr. Thomsen is someone to keep an eye out for.

“The Usher” by E.F. Sweetman. I’ve been thinking about this story a lot since I’ve read it. A story where people with money and power are able to take advantage of those who don’t. What happens when you want to hang with the cool crowd, and what that’ll cost you. What it might cost in human life. Sweetman does an excellent job of channeling the back streets of Boston and its seedier side, and anyone familiar with New England has to admire the authenticity she injects into her writing.

“Chowda” By Travis Richardson. Two men are poisoned, but only one of them dies. The survivor takes it on himself to figure out who was behind it. Not who put the poison in the chowda necessarily, but who was the motivating factor… and the reason they did it. A strong story that goes into how the past impacts our present, and bad mistakes can snowball into disasters.

“Implement of Destruction” by Rusty Barnes. Kraj is a legbreaker for Tricky Ricky, a loan shark. Sure, it’s not his only job (he also bounces at a local club), but it’s the one that pays most of his bills. This story is unique in that you don’t often see stories from the point of view of a character who’d be little more than an extra in most other stories, showing the potential for telling the stories from fresh perspectives. The action in this piece is short, sharp, and dramatic. Not a surprise coming from Rusty Barnes (editor at TOUGH), but damn if this story doesn’t sing.

“Lost Girl” by Scot Carpenter is a dark and twisted tale of sex trafficking, big money, and violence. The main character is as ruthless as they come and as self-centered a morality as I’ve seen in literature. That said, he doesn’t have any real illusions as to his own evil, acknowledging that he is out for himself first and foremost. And for the record, I might not look at a bottle of hot sauce quite the same way again.

“Road Rage” by Danny Sophabismay. Hannah’s at the end of her line: an addict, pregnant, and in the hole to her usually supplier. But things start to change when she gets cut off by a Suburban, and she comes by some illicit cash. But when your luck runs bad for as long as it does, can even a small upswing make a difference?

“The Bargain” by Tom Barlow. A car auction can be a great thing. Four wheels and an engine can mean freedom, or at least the start out of a deep hole. But when Tanya discovers three kilos of heroin in her new ride, it’s the start of a downward spiral as she looks to unload it. But some habits are easy to slip into, and at the end of the day a bad bargain is worse than no bargain at all.

“The Magician’s Left Hand” by Tais Teng. A hitman. A mysterious client. When you kill for a living, it becomes hard to remember them all, but the wreckage you leave behind in life has a way of washing back up, especially when you don’t expect it to.

“Violet” by Evelyn Deshane. This read like the odd duck out in the collection as it dealt with a snuff film, a video store clerk, and the idea of who we are and how much we shape ourselves around the idea of other people. This one also blurred the line between noir and supernatural in a way that I’m not used to reading in Switchblade. It’s probably the most heartbreaking story in the collection.

Switchblade Sixx is available at Amazon and you can follow the magazine on Twitter.

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Pulp Appeal: Beowulf (Guest Post by Sara Codair)

(Editors’ Note: Sara Codair lives in a world of words. Writing is like breathing; they can’t live without it. Sara teaches and tutors writing at a Northern Essex Community College. They live with a cat named Goose who likes to “edit” their work by deleting entire pages and a dog who limits their screen time. Their short stories were published in places like Unnerving Magazine, Broadswords and Blasters, Alternative Truths, and Once Upon a Rainbow II. Their debut novel, Power Surge, will be published by NineStar Press on Oct. 1, 2018. Find Sara online at https://saracodair.com/. Twitter: @shatteredsmoothFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/saracodair1)

Hwæt!”

It’s time to unlock my word-hoard and take “Pulp Appeal” back to the days of the mead halls and scops.

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Editors’ Note: The Heaney translation is editor and poet Cameron Mount’s favorite, but even so it doesn’t hold a candle to the way the original sounds. Check the Youtube video below.

When I put Beowulf and “Pulp Appeal” in one thought, I don’t think of the 1970’s comics, Seamus Heaney, J. R. R. Tolkien, or the 2007 movie. I think about a bunch of smelly drunk people huddled around fires drinking mead while the scop sings a story of heroics and gore.

When I had the luxury of ignoring practicality and studying whatever I wanted, I signed up for Special Topics in Literature: Beowulf, or as my classmates and I called it, Beowulf Seminar.

Yes. I took a semester long class on Beowulf and I do not regret it.

Beowulf is ancient, written in a form of English so old it’s foreign, filled with cathartic words and terribly confusing grammar. What made Beowulf Seminar special wasn’t seeing the text in its original language but hearing and speaking it.

Beowulf (the character) is a bad ass right from the beginning. Before the hero of the Geats even gets to the Danes to learn about the monster they want him to kill, he swims across a narrow stretch of ocean and battles sea monsters with his bare hands.

No boat. No scuba gear. Just Beowulf and the sea monsters duking it out on whale road.

Speaking of whale road, I love the poetic conventions, kennings, and alliteration, that show up in Anglo-Saxon poems. Contemporary publishing pros just don’t appreciate them enough these days.

I get chills when I think of Beowulf finally meeting up with the Grendel-plagued Danes. I could try to look up the lines, either in or out of translation, that paint a picture of this dark, lonely hall full of scared warriors hiding shattered egos behind bravado, but I suspect I could look and look and never find it.

Ancient, translated stories are fluid. They grow and squirm and define binaries. They change with every telling, whether it is by a scop on a dark night in medieval England, a 20th century poet’s translation published and force-fed to high school students, or a circle of nerdy English majors reading aloud and translating under the watchful eye of a well-loved professor. Pen and vellum, the printing press, and the Internet may have “immortalized” Beowulf, but they don’t bind it.

So when I remember being swept up in the tension of Beowulf grappling Grendel, an enemy he didn’t really know or understand before literally ripping his arm off, it may not be the same scene in my head as it is in someone else’s.

After a break with some mead and talking, we get to my favorite part of the story – the problematic one I wrote a 20-page paper about in graduate school. One semester of Beowulf just wasn’t enough.

For me, the battle with Grendel’s mother conjured images of slimy monsters, the kind of murky water my dogs love wallowing in, and the stench of decay. Here, Beowulf isn’t so heroic. He’s hunting down the mother of the being he murdered, propagating a never-ending circle of murder and revenge.

This is the first time Beowulf the Badass has any real trouble. The man who swam through monster-infested seas like I cross streets is almost defeated, only saved by a deus-ex-machina discovery of a magic sword.

I like magic swords, especially if they conveniently appear when they’re needed most, but contemporary publishing pros like that even less than alliteration.

The final battle of Beowulf is probably the one that would receive the least hate were it to wind up in someone’s slush pile (assuming the reader made it that far).

When I pull myself out of my stream of indie press ARC’s and instead read books from publishing houses that make a lot of money, I notice they like authors who torture their characters.

Miscommunication. Bad Decisions. Oversight. These things lead to the death of many of my favorite characters in newish speculative fiction, so I think the editors would like how one little thief who angers a dragon (sound familiar?) ends Beowulf’s life fifty years after he defeated Grendel’s mother.

In that final scene, when Beowulf faces the fierce fiery dragon, all but one of his men abandon him. Only the wise and faithful Wiglaf remains at his side.

There is no HEA or HFN[1] though I bet I could write a pretty good sequel for Wiglaf. No one is stopping me from doing that, and no one is stopping me from writing Beowulf with more gender diversity and a better ending. I could call it fan-fiction or a retelling, but the truth would be that it’s just Beowulf being Beowulf. It’s the story growing and evolving as it is meant to do.

Without a time machine capable of bringing me back to a hall or camp where a scop sings a version of it, I can’t ever truly know what any of the original tellings of Beowulf were like.

If I did have one? I wouldn’t want to travel to an era where personal hygiene was non-existent, where it was safer to drink alcohol than water, where women were property, and murder was punishable with a fine instead of prison time.

The Middle Ages can stay in the past.

If I had that time machine, I’d go back to my classmates and convince one who was twenty-one to buy us some mead. Out in the woods with our libation, fire, and textbooks, we’d be witches, summoning the spirit of Beowulf to the modern world by shouting mispronounced words of a dead language.

(Editors’ Note:  Interested in writing a Pulp Appeal article for Broadswords and Blasters? Drop us a line through our contact page and let us know what you’re interested in contributing.)


[1] Happily Ever After or Happy for Now. The editors had to look this one up ourselves…

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Pulp Appeal : Clash of the Titans (1981)

(Editors’ Note: R.A. Goli is an Australian writer of horror, fantasy, erotic, and speculative short stories. In addition to writing, her interests include reading, gaming, the occasional walk, and annoying her dog, two cats, and husband. Her short story collection Unfettered is currently available at Lulu. Her fantasy novella, The Eighth Dwarf is available at Amazon and Fantasia Divinity MagazineCheck out her numerous short story publications at her  website https://ragoliauthor.wordpress.com/ or stalk her on Facebook)

Clash of the Titans is an epic tale of Olympian gods, mythological monsters and heroic mortals. Released in 1981, it stars Laurence Olivier as Zeus (Spartacus, 1960), Harry Hamlin as Perseus, (who later goes on to star in LA LAW), Maggie Smith as Thetis (Downton Abbey), and Ursula Andress as Aphrodite (who only has one line).

The movie opens with Acrisius, King of Argos, condemning his daughter, Danae and her infant son Perseus to a horrible death by throwing them into a wooden trunk/coffin and tossing it into the ocean.  Zeus had previously visited Danae and their lovemaking resulted in Perseus, so Zeus ensures they are deposited safely on a beach where they can live happily ever after. Zeus then kills Acrisius and orders Poseidon to ‘Let Loose the Kraken”, a mythical sea-creature similar to Godzilla, who destroys the kingdom of Argos.

Years later, he punishes Calibos, the son of Thetis, for many atrocities such as hunting several wild creatures – including Zeus’ winged horses – to near extinction. He transforms the once handsome Calibos into a hideous monster with horns, a tail, and a cloven hoof. Thetis seeks revenge by transporting Perseus, now a grown man, to Joppa. He eventually reaches the city and speaks to an incredibly chatty guard who tells him everything there is to know about what’s going on in Joppa. Any man can present himself for the chance to marry the beautiful, Andromeda, once betrothed to Calibos, however, the suitor must answer a mysterious riddle, which changes with every suitor, and failure to solve the riddle results in a fiery death.

Image result for clash of the titans calibos

Calibos works on his villainous slouch.

When Perseus solves the riddle, the people of Joppa are delighted. Things seemed to be looking up for Zeus’ son, until his new mother-in-law, Cassiopeia, insults the goddess Thetis by claiming Andromeda is more beautiful than the goddess herself. Thetis demands Cassiopeia sacrifice Andromeda to the Kraken or she’ll destroy the city. This is where the adventure really begins and Perseus will face Stygian witches, the two headed dog dioskilos, the gorgon Medusa, giant scorpions, Calibos, as well as the Kraken in an attempt to save Andromeda.

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The Kraken prepares to feast.

Clash of the Titans is classic sword and sorcery; the story draws heavily from mythology and we have a sword-wielding hero. When Perseus is stranded in Joppa, Zeus orders the goddesses to gift him with magically imbued weapons. Perseus receives a sword from Aphrodite that can slice through marble, a helmet from Athena, that renders the wearer invisible (this will later aid in him capturing Pegasus), and a shield from Hera. The shield projects an image of Zeus who tells Perseus it will save his life one day and that Perseus must find and fulfil his destiny. There’s magic, gods, mythical creatures, swords, an epic quest, a virgin sacrifice. It’s the ultimate battle of good versus evil.

In an interview with visual effects artist and co-producer, Ray Harryhausen, he explains how he was bored of monsters destroying cities and prefers the past to the future, which is why mythology appealed.

“Cinema was made for fantasy, not normal mundane things.” – Ray Harryhausen.

Filming locations were over England and Europe. The opening scene was filmed in Cornwell and crew had to wait until there was a storm. Flood scenes of Argos were filmed in Malta, the rocky formations around the Stygian witches’ lair were filmed in Antequera, Spain and the outside of Medusa’s temple was in Southern Italy. Interestingly, some scenes from Jason and the Argonauts, (also featuring Harryhausen’s stop-motion monsters), were filmed there too. The final epic battle with the Kraken is in Malta again.

Most of the special effects rely quite effectively on shadow imagery and stop-motion animation using Harryhausen’s hand-made monsters, but considering it was filmed in 1981, I think it’s pretty good. And so did audiences at the time. Clash of the Titans grossed $41 million dollars, making it the eleventh highest grossing film of 1981.

In Greek mythology, Dioskilos has three heads but only two in the movie because Harryhausen thought it’d look too awkward with three during the fight scenes.

The Kraken is not technically part of Greek mythology, there is a Greek mythological sea-creature called the Leviathan, but the Kraken comes from Norway and is a giant sea-creature similar to an octopus or crab. Calibos is reportedly based on a character from ‘The Tempest’, named Caliban.

The mechanical-owl Bubo also not from mythology, was added to the movie for comic relief and to give the audience a chance to catch their breath between epic battles. Bubo makes a ‘guest appearance’ in the 2010 version when Perseus (Sam Worthington), comes across him while looking for weapons in the armory. The remake has spectacular special effects, as do all movies made with CGI, but it will never take the place of the original in my heart. And at the risk of sounding like my dad; they don’t make movies like they used too.

Image result for clash of the titans bubo

We’d be dubious about the use of a mechanical owl as well.

 (Editor:  Interested in writing a Pulp Appeal article for Broadswords and Blasters? Drop us a line through our contact page and let us know what you’re interested in contributing.)

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