Monday, September 1, 2014

MONSTER SERIAL: An introduction by Magus Peter H. Gilmore

(Editor's note: A few weeks ago, someone on asked me why I was encouraging people to follow the Church of Satan on Twitter. The short answer? Because they've been good to The Collinsport Historical Society. The Church of Satan has been willing to provide signal boosts to our various projects during the last year. It's leader, Magus Peter H. Gilmore, provided some kinds words about our work for inclusion on the jacket of our first book, MONSTER SERIAL. If that wasn't enough, he also wrote the introduction to the follow-up, BRIDE OF MONSTER SERIAL. Below is the full text of that introduction, titled "Aye Monster!" Gilmore is a classy guy and I'm grateful for his support.)
 
 Aye Monster!

by PETER H. GILMORE

At about five years of age, I lived in an oddly evocative place, an enclave in New York’s Orange County which had been established in 1885 by tobacco baron Pierre Lorillard IV. This exclusive, walled, deeply-forested valley sheltered he and his wealthy cronies while they pursued their varied pleasures apart from those of lesser means. It is called Tuxedo Park. That eponymous item of formal attire was first worn at an evening gathering in one of the estates that perch on its pine-shrouded mountain sides above dark, mysterious lakes. Those still, secretive waters later offered practitioners of organized crime worthy locations for body disposal.

I lived in several houses beyond the stone guard towers and iron gates that bar entry to non-residents. One, primarily meant as a place for dog breeding with many chain-link fenced runs, included carved stone headstones for canines long dead. Another was formerly a carriage house, which my father was converting into a full home. A favorite was a Tudor-styled building which was approached by a driveway bordered by fieldstone walls. It was in that home that my identification with and sympathy for monsters was cemented.

My first excursion to the cinema was to the nearby Lafayette Theatre, built in 1923 and then still impressive as a well-worn movie palace. I always ensconced myself in a balcony seat in that aged ritual chamber, thrilling to the ornate curtains swooshing open as the darkness descended and the screen illumed. At home we had a black and white television, and it served to further kindle my love for film. My parents had no qualms about me watching fare such as the science fiction marionette sagas SUPERCAR, FIREBALL XL-5, and SPACE PATROL. The darkly disturbing anime works ASTRO BOY and THE EIGHTH MAN also stimulated my imagination and my speculations about human behavior. And when the Universal horror films were broadcast they fascinated me deeply. Browning’s DRACULA with that castle in the remote Carpathians made it look like The Count might dwell nearby. Rather than fearing him, I found him to serve as a role model for my future. When watching THE WOLF MAN, hearing lonely lupine howls during those full-mooned nights was comforting, since I too could look at Luna above the trees and at such moments had at times heard distant dogs baying. And the power given Lawrence Talbot during those few monthly nights I felt could be better harnessed—if he just embraced it as I surely would.

FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND once discovered became my gospel since I had already absorbed Stoker’s DRACULA and Wells’ WAR OF THE WORLDS as my first two novels. It not only gave me details about older existing films to seek out, but promoted newly minted efforts that I must pursue. I saw GIGANTIS, THE FIRE MONSTER but knew his proper name as Forry Ackerman had done a revelatory article showing how that wizard Eiji Tsuburaya had brought life to Godzilla and the other daikaiju. The techniques of Harryhausen the mage were therein disclosed, enhancing my pleasure at seeing his creations play out their often fitful lives. The denizens of my reading and viewing might inspire horror in others, but they provided me with both solace and excitement. Such beings who moved outside of the normal realms, whose often extended lives were filled with strange magic, these were my mentors, my brothers, my friends.

Many of the films discussed herein provide experiences that will touch you in ways that stimulate, amuse and disturb—they leave marks. They clearly have done so to the authors in this collection and if you haven’t seen them, be prepared to be newly wounded. If you are already an initiate, these reviews may prompt a return viewing, impelling you to stroke the scars they’ve left in your consciousness. I feel privileged to have seen many of them in their initial theatrical releases. RE-ANIMATOR thrilled with its gleefully graphic mayhem while ANGEL HEART realized Hjortsberg’s evocative novel in such a humid, neo-noir manner. THE EXORCIST III brought George C. Scott another fine performance to his roster as Brad Dourif served-up the mania that is often his signature. THE OMEGA MAN’s contemporary twist on Matheson’s classic I AM LEGEND brought Heston another chance to be a pivot-point for the destiny of the human species. Quatermass AND THE PIT was splendid summer night’s viewing at a drive in theatre, while THE NINTH CONFIGURATION showed me a more probing face of Blatty in a film that vanished for years, though it was deeply etched in my memory after but one viewing.

This column is among those featured in
 BRIDE OF MONSTER SERIAL, a collection of 
horror essays written by contributors to 
THE COLLINSPORT HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 
Buy it today on Amazon!
Perusing these passionate reviews offers participation in a dark fellowship giving weird, compulsive beings their due appreciation and where those who gave them vivid existence are celebrated for their achievements. We monsters-at-heart are well-met here, and you may rekindle memories of films you know well or discover some fine cinematic fiends who have not yet had the opportunity to seize you in their grasp. As I did as a young boy, you might find that the domains and entities depicted in these plays of light and shadow may not be so very distant from your experiences, discovering empathy where others encounter revulsion. These strange realms could be but a bold step or a surprised stumble away or they may simply offer you a welcome homecoming. Do let that chilling chorus from Browning’s FREAKS provide an enticing invitation as the dark portals open and you are drawn inside this collection: “One of us! One of us!”


Magus Gilmore has represented the Church of Satan since “The Satanic Panic” of the 1980s, being interviewed on numerous television and radio programs dealing with the topic of Satanism, including appearances on The History Channel, BBC, The Sci-Fi Channel, Point of Inquiry, and Bob Larson’s Christian radio show. His audio, video, and print interviews are numerous and continue to grow, making him the most interviewed Satanist in history. In 2001 he was appointed High Priest of the Church of Satan by Magistra Blanche Barton. Gilmore studied music composition at New York University where he earned B.S. and M.A. degrees. His solo album Threnody for Humanity presents orchestral-styled electronic music composed and performed by Gilmore. His book The Satanic Scriptures was published in 2007 and is currently available in a number of translations.

1 comment:

Scott Stansberry said...

Well regardless of his religious beliefs the piece is very well written.

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