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Arnzen's Weird Newsletter

+++ Vol 1.3, Nov. 13, 2002 +++

Halloween Dreams


Blather. Wince. Repeat.

Halloween Costumes I Wish I Would Have Seen

+ Pushpinhead
+ Sumo Uncle Fester
+ The SlimJim Reaper
+ Shattered Stunt Man Skeleton
+ Apple Sauce
+ Osama Been Rotting
+ Transvestite “Double-Yuh”
+ Fixed Lethargic Cat
+ Drawn and Quartered Gladiator
+ Suicidal Van Helsing
+ Quivering Giblets in Blood Gravy
+ Zombie Homeless Man
(with “Will Work for Brains” sign)
+ My Very Own Doppelganger
+ Plaque


“Creepy 'Short-tailed' Cats”

For your next movie night, rent:
Cat's Eye (1985)
Two Evil Eyes (1990)
Tales from the Darkside (1990)


Number of Friday the 13th movies produced by 2003: 11

Total body count in the Friday the 13th films to date: 133

Total number of decapitations in the Friday the 13th series: only 4

Maximum number of steps a beheaded body can take after decapitation: 32

Highest number of public beheadings in a single year (1995) in Saudi Arabia: 192

*** Sources: 9/2/02; Guardian UK 10/24/99; Friday the 13th Web 11/09/02; 11/09/02.


Sketching the Mutant Nude

surrounded, sweaty under lamplight,
pseudo-woman slowly pulls open
her robe strings and sits on a stool
as the stained terrycloth cascades
down to reveal pertly perfect breasts
resting atop an abdominal abomination
until a third hand reaches around
from her back to snuff the button eye
that dilates and rolls so wetly to ogle
those who would dare recreate her


“Love bugs come alive here in May and September. No other creature will eat them. They copulate in midair for 56 hours, on average, then look to lay eggs in anything rotten. But they mistake exhaust fumes for rot and swarm all over the roads, igniting a twice-yearly car-gunk crisis.” – San Francisco Chronicle, 7/02

“Don't want to wear your favorite disease around your neck? Matching underwear is also available.” –, 11/02

“Brain cells don't blow up after five minutes, nor (unfortunately) do they issue up little cellular ghosts, shaped like little neurons, but wispy and transparent and with blank eye holes.” – Usenet newsgroup, 5/16/97


“The Intestine Creator”

This “useless” interactive online toy makes uncanny renderings of intestines in an impossible array of colors – just like they do in medical diagrams. To make it work at its digestive best, draw a pretzel several times with your mouse using a mustard-colored brush:

[Requires the “Shockwave” player – a free add-on to your browser that will auto-install upon arrival. No worries.]


“Literary Lights” are actual matchbooks of matchbook-sized fiction. Published by Gargoyle Daily, these unique flamers feature four short-short stories (printed in a limited edition of 4000 matchbooks (1K per tale)). They're sure to “strike up” conversation the next time someone asks, “Got a light?” Just hand them one of these artistic objects and you'll literally enlighten them.

The conceit is brilliant. The stories – all under 100 words – are printed on the inside of the matchbook, which is functional yet parodic. (You are told by the underleaf to “Open Cover Before Reading”). On the outside is a thoughtful image of a gargoyle and a label that promotes the publisher's website, “Gargoyle Arts & Letters.”

The four teensy tales themselves are genuinely high quality literature and definitely worth the cost (at a quarter a pop, it's not like you're setting your wallet on fire). In Joseph Faria's touchingly subtle “Hands,” a family dysfunction is revealed in a memory of a father's big hard hands. Good kitchen candle reading. In Bob Thurber's piece, “Good Advice,” a father's words of wisdom are spelled out in ten hilariously apt snippets worth musing over while the logs in the fireplace ignite. Andrew L. Wilson presents a great tale of the fantastic in “The Further Adventures of the Incredible Shrinking Man” with hilariously ironic results. Perfect for the camper who wants a little night reading. And Mary Kelly's “Seduction” is an erotic exploration of food – perfect, I suppose, for reading during an after dinner smoke.

Although works of literary mainstream, the tales seem to represent a range of genres, from the science fiction comedy of “Shrinking Man” to the romantic promise of “Seduction.”

The matches work well. The striker is sure. The stories are so good, I doubt anyone will burn them. And I am certain matchbook collectors will cherish these little gems.

Gargoyle Daily mails one set of four matchbooks for a buck-fifty ($1.50 US) which includes postage. Discounts for bulk. Visit their website for ordering info:


Odd Artists Taking Odd Requests.





What if – via genetic mutation – an organic “optical illusion” was created? Describe an original one. Make it do something nasty to someone else.

It's common knowledge that serial killers often torture pets or insects in their youth. Write a scene where an animal tortures such a kid, instead.

Fun with Onomatopoeia: How many weapons (or potential weapons) can you list that sound like what they are intended to do? (silly example: Skil Drill). Write a poem or experimental prose piece based on this list. Or a story about a poetic killer.


+ My “Year's Best Horror Stories” selection, “Spring Ahead, Fall Back,” hit #1 in the bestselling horror e-book charts at over Halloween weekend. It's slipped down by now, I'm sure. But if you read it: thanks! If not, it's still available at:

+ FlashShot Daily is a neat way to get very short genre stories in your inbox every day. I've already had two stories published there and two more are coming out soon. For more info, visit:

+ Macabre magazine came in the mail from Singapore yesterday.and it's a really fun-but-disturbing read. Two of my poems lurk inside: an insectoid horror called “Bookworm” and a strange thinkpiece, “Terms They Never Illustrate in Dictionaries” (What would you guess they are?). Get weird at:

+ Like Peter Straub? Feeling academic? The latest issue of Paradoxa is out with my review of Bill Sheehan's book about Straub (the World Fantasy Award winning study, At the Foot of the Story Tree). It also includes a great study by my friend Kate Sullivan on the “monstrous feminine” in Straub's fiction. Indeed, I highly recommend the whole “Horror” issue of Paradoxa if you've got any academic interest in the genre. Look over the contents list here:

+ I've placed nearly a chapbook's worth of work (a whopping 18 poems and 5 vignettes) in a hardbound anthology called Cemetery Poets due to be published March 2003 by Double Dragon Publishing. All poets in this collection are using the “Fridge of the Damned” at my website for at least one of their entries in the book. See the neat color cover here:

+ Earlier this week, I put the finishing touches on an introduction to a new horror poetry book entitled, Pitchblende: Songs of Flesh Bone and Blood, by multi-award winning poet Bruce Boston. I selected the best horror poems reflecting the range of Boston's horror poetry over the past decade and arranged the contents into an interesting melange. The book is seeking a publisher, but sure to get picked up in a snap.

+ Also recommended: Dark Animus magazine, which debuted from Australian publisher James Cain this week. Marcia Borell's “Munch mask” illustration to accompany my poem, “Scream 6,” is just gore-geous! See:


My new story, “The Boblin,” which I mentioned in my Halloween card last month, will no longer appear in Switch.Blade, fictionwise's original e- book anthology (the whole book was dropped for various logical reasons by the editor). I'll alert you when the tale places elsewhere. The Switch.Blade series itself is not dead – the next edition is likely to appear on around Valentine's Day, with some offbeat romance tales.


+ “Really, Really Badminton” is the most recent poem hidden in the gory handheld on the Gorelets front page. It's part of a series of sports-related fantasy/horror poems I'm working on, so expect to see more of them from time to time.

+ I recently discovered a trick to using “The Refrigerator of the Damned.” If you're using Internet Explorer, it should work for you, too. Click on the immediate right of the scroll bar that runs vertically up the center of the page. Drag it to the left. This should give you a little bit more work room for the playing field.


It actually pays to scroll this far down.

SHOCKLINES.COM offers up a coupon for you and you alone:

“Nancy Collins' new collection, Knuckles and Tales, is now out from CD Publications – in a signed, limited edition of only 600 autographed copies. Artwork by JK Potter. Normally retails for $40.00; sells it for $34.00. But for Gorelets readers only, until 11:59 PM November 26th, if you have Knuckles and Tales in your shopping cart and use the coupon code GORELETKNUCK, you'll get ANOTHER $6.00 off the price – so you get this great signed, limited edition for only $28.00! (International orders should email for a shipping quote – and mention this coupon code to get the $28 price)”

Knuckles and Tales @ Shocklines:

WILDSIDE PRESS – publisher of my collection, Fluid Mosaic – kindly offers Goreletter subscribers a one-time 10% discount coupon! Enter the coupon code ARNZEN at check out:

FICTIONWISE's list of ebook discounts for Goreletter readers, updated weekly:


Wanna get your hands on a SIGNED copy of my short story collection, Fluid Mosaic? I've got two on hand for sale. Order a copy through me and I'll include a few Literary Lights (see this issue's review), a collectible “World Horror Convention 1996” notepad and five hilarious “Get Out of Hell Free” cards for the next time you land on life's Chance. No lie. After these two books sell, I can still provide autographed copies + the Hell cards, but the other freebies are limited to the first two orders. To get your book, you MUST use PayPal to remit $15 US to (this price includes postage!). If you're not a PayPal user, click here to sign up:

Promise you won't burn the book with the Literary Lights. ]:-<


All material in The Goreletter is: c 2002 Michael A. Arnzen, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward the entire contents as a whole, without alterations. For reprint permissions, please contact

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“Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.” – Redd Foxx (died 1991)

* Due to the temporary nature of internet URLs, some websites mentioned in back issues of the Goreletter may no longer be live, or may also point to unscrupulous web servers. I will denote these with overstrikes as I discover them, but if you encounter a dead, changed or unscrupulous link, please feel free to inform me.
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goreletter/halloween_dreams.txt · Last modified: 2013/11/29 12:08 by marnzen

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