November 3, 2013

Ye Olde School Café: The House of Mystery #204


Hey everybody, it’s that time again! Another installment of Ye Olde School Café is coming at you! I know Halloween is slightly in the rear-view mirror, but I’m going to take one more look at an issue of The House of Mystery before I let go! In issue #204 (July, 1972) we get a classic from a master of the macabre in Bernie Wrightson!


This man is certainly due all the accolades he receives, and then some! His most recent work (Frankenstein Alive, Alive) is nothing short of breathtaking, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it! OK, let’s get down to business!

We begin our story with a couple who has run off of the road, and is stranded in a swamp. The car is bumper deep in the muck, so they need to find a house to call a tow truck. They make their way to a creepy looking home, and the wife remarks that she’s seen the door knocker before. She tells her husband that she’d recently dreamed that the door opened and a gruesome pair welcomed them in, and then a hideous creature killed her minutes later (image below). Her husband tells her she’s nuts, and they knock on the door. A very attractive woman opens the door, and invites them in. She tells them she has no phone, but that they’re welcome to stay for dinner.


As they all sit down for a meal, the wife begins to feel as if something is awry. She hears a noise behind her chair, and whirls around to see what’s going on. She screams in fear, as the terrible looking monster from her dream is right behind her! This ectoplasmic, tentacled creature is supposedly the brother of the beautiful woman. It slowly, but surely drags the woman into the darkened room, to her death!

The husband seems unfazed, but we soon find out why. You see, it was a plot all along between himself and “Gloria,” the beautiful woman, to kill his wife. He then tells Gloria that he’ll go take care of the car, so there is no evidence. After doing that, he races back to his beloved, but when the door opens, he’s greeted by the two creepy looking people from his wife’s dream! He desperately asks where Gloria is, and they tell him to come in and sit down, and she’ll be right there. As he sits, we see the same disgusting creature that killed his wife creeping up behind him, ready to kill him!

There are two more stories in this issue, but that one stood out by a long shot. Not that the others are bad, but that one was very creepy, and of course, the art made it absolutely incredible! The other tales involve a man who summons a frog-like demon, and commands it to give him a wish (a genie frog?). It gives him a pile of money that he demands, but ultimately tricks him into a situation that he can’t get out of alive! The last story is about a woman who tricks a man into marrying her, but then a devious plot is revealed, and it all goes downhill fast!


My recent purchase of the Showcase: The House of Mystery volume two, is definitely one of my favorite purchases of more recent times. Seeing these masters like Wrightson, Kaluta, Cardy, and Wein is a testament to the great comics coming out during this period in time!

Billy Dunleavy








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