Sunday, October 2, 2016

Elvira's House of Mystery #9 (1986)

Elvira's House of Mystery #9 (November, 1986)
"Lost Souls"
"Drink Like a Fish!"
Writers - Darren Auck & Dennis Yee
Pencillers - Darren Auck & Graham Nolan
Inkers - Victor Laszlo & Reuben Pharms
Letterers - Kurt Hathaway & Duncan Andrews
Colorist - Liz Berube
Editor - Ed Hannigan
Cover Price: $0.75

Let's keep the October special rollin' with another spooooooooky book.  Of course, your mileage may vary on the spookiness therein.


We open up with our framing sequence.  Elvira doing her best Svengoolie impression introducing us to our tales of terror.  There seems to be a subplot running through this series where Elvira has taken over the literal House of Mysteries in the DC Universe from its previous caretaker Cain.  Our Mistress of the Dark comes upon a portrait gallery featuring our former host... then settles in for tonight's double-feature.

Our first spine-tingling story is Lost Souls.  A Mister Jonathan Gray comes upon a secluded manor where he plans to write his soon-to-be best selling chiller novel.  As he approaches the structure, a beautiful young woman meets him.  She is Miss Underwood, and she is runs the joint.

She invites Gray inside and shows him to his room.  From the captions, this somehow takes an hour.  Once he's comfortably situated, she takes her leave.  She opens the door to the basement and greets the floating disembodied red head of her grandfather, who instructs her that Mr. Gray belongs to him.

That night, Mr. Gray retires to bed and falls asleep.  He dreams of a woman reading a book.  She calls for her daughter, who is playing with her creepy-looking doll in the basement.  The mother hears a scratching at the window, and when she goes to check on what it is... she finds the floating disembodied red head of whatsherface's grandfather.

Our man wakes up with the sweats... and begins hearing the same scratching that was in his dream.  He throws on his clothes and heads out to investigate.  What he finds is a room full of creepy dolls... including the one from his dream!

A voice booms out that it's coming to get him.  He rushes out of the room, and collapses in Miss Underwoods (cold) arms.  She returns him to his bed, and imagines what it would be like to drain him of his lifeforce.  Looks like we got us a succubus.

The red head of doom makes another appearance, and reminds Underwood that Mr. Gray is to be his meal.  He return to the dream world, where the young girl drops her creepy doll and runs upstairs.  Once there, she finds her mother kissing on her dad... and presumably sucking the lifeforce from him.  We then see the creepy doll come to life and climb up the stairs.  Our Mr. Gray, again wakes up with the sweats.

Well, this is all too much for our man, and he decides it's time to take his leave.  Miss Underwood appears before him, and uses her succubus powers to try and hypnotize him into staying with her... forever.  Well, evil red grandpa don't dig that scene... so he shows himself... as the creepy doll!  He causes his granddaughter to fall to the floor below, and approaches Mr. Gray... who, get this... punches the doll... then throws himself through the window.

Back inside, Miss Underwood... now being called Pamela, decides the burden of succubusing is just too much to bear... so she burns the house down... with her in it!

Mr. Gray gets back to his car and puts the pedal to the metal.  He thinks he's gotten away... however... there's a certain creepy doll in his backseat!  Dun dun dunnnn...

Our second feature is Drink Like A Fish! and we open on a young blonde man water skiing.  The folks in the speedboat are dazzled by his prowess, and one even says it's like Davey was "born in the water"... hope I didn't tip my hand a bit early there... ahem.

He continues to water ski as his pals all down some suds.  Later, they dock on the shore of an island and get down to... well, more drinking.  All of them are partaking... except buzzkill Davey.  He doesn't wanna drink because alcohol is a depressant and dehydrates the body.  His friends are kinda jerks... they keep tempting him.  I mean, wouldn't most people be relieved... like, woo-hoo, more for me?  Well, not these folks.

Well, our man sits and stews... and contemplates what harm a li'l drinky-drink would do him.  He also mentions that the doctors say he shouldn't have alcohol.  Well... he ultimately decides, screw the docs, it's time to drink.

Davey loosens up, starts dancing, singing... all that cliche "loosening up" schtick.  He suddenly and violently throws his empty can and rushes to the water.  Carol, who I think he's been digging on runs off after him, only to find... dun dun dunnnnn... he's... what the... he's a fish man?  Really?  That's what we're going with?  Okay.

Carol is frozen with fear... and Davey the fish man grabs her by the wrist.  He pulls her close and they gaze into each other's eyes.  Davey begins to cry... for he knows that his time among the land-people is over... and he will never know the love of a bemulleted woman named Carol.

We wrap up back in the House of Mysteries where our Hostess gets one more filmstrip... one featuring Cain... but that's for another time...


Well, this was lackluster.  Two fairly boilerplate "horror" stories with fairly entertaining Elvira framing bits.  I find myself hoping for more Elvira pages... even as campy as they may be, they often get a chuckle... even if it's via a "wow, that was corny" reaction.

The stories themselves... well, they're just kind of "there".  Nothing to write home about, however, the art was nice all throughout... and how about that punk-rock cover... that one would definitely pop off the shelf at you.  

So, yeah... not a whole lot to say about this one... sadly.  It's a horror anthology, that doesn't bring the scary.  I will say that the first story with the succubus and killer doll was a ton better than the dumb fish-man-thing one... but, that's not really praise.  I mean, our fish-friend mentions that the doctors say he shouldn't drink... who are these doctors that are seeing fish-people?  Is that an insensitive question?

Again... I'll say the art for both features and the framing sequence is really nice.  There's some sketchiness in our fish story... but overall, not bad to look at.

As of this writing, my only exposure to Elvira's House of Mystery was the Christmas Special... wherein Elvira herself was much more prominent, and it had more of a humor feel to it.  This really didn't do anything for me.  During this October special, we just might have another visit or two to Elvira's House... hopefully those'll be more fun.


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