Sunday, 31 January 2016

MICROGORIA 24 - Tales of the Changelings

Following on from our Labyrinth episode, Mr Jim Moon delves into the legend and lore of the changelings, monstrous impostors left by the faeries!

DIRECT DOWNLOAD -  MICROGORIA 24 - Tales of the Changelings

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Thursday, 28 January 2016


After an extended rest, we are back to wheeling out disastrous and hilarious covers of yesteryear. And we're kicking off again with another cracker... Well, what can say about this one? ...Apart from "Kill it! Kill it with fire!"

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

TOMB OF THE TRUMPS #15 - Devil Priest Pack Part XV

Welcome to another exciting adventure into the strange and demented world of vintage Horror Top Trumps. We are now at the penultimate stop in our journey through the Devil Priest pack, but fear not dear friends, the lurid weirdness is by no means running out! I mean, just look at this! 

Ah dear old Venusian Death Cell! One of the most infamous cards in the benighted world of vintage Horror Top Trumps! Obviously this deranged vision lingered long in the minds of a generation of kids due to its marvelously gratuitous blood-gushing severed bonce, but it also bedeviled legions of young minds with tantalizing questions such as - what exactly was a "Death Cell"? Is that a sunrise on Venus? Is mauve now in fashion? And why were Venusians so pissed off with us anyway? 

Of course, for many of this deck's owners who were in the UK, there was another question - "Hang on, that's a ruddy Sea Devil from Doctor Who isn't it?" 

Well, yes the "Venusian" is indeed a Sea Devil. This race of intelligent marine reptoids, a sea-going cousin of the Silurians by the way, first appeared in the Third Doctor adventure "The Sea Devils" which aired way back in 1972, and have been a firm fan favourite ever since, making several comebacks over the years.   

However the rip-off don't end there! For as we have discovered in previous installments of this epic journey into old horror tat, quite often assorted victims and/or body parts have been pinched from other sources too! And this card is no exception, for I believe that the glorious blood dripping noggin is directly inspired by this illustration for Oscar Wilde's Salome by the great Victorian artist Aubrey Beardsley 

Considering that Mr Beardsley was no stranger to controversy and his illustrations frequently caused outrage, I'm sure he wouldn't mind his work being pilfered for a children's card game that upset many a parent... But moving on now, here we have a familiar furry face but with somewhat less than familiar accouterments! 

Now obviously the Wolfman needs no introduction, after all, he is one of the famous Universal Monsters. However I don't think this particular image is actually based on any stills of the great Lon Chaney Jnr. - for this lycanthrope appears quite different from the wolvish form of old Larry Talbot. In fact it doesn't really match any screen werewolves terribly well, and the fact that he is carrying an axe and wearing an overcoat rather suggests a non-lycanthropic body is the source picture. Facially however, there is a certain resemblance to this publicity still from Hammer's classic Curse of the Werewolf -

However the real puzzle in this card is what the hell is that weird shape with a googly eye in the bottom left-hand corner? I mean, what the hell is it? And what's it doing there? Other than a fragment of another drawing erroneously left stuck onto the Wolfman art, my only guess is that this is a bizarre homage to Star Wars! No, seriously! Could it be a guest appearance from the Dianoga from the Deathstar trash compactor?

OK, that's a long shot, but the first movie was all the rage when these cards were produced... And if you have any other better ideas, do get in touch!


Mr Adrian Hird, Mr Griffin Madill and the Reverend Peter Organ (of the bOrgcast) got in touch to advance the theory that the strange floating eye is part of a foreground silhouette! And Adrian reckons that it might be Frankenstein's monster too, as seen in this handy diagram he sent me via the Twitters! Case closed I reckon!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

MICROGORIA 23 - Monsters & Miscreants

Mr Jim Moon draws close to the fire to discuss the various and strange natures of the entities haunting the stories of the great MR James. And we also take a look at a wonderful new Jamesian card game - we believe the first of its kind - created by Mr James Drewett and Mr Richard Svensson which features 30 creatures and villains from the fiction of MR James. 

For more information, go to the Monsters & Miscreants Facebook page

And here, for those of you in the UK, you can order the game direct from there for £9.99 incl. postage (UK SHIPPING ONLY) - just click the POWr Paypal button via computer and away you go!

For non-UK buyers, you purchase a copy from Richard Svensson (the man behind the art) by sending $18.99 via Paypal to at

Also check out Richard's marvelous models, masks, movies and art at

DIRECT DOWNLOAD -  MICROGORIA 23 - Monsters & Miscreants

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Wednesday, 20 January 2016

TOMB OF THE TRUMPS #14 - Devil Priest Pack Part XIV

Welcome back once again to the cavalcade of scary monsters and super creeps that is the Tomb of the Trumps! And this time we have some freaky folks that have proved over the years to be somewhat fiendish for students of Horror Top Trumpology to identify! First up we have this fishy fellow!

Now then, this weed-wreathed chap has foxed many folks, and this is down to a couple of key reasons. Firstly the still it is copied from doesn't appear to be anywhere online bizarrely - yes, hard to believe as it is, not everything is online! And secondly, although he (and indeed his weedy brethren) do appear in a reasonably well-known cult movie, he is never shown for very long on screen, and more importantly in the pose seen in the card. For the still the card is based on was a special publicity shot showcasing the creature design rather than a shot from an actual scene in the movie. 

But having seen the aforementioned publicity shot in a couple of horror movie tomes in the '70s, your humble scribe recognised him instantly - for this is a gill-man from City Under the Sea (1964) also known as War-Gods of the Deep in the US. City Under The Sea took its name from the Edgar Allan Poe poem of the same title, and hence fits loosely into AIP's cycle of Poe movies. Like the classic Corman productions that preceded, the movie stars the legendary Vincent Price, and was also was the last movie made by noted director Jacques Tourneur. Co-starring alongside St. Vincent was Tab Hunter, Susan Hart and David "Mr Banks in Mary Poppins" Tomlinson in a tale of Victorian folks who discover an undersea proto-steampunk kingdom of shipwrecked sailors run by Price, a Captain Nemo style maverick. It's a very fun slice of gothic SF, and the only downside to the movie really is that the wonderful gill-men costumes aren't ever seen quite to their full advantage - although they do look very menacing in the underwater sequences. However here he is in his full glory! 

So then, with that marine mystery wrapped up, let's move on to one of the most perplexing cards in the Horror Top Trumps world...

Alright, I appreciate that several pressing questions immediately spring to mind on seeing this card; ranging from the reasonable "what's the Norse god Thor doing in a horror themed deck?", to the more blunt - "what in the seven names of the fuck is that?!?"  And the answer to both these queries I'm afraid is that I have no bloody idea either! I can only assume that the fumes of the paints and pens used to create these cards were very potent indeed...

However, I do have a possible answer to that third question hammering inside your skull - why does in the name of Loki does he have four eyes?  Well, as we have already seen, and will see again, a favourite trick employed by the Unknown Artist who did these decks to disguise the fact that he was simply copying off various stills and pictures Top Trumps probably had no copyright clearance for whatsoever, was to add or subtract assorted ocular organs. Hence poor old Babs Steele went all cyclops when a pic of her from Curse of the Crimson Altar became High Priestess of Zoltan (see here for details).

So then, the quad-vision this strange figure is equipped with is a dead-giveaway that despite all evidence to the contrary suggesting that this is a product of a deranged imagination, "Thor" must have a basis somewhere in reality! Albeit a very heavily disguised one! For look closely at the card.... go on, I dare you! Observe the extremely shaky physique! And all those weird lines that suggest that our Unknown Artist was attempting something else before deciding to give up and just cover the lot with spikes and weird sketchy armour? Is it armour? Buggered if I know! However being no stranger to the pencil case and paint box myself, I can spot the signs of an artist improvising to cover-up a massive cock-up any day of the week! 

For "Thor" I believe began life as a copy of the famous Frank Franzetta painting "The Barbarian". Now I know that seems unlikely at first... but the more you look at the two images the more similarities you will see. Both have the same pose, and the sword hilts are identical. And their silhouettes are the same shape too - which is why Thor's head and helmet are so weird-looking. Indeed you can see traces of long hair underneath the helmet, and other signs that he was doing a more faithful copy but got the arms so wrong he decided to improvise wildly. Hence the Barbarian's spiky necklace becomes a weird goatee, and there's a liberal, almost frantic application of eyes and spikes in the hope that no one will notice he's attempted to rip off Franzetta and cocked it up royally!

Ah well, I suppose we getting near the end of the Devil Priest pack and I'm guessing a deadline was looming! And that might explain the lurid and bizarre offerings we're looking at at next time...     

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

HYPNOGORIA 27 - Into the Labyrinth

To mark the passing of the late great David Bowie, Mr Jim Moon sets off to a magical realm where Alice in Wonderland meets Monty Python, where the Wizard of Oz meets George Lucas, and where David Bowie meets a load of ruddy goblins! Yes, we are having a viewing of that classic second team-up of Henson and faerie illustrator Brian Froud: 1986's Labyrinth with Mr Jim providing an audio commentary track!

DIRECT DOWNLOAD -  HYPNOGORIA 27 - Into the Labyrinth

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Wednesday, 13 January 2016

TOMB OF THE TRUMPS #13 - Devil Priest Pack Part XIII

And welcome back to the shadowy realm of cobwebbed festooned tat that is Tomb of the Trumps! And we start the New Year with a real puzzler!

Oh Sorcerer, how thou dost tantalize us! So familiar and yet so unplaceable! Much like the Slime Creature, many of my predecessors in the field of Horror Top Trumpology have simply thrown up their hands in despair and claimed this is just a generic Bad Wizard pic, one of the those rare original pieces by the artist of these decks. 

However there is something nagglingly familiar about the Sorcerer. For a long time I had the feeling that perhaps he was cribbed from a '70s comic book, but alas, despite searching high and low I still have never found a doppelganger for this rogue. But looking at him again recently, another possibility suggested itself - consider those arched eyebrows, that pronounced nose, and that pencil mustache - could this be a very rough image of the great Vincent Price? From the lurid lighting, black robes, and the pustules on his face I'd guess perhaps a still from the classic Masque of the Red Death, directed by Roger Corman in 1964... However unfortunately I can find no corresponding still to match. But, if any of you recognize the Sorcerer, do get in touch! 

However to identify the next card we will be delving in the extensive back catalogue of that wizard of low budget film making Sir Roger of Corman! 

Now this was one of those cards that instantly rang a bell for me, as I knew I had seen the photo this was copied from before. And after much leaving through tomes by the likes of Alan Frank and Dennis Gifford, I finally found the original! It's a still from an obscure SF/horror flick, produced by Roger Corman in 1958, and scripted by his brother Gene! 

Night of the Blood Beast was the directorial debut of Bert I Kowalski, who is now perhaps best remembered by movie buffs for the 1969 disaster movie Krakatoa, East of Java, and by monster movie fans for 1973's killer man-snake flick Sssssss. As the titular beast, this wasn't actually it's first screen appearance - previously it - well, the same costume - appeared in another Corman movie Teenage Caveman, filmed a mere fortnight before! Sadly however after this, the work dried up for 'Talon'... such are the perils of being a B movie monster! 

Sunday, 10 January 2016

TOMEGORIA 13 - The Windup Girl

In the first show in a new year, Jim and Odile take a trip into the near future, to a future Bangkok packed full of exotic new species, clockwork technology, and hazardous genetics gone wild! 


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