When I was a kid and addicted to horror movies, I wasn't scared of the Frankenstein monster. Dracula and The Wolf Man and Frankenstein actor Boris Karloff as the Mummy terrified me a whole lot more. That's because they could fly, run like the wind or creep into hiding places as mist.
There was no escaping those guys if they were after you. But the Frankenstein monster -- Ha! I could outrun that shambling gimp without breaking a sweat!
But unlike the others, he troubled me.
I mean, there was something truly unsettling about him.
It wasn't just that he was dead and brought back to life. He was a whole bunch of parts of different dead people brought back to life. He was all kinds of malevolence and corruption combined. You never knew what he was capable of. Yet you felt a little sorry for him. And something about that was downright creepy.
Instead of movie death and supernatural magic, he made you wonder about what happened at the moment of actual death and what it really meant to be "Alive".
Those conflicting emotions and unplaceable fears are at the core of a lot of good horror. They pretty much define the current Zombie phenomenon. And they're at the heart of Donald F. Glut's novel "Frankenstein Lives Again" published by Bill Cunningham's Pulp 2.0 Press.
Glut's novel is an exploration of what inspired the creation of Mary Shelley's original novel "Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus", an embrace of James Whale's classic 1931 film and an homage to the golden era of Pulp all rolled into one.
It's an exciting ride from beginning to end; as much adventure literature, noir pot-boiler and politically incorrect re-creation of a lost genre as it is horror novel. And it succeeds at every level.
When Cunningham started Pulp 2.0 he vowed it would be a place where novels, comics, graphic novels and films that celebrated the genre could be cross-pollinated to serve an audience that has always hungered to see its favorite stories and characters in multiple formats and endless reboots. And "Frankenstein Lives Again!" is the perfect example of that concept realized.
Reading Glut's epic adventure, you can see the movie, imagine the set piece episodes rendered in all their garish beauty as well as hear the old-time radio dramatization and wonder where the video game might take you.
This is the kind of book that not only excites with its story and characters and ideas, but reminds you why Pulp literature is just so much damn fun!
You can buy the Kindle version for a mere 99 cents by clicking the ad just to your right on this page. And you don't even have to own a Kindle to do that. Free versions of the Kindle Reader software for PC are available here. The Mac version is here. iPad and iPhone versions can be downloaded free from iTunes.
In a time when a sameness and jaundiced feeling of "been there, done that" is creeping into so much of what passes for entertainment, don't pass up the opportunity to discover something old made both remarkably new and immeasurably rewarding.