Mabuse MAD!

220px-testamentofdrmabuse-posterI blame Carol at the Cultural Gutter for kicking me off onto this tangent. To my film shame, I had not ever sat down to watch the entirety of Fritz Lang’s classic crime film, Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse. As an academic, I am of course always in search of ways to supplement my paltry pay so I joked about turning to hypnosis or tarot or even advertising, as well as crime.

‘Why not combine them all, Mabuse style?’

She was right as usual. Put all my esoteric and criminal arts to use as a mastermind behind capers of a nefarious nature: genius! Only in fiction, surely! First I needed to sit down and enjoy Lang’s masterpiece of expressionist cinema, collaborating with his talented wife Thea von Harbou, who adapted one of Norbert Jacques‘ unfinished novels on the shadowy figure (yes, I’ve got to read the novels, too).

There’s just so much good here, even if you’re not contemplating a life of crime. Secret hideouts, nefarious plans, dapper grifters, glass alligators — and a medical school (in 1933) more diverse than many top ones are now. Cool special effects, too. So here’s a bunch of images to give you a reason to watch the film, too. Helps if you have the Criterion Channel or Kanopy. Click the images to embiggen. I’m going to work on my hypnotic stare now.

Out Now: Don’t Call Me Darling #freeread

Graham Wynd 400Over at Near 2 the Knuckle, my tale of family woes and hard-boiled crime “Don’t Call Me Darling” is up:

Luke was breaking fingers for the boss when we got the call. I was mostly watching him because that was his job and talking was my job and the talk had already been done.

‘I’ll get you the money,’ Mr Irving screamed.

‘When?’

‘Thursday!’

I looked over at Luke, a bullet-headed son of a gun that had seen too many Statham films and fancied himself an action star. Never mind Hollywood was a long way off, his shaved head was not sexy and he had the body of an indolent potato. He figured someone would discover his masculine pulchritude sooner or later. ‘Thursday good for you?’

Luke grunted. That was poetry from him.

‘I think the boss might find that acceptable.’ I dug the vibrating phone out of my pocket and answered. ‘Hey boss, he says—’

The boss cut me off. ‘Fiona’s on her way.’

‘The hell you say?’ I wasn’t one to doubt the boss, but I couldn’t quite take in the truth of the words all at once. You might as well have said Elvis was in town. If Elvis were back and gunning for the boss and anyone who stood in the way.

‘Yeah, it’s her—hell on wheels. I want a welcoming committee, chop chop.’

To say the boss was stingy with words would not have been an understatement, but few words were needed at a time like this. I put the phone back in my pocket. ‘Let’s go.’

Luke looked all disappointed like a kid who’d been promised a puppy for Christmas, then got a bunch of underwear and socks. That and he just liked breaking things. I think it was the sound. He was a bit of a connoisseur. Whether he preferred the snap of the bones or the shrieks of the business associates, it would be hard to say. He gave me the big cartoon sad eyes and opened his mouth to complain.

I knew what would stop him. ‘Fiona’s coming.’

He was all business after that, dropping Mr Irving to the floor where the man moaned and cried, then slipping his discarded jacket back onto his own gorilla shoulders. For the umpteenth time I wondered where they hell Luke bought his suits, but as usual it wasn’t the time to ask. ‘Let’s go.’
But turns out we were too late….

Read the rest at Near 2 the Knuckle!

Read the German version over at Pulpcore!

Out Now: Nenn’ Mich Nicht Liebling/Don’t Call Me Darling

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My new blackly humourous noir tale of family troubles, “Don’t Call Me Darling” is up at Pulpcore in German as “Nenn’ mich nicht Liebling” for your reading pleasure. Brush up on your Deutsche skills! Get some laughs. Here’s the first bit in English:

Luke was breaking fingers for the boss when we got the call. I was mostly watching him because that was his job and talking was my job and the talk had already been done.

‘I’ll get you the money,’ Mr Irving screamed.

‘When?’

‘Thursday!’

I looked over at Luke, a bullet-headed son of a gun that had seen too many Statham films and fancied himself an action star. Never mind Hollywood was a long way off, his shaved head was not sexy and he had the body of an indolent potato. He figured someone would discover his masculine pulchritude sooner or later. ‘Thursday good for you?’

Luke grunted. That was poetry from him.

‘I think the boss might find that acceptable.’ I dug the vibrating phone out of my pocket and answered. ‘Hey boss, he says—’

The boss cut me off. ‘Fiona’s on her way.’

‘The hell you say?’ I wasn’t one to doubt the boss, but I couldn’t quite take in the truth of the words all at once. You might as well have said Elvis was in town. If Elvis were back and gunning for the boss and anyone who stood in the way…

Read the rest in German at Pulpcore — English version whenever someone shows the interest…