Volume 2 Issue 1
The Reploids – Stephen King – 8 Pages
When the Tonight Show goes live on air, the cameras pan towards the spot where there host, Johnny Carson, should appear on stage with his time-honoured classic greeting, setting the show in motion as it has for many a year. However, tonight is very different. In place of the much-loved Johnny Carson enters a wholly unknown individual, projecting the confident air of a man who is completely at home with the duties of presenting. The bewildered audience don’t know how to react to this unannounced new face and the production staff are also none the wiser. After a long and pregnant pause, security race on the stage and drag away this unknown imposter. Later that night, detectives Richard Cheyney (fondly known as the ‘detective to the stars’) and Peter Jacoby, interview the man named Edward Paladin, who is wholeheartedly adamant that a mistake has been made. The man sports all of the features and confidence of a world-famous personality, with the firm belief that he should not have been pulled away from the stage. There is certainly something very peculiar going on...
First published within the anthology ‘Dark Visions’ (1988), Stephen King’s surreal tale begins with a suggestive prologue which hints at the strange occurrences that are about to be unveiled in the short, by way of a brief past-tense examination of what the ‘reploids’ from the short’s title are. From here on in the reader follows what starts off as an utterly puzzling tale, delivering the air of something that would be at home on the likes of the ‘Twilight Zone’. The story plays well with the surreal circumstances and the obvious reactions it would course. However, when the short draws towards its somewhat abrupt ending, the reader is left almost entirely in the dark with regards to any final explanation. Even after re-reading the introductory passage, written in a fictional hindsight to the events, the reader still remains somewhat puzzled by the whole premise of the tale. Only upon reading the fifth instalment into King’s cult classic ‘Dark Tower’ series - ‘Wolves Of The Calla’ (2003) does the reader gain some understanding of the differing dollar bill that marks the strange conclusion to the short.
Playing God – Mark Morris – 4 Pages
When our unnamed narrator decides to go out for a jog, principally to ogle the women in the local park, he is struck down by a sudden heart attack. Whilst collapsed on the pathway, he spies a jogger in white passing him by as if nothing had happened. A few days later and the same thing happens again; and once again the same jogger in white is present at the place when our narrator collapses during a much more serious heart attack. After returning from hospital following that last attack, it has become apparent to our narrator that the jogger in white must be ‘Death’ himself. There is no other explanation. So, with the courage of his convictions on his side, a plan is quickly formulated to rid the world of death once and for all. That is, as long as he’s right about it all...
Written in the first person point of view of our unnamed narrator; Mark Morris’s short plays around with the sanity and intellectual capacity of the narrator whilst delivering a truly brutal tale of murder and dismemberment. The writing is done to reflect that of the semi-literate narrator, stumbling through sentences with an endless litany of poor grammar and truly atrocious spelling. Although this adds a level of fictional ‘realism’ to the short, the disjointed way in which the reader has to decipher almost each and every word keeps the reader at a frustrated arms length throughout. However, once the reader is fully acquainted with the prose of the story, the voyeuristic nature of watching an obviously ludicrously insane and dim-witted mind responding to a coincidental dilemma causes a thoroughly intriguing back-seat read. The overall atmosphere and concluding passages are of the darkest of comedies, bringing together an inspired and original tale of savage enjoyment.
Peter Straub – Eerie Fields Forever? – 3 Pages
“Dave Hughes and Nick Belcher were the editors of the original Skeleton Crew magazine. This interview is their first collaboration in more than a year”
David Cronenberg – The Killing Note – 3 Pages
“Philip Nutman, has covered horror fiction and film on both sides of the Atlantic for ten years. Here he talks to writer, director and now actor, David Cronenberg.”
Black Sunday Horror Film Festival – Necrofile – 1 Page
“In the first of our regular looks at fan events, publications and organisations, Skeleton Crew takes a closer look at the Black Sunday horror film festival.”
Matthew Pook - A Sprinkle Of Dream Dust – 4 Pages
“Matthew Pook has written for Starburst, GM, Video Today and his local Bournemouth newspaper. He is also the editor’s flatmate, but both deny nepotism.”
Clive Barker – Night Gallery – 2 Pages
“Clive Barker needs no introduction as a writer, but there are still some lost souls as yet unfamiliar with his artwork. Here we use our regular portfolio feature to showcase some of Barker’s art from his forthcoming book Clive Barker, Illustrator.”
John Bolton – The House That Dripped Blood – 4 Pages
“Dave Hughes’ At Home With series ran for some time in Fear magazine, but since news of Skeleton Crew broke it has been dropped. Dave has therefore decided to run the irregular column in Crew. In this issue, he visited Crew cover artist John Bolton.”
Arkham Asylum – Dead Crewcial – 1 Page
“In the first of our regular looks at classics of horror by guest writers, Stuart Green, editor of Speakeasy, looks at that comic milestone, Arkham Asylum.”
Dicing With Death:
1: The Land of ‘Do As You Please’ – 4 Pages
“Jim Campbell, a veteran of the roleplaying section of the old Skeleton Crew, tells the uninitiated what the hobby is all about.”
Adventureland – Stephen Harris
The Night Of The Moonbow – Thomas Tryon
By Bizarre Hands – Joe R Lansdale
Big Numbers – Alan Moore & Bill Sienkiewicz
From Hell – Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell
Dick Tracy – Directed by Warren Beatty
Back To The Future III – Directed by Robert Zemeckis