Sunday 8 January 2012

Pulp violence

Following the blog's tradition of uploading a front cover of a pulp magazine and commenting on it every month, I have uploaded here the cover of Detective Tales from January 1939. And what a cover! You cannot go much further in melodrama, sadism and violence. I love it particularly as it mixes elements of pulp hardboiled crime fiction and ghotic horror. Wrapped up in a sadism that even a modern gore movie would appreciate. The blonde damsel in distress is even bleeding! From a torture device made from the mechanism of/hidden in an old-fashioned clock. And there is a man disguised in a knight's armour, not chivalrous at all, about to hit the brunette with what appears to be a morning star. How more Freudian can you get? And the hero  is shooting at some unknown enemy. If the focus is on the blonde damsel in distress and the instrument of torture (and execution) that is literally drilling her head, the hero is also an interesting character: he is squared jaw and athletic, every bit the hardboiled private eye he probably is, but there is also the elegant tuxedo, usually worn by the villain (see other entries). It's just such a fascinating, powerful image. And no, I cannot even think of a story going with it.

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