The Grand Finale (part 3)
When last we left Iloz Zoc, Steve Brown, and Glenor Glenda, they were waiting for a chance to rescue Zombos from the Shudderites, those dastardly invaders from the Eighth Dimension. With Halloween fast approaching, the pending rescue becomes more dire. Will they rescue Zombos in time for Halloween? Will Steve Brown be able to make his UPS deliveries on time? Will Iloz Zoc and Glenor Glenda have enough time to get their costumes for the Monster Mash Halloween Ball at the mansion? Hold onto your significant others. Cradle the Coke and secure the popcorn. It is time for the grand finale!
Our story thus far: After entering the dark castle of the Shudderites, our intrepid trio of rescuers were surprised to find a gift shoppe, and a rather old gentleman dressed in top hat and tails. He informed them that the last classic horror tour for the day was about to begin. Buying two tickets (you may recall that Chicken-man got in free), our heroes reluctantly waited. Little did they know that their tour of horror was about to begin — in earnest!
"I say, this tour is taking a long time to get started," said Iloz Zoc.
"Yeah. I wonder what the holdup is?" said Steve Brown.
"I'm chilly," said Glenor. Steve Brown took off his UPS jacket and draped it over Glenor's shoulders. "Why thank you." Her eyes twinkled.
Zoc's eyes narrowed. "Wait a moment… our host hasn't moved a smidget for some time. How odd."
They turned to look at him. He just stared into space as he stood behind the souvenir counter. The gaslight flickered ominously, casting long shadows over the display of Living Dead dolls. The sound of a chainsaw grew louder.
"There's that sound again," said Zoc. "I thought the contemporary horror wing was closed."
Just as he finished his observation, a chainsaw sliced through the wall behind the souvenir counter.
"Bloody hell!" yelled Steve Brown. They all jumped back. The chainsaw sliced rapidly through their host, from top hat to tails, in a shower of sparks. The smell of gasoline, oil, and burning electronics filled the room, but there was no blood. Each side clattered to the floor, left and right, billowing smoke.
"Bloody hell, indeed," yelled Zoc. "It was a robot! What the hell is going on here?"
Steve Brown grabbed Glenor and pulled her closer. "Stay with me, baby. Looks like the party's started."
An alarm bell started blaring, and suddenly the gaslight turned red. The wall behind the souvenir counter burst open as Leatherface crashed through.
"Oh, hell, this is not good!" cried Zoc. Man-chicken started clucking and running around in circles like a chicken without a head. He couldn't stop himself. He ran right into Leatherface. Feathers and giblets went flying through the air in a shower of crimson.
"Stupid dumb cluck," said Steve Brown. "Let's get out of here!"
They rushed to the exit door, but Leatherface blocked it, revving his chainsaw for dramatic effect.
"Look," yelled Steve Brown, above the noise, "that flight of stairs over on the left; if we can get to it–" He stopped in mid-sentence as Freddy and Jason bounded down those same stone steps. Their escape was blocked again.
"Well, that's a bug in it, isn't it?" said Zoc.
As Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface moved closer, Zoc, Steve Brown, and Glenor Glenda were pressed up against the cold stone wall with nowhere to run. The pressure from their backs triggered a mechanism, and with a swoosh they whirled around into a narrow corridor and away from the advancing horror in the other room.
"Damn, that was a stroke of luck!" said Zoc. "Nothing like finding a hidden passageway through a revolving secret door in the wall — in the nick of time, I always say."
"Hello Iloz, Steve, and Glenor," said a voice from the darkness down the hall.
"Who's that?" asked Steve Brown.
A squeaking sound echoed off the walls. A tricycle slowly rolled toward them and into the light.
"I am Jigsaw. Would you like to play a game?" said a voice coming from the tape recorder hanging around the creepy puppet's neck on the tricycle.
"Aaaaggghhhhh!" yelled Zoc, Steve Brown, and Glenor all at once, and frantically pressed up against the wall again. "Get us out of here!"
The wall swooshed around. They found themselves once again facing down Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface. "Talk about rocks and hard places," said Zoc.
Just as Leatherface revved his chainsaw and swung it above his head, and Freddy raised his razor bladed gloved hand, the entrance door exploded off its hinges. In a plume of smoke and shower of splinters, three more puppets raced into the room.
"Hey, is that Mike Mercury?" said Zoc in surprise.
"Who?" asked Glenor.
"Mike Mercury, you know, the guy who flew that Supercar around. A series done in the '60s, by Gerry Anderson using his supermarionation techniques." said Zoc, clearly showing his age. "Hey! It is him. There's Mitch the monkey, and Jimmy. Lord, I don't know who was more annoying, the kid or the monkey."
"Definitely the monkey," said Steve Brown. "I hated that Chim Chim chimp in Speed Racer, too."
Mike Mercury, the monkey, and Jimmy ran to the stairs. "Follow us if you want to live!" yelled Mercury.
Iloz Zoc, Steve Brown, and Glenor ran over to the stairs, with Freddy, Jason and Leatherface in pursuit. Mitch the monkey jumped on Freddy's back and pulled his hat down over his eyes. Not seeing where he was going, Freddy tripped over Jason's big shoes right into Leatherface's chainsaw. Blood and guts splattered all around.
"Up the stairs while Mitch keeps them busy," said Mike Mercury.
"But you guys are puppets," said Zoc.
"So, what's your point?"
"Who's pulling your strings?" demanded Steve Brown.
"Look, we don't have time for this — you remember the villain who kept screwing us up in the show?"
"Yeah, Zarin — right?"
"Right," said Mike Mercury. "Well, we found out he's behind the Shudderites. He put a supermarionation curse on us back in the 1960s. Anderson was his disciple. Turned us into these annoying puppets. Been looking for him ever since. Found out he snagged some goop named Zombos, and was planning on sacrificing him on Halloween, here in this castle. We're going to tackle his ass and get this curse lifted."
"You mean–" began Zoc.
"Yup. Every puppet in every Anderson's series was once human." said Mercury.
"Even those babes in Captain Scarlet?" asked Steve Brown.
"God, I hope they show up, too." Steve Brown was euphoric.
"What took you so long to find him?" asked Glenor.
"We were in limbo all this time. The release of the show on DVD, available through Amazon.com, brought life back to us."
"Amazing. But you're still in black and white," said Glenor.
"Hey, sales weren't that good," said little Jimmy.
"Captain Scarlet was in color, though," said Steve Brown, still in euphoria. He seemed to be puckering his lips as if he were kissing someone.
"We better go," said Jimmy. Mitch the monkey was hitting Jason with his mask, but Leatherface had found the monkey's weakness. His strings. One by one he was cutting them with his chainsaw. Their brief respite was soon to end.
They raced up the stairs, and into a hallway. "Which door gets us out of here?" asked Jimmy. They could hear the buzz of the chainsaw coming up the stairs.
Zoc pulled the nearest door open. They ran into a dark room. Steve Brown turned on his pocket flashlight, and flashed it around the room. They were momentarily startled by what they found. Dracula, the Wolf Man, and the Frankenstein monster glared at them from the darkness.
"Great, more monsters!" cried Glenor.
"Wait a minute," said Zoc. "That's the Lugosi Dracula, and it's Chaney's Wolf Man, and, yes, the Frankenstein monster is the Karloff version."
"I really liked Glenn Strange as the monster," said Steve Brown. Mike Mercury nodded his head in agreement. "More brute terror, less pathos."
"They are robots, too." said Zoc. "What is this place?"
"Remember that film, Westworld?" said Steve Brown. "Maybe this is the horrorworld version, and just like in the film, the robots went berserk?"
"With all that nihilistic, grisly torture and death cinema of the helpless-styled horror these days, I don't wonder," said Zoc. "Perhaps the incessant need for sequels burned out their quality-control circuits."
"Hey, look," said Glenor. "These robots are key wound."
"What?" said Steve Brown. He walked behind Frankenstein. "You're right, they are."
"I suppose Universal hasn't gotten round to updating them yet," said Zoc. "I wonder…" He started winding up the Wolf Man.
"What are you doing?" asked Mike Mercury. "Are you crazy? We don't need more monsters!"
The Wolf Man came to life, and started howling. He looked around at them, snarling, and raising his claws.
"Go get those annoying creatures on the stairs," said Zoc. The Wolf Man howled again, and leaped out of the room.
"How'd you know?" asked Steve Brown.
"The classics," said Zoc, "you can never go wrong with the classics." He quickly wound up Dracula and the Frankenstein monster, and they stormed out of the room to enter the fight.
"That should buy us some time," said Zoc. "Which reminds me, that Heroes of Horror DVD captures Lugosi's, Chaney's, and Karloff's careers so well, doesn't it?."
"And what interesting careers they had, too." said Steve Brown. "Times were very different in the '30s and '40s, and their brand of gothic, supernatural horror was in its infancy. It took World War II to bring audiences back to them. The real horrors of war were assuaged by the unreal and safer horrors of the screen."
"I always thought it ironic that Lon Chaney Jr couldn't follow his father's superb skills with makeup by using his own, only because the union forbade it. To think, he couldn't apply and wear his own makeup creations; a union makeup artist had to do it. I wonder what creations he would have come up with?"
"Don't forget that Vincent Price and Peter Lorre are on the second disc," said Glenor. "I loved Price in all of Roger Corman's horror films he appeared in."
"That voice of his was so distinctive," added Mike Mercury. "Hey, how about his role as Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon? Priceless, huh?"
"Oooh, I loved his voice," said Glenor.
"He gave me the creeps. I couldn't sleep for a week after seeing The Beast with Five Fingers," said Jimmy.
"Lugosi is my favorite," said Zoc. "His Dracula is a performance that defines the consummate evil of the creature for all time. Dressed in his upper-class finery, walking the streets of London like a demonic god, always quenching his insatiable thirst for blood, wrecking the lives around him — a performance that resonates today in the vile actions of corporations, and the snobbish rich, isolated from the middle-class tedium of actually sustaining the mechanics of the country."
Everyone was looking at Zoc in bewilderment.
"His accent was unbeatable," summed up Zoc.
Everyone agreed, and the conversation continued.
"What else is on the two-disc set aside from the engrossing biographies?" asked Jimmy.
"Trailers, news featurettes, interviews, especially two interesting ones with Lugosi. One played for laughs, but definitely shows how much he really didn't like mixing with the Hollywood set, and the other's an interview given years later, when he was released from rehab. He looks really frail in that one. The quality is poor, given its age and media, but it's still a pretty shocking scene. Funny, but he smoked a cigar in both of them — like he didn't skip a beat in all those years between the two," replied Zoc.
"Sad, really. Only Karloff and Price lived fairly straightforward lives. Chaney Jr., Lugosi, and Lorre each had their demons to appease, and challenges to meet," said Steve Brown.
"It is only fitting, that on Halloween, we remember those whose ground-breaking, and superb performances creating memorable creatures of fright should be remembered. If not for their devotion to the cinema of horror, we would be worse off today by their absence," said Zoc.
"Yes, I agree, too," said Mike Mercury to Steve Brown.
"I didn't say anything," said Steve Brown.
Both men slowly turned around. The Frankenstein monster stood in the doorway, brandishing the chainsaw. He started it up and held it high in the air. Dracula floated in beside him, wearing Jason's mask. The Wolf Man leaped in front of them, wearing Freddy's hat and waving his razor bladed gloved hand menacingly.
"Oh, dear," said Zoc. "I was afraid of this," he said, as they moved back from the doorway. There was no other way out, except for the window, and they were high above the ground.
"Of what?" said Glenor, cowering in back of Steve Brown.
"Universal's been tinkering with them for years, looking for a way to update them. They must have built in a Hollywood Directive to assimilate any successful horror franchise they came across and incorporate it into their characters to increase their chances of a successful comeback. We're doomed!"
"Mike, get Supercar" yelled Jimmy.
"I don't have a remote," he yelled back. "They weren't invented in the '60s, yet."
"Will mine do?" said Steve Brown, tossing over his UPS signing gadget.
"Hey, let's see. Yeah, just a little reconfiguration. The right frequency, and — Supercar, find us, now!"
Outside, the roar of starboard engines sounded loud and clear. The smell of rocket fuel, blazing up and out from exhaust ports filled the air.
"One… two… three… okay everybody, duck and cover!" yelled Mike Mercury above the buzz of the chainsaw and the roar of rocket engines. The window crashed open, sending shards of glass and shredded drapery around them as Supercar entered the room. Its doors swung open. "Let's go!"
Jimmy went first, then each one, in turn, jumped into Supercar. Mike Mercury closed the doors when they were safely inside. "Take that," he said, trying to swing his middle finger up in a show of bad taste to the monsters. "Damn, Anderson didn't give us that much flexibility."
"Allow me," said Glenor. She clenched both hands except for her middle finger on each one, and waved them with such intensity that Zoc was surprised.
"Baby, you're the greatest," said Steve Brown, and both hugged and kissed each other in the back seat.
"Oh, gross," said Jimmy. "Hey, what about Mitch?"
"I'm sorry Jimmy. Mitch didn't make it," said Mike Mercury. A monkey's high pitched laughter came from the trunk. Mitch popped open the trunk lid and smiled at them. "Mitch," cried Jimmy, hugging him.
"Thank god they didn't kiss," said Zoc to himself.
"Well, I suppose this is a happy ending then?" said Mike Mercury. "Except of course we never got to Zarin and those damn Shudderites. Guess that will have to wait for the sequel next year," he laughed.
"Zombos!" cried Zoc. "What about Zombos?"
Steve Brown's cell phone started ringing. "Hello? It's for you." He handed the phone to Zoc.
"Yes? Who?! I don't believe this. After all this… yes, yes, soon!" He closed the cell phone with a crack.
"Who was it?" asked Steve Brown.
"That was Zombos," said Zoc, steaming. "He's back at the mansion. The Shudderites let him go days ago. After they realized he wasn't me, they threw him a party and flew him home. He said to hurry up or we'll be late for the Monster Mash party at the mansion. I can't believe this."
"Well, then, I better step on it," said Mike Mercury.
"Hey, do me a favor and drop me off by the UPS truck," said Steve Brown. "Want to help me finish my deliveries?" he asked Glenor. She giggled, then nodded yes.
"Say, what are you guys going as for the Halloween party?" asked Steve Brown.
"Pirates," said Glenor and Zoc together. "What else?"
And off they sped into the Halloween night.