Category Archives: Dennis Wheatley

Pulp Friday: witches, sorcerers & Satan’s disciples

Satan, witches, warlocks, demons, they were everywhere in the sixties and seventies and no more so than on pulp fiction covers. To mark Halloween, today’s Pulp Friday offering is a selection of covers featuring the lord of darkness and his various disciples.

It’s hardly surprising that Satanism and witchcraft featured so prominently in pulp. Not only did these books mirror then contemporary tabloid fascinations with black magic and witches, but the subject was an excuse for a bit of gratuitous sex and nudity. Especially sex. Devil worshippers, particularly Satan’s female disciples, were nothing if not sexually promiscuous, at least in the pages of pulp fiction.

The selection of covers below hail from the UK, US and Australia. They ran the gamut of key pulp fiction sub-genres: fiction (Dennis Wheatley’s To the Devil a Daughter, one of many occult themed books he wrote); history and so-called exposes (James Holledge’s Black Magic, ‘The world of uncanny occult rights, psychic phenomena, weird sex rities’); how to guides (How to Become a Sensuous Witch); television and movie ties ins (The Witchfinder General and  The Grip of Evil, the latter part of a series of paperback spin offs based on the hugely popular early 1970s Australian television show, Number 96), and smut titles (Bride of Satan and The Cult of Flesh – ‘Violent debauchery in a Satanic Cult of Flesh Worshipers’),

Even Carter Brown, hardly the most salacious of pulp writers in the sixties, touched on occult themes in books like Blonde on a Broomstick.… Read more

Pulp Friday: witches, warlocks and drums of the dark gods

“A Horrifying excursion into a world ruled by the prince of darkness”

We don’t do Halloween in Australia, but it’s as good an opportunity as any to post some of the terrific occult pulp paperbacks covers I’ve collected over the last few months.

The supernatural and occult were major pre-occupations of popular culture in the sixties and the first half seventies. I am not exactly sure why, but some observers have linked it to regular outbreaks of witch mania that historically coincided with periods of major social change and dislocation.

Occultists, witches, Satanists, ruled much of the cinema screen. As was often the case, relatively highbrow offerings, Roman Polanski’s 1968 film Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist (1973) and The Omen (1976), coexisted along side more sensationalist exploitation fare. Devil’s Rain (1975), Brotherhood of Satan (1971), The Witches (1966) and Race with the Devil (1975), are just some of the many, many examples.

And where cinema went, pulp fiction followed. Old stories were spiced up, new ones penned in rapid succession.

Rest in Agony concerns what transpires when a husband and wife discover a little black book that reveals their dear deceased Uncle Amby lived a secret double life as a Satanist. Not surprising when some of his mates included Vandal James “Satan’s playmate” and Amora Cartwirght “Goddess of dark waters”.… Read more

Kill List

As a rule, I’m not a big fan of horror genre mash up films, and have found nearly every one I’ve watched, lazy, predictable filmmaking.

But Kill List is very different.

My test of a good a film is whether I can remember any of the plot the next day. I saw Kill List over a week ago and I’m still thinking about it.

Particularly the ending, that’s really stayed with me

Kill List is the second film by English director Dennis Wheatley. His debut offering was a particularly nasty little feature called Down Terrace in 2009. It concerned a housing estate family of low level drug traffickers who kill each other off to eliminate what they believe is an informer in their ranks.

While it had its moments, Down Terrace felt like it was taking the piss a bit too much for my tastes, sort of Mike Leigh as psychopath.

Kill List opens with army veteran Jay (Neil Maskell) fighting with his Swedish wife Shel (MyAnna Buring). They experience many of the same problems faced by married couples everywhere, money problems and disagreements about how to discipline their kid, that kind of stuff.

On top of that Jay’s got a few mental and physical health problems as a result of the botched hit he and his mate Gal (Michael Smiley) did in Kiev.… Read more

Kill List and three other upcoming crime films I have to see

It was a long wait for Drive, the subject of my last post, but well worth it.

Drive is not the only crime film I’ve been waiting for with anticipation. There are several others, headed up by the 2011 British film, Kill List. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this film and am still kicking myself I didn’t realise it was included in the Melbourne International Film Festival earlier this year.

Ben Wheatley, who did Down Terrace in 2009, directs Kill List. Down Terrace is the story of a family of low level drug runners who, almost literally, devour each other in an orgy of paranoia and violence as they attempt to unmask what they believe is a informer in their ranks. It is genuinely disturbing viewing.

The main characters of Kill List, Jay and Gal, are a couple of Iraq war vets and semi-professional hit men who take a contract to eliminate a list of three people. The movie starts off as traditional hit man story and then gradually morphs into a tale of horror, with a distinct Wicker Man feel to it

I’ll say no more. Check out the trailer here:

Madman Films has picked up the film and there is word they intend to give it a mainstream release here in Australia some time in 2012.… Read more