Tag Archives: James Holledge

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: Notorious Women

Notorious Women

“They were beautiful, dangerous and shocking – high voltage wantons who stopped at nothing to get their men.”

This week’s Pulp Friday, Notorious Women, is another offering from former clerk turned prodigious pulp hack, James Holledge.

Holledge, who has featured previously on this site, wrote approximately 45 books between 1961 and 1970. Most of these were heavily sensationalised, salacious examinations of social issues such as prostitution and the occult, which he dressed up as serious sociological expose.

Notorious Women, published in 1962 by Horwitz Publications, Australia’s premier pulp publisher in the fifties and sixties, is fairly typical of Holledge’s work. Purporting to be an examination of “a few of the Wantons of the World who have been branded forever as Notorious Women,” the boom is divided into 13 chapters.

These include ‘Wanton on the beach’ (“A reckless, sensation-seeking Bohemian, she had a mania for performing unrehearsed striptease dances”) and ‘Women with the serpent’s tongue’ (“The police actually feared this heartless hussy who was obsessed by money hunger”). But my favourite is ‘Edward who was really Ellen’ (“One of Australia’s most baffling sex masquerades was was finally exposed in startling circumstances”).

The one undeniable fact about Holledge’s books is that they sold, presumably to working stiffs eager for a few cheap thrills.… Read more

Pulp Friday: passion pits and twilight zones, Kings Cross pulp fiction

The Deserters“A startling and authentic story of wartime Sydney when the American ‘invasion’ turned Kings Cross into a passion pit of vice and black marketing.”

Earlier this week I reviewed Louis Nowra’s terrific social history Kings Cross A Biography for the Overland Journal website.

Kings Cross has always had a particular place in our popular imagination as Australia’s capital of sin, sleaze and crime.

The terrific 1995 television mini-series Blue Murder and the not-so-wonderful Underbelly: Razor and Underbelly: The Golden Mile all did their bit to maintain this unsavoury reputation.

In the sixties and early seventies, Kings Cross was also a favourite setting for locally published pulp novels.

As I have discussed many times on this site, pulp fiction is a warped reflection of mainstream society, its illicit desires, fears and fascinations. Thus it was with pulp’s depiction of the Cross as a virtual Sodom and Gomorrah of sex, gambling, crime and human depravity of every description.

Wild youth gangs, criminal syndicates, black magic, pulp took all of these and turned them into portable, pocket sized key pieces of key hole voyeurism. From a publishing perspective they sold a bomb to punters eager for vicarious thrills and a peek of the dark goings on in the Cross.

Nowra’s book didn’t touch on this this particular aspect of Kings Cross’s hold on our popular imagination.… Read more

Pulp Friday: The Flower People

The Flower people“Super-zap them all with love. That’s the Hippie slogan. And they mean you.”

The cover of this week’s Pulp Friday speaks for itself, The Flower People by James Holledge.

I mean, like, wow man, that is one far out cover.

The Flower People was published in 1967 by Scripts Publications, the outfit set up by Horwitz Publications in the late sixties to release its racier titles. Thanks to Melbourne pulp collector Brian Coffey for alerting me to this wonderful title and allowing me to copy it.

Holledge featured recently on this site as the author of Kings Cross Black Magic and Teenage Jungle. A former clerk who became part of the stable of in-house writers brought together by Horwitz in the early sixties, his specialty was salacious journalistic tracks parading as sociological expose.

He’s in fine form in The Flower People, billed as an “inside expose” of hippy culture, delving into everything from free love, their profligate use of contraception, rejection of “square society”, drug use and radical politics.

“Super-zap them all with love. That’s the Hippie slogan. And they mean you.” Readers must no doubt have found the idea hippies coming to get them, in their suburban homes, to turn them on, alarming and alluring, especially if the hippy concerned looked the one on the cover of this tome.… Read more

Pulp Friday: Kings Cross Black Magic

Kings Cross Black MagicToday’s Pulp Friday is a great example of exploitative pulp dressed up as quasi-serious sociological inquiry, Kings Cross Black Magic by the wonderfully named, Attila Zohar.

It’s also one of the more unusual pieces of pulp fiction produced in the sixties and seventies in response to the real and imagined goings on in Sydney’s notorious vice strip, Kings Cross.

I just love the cover of this book. The minimal furnishings, the title font, the female model, who I presume is supposed to look ‘Satanic’ but comes across more as a sort of sullen drag queen. It speaks of things that just shouldn’t be talked about in polite company, which, in turn, only makes me more curious.

Kings Cross Black Magic was released by Horwitz publications in 1965. According to the University of Ortago’s wonderful pulp fiction website, Attila Zohar was a pseudonym for James Holledge. Holledge was a former clerk who became part of the stable of in-house writers brought together by Horwitz in the early sixties. He wrote approximately 45 books between 1961 and 1970, most of them salacious journalistic tracks parading as sociological expose.

His titles included Australia’s Wicked Women (1963), Crimes Which Shocked Australia (1963) and Women Who Sell Sex (1964) and What Makes a Call Girl (1964).… Read more