Thursday, August 14, 2014

Zombies From the Pulps!: The Man Who Loved a Zombie - Russell Gray (Bruno Fischer)

Bruno Fischer was one of the top writers of mystery and suspense novels for the iconic paperback publisher Gold Medal in the 1950s. One of his early novels for Gold Medal, HOUSE OF FLESH, sold well over a million copies and was one of the first big success stories for paperback originals. He went on to have a well-regarded career as the author of hardback mystery novels.

But before all that, under the names Russell Gray and Harrison Storm, he was a prolific contributor to the Weird Menace pulps, including the story "The Man Who Loved a Zombie" in the May/June 1939 issue of TERROR TALES. It's a well-written, fast-moving yarn about a man who returns to his hometown to find that some of the inhabitants are dying from a mysterious disease and then being resurrected as zombies by a sinister unknown mastermind. Fischer introduces us to the suspects in rapid-fire fashion, compressing all the events of the story into a few hours one night, opening in a graveyard and ending with a military-style siege of a mansion with machine guns chattering and an army of zombies carrying rifles.

Despite the over-the-top nature of the plot, Fischer's prose is fairly restrained for the Weird Menace genre and not as wild-eyed as that of, say, Arthur Leo Zagat. It's a different approach, but it works. "The Man Who Loved a Zombie" is a very entertaining story and one more reason to pick up a copy of ZOMBIES FROM THE PULPS!

1 comment:

Walker Martin said...

Last week at the PulpFest convention we had a panel discussing TERROR TALES and the other weird menace pulps. 80 Years of TERROR covered not only the Popular Publication titles such as TERROR TALES, HORROR STORIES, and DIME MYSTERY, but also the Red Circle titles and that great pickup line, "The Molemen Want Your Eyes".