Happy Birthday, Bho Blok
"For that restful country feeling," is says just below the name of ye motel. April 5 was Bob Bloch's birthday. I got to know Bob because when I was in high school I was determined that once I graduated I was going to go to Hollywood and become the next Boris Karloff, star in classic modern horror films. Drama was my life, and I had a keen passion for horror films, especially Hammer and Universal productions. Famous Monsters of Filmland was my golden magazine, and it thrilled me when Forry dedicated issue #69 to me.
I had first contacted Bob when, as a senior in high school, I did a one-shot film fanzine called Fantasia, in which I had a section of tributes to Forry Ackerman. Well, after one year of college, I was chosen to work as a Mormon missionary in Ireland. My mission authorities frowned on my going to horror films (although I did so on the sly), and so as an alternative I decided to start reading horror fiction anthologies. Bloch continued to correspond with me while I served in Ireland, and so I chose my paperbacks because Bob was included as one of ye authors on ye contents page. Well, I got hooked on horror fiction and soon had to buy a wee suitcase in which to keep my growing collection of British horror paperbacks. I found a copy of a Panther Lovecraft pb, The Haunter of the Dark. I knew of Lovecraft because a friend of mine, who was also a horror film fanatic, also read fiction, and once shew'd me a copy of an Arkham House book that he had bought for $60, Beyond the Wall of Sleep; and then one of my favorite horror film fanzines, Gore Creatures, had taken up almost one entire issue with a huge article about Lovecraft's fiction. Looking through my paperback of Lovecraft's tales, I was excited to see that HPL had actually dedicated the book's title story to my buddy, Robert Bloch. It was reading those British paperbacks and falling under the spell of the fiction of Bloch, Lovecraft, Lumley, Derleth, Jacobi &c, that convinced me that I, too, wanted to write weird fiction, and I began to do so while working in Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. I sent one of my first stories, "Whispering Wires," to a magazine called Space & Time, and they accepted it.
Bob encouraged me to write, and it was through him that I got to know others who had known HPL and were members of the original Lovecraft Circle. Bob was special to me because he had so much respect and love for H. P. Lovecraft. Through him, I became a second-generation member of the Lovecraft Circle, dedicating my writing life to penning tale after tale of Lovecraftian horror. I was totally obsessed with becoming a famous Mythos writer, and I knew that to do so I had to stay true to my vision as a Lovecraftian artist and write stories that were almost obnoxiously Lovecraftian, however unprofessional such an obsession with Lovecraft seemed to others in the profession, where writing Lovecraft-inspired fiction was a youthful phase through which one passed on the way to true individual voice & vision. I was determined that the writing of Lovecraftian weird fiction would be my personal voice & vision.
So to-day I am remembering Robert Bloch, who was so kind and patient with the weird little fanboy that I was way back when. The story I am writing at present, "Impious Intuition," is dedicated to Bob, and incorporates aspects of his story, "The Mannikin." In my newest book, Uncommon Places, the title sequence of prose-poems and vignettes has a semi-sequel to Bob's teleplay for the Thriller episode "The Grim Reaper." In Dead but Dreaming II my story therein is a sequel to Bob's "The Skull of the Marquee de Sade." And in my next book, THE STRANGE DARK ONE--TALES OF NYARLATHOTEP, one of the new original works is a semi-sequel to Bob's story, "The Cheaters." Obviously, his influence, and ye influence of his amazing weird fiction, has deeply rooted into my aesthetic soul.
Happy birthday, Bho.