Acknowledgments: From the worm-gooeyest bottom of my black heart, the foulest of fright-fiending “fangs!” to the following boils and ghouls …
Foreword: Some Wondrously Obscene Words of Gruesomest Salutations from the One and Only Wizard of Gore … Herschell Gordon Lewis!
Introduction: The Funeral Is About to Begin …
Creepy Crawls’ 13 Rules for the Revoltingly Repulsive Would-Be Ill-Rumor-Resurrectioning Creepy Crawler!
Creepy Crawls of Horror in Culture & Society:
In Search of Monstrously Man-Made Murder, Madness, and the Macabre
Chapter One: To Lurk Amongst the Loathsome within the London Fog
Chapter Two: Grim Paris: The Macabre Underbelly of the City of Light
Creepy Crawls of Horror in Literature:
In Search of the Leprous Lords of Laudably Loathsome Letters
Chapter Three: Sleepy Hollow: Amidst the Headless Haunts of the Hudson Valley
Chapter Four: To Worship the Conqueror Worm: The Forlorn Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe’s Baltimore
Chapter Five: An Eldritch Shadow Over New England: Heeding the Call of the Unspeakable Horrors of H. P. Lovecraft
Chapter Six: The Return to the Horror King: A Pilgrimage to the Maine-iacal Throne of Stephen King
Creepy Crawls of Horror in Film:
In Search of the Cadaverous Curiosities of Classick Corpse-Mongering Celluloid
Chapter Seven: The Rotting and Flesh-Ravenous Realms of George Romero’s Dead Pennsylvania
Chapter Eight: The Perversely Possessed & Puke-Ridden Washington, D.C. Domain of The Exorcist
Chapter Nine: At the Altar of Anthropophagy: Exhuming the Ensanguined Ephemera of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Chapter Ten: Gobbling the Grisly Giallo Gross-eries at Dario Argento’s Profondo Rosso Shoppe
Chapter Eleven: Exhuming the Murderously Morbid Mysteries of the Home of Michael Myers: A Horrid Tour through the Homicidal Southern California Haunts of Halloween’s “Haddonfield”
Chapter Twelve: Exorcising the Controversial Celluloid Creeps of The Amityville Horror
Chapter Thirteen: The Savagely Man-Slaughterous Sylvan Realms of Friday the 13th’s New Jersey
Bibliography: The Revoltingly Rotted Resources of Creepy Crawls’ Rapacious Research.
Introduction: The Funeral Is About to Begin . . .
Creepy:Of or producing a sensation of uneasiness or fear, as of things crawling on one’s skin. Annoyingly unpleasant; repulsive.
Crawl: The action of moving slowly on the hands or knees or dragging the body along the ground.
To . . . “Creepy Crawl”?
Ghastliest grue-gargling greetings and shuddersome spook-spewing salutations, Creepy Reader, and welcome to Creepy Crawls, yours cruelly’s ghoulish and ghastly terror-touring travel guide to the most dreadfully Horror-ed of travel destinations!
But perchance you are asking yourself, “What exactly is a ‘creepy crawl’?!?”
Well, when I was but a wee fiend—and, verily, still!—I was utterly afeared of worms, centipedes, maggots, and the loathsomely wriggling like. By less than formal definitions, such an execrable thing is known as a “creepy-crawly.” And anything that rouses a skin-crawling sense of sheer revulsion, as of them squirming upon your flesh, is similarly known: “creepy-crawly.” While the sentiment of such a disgusting sensation—or, deeply more so, a disturbing sensibility for such unwholesomeness!—defines the hideous and heinous soul of my horror-fiending Creepy Crawls, it does not reveal the travel guide’s unspeakable raison d’etre. To do so, I would refer to the terrors of one of America’s most infamous “true crimes,” from whence Creepy Crawls’ name came . . .
During that sultry and shocking summer of 1969, monstrously maniacal would-be messiah Charles “No Name Maddox” Manson bid his brain-fried hippie “Family” to sneak into homes under the veil of deepest midnight darkness and sow terror in the hearts of the unsuspecting slumberers within by displacing their furniture and, deeply more dreadful, dangling knives atop or about their beds. These most morbid roadtrip “missions” were meant to be threats against those whom Manson deemed “pig”-ish members of the “Establishment” and, in the end, would herald the horrors of those infamously Tate & LaBianca Murders, the disturbingly demented death-trips that are said to have killed the ’60s. And Manson had called his followers’ shocking night-stalkings . . . “creepy crawls.”
Indeed, Manson’s odiously grim little gloom-obscured outings are Creepy Crawls’ noisomely notorious namesake and, while they and my horror fiend’s travel guide do not share, in the end, so very much, the two same-named strains of spookiest strangeness do have something wicked in common: the frightfully unseemly fusion of the “crawl” and the “creepy”: on the one hand, travel, and on the other—the black left hand!—terror. But there is, verily, a crucial difference, because the travel possibilities put before you on Creepy Crawls’ putrescence-blotted chopping block—from short trips to sprawling tours—would not spread that terror without but . . . within!
To experience a true creepy crawl, Creepy Reader, is to embark on an expedition to the most extraordinarily eerie of exotic locations and to explore—to exhume!—all that is morbid, moribund, and macabre therein! To undertake a creepy crawl is not simply to shamble and to lurk and to scuttle but to do so—egads!—within the brutally black worm-befouled belly of . . . HORROR! The Horror, Creepy Reader! That is what Creepy Crawls is all about: to creep and to crawl amidst all that is creepy-crawly. Yours cruelly’s Creepy Crawls was begotten from not only a lifelong love of traveling but a unhealthy hunger for Horror of all sordidly sickening species: the horrors of drive-in bloodbaths, grindhouse chunkblowers, and video nasties; the horrors of shudder pulps and weird tales; and even the horrors of all-too-real social and cultural relics.
Because of this, Creepy Crawls is a travel guide for horror fan-addicts, gorehounds, monster-mongers, splatterheads, and all species of ghouls, finks, and misfits—”horror fiends” like yours cruelly. But Creepy Crawls is also for travelers who, while perhaps less “Horror!”-fied, do, however, have a thirst for the odd and the obscure, the strange and the unusual . . . the creepy and the crawly!
But perchance, Creepy Reader, you are now asking yourself, “How was that most unnatural marriage of tourism and terror, sightseeing and shudders, begotten?!?”
Yours cruelly’s taste for travel—particularly that of an off-beat persuasion—and for Horror were born from the same influence: my dear olde mother. With the former, it very well may have begun on a trans-America summer trip I undertook with my parents when I was, again, but a wee fiend, aged seven or eight years, during which my mother insisted that we explore each and every roadside curiosity.
But with the latter, whilst my mother forbade me from feeding upon those Horrors new to cable television and video cassette in the early and mid-’80s—for fear of such shockingly shudder some stuff, as I have heard many, many, many times since, “rotting my brain”—such disheartening matriarchal disallowance made my thirst for the abominable, the atrocious, and the abhorrent—for HORROR!—into, verily, an obsession. And it was from out of that hunger that Creepy Crawls was born! For with the sorrowfully cureless sickness that is what yours cruelly calls “Horror-philia,” there are three degrees. Of the first, the symptoms are distinguished by a compulsion to devour all primary specimens: literature, films, magazines, comic books, and so on. Of the second, there is a desire for extremely more rare and unexpurgated delicacies, the disease thus becoming more refined yet, at the same time, more rabid. And of the third and final degree, there is utter addiction. No longer will the simple exposure to the dreadful and the disturbing, the morbid and the macabre, appease the sufferer’s appetites.
No, for such individuals, there rises the cruelly insatiable compulsion to consume (“collect” in the parlance of the diseased) sundry related curiosities. And if the case is truly shocking in its severity, there may be an unnameably unnatural urge to travel to and tour the very same localities, often obscure and outlandish, where those very same Horrors—of film, of literature, of history—were birthed, such communion having the same effect upon the horror fiend as that of a reliquary upon the most pious and passionate of pilgrims.
And yours cruelly’s horror fiend’s travel guide, Creepy Reader, is a testimonial to this. Creepy Crawls is as much the appallingly repulsive and reeking annals of the creepy crawls my unspeakable wife and I have undertaken as an aid and advisory for others—be they fellow horror fiends or travelers with a taste for the untypical—who would undertake their very own creepy crawls. It is not an encyclopedia with aspirations of exhaustiveness but, in such a laundry list’s stead, an extremely encomiastic exhumation of Horror’s most unhallowedly eerie and eldritch haunts.
And so you must ask yourself, Creepy Reader: are you prepared for a good ghastly and gruesome olde . . . creepy crawl?!?
But before you do, be aware—or BEWARE!—of . . .
Creepy Crawls’ 13 Rules for the Revoltingly Repulsive Would-Be Ill-Rumor-Resurrectioning Creepy Crawler!
1) Do your research. Where are you going, why are you going there, and what EXACTLY are you going there for?!?
2) Investigate different sources of travel literature. It is always better to have more, instead of less, on your creepy crawl’s chopping block.
3) While it is good to have an itinerary so that your creepy crawl isn’t an utterly helter-skelter undertaking, don’t be a slave to it!
4) If you will be doing your creepy crawl by meatwagon, be sure that it is in good motoring condition!
5) Be sure to have some good—new and detailed!—maps and, perhaps, rudimentary directions between locations.
6) Don’t forget to bring a good camera—dependable and easy to use—and lots of film for your Horror-ed crime scene photography. And remember: coverage is key!
7) And don’t forget to bring a “souvenir kit” with you on your creepy crawl—at the very least some plastic bags—so that you can collect some of the locations’ Horror-ed charnel earth for your crypt’s curio cabinet!
8) If you are bringing a fiend (or two or three . . . ) along with you on your creepy crawl, be sure that they won’t be a drag. If they don’t have ANY interest in where you’re going and what you’re going there for—and won’t respect YOUR interests—they’ll become “dead weight” VERY fast!
9) Whilst you are upon your creepy crawl, be a truly horrid ambassador of Horror by respecting the location and the locals but . . .
10) BE CAREFUL! Remember: You are a stranger in a very strange land—and some inhabited by those who utterly hate their Horror-ed infamy—so watch out!
11) Sometimes, you will find nothing but the inhuman remains of a location or, if there is indeed some good meat upon its bones, you won’t be able to feast upon any of it for various reasons. Unfortunately, so goes a creepy crawl now and again. So try to make the most out of what you do indeed drag onto your creepy crawl’s chopping block!
12) And whilst you are upon your creepy crawl, try to see what else those unknown parts have to offer. You never know WHAT you’ll find . . . !
13) And lastly but not leastly . . . HAVE FUN! It isn’t truly a creepy crawl if you are not having a foully foetid coffin-full of frightfully fiendish fun!
And so, Creepy Reader, for those about to ROT . . . Creepy Crawls salutes you!