The city battled a monster; the Candy Man.

The Houston Mass Murders sent the Lone Star State and the world reeling in a spiral of moral repulsion and righteous anger. The case also exposed a rabid, multi-tentacled monster hiding in 3 men showing signs of an under-reported psychological curiosity.

Six rapid-fire thunder bolts rocked the tiny hallway in the house on Lamar Drive. All finding their mark.

Trigger cocking hammer igniting primer firing round. One fluid motion, six times. All coldly mechanized in the lean, metal death machine 17-year-old Elmer Wayne Henley Jr. wielded like a fierce, adrenaline-possessed Zeus atop Mount Olympus.

As the God of Lightning slew the typhon — and Hercules the hydra — Henley battled his own salivating, feral beast of many tentacles in that tiny house in Pasadena, Texas late on the night of August 8, 1973. …


The Stranger made his way to the poor, black section of town — “the negro quarter”, as it was called — finding an axe stuck in a stump as he worked his way there.

It was late evening as “Sign of the Judgement” thundered from the open door of the local black Baptist Church. “How appropriate”, he thought.

“I am the Sign of the Judgement! And tonight I shall have blood!”

The oppressive bayou humidity stuck to the Stranger’s tattered work shirt and overalls, making them feel like a second skin over his dark ebony. It was November 1909 in the tiny railroad hamlet of Rayne, Louisiana, but still “hotter than Hades”, as the locals were fond of saying. …


The gothic horror piece. It sublimely explores the paranormal by looking at real world medical and psychological explanations for it. That is, the paranormal as madness. The Shining is perhaps the finest exploration of it on the big screen.

Fear. It percolates in the blood — blinding us on adrenaline and primal survival instinct. Intoxicating, hyper-distilled, animalistic feeling, it drives us unlike anything else, apart from sex and hunger.

But what truly scares us most?

What if the things that scare us and can truly hurt us are not foreign, or unknown, or mystical or mythical — what if they are the people closest to us: our own family even? Melded into something twisted — a dark parody of itself — where parents don’t nurture children, but rather hunt them down and attempt to kill them brutally? …


The doppelgänger, or double, has a remarkable history in art, antiquity, neuroscience, and psychiatry.

Jordan Peele’s Us is a surprising and brilliant cerebral masterpiece of social horror, but the contextual information of the doppelgänger is interesting in itself, as is our accompanying list of films also dealing with the doppelgänger.

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“Us” looking remarkably like a Rorschach inkblot. Source: Publicity Still.

Probably the most prevalent of those themes is the doppelgänger, (German for “double walker”) or non-genetically related double of a person — that double usually being an evil entity. Us — from what we know so far — centers on a family (played by Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex) battling their doppelgängers.

This certainly adds interesting challenges for the actors in playing two (essentially) separate people in Peele’s film — this does have some symbolic meaning of us being our own worst enemies — which actually ties in to what the doppelgänger as a neurological and psychiatric phenomenon can tell us about the neurobiology behind emotion and how we construct a sense of self (more on this below). …


The Monster of Amstetten kept his daughter as a basement sex slave for 24 years— fathering several children by her. But that’s only where the weirdness of this case begins.

The darkest spawn of hell can sometimes be lurking in harmless, safe, innocent, social disguises. Such was the case of 17-year-old Elisabeth Friztl who was kidnapped, raped 3,000 times, and kept as a sex slave by her own father for 24 years. She would rear several “basement” children by him in the mean time.

Her harrowing escape from her private hell and the incredible gravitas she showed in the face of her abuser is something we can all learn from.

The 17-year old opened her eyes in the pitch black. Her head spun like the wheels on the bus she had hopped to Vienna some time ago. Pain coursed through every vein, muscle and neuron as she attempted to steady herself and get off the cold concrete floor; it’s grit soiling her beautiful rust-colored hair. …


This list includes the eight best horror films and shows I have in my various streaming queues right now — tried and true classics, great indie horror, and much more.

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(Screen shot from ‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’, source:MoMA)

2020 has been a year that the best of horror directors probably couldn’t dream up for the big screen. Still, us horror movie diehards never get tired of the genre when the horror in question is properly executed.

What follows is a list of the eight best horror films and shows I have in my various streaming queues right now. It includes tried and true classics, great indie horror, and much more.

1. ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ (Netflix)

This is the TV series version loosely based on Shirley Jackson’s classic 1959 novel (which has as its inspiration something much more terrifying than anything fictional).

Director/writer Mike Flanagan (‘Gerald’s Game’ — based on the novel by Stephen King — and another Netflix horror title) brilliantly executes the taught, intricate, and sublime writing of this first season of the anthology series. …


In a year fraught with crisis after crisis, there is still another social problem which demands more awareness — and you probably haven’t thought of it.

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I. COVID-19 and the News Cycle

2020 has been a total mess of a year. It can be hard to keep up with it as the news cycle moves at warp speed.

Nevertheless, COVID-19 has dominated much of that cycle: death rates; infection rates; hopefully, a vaccine; lockdowns; “flattening the curve”; the unemployment crisis. You’ve also likely heard of the more tertiary crises fueled by the Pandemic, like the eviction crisis and the potential explosion of homelessness. …


Five mail bomb packages delivered to five different recipients who did not know each other. Five rigged-packages; One Death, many injured.

Despite a plethora of literally the country’s top authorities studying the problem, the cases would ultimately grow cold. What became of the ZIP GUN BOMBER?

He was toiling away in his yard when Howard Kipps’ eardrums exploded like a flock of birds unwittingly finding the thrust over a running jet engine on an airfield.

His adrenaline pumping full-speed, Howard ran into his well-kept middle-class house in a quiet area of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. …


Five mail bomb packages delivered to five different recipients who did not know each other. Five packages, each rigged with three live .22 caliber bullets, each with double the gun powder; one death, scores more injured.

Despite a plethora of the country’s top authorities on crime, bombs, and bomb-making, studying the problem, the cases would ultimately grow cold. So, what became of the ZIP GUN BOMBER?

He was toiling away in his yard when Howard Kipps’ eardrums exploded like a flock of birds unwittingly finding the thrust over a running jet engine on an airfield.

His adrenaline pumping full-speed, Howard ran into his well-kept middle-class house in a quiet area of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. What he saw shocked him to his core. …


You’ve likely never heard of him, but Russia’s ‘Rostov Ripper’, Andrei Chikatilo is arguably the most brutal serial killer in the annals of criminal history. Examining just how a meek, scared little boy turned into one of the most gruesome and bloodthirsty psychopaths of all time is fascinating, repulsive, and necessary all at once if we don’t want this kind of history repeated.

The prime catalysts of that transformation included famine, warped fairy tales, ideological and political hubris, staggering indifference to human life, gross miscarriages of justice which cost the life of 2 innocent men, and old fashioned ineptitude of big bureaucracies.

About

Wess Haubrich

Former Contributing editor thefourohfive.com/film … Staff writer CitizenTruth.org . half of Real Monsters podcast. #crime , #truecrime : haubr.wess@gmail.com

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