Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monsters in a Box! Those Wonderful Aurora Monster Models

Hail, hail... the gang's all here!

With it being the Halloween season and all, I can't help but have monsters on the brain lately. We had already decorated most of the house (the living room looks like a chamber of horrors!) but there seemed to be something missing. "Why don't you put out those old monster models of yours?" one of my daughters suggested.

So I did just that. I opened our old cedar chest (an heirloom passed down by my late mother) and there, nestled between stacks of books, stood my small platoon of surviving monsters... a little dusty, but still intact and ready for display. Most of the Universal Monsters that I loved so much as a child were there: Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolfman, the Phantom of the Opera, The Mummy, King Kong, and my all-time favorite, the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

I had possessed them all at one time or another, but, sadly, some had become damaged and were discarded along the way. Just bringing these out of storage and sprucing them up for Halloween brought back cherished memories of those days when I was nine or ten, when those wonderful Aurora monster models were all the rage. Along with Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine, the models are what I remember most about my boyhood during the late 60's and early 70's. Those cardboard boxes of plastic fodder for my ghoulish pre-pubescent imagination.

Aurora started releasing the Universal Monster models in the early 60's, in what was known as the "long box". That was before my time. Sure, I watched the old monster movies on my local creature feature around that time, but it wasn't until later -- around 1969 or 1970 -- when I really got into building the models. And they were the "glow-in-the-dark" kind in the square box.

An Aurora ad from the back cover of a DC comic

I recieved a very modest allowance back then for doing chores around the house and it was a flat-out miracle, but I usually managed to save every penny until we went to town at the start of the following month (that's what folks did when they lived out in the country with the big city twenty or thirty miles away). I remember riding in the back seat of my father's old two-toned '56 Chevy, sticking my hand in my jeans pocket every now and then to make sure I had remembered to bring those few dollar bills and a jingling fistful of change. If had forgotten my loot, it would have been a dark and dismal journey indeed. But luckily I never did, for that particular trip to town was motivated (on my part) by thoughts of glorious monsters, both on the printed page of a magazine and in styrene plastic within a creepily packaged box.

After stopping at Brown's Drugstore for the latest issue of Famous Monsters, we would head over to the only Sears department store in Nashville at the time. That was before the days of the big shopping malls... if you wanted to shop, you pretty much had to go downtown. Sandwiched between the mail-order pickup and the lawn & garden department was the toy department. Sears had an entire back wall devoted to models and hobby supplies back then. Most of the models were hot-rods and military aircraft, but stuck smack-dab in the center of all the "normal stuff", as my dad would call it, were the Aurora monster models... those square boxes bearing every man-made monster, vampire, werewolf, and creature that I had ever loved.

After selecting my monster-of-choice for that particular month, I would add some model glue (yes, they actually allowed kids to buy the stuff without a parental permission at that time) and maybe a few bottles of Estes paint if needed. I never cared much for the shiny paint, preferring the muted tones instead, for added authenticity. Also, I never smeared my monsters fangs and claws with candy-apple red to simulate blood. Alot of guys I knew wanted their monsters extra gory (even Kong and Godzilla), but I made mine as close to their movie counterparts as possible. This annoyed my model-building pals, but then I always did tend to go against the grain for the sake of realism.

On the way home, I always pestered my parents to let me peel away the cellophane and open the box. My mother insisted that I wait until we got home, but she knew the suspense was killing me! "Okay," she'd finally give in, "but if you lose a piece in the car, I don't want to hear you belly-ache about it later." Fortunately, I never lost a single piece of a model kit... even when my father slammed on the brakes at stop signs, because he wasn't paying attention.

We would usually get home around one or two o'clock in the afternoon. I'd take refuge in my bedroom, crack the window for proper ventilation (even in the dead of winter) and, with a snack of Kool-Aid and a peanut butter sandwich, prepare to work on my most recent model project. Most of the time, I would have an issue of Famous Monsters laid open for inspiration, but not close enough to be soiled by stray globs of glue or paint (heaven forbid!) On the glow-in-the-dark models, sometimes I used the glow pieces, sometimes I didn't. The models came with both sets of heads, hands, and feet, giving you a choice. If you wanted, you could even take the extra pieces and construct a cool, little "mini-monster".

My favorite of the bunch was the Creature from the Black Lagoon. He was cast in green plastic, so there wasn't a whole lot of painting involved, just the belly scales, gills, and fins. The Gillman had a really cool base, too, which included a skeleton hand, a swamp snake on a gnarled tree branch, and a big spiny lizard that I never could quite identify. A lot of the other models had neat bases as well. The Mummy's had chunks of temple columns and pyramid blocks decorated with hieroglyphics and a king cobra. Godzilla's had the buildings of Tokyo underfoot and Kong's had a totally-trampled jungle scene. Perhaps my favorite base was the Phantom's. There were the usual garnishments like rats and such, but there was also the window of a dungeon with a rotting and horrified victim within, clutching the iron bars in desperation. The least remarkable base belonged to Frankenstein. It was simply a grassy cemetery plot with a tombstone at the rear. Pretty boring compared to the others, but that didn't matter. You simply had to have ol' Square-Head in your collection.

A few of the models sort of irked me in one way or another. I loved the Wolfman, but could never figure out why he wore no shirt! After all, Lon Chaney Jr. always donned a long-sleeved work shirt whenever he went through the change. If it hadn't been for his jeans, held up by a rope (another faux pas of realism on the model designer's part), he would have been naked as a jaybird! Also, the Hunchback model was sort of a sloppy mixture of Chaney Sr.'s rendition and Anthony Quinn's bellringer. And the Dr. Jekyll as Mr. Hyde model was several inches smaller than all the others, although it did have a cool table with laboratory beakers and bottles, and an overturned stool. The Witch was the most disappointing of the bunch. The figure itself was only about four or five inches tall, compared to Frankie's impressive nine inches. The Witch did have the most elaborate base of all, though, with a boiling cauldron and lots of creepy details that were particularly hard to paint.

Although not a true Universal Monster,
the Forgotten Prisoner of Castel Mare
has long been a favorite of model-builders
and collectors

One of my favorite models wasn't even a true Universal monster at all. The Forgotten Prisoner of Castel Mare was the partly-clothed skeleton of some unfortunate victim, shackled to a moldering dungeon wall, its jaws stretched wide in a silent scream. Any youthful lover of horror really dug skeletons (pardon my pun) so that probably contributed to the Forgotten Prisoner's appeal, even though it didn't actually originate from a real motion picture. I heard later that it was created exclusively for Famous Monsters Magazine, which made it even more desirable.

The sad part was, once you finally put together the original twelve Aurora models, there was no more to be found, except for maybe the Munsters and the superhero models like Superman, Batman, and Robin. But just having those twelve horrific monsters on your bookshelf, glowing eerily in the dark hours of the night was both chilling and comforting to us monster-loving boys.

More models yet to build... one of these days.

In recent years, companies like Revell, Polar Lights, and Moebius have re-released most of the old Aurora models. For decades, there was a disheartening rumor that Jekyll & Hyde's original molds had been destroyed, but the 2007 re-issue by Moebius proved that urban myth to be false. Although today's youth aren't really into model-building like their parents (or grandparents) were, and most kids wouldn't know Count Dracula if he came up and sank his fangs into their throat, the new re-issues give model-builders, both old and new, the chance to construct their favorite movie monster and relive those nostalgic days from the monster boom of the sixties and seventies.

Friday, October 24, 2008

And The Winner Is...!

I'm pleased to announce that the winner of our 1st Annual Southern-Fried Halloween Contest is H. Casper of Silver Bay, Minnesota!

I will be shipping the winner their Halloween prize bucket tomorrow morning with includes signed copies of FLESH WELDER, TANGLEWOOD, BLOOD KIN, DARK DIXIE, an UNDERTAKER'S MOON audio disc, signed bookmarks and cover flat, some truly disgusting Halloween treats, and a delicious staple of the American South... an RC Cola and a Moon Pie (and a double-decker chocolate one at that!)

Again, Congratulations to H. Casper (it seems downright appropriate, someone named Casper winning a Halloween contest!) Also a big thanks to all who entered. Look for more cool contests to come on RonaldKelly.com, including a Lucky Lycanthrope Contest in the Spring of 2009... and, of course, our 2nd Annual Southern-Fried Halloween Contest next October!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

HOORAY FOR HORRORWOOD! : A Tribute To Forrest J. Ackerman & Famous Monsters of Filmland

Like father, like son... my boy, Ryan, and his first taste of FAMOUS MONSTERS

My mother always said the same thing during our monthly trips to Brown's Drugstore on Charlotte Avenue. "I don't know... you really shouldn't dwell on that stuff." Then she would peek into the backseat of the car, see my stricken expression, and sigh in defeat. "Oh, okay... but don't let your little brother get his hands on it."

Grinning from ear to ear, I would hop out of the car and run inside. I'd head to the two-tiered magazine rack. The periodical that I desired was always in the lower section, in the back, lurking amongst the shadows. It would beckon to me in bright blood red or day-glow green letters; that title that made my heart pump wildly and sent a rash of goosebumps across my flesh. MONSTERS!

Or FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND to be exact. I always dispensed with the "Filmland" part and simply called it FAMOUS MONSTERS. Then, like kneeling before the Holy Grail itself, I would drop to my knees and slowly inch the magazine from the others it was hiding behind. One of the thrills of buying a copy was discovering which monster would be featured on that month's cover. It could be anything from Frankenstein's Monster, the Wolfman, or the Phantom of the Opera, to King Kong, the Fly, or the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Once it had been the movie poster for FROGS... a humongous green toad with a human hand protruding from its gullet!

Then it was off to the sales counter to pay for it with my hard-earned allowance money. The proprietor of the drugstore, Mr. Brown, was usually working behind his pharmacy counter, but it seemed as if he was always there at the cash register to ring me up whenever I came in. He would say something like "Looks like a good one this month, Ronnie" or "You know, I saw this movie in the theatre when it was released". I was sort of in awe of Mr. Brown, not for being so nice and non-judgemental of a kid and his monster magazine, but for another reason. He looked almost exactly like Forrest J. Ackerman. The same average looks, the same horn-rimmed glasses, the same cheesy little mustache. And he seemed to genuinely love movie monsters.

In case you don't already know, Forrest J. Ackerman was the driving force behind FAMOUS MONSTERS magazine. The editor, the writer of most of the text, the presenter of the tons upon tons of rare black and white movie stills that made up the lion's share of the periodical. We monster fans simply referred to him as Forry or Uncle Forry, as he liked to be called. He really didn't seem like an adult at all. There was no strict "grow up and act your age!" nonsense from Forrest J. Ackerman. He was more like a big kid with the same interest and fascination with science fiction and horror that we possessed. And he lived in the coolest place on the face of the earth. The incredible Acker-Mansion.

The Acker-Mansion was located in Los Angeles and boasted 18 rooms packed to the ceiling with monster movie books, films, and memorabilia. Like stop-action models from King Kong and The Lost World, the brainy alien mask from This Island Earth, and the coup de grace... Dracula's cape and ring, presented to Forry by Bela Lugosi himself. That was another thing about Forry. He knew EVERYBODY. Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Lon Chaney, Jr., as well as famous writers and behind-the-scenes movie folks like Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen. And he loved to share his experiences with us through FM. It made us feel like we were a part of it all.

Forrest J. Ackerman at the original Acker-Mansion

I remember one summer day -- I reckon I was ten years old -- me and some of my buddies were hanging out on the front porch. It was pouring down rain, so there wasn't much to do but talk and cut up... and read a few well-worn copies of FAMOUS MONSTERS. We were just shooting the breeze and then we started cooking up this crazy scheme, the way boys our age would do when we were bored out of our skulls and then suddenly got excited about some wild idea that popped into our heads. We discussed hopping a freight train (the railroad tracks were just across the highway) and riding it clear to California. We would hunt down Forry and knock on the front door of the Acker-Mansion. "Come on in, boys!" he would say, happy to see us. "Let me give you a grand tour of the place." We would spend hour upon hour exploring every nook and cranny and listening to Forry's wonderful stories. That night we would unfurl our sleeping bags and slumber in the creepiest room of the Acker-Mansion, surrounded by the eyes of a thousand monster movie relics. It was the perfect fantasy for four boys who read FAMOUS MONSTERS almost as religiously as the Bible. As far as I know, none of us ever made it to California. And none of us ever darkened the door of the Acker-Mansion.

But I did meet Forry once... if only for a few brief moments. It was during the first World Horror Convention in Nashville in 1991. On the Saturday afternoon of that fun-filled weekend, some fellow horror writers and I (novices all) decided to check out a suite on the fourth floor, which displayed dozens of detailed monster models, many sculpted lovingly by their creators. When we walked through the doorway, we were shocked to find two older gentlemen standing there, hanging out and shooting the breeze... like monster-loving boys stranded on a rainy front porch. It was Forrest J. Ackerman and author Robert Bloch. Needless to say, I was flabbergasted! I gathered up my nerve, approached the pair, and -- like some geeky fan-boy -- talked to them for a moment or so. They were both very gracious and kind. Looking back, I would wish nothing better now than to possess a time machine and make a little trip back to that chance meeting, toting a copy of FAMOUS MONSTERS, a copy of PSYCHO. an ink pen, and a camera with me. Still, I have my memory of those few wonderful minutes in the presence of greatness in the monster model room of that WHC hotel.

Even now, after all these years, I get out a few remaining copies of FM and embrace those cherished memories of my boyhood. Starting with the letters to the editor, moving on to those wonderful articles of Forry's with their abundance of puns and enthusiasm, followed by page upon page of fun ads for everything from 8mm horror movies to detailed Don Post monster masks. As I turn the pages, I recall those wonderful Saturday afternoons of my youth, putting together an Aurora glow-in-the-dark monster model and enjoying the most recent issue of FAMOUS MONSTERS.

Forry wearing his prized possession, Lugosi's Dracula Ring

Forry has long since retired from the publishing business. He has sold the world-famous Acker-Mansion and, at age 92, now lives in a smaller residence that he affectionately calls the Acker-Mini-Mansion. He still gives appreciative fans weekly tours of what is left of his collection, which still includes Lugosi's cape and Dracula ring.

There is one thing I forgot to mention about those monthly trips to Brown's Drugstore. Every now and then, when I reached the door to go inside, I would turn around and see Mama watching me from the car window, grinning from ear to ear. For, you see, I found out later in life that she was just as big a horror fan as I was, although she never let on. I reckon that was her secret passion.

I often wonder if she indulged herself while I was away at school. If perhaps she snuck into my bedroom, found the latest copy of FAMOUS MONSTERS, and retired to the living room. Who knows? Maybe she turned off Days of Our Lives, curled up on the couch, and spent a little quality time with Forry and the gang.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Just a reminder that the limited edition of Undertaker's Moon is now available for pre-order.

Full Moon Press just recently announced a release date of Feburary 2009 for my novel of Irish werewolves up to no good in the small Tennessee town of Old Hickory. Undertaker's Moon will be #1 in FMP's The Essential Ronald Kelly collection, which will include all eight of the original Zebra novels, plus several others, including Restless Shadows, the long-awaited sequel to Hindsight, and sequels for Fear and Blood Kin.

The numbered edition of Undertaker's Moon will feature some special additions to the original novel (formerly known as Moon of the Werewolf) including cover and interior illustrations by Alex McVey and a new prequel novella titled The Spawn of Arget Bethir. The lettered edition will include even more extras, as well as a special slipcase. I don't want to let the cat out of the bag about the slipcase just yet, but just think marble tombstones and wrought-iron cemetery gates. It's sure to be a one-of-a-kind collectable.

So far, the pre-orders for UM have been encouraging, putting it in the top-10 on Horror Mall's September Best-Seller list. You can place your order at www.horror-mall.com or directly from the publisher at www.thefullmoonpress.com .

Reserve your copy now... while they're still available!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Candy-in-the-Ditch Gang: Boyhood Memories of Halloweens Past

At the risk of sounding chauvinistic, I believe that Halloween has always been -- and will forever be-- a boy's holiday.

Oh, sure, girls are really into it on October 31st. They love the costumes and the candy. But the girls of my era (the mid-60's and early 70's) were more interested in Frankie Avalon or the Beatles, than Frankenstein, Dracula, or the Wolfman. They had more important things to do than spend their Saturday afternoons putting together Aurora monster models or rushing down to the corner drugstore for the latest issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine. They lacked something that the majority of red-blooded males possessed... an almost limitless fascination with the macabre and an unending desire to be "totally grossed out".
I believe I would be safe in the assumption that alot of boys between the ages of eight and twelve view the approach of All Hallows Eve with the same reverence that some folks view the Second Coming. I know I did at that age.

The amount of preparation during the four week period prior to the big night shows the degree of devotion involved. First, there are the decorations. Back in my day, we didn't have fake cobwebs, yard zombies, or life-like bats, rats, and spiders. And we sure didn't have life-sized animatronic witches and monsters who actually talk and, yes, even sing and dance (the mere thought of possessing such a wondrous thing back in the 60's and 70's would have been more than our youthful minds could have handled!) No, we were satisfied with a meticulously carved jack-o-lantern and a jointed, glow-in-the-dark skeleton we bought at the Ben Franklin five-and-dime in town.

Then there was the selection of precisely "what we would be" on the important night... alias "our secret Halloween identity". At the ages of three through seven, the pre-packaged costumes in a box were acceptable. Monsters, superheroes, astronauts, and TV stars were the most popular. The brittle plastic masks were cheaply rendered and the full-length body suits of non-flammable material were okay for the unseasoned tyke. I remember in the fall of 1966, the entire boyhood nation was bitten by the Batman bug. That Halloween, the streets were teaming with minature Batmen (no Robins... who wanted to be that sissy-pants Boy Wonder?) I was a member of that legion of Dark Knights on that dark night, polyester cape flapping, running down sidewalks and leaping upon porches without the aid of a tethered Batarang. Unlike my counterparts, I had talked my mother into cutting off the bottom half of my face mask, leaving only the cowl above. This puzzled my fellow Caped Crusaders to the point of irritation, but while they sweated and struggled for oxygen beneath their unaltered masks, I breathed in the cool, crisp air with great abandon, resembling -- in my six-year-old mind, at least -- a heroic and debonair Adam West.

As our age progressed, we cast aside the baby costumes and advanced to the next level... the latex rubber monster mask. Oh, how we yearned for those detailed Don Post creations that were offered in the back pages of Famous Monsters, but, alas, who our age had $39.95 back then, and an additional $18.95 for the matching hands? So we compromised. On the first day of October, my cousins and I would converge on Grant's Department Store (a precursor to Walmart) and head to their celebrated Halloween section. There, amid everything else, was a huge bin-table that was a good foot deep with every cheap rubber monster mask imaginable. You could find just about anything if you searched long enough... gorillas, devils, zombies, cavemen, werewolves, vampires. Some had hair, some didn't. There could have been a nest of rabid rats holed up in there, but we didn't care. We dug and rooted through that truckload of latex, trying them on, making sure the eyeholes aligned properly. Sure, we'd get a snide comment from a sales lady or the store manager about "spreading germs", but it failed to phase us. We searched for maybe an hour or so, just to find the right one.

Later on, when we had reached the wisdom of double-digit age, we would experiment with costumes other than those that involved masks. White and black greasepaint, rubber scars you stuck to your face, and plenty of fake vampire blood. Ocassionally, you wanted to do something completely different from the usual monster fare. One Halloween season I pretty much pestered my mother to death about dressing myself up as the Amazing Collosal Man. But she refused to let me go out in public dressed in nothing but a bald-headed wig and a loincloth.

Then there came the actual night of Halloween itself. That afternoon we usually had a party at school; playing games, getting treat bags from the teacher, and bobbing for apples (talk about spreading germs! Yeeech!) Then, that evening after supper, we'd suit up for battle and go trick-or-treating. Back in the mid-60's , folks seemed a little more trusting of one another than they do now, and parents especially so of their kids. If the young'uns were really young, a parent would accompany them, but if they were older than seven, they were pretty much set loose like a pack of candy-hungry Tasmanian devils, while their folks stayed home and gave out treats. I remember us wandering all over our small town with a freedom that is no longer possible in today's dangerous world. There weren't that many cars out back then; just gangs of trick-or-treaters on the prowl, with no reflective clothing or flashlights. The darkness was our friend and we embraced it.

And there was always one or two houses that were considered "haunted", either by ghosts or by particularly weird folks... but you still went there, if only for the thrill of bragging that you survived the visit. I remember back in '71, my brother and I went to the house of a new family that had moved into town only a couple of months previous to Halloween. Unlike the usual houses, where our treats were deposited on the doorstep, we where actually invited inside at this one... and, despite our better judgement, we actually took them up on their invitation. "There's someone in the den who would like to see you," said a skinny, bird-like lady. We walked into the room to find an overweight man in a leather recliner, dressed up like an evil clown. He had a wild, multi-colored wig, white face, red rubber nose, and a wicked looking grin. "Come closer," he beckoned with a bone-chilling giggle. Frightened (but deliciously so!) we crept forward. The guy stank of beer and unfiltered Camels. He deposited a wrapped popcorn ball in our sacks and said "Come back and see me again next year... if you dare!" We left that house feeling like we'd been in the presence of a true monster and that we had survived the encounter. For all we knew, the fellow's wife could have been a bone-gnawing cannibal and he could have been the most vile child molester/murderer on the face of the earth, but, at that age, we didn't care. It was a Halloween visit that we would remember and talk about for years afterward.

Of course, returning home with that night's booty intact was another story. It was common for us to romp through the darkness, stepping into sinkholes or falling into ditches, ripping our treat bags on tree branches or thorny shrubs. Sometimes we would make it home to find that half our candy was gone, lost somewhere along the way. The next day, after school, we would go out looking for lost treats. It was almost like an Easter egg hunt on the first of November. Bubble gum and Bit-O-Honeys would litter the lawns. If it had rained the night before, you could find bite-sized Babe Ruths bobbing in the drainage ditches like brightly-packaged turds in the bottom of a toilet.

These days, trick-or-treating is a different matter entirely. Parents have almost abandoned the practice of going door-to-door in favor of taking their kids to the local mall or a non-secular party at their local church, where ghosts and goblins, and particularly witches, are frowned upon.
Luckily, my kids still have the opportunity to experience Halloween the way it should be. In the nearby town of Alexandria (where my wife grew up) hundreds of trick-or-treaters converge on the town's main street, going from door to door without fear. Everyone knows everyone else there and the town police are out and about to keep order. Folks sit on their porches with big bowls of candy or treat bags, commenting on how cute or creative the kids costumes are, while socializing with the parents. It is a community celebration that is rare in this uncertain day and time and I'm thankful that my children are fortunate enough to take part in it every year.

Sometimes, when I'm standing at the end of the sidewalk, watching my young'uns on the doorstep with their bags extended and the words "Trick-or-Treat!" on their lips, a nostalgic feeling nearly overcomes me. I kind of wish I was a foot or two shorter, dressed in a Creature from the Black Lagoon mask, feeling the satisfying weight of a pound or two of candy in the bottom of my treat bag. Those days are past, but, through my children, I can still relive the magic of those wonderful Halloweens past.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Barbie goes to THE BIRDS!

The other day while walking down the Barbie aisle at Walmart (you tend to do that when you have two daughters), I happened across something that caught me totally by surprise. It was a collectable Barbie of Tipi Hedren from Afred Hitchcock's THE BIRDS.
It wasn't the uncanny resemblance or the stylish outfit and matching purse that appealed to the Hitchcock fan in me. No, it was the fact that she actually had birds hanging all over her! One was pecking at her skull, while one was latched onto her shoulder and another on her hip. The backdrop of the display box is the Bodega Bay schoolhouse with dozens of contemptuous crows taking flight. Of course, in customary Barbie fashion, this Tipi possesses a perpetually happy-go-lucky smile... even as the evil fowls seek to flay the flesh from her bones and build a nest with her beautiful, bleached-blonde hair.
So what will be Mattel's next tribute to the Master of Suspense? Perhaps Barbie au naturel as Janet Leigh in the classic shower scene from PSYCHO... along with Ken in the role of a cross-dressing, knife-wielding Norman Bates.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Pins & Needles: A New Halloween Story... or is it?

When you're registering for the Southern-Fried Halloween Contest, be sure to head on over to the Storyteller section and read my Halloween story, Pins & Needles.

This tale is previously unpublished, but it's not a new one. I wrote it way back in the early 90's, when splatter-punk fiction was all the rage and horror writers were pushing the envelope of good taste. It's one of my nastier offerings, about a sociopath named Zachary and his bowl full of "special" Halloween goodies. Hope y'all enjoy it!

1st Annual Southern-Fried Halloween Contest at RonaldKelly.com


Kids running through the night, trick-or-treat bags in hand, churning the autumn leaves beneath their urgent feet. Folks handing out candy at their doorways -- peanut butter kisses, Smarties, and the occasional bite-sized Snickers -- to the cute little young'uns dressed like Iron Man and Hanna Montana... as well as the gangly teenagers who seem a bit too old to be out panhandling for treats. And, later on, when the porch light goes out, the tricksters appear... rolling yards, egging cars, and pushing the outhouse in the creekbed.

In celebration of All Hallows Eve, past and present, we here at Ronald Kelly.com are starting another tradition... our annual Southern-Fried Halloween Contest! A chance to knock on Ol' Ron's front door and luck up on some frightening goodies!
The Southern-Fried Halloween prize package will include the following items:
One copy of TANGLEWOOD (Signed)
One copy of FLESH WELDER (Signed)
One copy of BLOOD KIN (Signed)
One copy of DARK DIXIE: Tales of Southern Horror (Signed)
A rare audio disc of the UNDERTAKER'S MOON promotional excerpt
Signed Zebra cover flat and bookmarks
An RC Cola and a Moon Pie
Assorted disgusting (but edible) Halloween treats
All packed in a glow-in-the-dark Halloween bucket
That's right! One lucky winner will leave the Kelly house toting away this bucket of Halloween goodies. Just register below for your chance to get your hands on this creepy-crawly prize pack! Entries will be taken between October 1st and October 23rd. The lucky winner will be announced on October 24th and notified by email. Then their Southern-Fried Halloween Bucket will be sent by Priority Mail the following day, to arrive well before Halloween.
So take a little break this Halloween night. Curl up in your favorite armchair with some creepy books and some tasty treats, while the cute little trick-or-treaters bang away angrily at your door... then head out to roll your yard, egg your car, and shove your outhouse in the creekbed.
Many Happy Nightmares!