Dark Brink of Love

I guest edited the noir volume of Nicolas Winding Refn’s byNWR.com. The title of the volume is DARK BRINK OF LOVE.

Here’s my volume intro.

And I made a playlist on Spotify for the volume.

Chapter 1:
First off, there’s the film: STARK FEAR from 1962. Made by two University of Oklahoma professors, Ned Hockman and Dwight V. Swain, it’s a psychological horror noir set and filmed in and around Oklahoma City and Norman. It stars Beverly Garland and Skip Homeier. The first time I saw it was on a very rough public domain copy–it’s been beautifully restored by Peter Conheim. It’s a weird, unsettling, dangerous-feeling picture. Watch it here.

In “Derrick Noir: Okies Go Hollywood,” Philippe Garnier introduces STARK FEAR, showing how the pieces came together on this singularly twisted curiosity. Read his intro to the film here.

In “The Planet Murderer,” Chris Offutt considers how his father Andrew Offutt, a prolific writer of porn novels, crossed paths with STARK FEAR scribe Dwight V. Swain, in the process meditating on literary heritage and the blood that runs from fathers to sons. Chris has allowed us to use some incredible photos of his dad, and there are also many book covers from John Cleve (Andrew Offutt’s alias). Read it here.

“‘Why’d You Go, Daddy? Was I Bad?'” is a stunning story from the author of BUCKSKIN COCAINE, Erika T. Wurth​. Wurth imagines what it might have been like for Cortez Ewing, the Native American actor who plays “The Chief” in STARK FEAR. Accompanying the piece are James Mooney’s Ghost Dance Recordings and a selection of noir-infused public domain photos. Read it here.

J David Osborne​, author of BLACK GUM, A MINOR STORM, and BLOOD AND WATER, gives us “Oklahoma: Heartland, U.S.A.,” inspired by the title of a tourism ad by Swain and Hockman. It’s head trip noir story about his Oklahoma fifty years after STARK FEAR, populated by a new variety of desperate people on the ropes: juggalos, small-time crooks, and searchers. Also accompanied by some weird, noir public domain photos. Read it here.

Gabino Iglesias​, author of ZERO SAINTS and COYOTE SONGS, in a story and photo series, delivers a motel noir infused with paranoia and destruction and inspired by the shadowy locations of STARK FEAR. Read/view “Stark Raving Mad” here.

There’s a bunch of stuff from me and Tyler Keith​:
1. I wrote a speculative memoir from the point of view of former child star Skip Homeier, “The Bad Husband.” Read it here.
2. I wrote a long story, “Cruising the El Nora,” inspired by the El Nora Motel, a key location in STARK FEAR. It includes original photos from Tyler Keith. Read/view here.
3. I read “Cruising the El Nora” with an original score from Tyler Keith. Listen here.
4. I interview Tyler Keith about writing noir songs, growing up in the Christ-haunted south, and touring in punk bands, and he plays a handful of songs live in the studio. Listen here.
5. I read a sci-fi story by Dwight V. Swain. It features a nudist camp, x-ray glasses, Nazi secret agents, and goatees that “jerk with contempt.” Listen here.

Also, a couple of byNWR mainstays:
Charlie Beesley helps us discover his Discarded America.
Peter Conheim brings us more tales from the Restoration benches.

Chapter 2:
A beautiful restoration of Ted V. Mikels’s 1965 nudie cutie noir ONE SHOCKING MOMENT
A noir testimonial by Laura Lee Bahr from the POV of Lee Anna, who plays Mindy in ONE SHOCKING MOMENT
My essay on the film
A profile of legendary stuntman (and co-star of ONE SHOCKING MOMENT) Gary Kent by Ace Atkins
A Radio NWR conversation between Ace and Gary
Violet LeVoit’s stunning visual poem inspired by Maureen Gaffney, who plays Joanie in ONE SHOCKING MOMENT
Theresa Starkey’s memoir about Satan, UFOs, Bigfoot, and Calvary
Theresa also reads her piece on Radio NWR
My essay about tracking down a lost script by dive bar poet Eddie “Cold Hands” Caponetto
Laura Lee Bahr’s “The Melting Memoir,” where her L.A. life gets all tangled up in Lee Anna/Mindy’s world. Bahr also made a video collage, “Mindy’s Lament” (inspired by Kenneth Anger’s “Puce Moment”), to accompany the piece.
Charlie Beesley’s Discarded America
Peter Conheim’s The Restorationists

Chapter 3:
A gorgeous restoration of Joseph Lerner’s 1950 noir Guilty Bystander, previously only available in scuzzy, unwatchable prints
A true crime essay on the murder of Serge Rubinstein by Sarah Weinman
An epic, genius conversation between Jack Pendarvis & Ogden Elson
Marya E. Gates on the anguish of Zachary Scott
Scott Adlerberg on the noir life and times of J.C. Higginbotham
Philippe Garnier on Guilty Bystander’s origins & Richard Koszarski in conversation with Lerner
A story I wrote about Veronica Lake
A noir testimonial I wrote from the POV of Mary Boland
A rare interview with self-proclaimed poet laureate of Coney Island, Charlie Rahway