Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Horrible THING -- Revealed!!!

Courtesy of Mr. David J. Schow, here's the original production art for "The Horrible THING!," the mysterious billboard that adds an intriguingly eerie layer to his MASTERS OF HORROR episode "Pick Me Up," airing this week on Showtime. The art -- which I received uncredited, but which probably fell within the creative province of production designer David Fischer or art directors Don McCauley and Teresa Weston -- is segmented because the billboard is rickety and a bit broken down. It may add to the effect to imagine Michael Moriarty peeking through one of those openings at you.

In the night. In the dark.

Aware of my ungainly infatuation with "The Horrible THING," David kindly indulged me by rounding up this image (and another, seen below) for me to share with others who might feel similarly affected. He also sends along this doggy-bag of additional insight: "The Horrible Thing was originally my homage to that venerable roadside attraction encountered by virtually anybody driving cross-country through the Southwest..."

"... It wasn't The THING itself," DJS explains as everything starts to go all squiggy, "but the fact that at one time (perhaps not now) these billboards were EVERYWHERE, more prolific than Stuckey's encampments. They had an odd cumulative effect on the imagination as you were pounding those long hard stretches of desolate road, particularly in the high desert, or anywhere in Texas (once you begin driving through Texas it just ... never ... seems ... to end). You could literally mark your progress by waiting to spot the next billboard for The THING in inevitable succession.

"It got even weirder at night. These bright yellow billboards would loom up out of total desert darkness, some of them quite dilapidated, and one could imagine all sorts of unlikely, er, things.

"But the mystery promised by the THING (and indeed by The Horrible Thing) are rooted deep in that mystic primordial brain-jelly that really, truly beckons the imagination," he summarizes. "We should never actually see such THINGS and have the rug pulled by some rude physical artifact."

To which I can add only, "Bingo."

P.S. Be sure to check out David's reunion "Raving and Drooling" column in the current 250th issue of FANGORIA.

Now get out of here with that bump-bump-bump.

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