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Rob X Román
"I can see now why you wanted to kill me," Baron Victor Frankenstein chuckled, rubbing his still-aching neck.
"Your resemblance to Doctor Van Helsing is ... remarkably uncanny," Dracula said, still staring at the man he'd tried to strangle for wearing the face of his greatest enemy.
"From what you've told me about him," Frankenstein sneered, "he and I are also obsessively passionate in our pursuits."
He took a longer look at the vampire.
"I dare say your face looks familiar to me as well," Frankenstein said. "I see a general likeness, but can't quite hammer out the finer details."
"I keep telling them it's pronounced 'Jee-kul', but everyone insists on pronouncing it 'Jeh-kul'," the good doctor complained.
"Don't get me started on mispronunciations!" Cthulhu spat.
"If only I had a name," the monster lamented. "People keep calling me 'Frankenstein'."
"Would that not stand to reason since you are, for all intents and purposes, Victor's son?" Igor offered.
"I don't need a deadbeat dad."
"At least they call you guys SOMETHING! I get nothing but clinical descriptors like 'creature' or 'gill-man'!" the amphibious humanoid burbled.
Everyone in the What's In A Name Society nodded their heads sympathetically.
"Wait a minute, ya numbskulls!" Cash yelled, keeping his four frightened brothers from running any farther. "Dat ghost was a Nazi!"
"Nazis're bad enough when they're livin'!" Lucre bawled as he tried to run away. Cash held him fast by the collar.
"I don' mean he's dead, ya ignoramus!" Cash corrected. "I mean he's in disguise under a sheet!"
"Dat was a ghost disguise?" Sour asked. "I t'ought we was bein' chased by a crazy bed!"
"Buck! Moolah! Help me set a trap," Cash ordered his two smarter brothers. "We's gonna nab dem Nazis or we ain't da Dough Boys!"
"Wow! A fully rendered computer model of the Ro-Man costume," Elaine said, admiring what Major was showing her on the monitor. "I'm sure the costume department will appreciate it.
"They'll easily be able to 3D print the helmet from that."
"This isn't for them," Major corrected. "Ro-Man's going to be a CG character in the feature."
"Excuse me?" Elaine was incredulous. "We're making a shot-for-shot remake of ROBOT MONSTER and we're blowing the budget on CGI?!"
"We've got a budget of $400 million," Major said.
Later, when Elaine finally regained consciousness, she hoped she'd been dreaming.
Though dizzy and exhausted, Carl sat up in the cot.
"You're awake," a man said, helping him stand.
"Not too quickly now," the stranger warned. "We found you unconscious, washed ashore on our beach two days ago."
"Did you find anyone else?" Carl asked desperately.
Carl heard a monstrous scream outside. From the window, he spotted a giant. It looked like a cross between a man and an ape.
"Would you believe that man was once a giant gorilla?" the stranger smiled, admiring the monster.
He shook Carl's hand. "Allow me to introduce myself. I am Dr. Moreau."
"The book's better," he scoffed.
"I liked the movie," she said.
"They glossed over so much," he complained.
"They had to," she countered. "The book's over a thousand pages."
"If they couldn't remain faithful to the book, they shouldn't have made it," he pouted.
"You always do this," she said, her patience worn thin. "You rush out to see every movie adapted from books you've read an then you complain the film wasn't good enough; EVERY time!
"Why do you bother? Just stay home and read."
"I love movies," he said unconvincingly.
"No, you just love to complain," she said.
"But I'm blind," Dr. Steele explained. "I no longer practice hypnotism."
His situation was still fresh, having lost his sight only two weeks ago.
"We are depending on your third eye to find Mr. Joseph, your last patient," the spiritualist, Gregor, said.
"I don't believe in this voodoo," Dr. Steele protested.
"And not everyone believes in hypnotism," Gregor smiled. "Trust me."
An hour into the seance, Dr. Steele jumped back from the table.
"Don't look inside the bag!" he screamed. "Don't look!"
To everyone's bewilderment, a doctor's bag sat in the middle of the table. It hadn't been there before.
China. Present day.
"I can't believe this temple is still standing," Dr. Stewart said as he and Dr. Chiang cautiously entered the dilapidated building.
"I can't believe we've found the village," Dr. Chiang added.
The archeologists had long studied the legends surrounding the lost village, but they never expected to find it.
Inside the temple, they discovered seven coffins in various stages of disrepair.
Dr. Stewart thoughtlessly touched the tip of a spear sitting in ash on one of them, cutting himself.
The ash reacted instantly with his blood. It coalesced into a human form.
Dracula had risen once again.
And so Bellus collided with Earth.
The sole survivors had escaped just in time, rocketing toward their new home. Their shared hope was the continuation of mankind.
Under ten weeks short of an Earth year, the sum total of the human race had landed at their ultimate destination.
The troops were first to debark along with their tanks and mobile field artillery. Recon teams were dispatched.
The planet's natives weren't aware of their presence. The earthmen took full advantage of this information and launched a surprise attack.
Mars would become the new Earth.
The war of the worlds had begun.
"But it's a tarantula," Nathan said pointing south at the giant monster crawling toward the town. "How'd it get so big?"
"Science run amok," Jack yelled trying to be heard over a sudden buzzing in the air.
He looked north and spied an enormous flying insect also headed in their direction.
"Is that a..."
"Giant praying mantis!" Nathan shouted. "I'd heard of its discovery, but didn't believe it!"
The group of men who'd rallied to protect the town was now having second thoughts.
"All this picnic needs now are ants!" Jack spat.
"You mean THEM?!" Gordon screamed, pointing to the west.
"I can't believe the 'Night of the Living Dead' cemetery has been less than 20 minutes from Monster Bash and we're just now checking it out," Rob said.
"Better late than never," Sue smiled. "Pun most definitely intended."
"Wouldn't it be cool if Bill Hinzman were still alive?" Rob said wistfully. "It'd be great talking to him here."
"Maybe we've got the next best thing," Sue said pointing at someone staggering toward them.
"What an amazing costume," Rob marveled. "He looks EXACTLY like a zombified Hinzman!"
"They're coming to get you, Susan," Rob warbled just before the zombie attacked him.
"Yes," Allen interjected, "color film goes back as far as the early 20th century, but Ulmer chose to film 'The Black Cat' in black and white for a reason.
"I highly suggest we don't colorize it."
"That's because he feared advancements in the modern world," Ted scoffed.
"I disagree," Allen pressed. "He understood how to use stark contrast to set mood and tone. His black and white palette wrung every ounce of suspense and drama from every scene."
"I say colorize it!" Ted shouted angrily. "I want audiences to see that the cat is actually black!"
Allen was rendered speechless.
Special Agent Elaine Shelley for MI6 had been drawn to the old castle on Blood Island by strong visions of alien invasion.
"I see my ... 'unique' summons has brought you to me," a deep voice echoed.
She recognized the man as the long-dead Rasputin. His gaze was hypnotic. The rumors were true - he still lived.
"I am a vampire," he said in answer to her unasked question. "You will be first in my undead army."
"There's a reason why they call me 'special' agent," Elaine smiled as she transformed into a gorgon.
Rasputin's flesh began turning to stone.
"I can't print this, Carl!" Tony protested. "This is a newspaper, not 'Tales of Tomorrow'!"
"You must be missing something," Carl said. "Try reading it out loud."
Tony audibly harrumphed and began reading.
"As I slipped through the dark shadows, feeling I'd reached the outer limits of my sanity, I stared into that nightmarish dimension known as the sunset of the mind - the twilight zone. I was prepared to take one step beyond the veil.
"And that's just the beginning."
"Isn't it a thriller? You don't think that screams Pulitzer?" Carl asked.
"I'll be screaming bloody murder in a minute!"
Traveling through time the hard way - day by day - the centuries-old adversaries were locked in futile combat.
Frankenstein's first creation, who'd survived the convenient lie of falling into a vat of acid, channeled years of loneliness and torment into every sledgehammer-like blow.
Leon Corledo, his werewolf curse relentlessly resurrecting him time and time again, was lost to his inner beast's rage as he savagely bit and tore at the Frankenstein monster's flesh.
Neither noticed the alien creature, what had once been Victor Carroon, being inexorably drawn to them by and longing to feed on their powerful immortal energies.
It's Monster Bash 2014 and my wife and I are heading down to start our day with monsters.
We hop on the elevator with a handful of people, one of them a distinguished older gentleman.
He and I start with the small talk and begin throwing jokes back and forth. It was a laugh- and giggle-filled short trip.
Later, we're sitting in on a Q&A session of which that entertaining and humorous gentleman is the subject.
"Weren't you just talking to him earlier today?" my wife whispered.
"Yeah," I smiled. "I had no idea that was Jack Hill."
"He was practically dead when we found him floating at sea," Captain Rita laughed, not unsympathetically but in admiration.
"He'd been shot and was half-drowned," she continued as the underwater archeologist listened.
"Speak of the devil," Captain Rita smiled as the archeologist heard a heavy thud on the deck behind him.
He turned and was horrified. A tall, broad-shouldered half-man/half-amphibian stood before him carrying a sack containing ancient artifacts from the ocean floor.
"Something tells me he's not what he once was," Rita smiled, patting the gill-man's shoulder warmly, "but he improves every day."
The group huddled atop the boulder nervously watched the storm in the distance.
The torrential rain soaked the strange rocks, making them grow instantaneously. When they got too tall, they fell over, crushing everything in their path.
The vicious cycle was never-ending.
A monolith fell causing something to explode.
"There goes Bixby," Burt lamented.
"They're heading this way," Rhonda said.
"We should run!" Melvin shouted.
"And let the graboids get us?!" Earl asked. "Talk about being stuck on a rock and a ... a ... monolith monster!"
"If I didn't know better," Val said suspiciously, "I'd say they were workin' together."
"How does it feel, brother," Fritz mocked, "to also serve a master who hates you and uses you as a pawn in his own sick game?"
"Shut up!" Renfeld shouted, crawling farther into the corner of his cell with his hands over his ears. Try as he might, he could not keep from hearing Fritz's voice.
"We're no longer so different, are we?" Fritz laughed maniacally.
Renfield ran to his cell door, grabbing the Judas window's bars, pressing his face against them and screamed for help.
Out in the hallway, Fritz giggled. "No one's coming, brother. I've killed them all."
They couldn't believe they'd barely escaped the slaughter.
When the sounds of violence and panic reached them from up ahead, they almost panicked themselves. Had everyone been alerted? Was everyone looking for them?
As they peeked over the ridge at the perfect view of a suburb, they watched its denizens in wonder.
They were attacking each other and setting fire to their buildings. There was a palpable fear that had gripped the community. They were thinning their numbers, making them a target for invasion.
The Zanti misfits confidently marched down Maple Street. When someone finally noticed, it was too late.
"I can't believe you guys made it," Neville said as he settled into his fortified New York City home.
"I've seen the monsters here," the one calling himself Omega said. "They're much different from the mutants I fought in LA."
"I, too, have fought vampires, but they were undead, slow," Morgan said.
"There's nothing slow about the ones here," Neville said grimly. "They're unnaturally fast and agile."
A sudden knock came at the door.
Panicked, Neville ran to the door and saw a woman through the peephole.
"Can you spare a drink for the last woman on Earth?" Evelyn giggled.
"Did you see that?!" Chick shouted, treading water.
Wilbur, also treading water, looked back at the boat they'd just hastily vacated.
"I saw what I saw when ... I didn't see it," he squeaked.
The oars were taken up by invisible hands and started rowing toward the two tired and waterlogged friends.
"Please get back in the boat," a disembodied voice said. "I won't harm you."
"That's what the last guy said before trying to turn my head into a convertible!" Wilbur exclaimed.
"I'm looking for Dr. Lejos," the voice said.
"Stick around long enough," Wilbur huffed, "he might float by."
"But I thought we killed the last of the giant ants in the storm drains, doctors," Agent Robert Graham said.
"Maybe there were more we missed somewhere else," Dr. Howard Medford suggested.
"You haven't been listening," Dr. Patricia Medford insisted. "These tracks are larger than the ones found near Alamogordo."
"Are the ants getting bigger?" Robert asked.
"Is it a different insect?" Howard inquired. How many other creatures might have been horrifically mutated by atomic testing he wondered. How pervasive was the radiation?
"It's a different class altogether, father," she said vacantly as the implications sank in. "They're arachnid tracks."
"Who are you?" Fritz squealed, dropping the torch he'd used to torment the creature.
"Grave robbing is MY business," the stranger sneered. "Ygor sees all, especially among the dead."
Fritz reached for the fallen torch. Ygor kicked it away. He studied the chained and frightened patchwork man as he stepped toward Fritz. Thinking of ways he could put the creature to use, he would first have to eliminate Fritz.
Ygor hanged Fritz with his whip but not before the hunchback had screamed bloody murder. Hearing people approaching, Ygor made his escape, but he'd be back for the creature - and soon.
"Please forgive me, Mr. Bay, but it's strange being back in my ancestral home after all this time. It still looks how I remember it," Larry Talbot said, realizing his blunder too late.
"When you're as long-lived as I - and I suspect you are," Ardeth Bay said cooly, "one strives to maintain a sense of history."
"Are you - immortal?" Larry asked.
"If you're wondering if he is cursed...," a familiar voice said from behind him.
Larry sprang to his feet and turned, feeling the beast rage within him.
"Welcome, Lawrence," Dracula said dryly. "Welcome to the house of Talbot."
The gang slammed the door behind them before the Universal monsters could attack.
"Lucy!" Ricky yelled. "What did you do?"
"I wanted the best haunted house fundraiser," Lucy explained, "so I conjured one from the Necronomicon."
"The Necronomicon!" Ethel shouted.
"It's for charity," Lucy whined.
"Dracula thinks it's a blood drive!" Fred spat, holding his neck.
"Not to worry; I'll fix this," Lucy promised, "or my name isn't Lucille Esmeralda McGillicuddy Ricardo!"
At that moment, Quasimodo appeared from a secret wall.
"Esmeralda!" he said lustily and took Lucy in his arms.
"Luuucccy!" Ricky admonished. "You've got some 'splaining to do!"
Robin Hood and his Merry Men encircled the Sheriff of Nottingham's coach and outnumbered his entourage.
"A word, my dear sheriff," Robin Hood shouted confidently at the coach.
Out stepped a giant. The man was almost as tall as the carriage and his voice, rich and deep.
"I admire your daring," the sheriff said dangerously.
"I was expecting your predecessor," Robin Hood said uneasily.
The sheriff looked confused as did everyone else.
"The older, smaller one," Robin Hood explained.
"Your overconfidence saw me differently perhaps," the sheriff sneered. "Seeing me now as I've always been must mean your confidence wanes."
In the distance, the villagers could see the flames rising high into the twilight. They knew the accursed Circus of Night was no more.
Bloodied and tired, but none the worse for wear, the daring stranger stepped out of the woods.
“Who are you to have done this for us?” one of the villagers asked.
“To be clear,” the man wheezed, “I did this not only for you - but for the world. If these vampires go unchecked, thousands more might die.”
Allowing the words to sink in for a moment, the man finally introduced himself.
“I am Doctor Van Helsing."
Mother Nature herself seemed to favor Dynamo Dan as the raging storm replenished the electricity he exerted.
He'd reduced Kharis to ash.
He'd forced the Wolf Man's retreat, his fur aflame.
Count Alucard gave up the fight, unable to make Dan succumb to his power.
The Frankenstein monster, another child of electricity, was the real threat.
No matter how much power Dan threw at him, the creature absorbed it.
No matter how much electricity the creature consumed, the lightning reenergized Dan. They only grew stronger.
The combatants grappled to the death, the constant increase of power growing to critical mass.
"If you HAD to choose," Craig asked, grinning, "would you rather be eaten by a giant tarantula or a giant praying mantis?"
Smiling at the ridiculous question, but giving it some serious thought, John said, "I imagine a giant tarantula, like in my movie, wouldn't have any interest in eating me; I wouldn't be worth the effort since they don't eat in the conventional sense like mantises."
"You're right," Craig chuckled. "I guess the most we could hope for to survive a giant tarantula would be not getting stepped on."
"Something I'm sure spiders worry about every day," John laughed.
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