Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bradbury 31, Day 25: "Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar!"

Well then; this is Ray Bradbury's story about mushrooms conquering the world. And yet, despite the hokey premise, it first appeared on the rather grounded program Alfred Hitchcock Presents titled "Sepcial Delivery." It's also known as "Come into My Cellar," but "Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar!" is just the most fun title. It concerns precisely what the title indicates as boys raise mushrooms and soon the people who consume them are part of an alien plot. The story contains a quote from Macbeth which points to the title of another Bradbury work: "Something Wicked This Way Comes." The Hitchcock adaptation is perfectly creepy.

In 1989 it returned to television under the "Boys!" title via The Ray Bradbury Theater, but I'm not particularly fond of that version - it plays the idea for laughs. I mean, it is a rather laughable idea, but so are many horror stories - played straight, it's effective. Of course, in the era of the Red Scare the concept of children turning on their parents was a more insidious one; by 1989, the Cold War was being served its pink slip.

Fortunately, another great adaptation was on its way; Topps comics enlisted the one and only Dave Gibbons to draw an adaptation (as "Come into My Cellar") in 1992. Gibbons' legendary mastery of pages with plenty of panels was used to good effect in this version, as seen above with the tightened focus perfectly representing the sense of agitation and indescribable fear. It's one of the best of the Topps comics.

More spooky Bradbury tomorrow!

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