Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Bradbury 31, Day 4: "The October Game"

To some eyes, Ray Bradbury stories mean something warm, heartfelt and nostalgic; the wonders of childhood, the simplicity of rural living, the vistas of the imagination. Of course, he could also write stories which were just plain demented. Such a tale was 1948's short story "The October Game." It plays on a familiar Halloween game where children are gathered in a dark room and handed what their host claims are the body parts of a dead witch. Except in Bradbury's tale...

In 1953, Al Feldstein and Jack Kamen adapted the story for EC Comics' Shock SuspenStories. Although EC had a reputation for grim, terrifying images, I've presented the finale of their adaptation above - and as you can see, it's gore-free. Even in the supposed-unrestrained ranks of EC, they understood restraint; Bradbury's own tale leaves the final horror up to the reader's imagination. In fact, there are some Bradbury fans who disagree as to what the final line of the story means. Good on Feldstein & Kamen for understanding the story's strengths!

Tomorrow: More Bradbury!

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