Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tricycle by Russell Rhodes (1983): Out of His Way, Mister, You Best Keep

Now this is a title I definitely remember seeing on the Woolworth's checkout racks when I was a kid, and even though I was a monster-movie fan it still freaked me out. I don't know who Russell Rhodes is, nor if Tricycle is any good because I doubt I'll ever read it, but I just had to share it. Even at that young age the cover art still disturbed me, not because of its ridiculousness - I doubt I had that sensibility as a pre-teen - but because it seemed so dead serious. This conflation of evil and innocence is an essential go-to for horror. How else do you get housewife and teenage girl shoppers to pick up your book?

Now this UK version here doesn't have that same je ne sais quois. Actually, that's not true; I know exactly what's wrong with it: it doesn't have the skull-faced kid staring you down and coming at you all implacably unstoppable and all. What did that poster for the movie of No Country for Old Men say? You can't stop what's coming. You can't reason with eyeless sockets, and you certainly can't appeal to any kid's better nature, not even a dead kid's. Especially not a dead kid, I mean, they're the absolute worst. And you know I'm right.

7 comments:

Luis said...

From the UK version: "The squeak of its wheels was the chilling music of death". HOLY CRAP!
Great cover, by the way. I've seen the skull with a teddy bear, crib, doll, chess game, jack in the box, but this is the first tricycle.

Jonny Metro said...

Great cover. The tricycle is definitely the most frightening method of transportation.

--J/Metro

lazlo azavaar said...

Wow. That is the silliest looking thing I've ever had the pleasure to guffaw about. Thank you.

Phantom of Pulp said...

I read it and wasn't too impressed.

The UK cover avoids the frontal attack.

And I agree that you can't reason with eyeless sockets.

mark pitman said...

i read this hottor book it good story about an kid name simson who live in the school and he have an Tricycle so he ride in the school and the murder star some one in rhe school or is simson who murdor rhe s it the best story some where i get an ebook of it

3Fs said...

Found a copy of this at my favorite used bookstore and read it out of curiosity. While it’s far from an impressive example of the genre, it’s not as bottom-of-the-barrel as the cover might suggest. I’d give the author points for presenting a story that’s A) based in reality, and B), well thought-out.

Yes, the twists/turns are somewhat hit-or-miss, but overall – for a disposable ‘80s horror novel – “Tricycle” kind-of delivered.

Will Errickson said...

Good to know, 3Fs! Maybe I *will* actually read this one.