Richard Chizmar founded Cemetery Dance Magazine in 1988. It is still in production today & is considered one of the best horror mags of all time, having published and even discovered some of the genre’s most famous and successful author. Getting published in CD is one of the top five items on my bucket list. This blog series is my attempt to read, review, and research every story CD has ever printed.
STORY: “Body Perfect”
AUTHOR: William C. Rasmussen
CD APPEARANCE: Issue #1 (Dec. 1988: Vol. 1, Iss. 1), story 1 of 12
PLOT (spoilers!): Martin Murry is a college kid who comes across a poster featuring a stunningly beautiful blonde beach babe. He is so impressed with her that he not only buys the poster and eagerly hangs it above his dorm room bed, he also then spends the next few hours staring at it, seemingly mesmerized. He feels she is utterly perfect but for one detail… he only wishes she had blue eyes like his.
It turns out the poster- or perhaps its the beach babe herself- has the ability to not just mesmerize young, lustful men, but entrap them. When Martin’s roommate, Jim, comes home later that night, he finds Martin is not there, though there is a new poster of a gorgeous blonde beach babe draped across Martin’s bed. When Jim looks closer, he sees she has beautiful blue eyes. He does not see that one of the young men in the poster’s background bears a striking resemblance to Martin Murry.
REVIEW: 2 of 5 stars. This story is extremely simple and, even worse, predictable. In a word, it’s lame. The collection of other young men in the poster’s background and the implication that the beach babe took either Martin’s secret suggestion to have blue eyes or- a creepier notion- took his own actual eyes- were both nice touches. The story itself is told relatively well.
However as a reader of lots of horror I honestly got very little entertainment out of this one, and as a writer I learned only that times have certainly changed concerning what constitutes good writing. In fact, my first impression upon finishing it was, “THIS is the premiere story of the premiere issue of my beloved Cemetery Dance!??”
But then I remembered that back then CD was unknown. Mr. Chizmar would have had very few submissions and therefore very few choices for publication and, strictly speaking this one wasn’t actually BAD, just… as I said before… lame by today’s standards.
It did get me thinking, though, about how this journey through the pages of the hallowed Cemetery Dance will change and grow and evolve. I have no doubt there will be certain stories that will stand out as both memorable and truly influential to reader and editor alike… perhaps even to the genre itself. I look forward to coming across them.
As for Rasmussen’s “Body Perfect”, however, you can safely pass. You aren’t missing much.
PS: I own all but two issues of CD magazine… #s 6 (Fall 1990, V.2 I.4) & 7 (Winter 1991, V.3 I.1). I am offering a cash reward to anyone who can help me find them & complete my collection. 🙂