Manuscripts Burn


"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"M" is for "Meaning"

I'm a big fan of "Easter eggs" which are references, especially meta-references, to a work of art hidden in another work of art.  I'm immensely guilty of this.  I think partially it's because my creative process is so chaotic that I'll have a tendency to say, "Oh, I should include that in my current work" when I see something on TV or in a movie or whatever.

BRAINEATER JONES, in particular is a patchwork of influences, and not just from horror and noir, though those are the primary ones.  My tendency to lay Easter eggs is so extreme, in fact, that my publisher got worried I might be putting one over on them and might accidentally (or deliberately, depending on my level of malfeasance) stumble into lawsuit territory.  So they asked me to make a list of every reference in the book.  Trust me, if it hadn't been at someone else's behest I never would have combed through a book to do this, so good luck GHOUL and BILLY fans.

Anyway, I've never shared this file publicly, but at the suggestion of Brian Keene (who happens to be one of those Easter eggs - not to mention the only man to ever notice the "Unforgiven" one) I'm doing so now.  There are well over 100 Easter eggs.  So, without further ado, the secret meaning behind all those confusing lines in BRAINEATER JONES:

Character Names
Jones - drug culture slang for "craving"
William Hinzman - the name of the first actor to portray a modern zombie, "Night of the Living Dead"
Ernst Rothering - similar to Ernst Röhm, chief victim of the Night of the Long Knives.  "Rothering" is German for "red herring."  Rothering is also commonly called "the fat man" also what Sam Spade calls Gutman in THE MALTESE FALCON
Lazar/Russ - suggests Lazarus of the Biblical story, a man who rises from the dead
a.k.a. Bethany - Lazarus's hometown
a.k.a. Forday - i.e. "four day," that is, the fourth day, the day after Jesus rose
Gnaghi - the gravedigger from "Cemetery Man."  Originally his name was Dampé, the gravedigger from "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time."
Baumer - probably a reference to Richie Tenenbaum's nickname from "The Royal Tenenbaums"
Ed and Joey - the grave robbers from "Return of the Living Dead 2"
Sailor Joe - a reference to Sailor Jerry, a famous tattooist and rum
Henk - a reference to another famous tattooist, Henk Schiffmacher
The Infected - a term for non-zombie zombies in "Resident Evil IV," "28 Days Later," et. al
Mighty Dull - reversal of "Dolemite," 1970s Blaxploitation character
Brigid - Brigid Shaugnessy, THE MALTESE FALCON
Kumaree Tong - a real-life Thai necromancy device, brought up in "Dead and Breakfast."  Originally her name was Humma Kavula, Zaphod Beeblebrox's antagonist in the 2005 film version of "The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
Skaron - reminiscent of Scarrans, primary antagonists in "Farscape," hinting that Skaron is a villain
Francoise - French for Franky, i.e. Frankenstein
Delamort - French for "of the dead."  References Romero's films, and, by association, "Dellamorte Dellamore," the Italian title for "Cemetery Man"
Manny - I think this was the doorman in "The Single Guy"
Argento - Dario, the composer for "Dawn of the Dead" (1978) or his daughter Asia, star of "Land of the Dead"
Mr. Land and Mr. Day - i.e. Land of the Dead, Day of the Dead
Alcibé - latinization of Alcibiades

Place Names
Ganesh City - Ganesh is the Hindu god of wisdom and placing/removing obstacles, hence this refers to Jones's quest for his identity
Altstadt - German for "old city" the nice part of Düsseldorf specifically
Kelly Park - refers to Grace Kelly, i.e. "upscale"
Keene Ave - Brian Keene, author of THE RISING, et al.
Lionel Ave - Lionel is the main character in "Dead Alive"
Hallowed Grounds - the coffee shop in "Dawn of the Dead" (2004)
Rm 217 - this was the first room the National Guard guys cleared out in the Philadelphia slum, "Dawn of the Dead" (1978)
Three Rivers - Pittsburgh is sometimes called "The City of Three Rivers."  Romero films and/or sets most of his movies there.
Buffalora Cemetery and "Resurrecturis" - refers to the cemetery and inscription from "Cemetery Man"
68th and Russo - "Night of the Living Dead" was released in 1968 and produced by John Russo
Hat Scratch Fever - play on the disease "cat scratch fever," basically, if a guy was sitting with his hat covering his crotch he'd be scratching it because of his erection at Mighty Dull's brothel
Port-au-Pauper - Little Haiti.  The capital of Haiti is Port-au-Prince and plays on the story The Prince and the Pauper.
101 Gateway Lane - address of Nick Knight, a vampire detective, in "Forever Knight"
44 Bow Street, Apartment 3C - address and apartment of the main characters in "Mission Hill"

1 Nov
Dead narrator/hero facedown in a pool - alludes to "Sunset Boulevard"
Three sunken statues - alludes to THE SIRENS OF TITAN by Kurt Vonnegut
Inscription - entrance to the gates of Hell in Dante's INFERNO.  Yes, this implies that Ganesh may be a Hell or Purgatory.
p. 3 - "dust in the wind" - Kansas song
p. 10 - "Clean.  And well-lighted."  Alludes to Hemingway's "Clean and Well-Lighted Place."

2 Nov

p. 18 "the 1-2-5" - the fictional police precinct from the U.S. version of "Life on Mars"

3 Nov

R51 - alphabet code for RE1, the original Resident Evil

4 Nov

p. 29 "they call me Braineater" - this is the first time (I think) Jones refers to himself by the name others call him and alludes to the same instance in "Samurai Jack," which I think may itself allude to “they call me Mr. Tibbs” in "In the Heat of the Night"

p. 33 “as a squid on Tuesday” - in Futurama Zoidberg says he’s “friskier than a squid on Tuesday” one episode for unclear reasons.

p. 37 - “Sonny Jim” - Klaus calls Ned this in "The Life Aquatic"

5 Nov

Grim Reaper - references perhaps our greatest national cultural treasure, "I Know What You Did Last Summer"

6 Nov

Liber Mortis - a fictional grimoire in the Warhammer world, source of all necromantic knowledge
Malleus Maleficarum - trans: "The Hammer of the Witches," a real-life instruction manual for Catholic Inquisitors
De Vermis Mysteriis - a fictional grimoire, originally a Bloch creation, arrogated by Lovecraft
Necronomicon - a fictional grimoire, originally a Lovecraft creation, now probably better known for its appearance in the "Evil Dead" series.
"Even a play about some guy wearing yellow." - "The King in Yellow," an imaginary madness-inducing play referenced in the horror collection THE KING IN YELLOW by Robert Chambers, later arrogated by Stephen King
"That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die." - recurring Lovecraft quote, not generally used to reference the undead

9 Nov

p. 54 - “I’m the guy with the gun.” - Army of Darkness

10 Nov

"Bill or Billy or Bud" - Sheryl Crow, "All I Wanna Do"

17 Nov

p. 86 – "sometimes it’s nice to be abused" – paraphrase of quote from Fyodor Karamazov, THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV by Fyodor Dostoevsky

18 Nov

p. 80 - "cryptkeeper" - "Tales From the Crypt"
p. 81 - boomstick - Ash calls his gun this in "Army of Darkness"

20 Nov

p. 90 - "Every living thing..." - references "Donnie Darko," "Every living thing dies alone."
p. 95 - Norma Rottencrotch - GySgt Hartman mentions this name to the recruits in "Full Metal Jacket"

21 Nov

p. 105 - "blind stinking sober" - Bender describes himself this way in one episode of "Futurama"

23 Nov

p. 108 - Fisher King - references the Arthurian legend of a sleeping king who wakes, i.e. undeath
p. 108 - "out, out, damn Fido" - "Macbeth" and the movie "Fido"

25 Nov

p. 121 - snicker-snack, et al. - "Jabberwocky"
The cakebox is vaguely a reference to "Se7en"

26 Nov

Yorick, goodnight sweet prince - "Hamlet"

29 Nov

p. 124 - "this isn't the Old West" - see next note
p. 127 - "So I came here to kill you, Rothering, for what you done" - William Munny says something similar in "Unforgiven."  A lot of this chapter (rain, liquid courage) evokes the finale of that movie

30 Nov

p. 132 - a brain in a jar - a reference to the French film "The City of Lost Children" featuring a brain in a jar

1 Dec

p. 148 – “Call Me Lightning” is a Who single

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