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Muscle Boy by Bud Clifton

Muscle Boy

by Bud Clifton

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Bud Clifton (pseudo for David Derek Stacton) wrote a number of expose’ shockers in the late fifties on the typical themes- juvenile delinquency, motorcycles, bad girls, as well as noir gaspers. Stacton, the more respectable branch of the psyche, wrote Judges of the Secret Court, recently reprinted by NYRB.

Muscle Boy concerns itself with the seedy gay porn side of the muscle and fitness craze in the 1950s- In just 7 days (and 7 nights) I can make you a man. It’s an interesting take on the situation and probably accurately depicts the scene and its major players. Strong gothic elements, though, and the description of a brutal S&M club had that sliver of the telling detail that always makes me think the writer is working from personal experience rather than guesswork.

Ends with a muscular, near naked psychotic killer hunting the teen hero in an abandoned bathhouse. I’m working on a theory that one of the requirements of a gothic thriller is that it must end badly for the players and by a body of water. See [Whatever Happened to Baby Jane] and [Progeny of the Adder], plus [Creepers] by David Morrell which isn’t gothic but is certainly bad. ( )
  SomeGuyInVirginia | Jun 30, 2015 |
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