Sunday, February 17, 2013

37. Madame Masque

37. Madame Masque

Three times a week, the trendy little dive Club Escapade features "The Mysterious Melodies of Madame Masque."  Advertised as being "too beautiful for human eyes", the masked torch singer is actually Pandora Arkwright who is, in fact, "too hideous for human eyes," having been disfigured in a tragic accident.  Emotionally fragile and living in a childish dream world, her only solace is singing her haunting melodies.

Her husband is Ivor Arkwright, a lighthouse keeper and amateur oceanographer.  Desperate to restore his wife's former beauty, he makes an unholy pact with the nefarious Dr. Quintana, a villainous slice-happy quack who has recently escaped from prison.  Arkwright, aware of the disgraced doctor's illegal surgical experiments, hires Quintana to perform operations on Pandora's face.  Legitimate medical procedures have proven ineffective, so Quintana experiments with using skin grafts of living human tissue.  For this living tissue, newly dead bodies are required, so Arkwright and Quintana set about finding suitable victims.  

They use Arkwright's discovery, a savage primordial sea creature he keeps locked up in the lighthouse, to kidnap go-go dancers from Club Escapade and similar establishments.  Quintana then removes the faces of the hapless girls, hoping to find the perfect match - one that will adhere to Pandora's scarred and boney visage.  Unfortunatley, he has little success.

Troubled by the state of affairs, Pandora sends an anonymous note to enigmatic avenger, Mr. Murmur, hoping he will be able to help put an end to the madness.

In the meantime, Dr. Quintana's faithful servant, Pepi, a subject of the doctor's experimental animal organ transplant operations, accompanies Pandora on stage with his guitar.

(See:  The Diabolical Doctor Q. in the book MANIAC KILLER STRIKES AGAIN)