What happened near Cedar Lake Texas in the summer of 1974 is more horrific and grizzly than a Wes Craven movie plot. It happened when an abandoned and rusted Detroit relic bonded with a psycobilly teenaged outcast who toyed with an acetylene torch and a bag of hammers? That’s when a monsters with an appetite for blood and gasoline rose from the junkyard dead to scour the blacktop veins of West Texas in search of bounty and booty. A hell-bound duet with a “get it while you can” attitude preyed on gas stations, liquor stores, and roadhouses in a triangle of mayhem between Odessa, Lubbock and Abilene. A long black trench coat, steel toe boots, and a black Stetson hat formed the shadow cast by a twisted juvenile named Melvin Barton, and a never washed black satin paint concealed his murderous machine from the unsuspecting eyes of Texas. A pistol in the gut opened cash register drawers, and a pool cue to the forehead freed whistle bait from the clutches of bloodied boyfriends as Melvin and the Merc rolled over the windy plains of Midland County.
Governor Briscoe decided he had had enough, and that it was time to handle this “local matter” by rounding up a half dozen rangers and a couple of backwoods deputies. An ambush at Walkers Crossing down on Highway 180 put enough holes in the Merc to sink a battleship. The law dogs eased off their triggers when the gas tank exploded, and the menacing Merc skidded into a ravine. Texas justice was delivered at a high cost that night, as two Rangers and a Deputy lay dead on the Highway. An hour later when a rescue team searched the wreckage there was no trace of a body, all that was to be found was a rusted old car that looked like it had been there for fifty years. The next morning a shocking Coroner’s investigation of the dead bodies of the lawmen revealed that they were not the victims of gunshot wounds, but died due to loss of blood caused by bite marks on their necks. It was all covered up though and the official report listed their cause of death as gunshots inflicted during a heroic shootout. But the real story got out, and a people who generally dismiss scientific data easily accepted the notion that “a vampire killed cops” as fact.
To this day local residents shiver when they hear the wind whip across the plains with a sound eerily similar to a V8 engine, and they start to sweat when the headlights in their rearview mirror seem to steadily close in.
Listen up Texas. There’s good reason to fear the night, and the Blacktop Vampire.
Canon 5D Mark 2, 24-105mm 1:4 lens
The car was photographed in full sun on a dirt road. The top of the car picked up blue reflections from the sky, and the doors and fenders picked up reflections from the yellow orange road. I booted the saturation in the car to get the color to immerge. Then I added two textures to the background and shifted their colors by applying photo filters from the adjustments menu. I blended the backgrounds at a diagonal that aliened with the car. Using the clipping mask from the car, I created an identical masked area of the background and made it 50% transparent. I merged the masked car and masked background section, which looked a bit washed out. (That is normal in this process) Then I boosted the contrast, which brought back the light and dark detail originally in the car. Now it appeared that the texture was on the car. This tacks practice and a lot of judgment calls along the way, so you need patience to master this. Finally I copied and merged all layers and moved the hue a bit to get the red and blue-green color in the final version.