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Michel Parry & Christopher Lee – The Archives Of Evil

Posted by demonik on September 8, 2007

Michel Parry & Christopher Lee (eds.) – The Archives Of Evil  (W. H. Allen, 1977)

archives of evil

Introduction – Christopher Lee

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – The Adventure Of The Sussex Vampire
H. P. Lovecraft – The Lurking Fear
John Collier – Rope Enough
Jack London – Lost face
Theodore Sturgeon – It
Henry Slesar – The Rats Of Dr. Picard
W. F. Harvey – The Beast With Five Fingers
Ray Bradbury – Skeleton
H. R. Wakefield – The Seventeenth Hole At Duncaster
Saki – Gabriel-Ernest
M. R. James – The Ash Tree
Massimo Bontempelli – The Avenging Film

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – The Adventure Of The Sussex Vampire: when Ferguson’s second wife, a Peruvian, is twice discovered leaning over their new born, sucking blood from a wound in the infant’s neck, Holmes is called in to investigate what looks to be a classic case of vampirism. But, as he explains to the ever-bamboozled Watson: “What have we to do with walking corpses who can only be held in their graves by stakes driven through their hearts. It’s pure lunacy.”

Jack London – Lost face: Subienkow watches the Nutalo injuns fiendishly torture and kill his friend Big Ivan knowing that it’s his turn next. With no hope of escape or rescue, the best he can hope for is a quick and relatively painless death. A neglected horror classic and the grimmest thing in here by some distance.

John Collier – Rope Enough: Sceptic Henry Fraser is taught the Indian Rope Trick by a peasant whose life he’s inadvertently saved. Back in America, facing ruination and with a demanding and very jealous memsahib to maintain, he performs the trick for the first time with Mrs. Fraser as his assistant. At the top of the rope he discovers Paradise … and better still, a very willing beauty to entertain. Unfortunately, his wife appears at this inopportune moment, scimitar between her teeth and madness in her eyes. She slices off Henry’s limbs and drops the bloody chunks to earth but there’s no cause to worry, it’s all in the act and she’ll reassemble him below. Then a hunky Maharaja appears …

Great fun, reminiscent of a Benny Hill sketch except with lashings of gore.

Henry Slesar – The Rats Of Dr. Picard: Dr. Picard of the Fierstmyer Institute brings 45 lab rats home so he can conduct some extracurricular research. His wife Violet takes exception and, inspired by her Animal Rights activist friend Mrs. Springer, hatches a plot to release them. They’re very hungry …

William Fryer Harvey – The Beast With Five Fingers: “Eustace watched it grimly, as it hung from the cornice with three fingers and flicked thumb and forefinger at him in an expression of scornful derision.”

Shortly before his death, the blind Adrian Borlsover became prolific at automatic hand-writing, and the messages from the other side seemed to be directed at his cousin, Eustace. When Uncle Adrian died, the right hand used it’s skilled penmanship to fake a dying request from the old man – that it be severed from the corpse and sent to Eustace. The entity manipulating the hand – possibly a stray elemental or the spirit of someone Eustace has swindled – is not without a sense of fun and is even spotted sliding down the banister. But it also has a supremely vindictive streak and finally, stabbed, burnt, but refusing to lie down, it tires of toying with him …

H. R. Wakefield – The Seventeenth Hole At Duncaster: A golf club on the Norfolk coast. The course has recently been extended at the expense of a strip of woodland, but members complain the hole is unplayable and a particularly foul stench periodically emanates from the vicinity. The secretary, Mr. Baxter, suffers nightmares in which he is gloatingly informed of who will be next to die at the 17th, and the voices are never wrong. After a woman is stripped and murdered by persons unknown at the blighted spot, he wisely obtains a transfer to London, where he later learns that ‘Blood Wood’ – as it is known locally – was once the haunt of Druids.

Massimo Bontempelli – The Avenging Film: A super-sensitive actor in his first role, suffers all the sensations he’s portraying on the set. As the movie calls on him to act out hatred toward a love-rival, bereavement, starvation and suicide, it all gets rather much for him.

Ray Bradbury – Skeleton: Mr. Harris has consulted him so many times about his aching bones that Dr. Burleigh has him figured as a hypochondriac. He isn’t. His skeleton really is in open revolt versus his body and will stop at nothing to be rid of all that flesh and innards. The late, great Sydney Bounds reworked this as The Flesh Is Weak but Bradbury’s original is peerless E.C. stuff.


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