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Archive for September 20th, 2007

Richard Davis – Spectre 3

Posted by demonik on September 20, 2007

 Richard Davis (ed) – Spectre 3 (Abelard, 1976)

spectre 3

In The Gruesome Book, Ramsey Campbell castigates horror collections aimed at children which find it necessary to talk down to them. Having read three stories from Spectre 3, I shouldn’t think Davis’s was one of the books he had in mind. Even Chetwynd-Hayes dispenses with the badly dated, often tiresome humour that became something of an albatross in favour of a straight horror story. The Blackwood, RCH and Joyce Marsh offerings have appeared in adult collections and Tim Stout’s hefty slab of Grand Guignol would have been ideal for the Fontana Horror series.

Tim Stout – Heritage: Greenville, Alabama. Calvin E. Danby has the recently excavated dungeon of the family castle brought over from England and reconstructed brick by brick with pride of place going to the carving of an enormous, evil-looking wolf. When ‘big blonde’ Sadie Zellaby is seemingly clawed by the carving, Danby researches his family history and learns of an unfaithful wife hacked to pieces with an axe, a torture spree, various mutilations and the grim fate of the worst of his ancestors, mad Sir Hubert, who fought with a double-headed axe and was eventually crushed to death.

R. Chetwynd-Hayes – Lord Dunwilliam And The Cwy Annwn: RCH has been damned with faint praise on here (mea culpa), but this is up there with the best of his work. The arrogant Lord Dunwilliam, adrift in a snowstorm, chances upon a solitary cottage where live Evan ap Evans and his beautiful daughter, Silah. Dunwilliam is used to getting what he wants when he wants it and he’s decided Silah is going to be his by any means necessary. Evans spins him some cock and bull story about the girl having a fearsome lover, Annwn the Wild Huntsman whose pack are Hell-hounds, but as if an educated man would believe that …

David Campton – I’m Sorry, Mrs. Baxter: Bored teenagers from the estate hang around the Co-op in the High Street. They spend much of their time mithering passers by, one of whom happens to be Mrs. Baxter, a virtual mummy so wrapped up as to be indiscernible beneath her clothes. As Stew, Wally, Pete and the narrator jostle her, the old girl’s shopping spills onto the pavement and she suffers a heart attack. One by one the thugs are punished … by her clothes. There’s a brilliant cameo by a blue and white football scarf which wraps itself around one lad’s head just as he’s crossing a busy road.

Thanks, Victoria

Posted in *Abelard*, Richard Davis, Young Adult | 1 Comment »

Richard Davis – Spectre 2

Posted by demonik on September 20, 2007

Richard Davis (ed.) – Spectre 2 (Abelard 1975)

help! cover wanted

Introduction – Richard Davis

Tim Stout – The Hand From Haunted Hollow
Chris Parr – TA/9/73
Frances Stephens – The Chemical Man
Tim Stout – Jelly Baby
Joyce Marsh – The Shepherd’s Dog
Elizabeth Fancett – Ghosts Look Like People
Bram Stoker – The Judge’s House
Rosemary Timperley – The Tall Woman
Gladys Greenaway – A Matter Of Timing

Tim Stout – The Hand From Haunted Hollow: Disillusioned schoolmaster breaks down (carwise) in the midst of Savernake forest- his rescuer, a woman “ninety at least” makes him a gift of a hand painted jigsaw version of the idyll in which he’s lost.

Later, at home, bad weather leaves him without electricity, so for amusement he turns to gaslight and the forgotten puzzle. However, the picture which forms beneath his increasingly unwilling fingers doesn’t resemble that on the box:

“The cemetery’s image buckled and crumbled, wrenched apart by something that was tearing it’s way up from within”….

Chris Parr – TA/9/73: A grumpy old man and joke shop employee (oxymoron of the century, or dramatic device- you decide!) gets more than he bargained for when he decides to plant TA/9/73 (a toy tarantula) on the arm of a womanising banker type in the midst of a busy London pub during the Xmas Eve frivolities. Said BT promptly runs screaming from the pub into the oncoming traffic- next time Grumpy sees him in the shop he wonders:

“Why there was no elastic holding the mask round the back of his head?”

(BTW guys, have to share one of Mr. G’s wonderfully PC thoughts:

“I don’t like women. Never have. Bother and demands is what they’re about and I can do without that.”

Pankhurst eat your heart out.)

Tim Stout – Jelly Baby: Dr. Ian Reynolds engages a conjourer to entertain his daugter and her friends at her 10th birthday party, but while travelling home accidentally bumps into the magician’s van. Due to his resulting injury the magician recommends a rival company, with the grudging warning; “I don’t want to be within a hundred miles of your place tonight.”

Reynolds is “lucky” enough to engage the sevices of the “Director”, who ensures that havoc and panic reign during little Valerie’s party. His coup de grace literally belittles Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds, and made me realise why I’ve always had an aversion to blackcurrant flavoured jelly.

Joyce Marsh – The Shepherd’s Dog: If you can read this without shedding a tear then you must be made of stone. A “Grayfriers Bobby” type tale, written with Marsh’s usual accuarate sense of place and person- an absolute heat breaker.

Elizabeth Fawcett – Ghosts Look Like People: I wasn’t keen on this one- it’s a bit Scooby Do. Although that’s me reading it as an adult- it’s not really fair to comment as the books were meant for kids.

Rosemary Timperly – The Tall Woman: Elsewhere on this site Demonik writes about F. Paul Wilson’s “Buckets” as an abortion revenge story. This is an infanticide revenge story, and no less poweful for it’s lack of gore. The child of an woman she thought she’d left behind when:

“She had pressed snow over it’s eyes, then snow in it’s mouth.”

has come looking for her…

Can you believe these books were compiled for kids?!

Gladys Greenaway – A Matter Of Timing: …reminds me of “The Woman In The Green Dress” by Joyce Marsh.

Thanks to Victoria for posting the details and plot outlines.

Posted in *Abelard*, Richard Davis, Young Adult | Leave a Comment »

Richard Davis – Spectre 4

Posted by demonik on September 20, 2007

Richard Davis (ed.) – Spectre 4 (Abelard, 1977)

Julia Birley – The Understudies
Tim Stout – Free For Dinner
Robin Smyth – The Ghost Of Cottfield Village
Samantha Lee – Sea Change
Pamela Cleaver – The Skulls In The Belfrey
Paul Dorrell – Lamia
Robin Smyth – The Boy With The Short Haircut
Joyce Marsh – The Master Of Blas Gwynedd
Guy Weiner – Scriveners Inn
Basil Copper – The House By The Tarn
T. E. D. Klein – Magic Carpet

Posted in *Abelard*, Richard Davis, Young Adult | Leave a Comment »

Anon – Tales From Beyond The Grave

Posted by demonik on September 20, 2007

Tales From Beyond The Grave (Editor uncredited: Octopus, 1982; Treasure Press, 1989)

Tales From Beyond The Grave

Robert Graves – The Shout
Ambrose Bierce – The Man And The Snake
Hume Nisbet – The Haunted Station
E. F. Benson – Mrs Amworth
James Thurber – The Night The Ghost Got In
Guy De Maupassant – The Horla
Oliver Onions -Io
Edward Bulwer-Lytton – The House And The Brain
Ray Bradbury – Fever Dream
J. S. LeFanu – Green Tea
H. G. Wells – The Inexperienced Ghost
M. G. Lewis – The Monk [extract]
J. R. Tolkien – The Fellowship Of The Ring [extract]
George MacDonald – The Grey Wolf
M. R. James – Lost Hearts
Nikolai Gogol – The Overcoat
Seabury Quinn – And Give Us Yesterday
Mrs Gaskell – The Old Nurse’s Story
Mark Twain – A Ghost Story
Oscar Wilde – The Picture Of Dorian Gray [extract]
Robert Bloch – Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper
Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle – The Brown Hand
Charles Dickens – To Be Taken With A Grain Of Salt
E. M. Forster – The Story Of The Siren
Algernon Blackwood – The Doll
R. Chetwynd-Hayes – She Walks On Dry Land
Edgar Allan Poe – The Black Cat

Thanks to Rog Pile for the cover scan. 

Posted in *Octopus*, Anonymous | Leave a Comment »