Richard Davis – Spectre 3
Posted by demonik on September 20, 2007
Richard Davis (ed) – Spectre 3 (Abelard, 1976)
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.