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Neil Davies – The Midnight Hour

Posted by demonik on July 30, 2008

Neil Davies – The Midnight Hour: 14 Tales Of Dark Imagination (Screaming Dreams, 2007)


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Cover Art & Design: Steve Upham

Introduction

The Midnight Hour
Argument
Ribbons Of Blood
The Shadow
When The Fires Die
Photographs
The Perfect Marriage
Road Rage
Virgin Flesh
Death By Popcorn
Frozen Food
Away With The Fairies
Bonding
The Extreme Makeover Of Helen Watson

If, like me, you’ve a fondness for the (then) contemporary shockers Mary Danby ran in her Fontana Book Of Great Horror Stories series, you’re likely have a good time with the laudably unpretentious terror tales of Neil Davies. The introduction is plenty fun, too!

Includes:

Bonding: “I hate your voice because it’s softer and quieter than mine. I hate your hair because it’s a different colour from mine. I hate your clothes because they’re cheaper than mine. I hate your tits because they’re bigger than mine … I just hate you.” What was the boss thinking of when he gave uber-pregnant dog Linda and nice Jill £150 each to blow on a meal as part of a bonding exercise? Linda talks her easy going colleague into splashing out on a happy meal and blowing the rest on clothes as she has a “friend” who’s just about to set up shop in the arcade and will sell designer gear to them at cost price. Jill complies – anything that will make Linda readier to accept her – little realising the older girl has a fiendish plan to do away with her, but slowly ….

Virgin Flesh“It’s hard to find mature virgin flesh these days … too much permissiveness”. A tribute to R. Chetwynd-Hayes and his beloved vampires and ghouls. Janet Stevens is pursued through the woods by the ghastly residents of Oak Church cemetery, overjoyed that they’ve chanced upon an eighteen year old who’s never been shagged! Despite the author’s note that it was heavily influenced by The Monster Club, the story it put me in mind of was E. C. Tubb’s Fresh Guy).

Death By Popcorn California. Another young woman in peril. This time it’s cleaner Crystal Roberts, 17, trapped in an otherwise empty cinema by an unseen sadist. Four girls have been raped and mutilated in the Ravensville area these past few weeks but is this sicko the culprit? And how comes her fellow captive, that nice Richard she’s fancied from afar, is so eager to obey the mysterious voice as it instructs him: “You, Richard, will play the part of the brutal interrogator. Think Spanish Inquisition. Think Nazi. think Witchfinder General”? A convenient, supremely unlikely twist ending adds a tasty Amicus feel to this, probably my favourite of those I’ve read so far.

The Perfect Marriage: The narrator records his every failed attempt to kill his despised wife. She finds his diary …

Road Rage: Jennifer, 22, lands what should be the scoop of her fledgling career in journalism when professional contract killer Harry agrees to be interviewed about his 107 kills (108 if you include the death of Ricky the Rodent, which Harry doesn’t). As he drives her through the Lake District to the road beneath which he buried his victims, the hit-man explains that he’s been forced into early retirement due to the wishes of their restless ghosts …

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