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Archive for the ‘*Corgi*’ Category

Michel Parry – The Rivals of Frankenstein

Posted by demonik on September 8, 2007

Michel Parry – The Rivals of Frankenstein: A Gallery of Monsters (Corgi, 1977)

Rivals Frankenstein

Introduction – Michel Parry

Clark Ashton Smith – The Colossus Of Ylourgne
Arnold Harvey – The Last Of The Daubeny-Fitzalans
Jerome K. Jerome – The Dancing Partner
Ambrose Bierce – Moxon’s Master
Donald F. Glut – Dr. Karnstein’s Creation
Robert Bloch – Almost Human
D. Scott-Moncrieff – Count Szolnok’s Robots
Manly Wade Wellman – Pithecanthropus Rejectus
Fritz Leiber – The Dead Man
Eando Binder – The Iron Man

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Michel Parry – The Rivals Of King Kong

Posted by demonik on September 8, 2007

Michel Parry (ed.) – The Rivals Of King Kong: A Rampage Of Beasts (Corgi, 1977)

Are you ready to be frightened out of your gorilla skin?

Introduction – Michel Parry

Philip Jose Farmer – After King Kong Fell
H. Rider-Haggard – The Monster God
Hugh B. Cave – The Cult Of The White Ape
Howard Waldrop – Dr. Hudson’s Secret Gorilla
Joseph F. Pumilia – The Myth Of The Ape God
Karl E. Wagner & David Drake – Killer
Kit Reed – The Attack Of The Giant Baby
Henry Kuttner – Beauty And The Beast
P. Schulyer-Miller – Spawn
Robert Silverberg – The Day The Monsters Broke Loose
Steven Utley – Deviation From A Theme

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Michel Parry – The Rivals of Dracula

Posted by demonik on September 8, 2007

Michel Parry – The Rivals of Dracula: A Century of Vampire fiction (Corgi, 1977; Severn House, 1978)

Introduction – Michel Parry

Rivals Of Dracula

Ramsey Campbell – Conversion
Anonymous – The Mysterious Stranger
Frederick Cowles – The Vampire Of Kaldenstein
Jean Ray – The Guardian Of The Cemetery
M. R. James – Count Magnus
E. & H. Heron – The Story Of Baelbrow
E. Everett Evans – The Undead Die
Manly Wade Wellman – The Horror Undying
Robert Bloch – The Bat Is My Brother
Charles Beaumont – Blood Brother
David Drake – Something Had to Be Done
Steven Utley – Night Life

Severn House hardback edition, 1978: Jacket photo & design by Michael R. Carter

Ramsey Campbell – Conversion: sees our old friend the Transylvanian peasant pay a visit to Castle Dracula to confront him over the death of his sister in law. When he leaves the castle, his mind is a blank – all he can remember is that he found the suspected-vampire very affable. He reaches his house but … why does it smell so horrible all of a sudden?

Anon – The Mysterious Stranger: Often cited as an influence on “Dracula”, and the early scenes, notably an attack by wolves, the setting (Carpathian Mountains) and the vampire count (Azzo Von Klakta in this case) suggest it’s not improbable that Stoker had some familiarity with it. The explanation for the hero Woislaw’s prodigious strength – which is such that Azzo mistakes him for one of his own kind – is just one example of what makes this story a cherished Victorian gem.

Frederick Cowles – The Vampire Of Kaldenstein: Derivative of Dracula, and reads like a story board for the Hammer films of a quarter of a century later. It is, of course, brilliant!
The narrator, traveling in Germany in 1933, arrives at the hamlet of Kaldenstein. There he encounters the usual dour locals at the inn, who cross themselves at the mention of Count Ludwig Von Kaldenstein, warn him against visiting the castle, etc., etc. A local priest of similar ‘superstitious’ bent likewise begs him to give it a miss, but the foolish Englishman won’t be told.

Jean Ray – The Guardian Of The Cemetery: A hobo takes a job as a keeper at St. Guitton Cemetery, where none have been buried in twenty years since the Countess Opoltchenska died. Before her death, the Countess bought the necropolis outright, had a vault readied and stipulated the grounds would be kept by three men, two of them being her servants, the third to be employed and supervised by these two.

M. R. James – Count Magnus: Touring Sweden, the unfortunate Mr. Wraxall discovers family papers in a house in Vestgothland, charting the career of a saturnine seventeenth century noble, a dabbler in alchemy reputed to have made the black pilgrimage to Chorazin where it’s said the Anti-Christ will be born. It is also the recommended haunt of those wishing to “obtain a long life, acquire a faithful messenger and see the blood of his enemies”.

E & H. Heron – The Story Of Baelbrow: The Swaffama family mansion has been haunted for centuries, but the present day family are rather fond of their spook – until it turns malefic and frightens a maid to death. Trusty Flaxman Low investigates.

E. Everett Evans – The Undead Die: Robert Warram wakes during a storm to discover that the splintered limb of a great tree has smashed through the lid of his beloved wife’s coffin, impaling her through the heart. He reminisces on their several decades together, pre- and post- their being vampirised. Now Lisa has gone, he has nothing to unlive for.

Manly Wade Wellman – The Horror Undying: Seeking shelter from a snowstorm in a deserted cabin, he discovers papers detailing the careers of Captain Stanslas – a cannibal sentenced to death by firing squad for his grisly exploits – and Maxim, hung for drinking the blood of a labourer he murdered in 1879. The narrator arrives at the dreadful conclusion that these two are one and the same man – “a werewolf, killed and left to rise from death to be a blood drinking vampire.” And Then …

Robert Bloch – The Bat Is My Brother: Recently resuscitated Graham Keene is the plaything of an unnamed Prussian undead who regards the human race as “cattle” and will stop at nothing to achieve global domination. Keene seems to be going along with him, but sentiments like “let him suffer until the maggots at last reach his corrupt brain and eat away his evil consciousness” suggest there are still some bridges to be built in their relationship.

Charles Beaumont – Blood Brother: Modern day vampire on the psychiatrists couch, moaning about his lot. Mention of name ‘Dorcas’ drives shrink to desperate measures.

David Drake – Something Had To Be Done: Absolutely horrible. Captain Richmond visits the Lunkowski family to relate the details of their son’s death in ‘nam. He’s accompanied by Morzec, who witnessed the lad’s final moments. Morzec is a truly hideous figure, a victim of malignant melanoma (“in another two weeks I’ll be warted to death”). It comes in handy that he’s nothing to live for.

Stephen Utley – Night Life: The Vampire as Charles Bronson in Death Wish. Erich arrives in NY. On his first night, he dines on a Central Park mugger and a hooker. He flies off over the city, satisfied that he’ll thrive here.

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Frederick Pickersgill – Horror 7

Posted by demonik on September 7, 2007

Frederick Pickersgill (ed.) – Horror 7 (Corgi 1965)

Fred Pickersgill

John B. L. Goodwin – The Cocoon
Joseph Payne Brennan – Slime
M.R. James – A View From The Hill
Richard Davis – The Inmate
Charles Beaumont – You Can’t Have Them All
V.S. Pritchett – The Upright Man
Gouverneur Morris – Back There In The Grass

Thanks to Andy for providing the scan and contents.

See also the Horror-7 thread on Vault Of Evil.

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Frederick Pickersgill – No Such Thing As A Vampire

Posted by demonik on September 7, 2007

Frederick Pickersgill (ed.) – No Such Thing As A Vampire  (Corgi, 1964)

No Such Thing As A Vampire

Richard Matheson – No Such Thing As A Vampire
Davis Grubb – The Horsehair Trunk
Stanley Ellin – The Speciality Of The House
Edgar Allan Poe – Berenice
Saki – The Music On The Hill
Richard Davis – A Nice Cut Off The Joint
Robert Aickman – The Trains
Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle – The Case Of Lady Sannox.

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David Sutton – The Satyr’s Head

Posted by demonik on September 7, 2007

David Sutton (ed) – The Satyr’s Head & Other Tales Of Terror (Corgi, 1975)

David Sutton The Satyr’s Head

Introduction – David A. Sutton

David Campton – Provisioning
Martin Ricketts – The Night Fisherman
David A. Sutton – Sugar & Spice & All Things Nice
James Wade – The Nightingale Floors
Ramsey Campbell – The Previous Tennant
Robin Smyth – Perfect Lady
Joseph Payne Brennan – The Business About Fred
Brian Lumley – Aunt Hester
David A. Riley – The Satyr’s Head
Eddy C. Bertin – A Pentagram For Cenaide

Eddy C. Bertin – A Pentagram For Cenaide: Artist Jack Morgan is horrified to find that he’s fallen in love with the wife of his best friend. Knowing that Cenaide will never leave her husband – she doesn’t particularly like Jack to begin with – he resorts to black magic, painting a portrait of her over a specially prepared canvas. As Jack stands in the pentagram, his beloved climbs out of her painting, and …

Joseph Payne Brennan – The Business About Fred: Plenty of lonely, alienated losers hang around in pubs keeping themselves to themselves (speaks the voice of experience), but few are as tenacious about it as Fred. A gentle, poignant even, ghost story.

David A. Sutton – Sugar & Spice & All Things Nice: The narrator notices a dishevelled little girl watching him from the street below. The following day she rings his doorbell: “You want to come out and play, mister?” He declines.

After learning that she’s been missing from home for three weeks, he catches up with her again, this time in the park, and agrees to a game of hide-and-seek. He traces her to a pool of stagnant water. There’s something very wrong going on and why is he so infernally hot all of a sudden …?

Robin Smyth – Perfect Lady: Rejected by gold-digger Lizzie, “the Jezebel of the laundry machine shop”, Rupert devotes his life to finding the perfect lady. This he does, but unfortunately her magnificent parts are apportioned over several imperfect women. When he decides to re-unite them, Fulham gets its very own Frankenstein and Ted Bundy.

James Wade – The Nightingale Floors: A junkie takes a job as lone nighidiotchman in the decrepit Ehlers museum. The ever-creaking floorboards – designed that way by the Japanese – soon get on his nerves, but it’s the apparition of an executioner and his bound victim in the gloomy Remington Gallery that decides him to quit and clean up. In an excellent collection, this may well be my standout.

Martin Ricketts – The Night Fisherman: Alone at the riverside after dark, Albert Jordan obsesses about his bait. How must that worm feel as it writhes in agony on the hook, as the fish’s mouth fold around it and sucks out it’s insides?

He doesn’t have to wait too long to find out.

David A. Riley – The Satyr’s Head.: Yorkshire. Student type Henry Lamson’s world is one of Wimpy bars, pubs, going to watch the Rovers play on a Saturday afternoon, attending screenings of The Shuttered Room and the like at the film society with his friend Alan Sutcliffe. He’s been dating Joan for some time but she’s shown no interest in sleeping with him.

Walking home across the Moors one night he encounters a filthy, diseased tramp who he can’t shake off – the malodorous one even sidles up next to him on the bus. Turns out that he wants to sell him a relic for a nominal fee. Despite himself, Henry shells out on the evil looking bauble … and that’s when his nightmares begin, nightmares in which he’s visited and raped by the original of the satyr.

When he next catches up the tramp (who is by now pretty much decomposing on his feet), the old boy sneers that the relic chose him because he is the “right sort” and Henry, mortified that he may indeed be a homosexual, books a session with local prostitute Clara Sadwick, but where Henry goes, his incubus goes too …

I knew there was a story I detested as a lonesome teenager because it made me feel kind of queasy on the grounds of it’s subject matter, but I didn’t know it was this one!

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Peter Haining – The Freak Show

Posted by demonik on September 5, 2007

Peter Haining (ed.) – The Freak Show (Corgi, 1971)

“Magicians and murderers … Puppets and corpses … Carnivals and cannibals …”

Introduction: The Truth About The Bearded Lady – Peter Haining

Daniel Defoe – The Magician
Edgar Allan Poe – Hop-Frog
Tod Robbins – Spurs
Clark Ashton Smith – The Ampoi Giant
Ray Bradbury – The Dwarf
L. Sprague de Camp – The Gnarly Man
Mildred Clingerman – The Gay Deceiver
Davis Grubb – The Magic Prince
Stanley Ellen – Beiderbauer’s Flea
Fritz Leiber – The Power Of The Puppets
Joseph Payne Brennan – The Rising Man (Levitation)
John Wyndham – Jizzle
August Derleth – Carousel
Esther Carlson – Heads You Win
Robert Bloch – Girl From Mars
Harry Harrison – At Last, The True Story Of Frankenstein
Eric Frank Russel – Mutants For Sale
Margaret St. Clair – Horror Howce
Harlan Ellison – Big Sam Was My Friend
Dylan Thomas – After The Fair

Cover artwork: Bruce Pennington

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Linda Lovecraft – More Devil’s Kisses

Posted by demonik on September 2, 2007

Linda Lovecraft [Michel Parry] (ed.) – More Devil’s Kisses (Corgi, 1977)


Introduction – Linda Lovecraft

Mary E. Counselman – Something Old
Maurice Level – The Last Kiss
H. R. Wakefield – Monstrous Regiment
May Sinclair – The Nature of the Evidence
R. Chetwynd-Hayes – The Fly-by-Night
Jerome Bixby – The Best Lover In Hell
Erika Johansson – Some Like It Cold
Angela Carter – Master
Ramsey Campbell – Loveman’s Comeback
Joseph F. Pumilia – Toad
Steven Utley – Sidhe
David Drake – Smokie Joe
Chris Miller – The Magic Show

Famously withdrawn and existing stock pulped after Scotland Yard took an interest in Chris Miller’s story.

Maurice Level – The Last Kiss: A husband, blinded and hideously deformed when his wife through vitriol in his face after he threatened to leave her, intervenes on her behalf when the case comes to court, preventing her from receiving a long jail sentence. At his request she pays him an emotional visit in which she begs his forgiveness and somehow even manages to kiss him, whereupon … Well, not for nothing is Level feted as a master practitioner of the conte cruel.

Jerome Bixby – The Best Lover In Hell: Jim Maddock, sinner, seducer, adulterer and all round fornicator, encounters the Devil in the SW corner of Gehenna. “The lava had burned most of the skin off his torso – raw patches of flesh showed – his lips were cracked, his hair was gone, and his earlobes were crackly black husks. But he laughed.” Jim offers the Devil a challenge, namely to prove which of them is the better lover. Jim has a lot of fun – with Cleopatra, Marie Antoinette, Madame Bovary & co. – in coming off second best and earns himself the coveted position of special honorary demon who must guard the corridor wherein lie these beauties for all eternity. And “satisfy utterly their every demand”.

Angela Carter – Master: “…had first exercised a propensity for savagery in the acrid lavatories of a minor English Public School where he used to press the heads of the new boys into the ceramic bowl and then pull the flush upon them to drown their gurgling protests. After puberty, he turned his indefinable but exacerbated rage upon the pale, flinching bodies of young women whose flesh he lacerated with his teeth, fingernails and sometimes his leather belt in the beds of cheap hotels near London’s great rail terminus.

It is in Africa he meets his match in the form of a native girl he buys and systematically brutalises. Syphilitic and insane, he leaves a trail of innumerable jaguar corpses across the continent until she, by now quite as degenerate as her master, metamorphosises into a jaguar-woman ….

R. Chetwynd-Hayes – The Fly-By-Night: Tobias the cat is forever leaving presents on the carpet for owners Newton Hatfield and his daughter Celia. One evening they return home to find an odd creature, ‘pretty’, fanged and leathery of wing which Celia adopts although Newton is far from keen. The Fly-by-night feeds on extreme human emotion of the darkest hue, and when Newton comes close to murdering his daughter in an argument, he realises it’s time to destroy it. Problem is, the creature has grown considerably by now and he’s also gotten around to ravishing Celia.

Joseph F. Pumilia – Toad: An ugly teenager, despised by his contemporaries, Toad is so called because of his facial resemblance to that warty creature. So how comes he’s so popular with the women teachers?

Erika Johansson – Some Like It Cold: Bo Rosenkwist wants to be the first man to have sex at the North Pole and persuades Barbro, a trainee gym instructor, to partner him. Barbro frets about the Ice Giants “said to keep up their numbers by taking over the bodies of travellers frozen in the snow”, but Bo has too much on his mind to pay her any heed. On their first night at the Pole, Barbro wanders naked from their tent and Bo has his first and last encounter with frosty the snowman and his mates.

Chris Miller – The Magic Show: As mentioned (many times) above, the story that lead to the book being trashed after an intervention from Scotland Yard’s finest. Mrs. Levine hires a magic show for son Ira’s seventh birthday party. While the parents congratulate her on such a marvellous idea, Dr. Fun and Mr. Frog organise a drug fuelled, infant orgy next door. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, a pony is introduced into the proceedings …

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Michel Parry – Roots Of Evil

Posted by demonik on September 1, 2007

‘Carlos Cassaba’ (Michel Parry) ed. – Roots Of Evil: Beyond The Secret Life Of Plants (Corgi, 1976).

Introduction by Carlos Cassaba

Clark Ashton Smith – The Seed From The Sepulchre
H. G. Wells – The Flowering Of The Strange Orchid
Nathaniel Hawthorne – Rappaccini’s Daughter
Hester Holland – Dorner Cordaianthus
Manly Wade Wellman – Come Into My Parlour
Mary Elizabeth Counselman – The Tree’s Wife
David H. Keller – The Ivy War
John Collier – Green Thoughts
Fritz Leiber – Dr. Adams’ Garden Of Evil
Frederic Brown – Daisies
Margaret St. Clair – The Gardener
Clifford Simak – Green Thumb

It’s official: Flowers hate us, and you’ll never be able to look at a potted plant the same way again.

Parry’s collection is a lot more enjoyable than you might think, this largely due to the sheer bloodthirstiness of the delinquent Triffids that pop up in just about every other story. My personal pick of the bunch are the Clark Ashton Smith story, which is truly creepy and has a moment of awesome horror when the main protagonist suddenly develops a headache. “Green Thoughts” almost certainly inspired Roger Corman’s “The little Shop Of Horrors” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter” is both horrific and terribly sad, as we learn the lengths a mad scientist will go to to conduct his experiments.

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Alex Hamilton – The Cold Embrace

Posted by demonik on September 1, 2007

Alex Hamilton – The Cold Embrace (Corgi, 1966)

The Cold Embrace

M. E. Braddon – The Cold Embrace
Shena MacKay – Open End
Shirley Jackson – The Lottery
Elizabeth Bowen – The Demon Lover
Agatha Christie – The Seance
Marie de France – The Werewolf
Margaret Irwin – The Country Gentleman
Mary Coleridge – The King Is Dead
Christianna Brand – Akin To Love
E. Nesbit – John Charrington’s Wedding
Hortense Calisher – Heartburn
Scheherezade – The Cenotaph
Elizabeth Jane Howard – Three Miles Up
Marguerite de Navarre – The Confessor
Janet Frame – The Press Gang
Flannery O’Connor – Judgement Day
Elizabeth Gaskell – The Doom Of The Griffiths
Elizabeth Taylor – Poor Girl

Marguerite de Navarre – The Confessor: One of the Grey Friars lusts after a nobleman’s beautiful wife and commits mass-murder to get his groping hands on her. Between assuring her that he loves her above all others and threatening to cut her throat like he has everyone else’s, he makes her dress up as a Brother and carries her away to the Monastery where he and the Holy brotherhood are all at it with kidnapped women! Four pages of mayhem, well worth revival.

Marie de France – The Werewolf: Set in Brittany in the days of King Arthur. The bold knight Bisclaveray has a terrible secret – the title’s a clue – which causes him to disappear into the woods for three days at a time. His loving wife implores him to confide in her, and, against his better judgement, he does. Now she knows what he is, she hates him and conspires with a past admirer to steal his clothes while he’s in his wolf form so he won’t be able to become human again. It’s more of a fairy tale than I remembered it, but none the worse for that.

Janet Frame – The Press Gang: A very short prose poem which I’m not even sure I understood. A ghost? Nightmares? Do I even care? I’ve not read anything quite as screaming of pretension as The Press Gang‘s last line in ages.

M. E. Braddon – The Cold Embrace: An artist weds his cousin in secret then sets off galivanting across Europe. His undying love for his wife is forgotten the moment he sets eyes on a luscious model, and he soon tires of even writing to her. Back in Brunswick, the young lady in question throws herself off the nearest bridge. Her soggy spectre pursues the artist to his doom.
Often included in Classic Ghost Stories collections, I think the flaw with The Cold Embrace is that Braddon doesn’t at least give their characters a name as it’s asking too much for the reader to care overmuch about such anonymous characters.

Elizabeth Bowen – The Demon Lover: Mrs. Drover returns to her boarded-up home in bomb-ravaged London in keeping with a promise she made her soldier fiance on the ever of his departure to France twenty-five years earlier. He never returned and was presumed missing in action. Mrs. Drover secretly saw this as a lucky escape – he was extremely hard going.

As the agreed hour arrives, her nerves overcome her – the letter from the “dead” lover awaiting her on the table didn’t help – and Mrs. Drover rushes into the street to hail a taxi. Even if you guess the ending, this story packs one of the creepiest kiss offs this side of Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Three Miles Up or Burrage’s One Who Saw.

And speaking of creepy ….

Christianna Brand – Akin To Love: The bedroom has an appalling reputation dating back to the Seventeenth Century when the young man who lived there joined the Hellfire Club. Even in relatively recent times his evil presence has driven two women to suicide. Now he appears to the virginal Sam, and it transpires that all it will take to set him free is for a woman to listen to his confession and forgive him. Not being used to being chatted up by a Satanic corpse, Sam falls for it, even going so far as to romp with him on the four poster. Only then does she realise the soul destroying truth.

Shirley Jackson – The Lottery: On the morning of June 27th, the villagers assemble in the square where Mr. Summers will preside over the annual lottery. The lottery seems to have its roots in a nature offering, but that’s all forgotten now and there’s even talk among the crowd that some places have actually dispensed with the tradition altogether. Old Man Warner scowls at such an outrage: “Pack of crazy fools. Listening to young folk, nothin’s good enough for them.”
So, the head of each household takes their turn to draw a paper from the battered black box, hoping they’ll be lucky again this year. Because if they’re not …

Hortense Calisher – Heartburn: Psychiatrist walks into a Doctor’s surgery and says “I have some kind of small animal lodged in my chest …”
It began when a troublesome boy arrived at the school and boasted of his special ability. He could swallow animals and regurgitate them whole. Obviously, nobody believes him and when one of the kids says as much, the ‘gift’ transfers to him. Soon it has passed from one boy to the next until only the shrink dismisses it as some kind of collective mania …

You can see the end coming a mile off but that doesn’t detract from the powerful strangeness of the thing.

E. Nesbit – John Charrington’s Wedding: Brixham. The village belle May Forster, finally gives in to the persistent John Charrington and accepts his marriage proposal. It is clear to all the villagers that she’s loved him all along, and as for John, “My dear, I believe I should come back from the grave if you wanted me.” Which, as it turns out …

Come the wedding day and, while the best man kicks his heels at the station awaiting Charrington’s return from a mercy dash to a sick relative, the wedding goes ahead and a terrified May is hustled into the carriage by her corpse groom as the bells sound the death knell …

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