Hell House (Richard Matheson)

Matheson really was a master of his craft. He took the conventional Gothic structure and threw it out of the window. Assaulting the reader with carnal, palpable terror, from its first page to the very end. Readers new to Hell House will be wondering how far are things going to go regarding the repulsive sexual shenanigans… What would have been shocking and new to audiences in 1971 has become a tad too familiar today, unfortunately. While this speaks volumes to the book’s cultural and literary impact – the fact that it has been copied and imitated by so many on film and on the page detracts from the book’s overall contemporary wow factor. I bet Stephen King used this as some inspiration for The Shining. [Read more…]

If You Could See Me Now (Peter Straub)

The blurb of my copy of the book manages to drop three spoilers in the space of two sentences, and then reiterates one of the spoilers just in case I was slow on the uptake. I shall endeavor to avoid doing something similar. Straub brings class to horror unlike anyone I’ve ever read. He has literary tricks up his sleeve that will keep sophisticated readers happy throughout. He is a master of tone. And not just with the mystery he puts forth in this novel, but with the way he sets up our narrator as this haughty know-it-all faced with a town of plebeians that plague him. This book is a wonderful ride to take for that reason. [Read more…]

Rose Red (2002 USA)

Stephen King screen adaptations have become quite a conundrum. He has lambasted most of them for altering characters and flow. King purists stick to the argument that the phenomena and events he describes simply cannot be captured visually. Rose Red represented ABC’s televisual attempt at the horror master’s work. Scripted and executive produced by King, it’s more ironic than terrifying; the only example I’ve seen where the TV/ movie shortcomings orignate from Stephen King’s story rather than the production values or casting. This three part mini-series revolves around a haunted house, named Rose Red, in Seattle. [Read more…]

The Cellar (Richard Laymon)

Some say the best things in life are free while others say you have to pay an admission fee. Richard Laymon books are somewhere in between. Its nice to pick them up at the library but I don’t really mind paying either. Providing they are cheap and easy in some bargain bin…I love the fact that Laymon can make even the most overly used clichés seem new to the reader. I knew exactly what was coming, yet I didn’t. Stock characters are going to get themselves in over their heads in a creepy town with a history of people who ‘just go missing’. And yes, everyone’s gonna go into this demonic, evil house (at night) when they know they shouldn’t. [Read more…]

The Exorcist (William Peter Blatty)

“The Exorcist” is as superior to most books of its kind as an Einstein equation is to an accountant’s column of figures.”–New York Times.  How can I disagree with the world’s most famous rag? Not on this occasion. By the time I finished the final sentence I felt like a convalescing patient. My sanity stretched to the limit, gasping for relief, my hair literally standing on end. William Peter Blatty had achieved a dubious distinction for a fictional writer: he produced a novel that raped a generation. He’s left a traumatic, permanent mark on millions of people since 1971. He also wrote the filmed version too – traumatizing even more people who couldn’t be bothered reading the book. How dare he?! [Read more…]

Terrore nello spazio (1965 Italy)

planet2This motion picture (known as Planet Of The Vampires to English speakers) is a talky, slow-burning science fiction entry from Italy. Although the film is pretty unremarkable, it has developed a fairly sizeable cult following down the years. This is due in no small part to the fact that the film has been heavily raided for ideas by makers of bigger, more expensive and more “mainstream” movies in the intervening decades. The likes of Alien, Event Horizon and X-Men all owe something to this atmospheric Mario Bava flick. [Read more…]

Sticks (written by Karl Edward Wagner)

This is an audio version of a most unsettling horror story that was first published in 1974. The narrator is either too harsh in his delivery or his American accent is just more extreme than most. He seems to cut off or slur certain words but this is the only audio of it I could find. I’ve long admired this story and feel in the mood for listening rather than reading.

The Mummy (Hollywood 1999)

the-mummy-1999-the-mummy-movies-4379715-960-536(What a hair do for an alpha male – NOT!)
During the 1990’s a stream of remakes came out using the old Universal horror films with the monsters: Dracula (Bram Stoker’s Dracula), Frankenstein (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein), The Wolf Man (Wolf) and this Raiders Of The Lost Ark version of our favourite Egyptian monster. This Stephen Sommers – directed effort has librarian and aspiring archaeologist Evelyn (Rachel Wiesz), accompanied by her brother Jonathan (John Hannah), enlisting the help of French Foreign Legion soldier Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) to find a lost Egyptian city. In other words, “kill the bad guy, rescue damsel in distress (not that dress) and save the world.” Has anyone ever asked the world if it wants to be saved? Thought not… [Read more…]

Scream Blacula Scream (1973 USA)

scream-blacula-screamWe all have problems. But African princes who’ve been vampirized by Dracula himself probably carry an extra load. Very camp, very strange sequel to an already outrageous original. “Scream, Blacula, Scream” was the natural progression in the Blacula mythos: after having committed suicide by walking out into the sun in the original film, Mamuwalde (that’s Blacula to you) finds himself unwillingly resurrected by a jive talking voodoo shaman who is insanely jealous of Lisa, a sexy voodoo chick played by none other than Pam Grier. [Read more…]

It! (Stephen King)

king-book-coverKing did something special with IT, and I’m not sure exactly what it is….It might just be the sum of the entire equation which makes IT such a fantastic novel. A few times, I had to remind myself it is 2016, not 1958. (It was 2016, sorry…only 2 days into the new year and I’m already confused) If you are thinking of reading IT, it is definitely worth the investment. I’m glad I took the time to read it, savour it, and not rush through it. You got that? [Read more…]

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