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…]

The Twilight Zone (1959 to 1964 USA)

nick-of-time-rod-serling2“Submitted for your approval…” A pint-sized, chain smoking man’s clenched teeth intro to a wonderfully hypnotic, thought-provoking and ‘never ceases to amaze’ total quality Drama/Sci-Fi anthology series. This certainly put the one and only Rod Serling on the bigger picture map of television writing and producing, and was done in such a way that certain trends were set through its genre. In its day it was groundbreaking, but the thing which ensures that it maintains its magic even today is that the stories still work- I’d say at least a quarter of them have been ‘borrowed’ for other stories and novels. [Read more…]

The Night Strangler (1973 USA)

nightstranglercsGet this straight, dear reader. No carnival or hooplah tactics will be tolerated in this review. This isn’t Funtown USA. I have standards here at highteadreams. I will mind my Ps and Qs on this one. I will hue precisely to the mark. Or I will be banished to Puyallup to live out the rest of my days as a daffodil. Failure to live up to this may result in yours truly going schizoid. He will be wearing robes and a crown soon! Fans of this Kolchak classic will recognize some of the preceding phrases as dialogue from The Night Strangler. [Read more…]

The Raven (1963 USA)

raven02An absurd adventure – styled comedy. The plot is thinner than a supermodel’s waistline and even at 85 minutes it outstays its welcome. But I will be kind. Edgar Allen Poe may have turned in his grave, but the rest of us get to have fun as we see horror gods Vincent Price, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre, not to mention Jack Nicholson ham it up in style as the weird and wonderful cast of this very silly story of wizards and hocus pocus. [Read more…]

The Night Stalker (1972 USA)

nightstalker(This review is dedicated to Jeff Rice, who came up with such a great book idea originally) There’s more than one kind of blood sucker in the neon-drenched city of Lost Wages. Produced in 18 days by director Dan Curtis on a low budget, The Night Stalker became a ratings champion, socking America’s TV watching audience to the jaw with a massive left hook. On January 11, 1972 it gained 54% of all US viewers. This was a record for that time. [Read more…]

Pit And The Pendulum (1961 USA)

pit and the pendulum The original tale of one man’s descent into torture, madness and near-death at the hands of a bunch of terrifyingly faceless tormentors becomes even more creepy as a ‘whodunit’. It also helped immensely that screenwriter Richard Matheson was on a roll. He breathed new life into Poe’s classic-if-fusty material, giving it a wicked, almost contemporary spin. [Read more…]

Nightmare At 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories (Richard Matheson)

51m8fe557yL._AC_UL320_SR212,320_Matheson’s story-telling is addictive and the heavy, meaty sense of tension-filled dread with which he is able to consistently imbue his stories is truly special. He has this way of making me feel like I am a part of the story in a way that works brilliantly, especially considering that Matheson loves an open ending. [Read more…]

SOMEWHERE IN TIME (Richard Matheson)

9780312868864I really enjoyed how Matheson pieced this story together, bridging the gulf of years almost seamlessly. When a dying man falls in love with the photograph of a 19th century stage actress, the short remainder of his life suddenly takes on a new meaning. All he knows is that he must be with her, even if it means conquering time itself. [Read more…]

DRACULA (1973 United States)

dracula_palanceThis average yarn about the notorious vampire was produced for television in America, released theatrically in Europe. Director Dan Curtis and writer Richard Matheson turn Dracula  into a tortured, sympathetic character haunted by his distant past and the woman he lost centuries ago. Sound familiar? [Read more…]

DUEL (1971 United States)

red carThe idea for this great story came to writer Richard Matheson as he was driving home from a cancelled golf game after finding out President Kennedy had been assassinated. He and a golfing friend were terrorized by a large truck on a narrow stretch of road. [Read more…]

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