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Search tags: vintage-horror
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review 2018-03-11 02:28
SPECTRE Review
Spectre - Stephen Laws

This book was dumb as dog feces, but I had a helluva time with it. It’s gory and over-the-top in that glitzy, shameless way only good bad horror fiction from the 1980s can be.

 

The story of seven friends (six guys, one girl) haunted by an unfortunate happening in their younger years, this is a horror thriller that should not feel original but does. Sure, it doesn’t reinvent the wheel; but it isn’t a thoughtless hack job, either. If it hadn’t come out the same year as Stephen King’s It I would assume this was a cash-in on that novel’s gargantuan success, but it did come out in 1986 and it makes for an interesting snapshot of where horror literature was in the mid-80s.

 

Though not particularly scary (and just so goofy), I do feel this novel is a success and I am now interested in reading other releases by Stephen Laws. It is a shame he isn’t more known amongst modern horror fans.

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review 2018-03-06 20:31
HELL HOUND Review
Hell Hound - Grady Hendrix,Ken Greenhall,Jessica Hamilton

Ken Greenhall’s long-forgotten horror masterpiece, Hell Hound, is finally getting the recognition it deserves, thanks to a recent reissue. This was my first novel by this author, but it certainly won’t be my last.

 

This tale — one of a psychotic and cunning Bull Terrier — is bloody and mean and aims for the throat; told in precise prose, this is a terrifying hellraiser not concerned with sentimentality or sympathy. The obvious comparison is to Stephen King’s Cujo, though these stories are wildly different. Of the two, Cujo is perhaps better written, but something must be said for this book’s heartlessness.

 

This is a novel more horror readers should be aware of. The length of a long novella, this is a quick, effective read: one that is finally getting its due.

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review 2018-03-06 20:08
THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR Review
The House Next Door - Anne Rivers Siddons

When compiling a list of vintage horror books to read and review this month, my first and best source was Stephen King’s Danse Macabre. Invaluable was it in determining which novels I wanted to take a chance on it. In Danse King spends three or four pages dissecting this — Anne Siddons’s 1978 release, The House Next Door, one of the smartest and most atmospheric haunted house tales I’ve read yet.

 

Told from the point of view of Colquitt Kennedy, an upper-middle class woman living in an upscale Atlanta suburb with her husband, Walter, this unfolding of the mysterious and macabre does not happen quickly; this author deals in dread, letting her readers squirm. I love that quality in horror from the ‘60s and ‘70s, and it’s something that seems to have been lost sometime in the ‘80s. Quiet terror with a focus on the psychological is much more effective, to me, than buckets of guts and blood and dismembered bodies.

 

Not only does The House Next Door work as a horror show, but is also works — at times — as a satire. Siddons gleefully mocks the foibles of suburban life: the block parties, the whispering neighbors, the hypocrisy — all unfolding in houses with freshly manicured lawns and evenly painted shutters. Because of that, this story feels authentically American. The author’s sense of setting, locale, is impeccable.

 

This is one of the finest haunted house stories I’ve had the pleasure of reading. While not as explosive as The Shining or as iconic as The Haunting of Hill House, this very much deserves to get a look from horror fans.

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review 2018-03-03 15:28
THE REVELATION Review
The Revelation - Bentley Little

I think this is the scariest Bentley Little novel I’ve read. The Mailman was scary, too, though; it is a hard call. Regardless, Little’s debut novel is a shocker, almost sure to rattle the nerves of even the most jaded horror reader.

 

A wave of crime is hitting the small town of Randall, Arizona. Churches are desecrated. A local minister and his family have gone missing. Fires are set. Over the course of only a few days, this town goes straight to Hell and it’s up to a handful of people to save it. Perhaps this is not the most original plot, but it is fun — and herein can be found a few excellent twists.

 

I could not put this one down, and I defy anyone to do so once this book is begun. One of the finest horror debuts I’ve had the pleasure of reading, Bentley Little’s tale of a small town’s destruction is a corker.

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