SEVENTH BLACK BOOK OF HORROR
Charles Black, ed.
you grew up in the 1970's, you'll remember The Pan Book
of Horror - a seemingly endless collection of short stories,
several volumes of which could be found leering from the shelves
of every bookshop - indeed, anywhere that sold even a handful
of books - alongside Dennis Wheatley reprints, NEL's youth cult
pulps and assorted other slices of low rent and high entertainment.
The books were sneered at by genre critics and horror fiction's
self-proclaimed elite, but the highly readable short stories,
packed with graphic violence, were lapped up by less discerning
readers - like myself.
seemingly overnight, they were gone, victims of falling sales
and booksellers no longer wanting such tat on their increasingly
clearly not the only person to regret the demise of these books,
as Mortbury Press' Black Book of Horror series
deliberately sets out to recapture those grisly glories, complete
with a back cover that singles out the most gruesome moments from
several stories and offer up a variety of horrors to the eager
reader ("MONSTERS... CREATURES... REVENANTS... MANIACS").
And the stories within also have a Pan Horror
feel - grisly, nasty and often with a distinct EC comics sense
Power's Flitching's Revenge is a tale of gypsy
curses, complete with Omen-style deaths, while
Claude Lalumiere's Ted's Collection is a dark
tale of body parts and amputee fetishism; David Williamson's Rest
in Pieces offers up a tale of murder and dismemberment
that would fit nicely into and Amicus film, and It Begins
at Home by John Llewelyn Probert is a grim look at just
how far advertisers will go to get your attention.
Bought the Farm by James Stanger is this volume's bad
taste spectacular - the story of a pig farm owner who enjoys torture
and bestiality, it'll never win any awards for subtlety, but delivers
its grubby thrills with aplomb nonetheless. Paul Finch's The
Green Bath is less grisly, but makes up for it with copious
levels of sex.
not all in-your-face stuff though - stories like Thana Niveau's
The Pier, Reggie Oliver's Minos or Rhadamanthus,
Joel Lane's Morning Echo and Tony Richards' The
In-Betweeners are more restrained, though no less effective,
while Craig Herbertson's New Teacher and Stephen
Volk's Swell Head add a touch of twisted humour.
in all then, a very satisfying collection of sex, violence, ghosts
and gore. The Black Books of Horror might not
win the approval of horror fiction's self-important cliques, but
I'm looking forward to the next one already.
IT NOW (UK)