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Ancient Images

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  532 ratings  ·  62 reviews
"A lost horror film holds the key to terrifying secrets. "

The legends have persisted for decades of a lost horror film starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi that was never released. Rumor has it that, for reasons long forgotten, powerful forces suppressed the film and burned all known prints. Nobody now living has seen the finished film. But that might no longer be true

Fi
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ebook, 400 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (first published June 13th 1989)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,100)
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Jason
I liked the part where nothing happened for 280 pages and then everything that did happen was really stupid and happened for no reason.
Bandit
I wanted a change of pace from blood guts and gore of last week's Deathbringer, so I picked up Ancient Images, which has sat on my TBR list for a long long time. This is only my second book by Campbell, first one was Overnight, which has left me interested in the writer, but not overall impressed by the book. Ancient Images "wowed" me. I could barely put it down, the San Francisco Chronicle claims on the book cover that it's to be read in one sitting, took me 4 days on and off(life kept getting ...more
Nick
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashley Brown
After reading a lot of James Herbert I kept seeing the name Ramsey Campbell mentioned in several British horror write-ups so I set out to have a look at his work. The title that I was most attracted to was "Ancient Images" due to the plot description. I actually emailed the author before I read it and he was very polite and helpful, which made me want to like it even more.

Basically the plot revolves around a supposedly cursed roll of film and the efforts of a young film editor as she goes to fin
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Kevin Lucia
The Oxford Companion to English literature calls Ramsey Campbell Britain's "most respected living horror writer", and Ancient Images, a Samhain Publishing re-print of one of Campbell's earlier novels, bears excellent testimony to this assertion. As with all of Campbell's works, the prose is smooth, his attention to detail immaculate, and the tension winds tighter and tighter as the story progresses.

Campbell's pacing is also excellent, as he slowly builds a solid foundation upon which to sprint
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Patrick
This was my first encounter with Ramsey Campbell, a writer whose work I’ve been drawn to following a number of citations of him from other writers I admire. And I really, really enjoyed reading this, and am now quite eager to read his other stuff. I’ve noted before on here how much I enjoy what might be considered fairly trashy horror fiction, but if this novel is anything to go by, Campbell ought to occupy a much more prominent status in modern literature (not just genre fiction) than he curren ...more
Alisa Hedden
We have a film that doesn’t exist (really, but easily could have) the censorship of horror films that occurred in Britain and a family curse (that the family doesn’t really know the extent of). Unfortunately the family curse does come with a blessing for the family and all the people dependent upon them. After all, the sacrifice isn’t every year, or even every generation. This also begs the question, what would you do to defend a dead friend’s honor? What sacrifice would you make, what danger wo ...more
Jim
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Troy Rodgers
This book had SO much potential, it could quite literally have had me at "Hello." The setup revolving around the lost Karloff/Lugosi film is irresistible. The atmosphere is so thick it's practically a character, not unlike the first 4 chapters of Bram Stoker's Dracula.

The rest... is mind-numbing. My brain actually kept shutting itself off in self-defense, that's how bad it got.

Ramsey Campbell is a name I've heard bandied about for years as one of the best of the best when it comes to horror fic
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Colin Leslie
The arrival of Don D'auria (ex leisure books) at Samhain Publishing has seen the beginning of an exciting new line of interesting horror including several books by Ramsey Campbell. The combination of new writing and the re-release of some older titles will give a new generation easy access to Campbell's earlier work but how does it stand up in comparison to his more recent writing.

The plot of Ancient Images revolves around the discovery of a "lost" film starring Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. Wh
...more
Andy
This is a good read, it kept me interested until the very end and I was downright excited to see what would happen next. This is my second Campbell novel, I read "The Hungry Moon" back in March and I don't know why I took so long to get to another one. According to S. T. Joshi who's opinion I respect a great deal, this isn't even one of Campbell's better novels, I don't have enough reference to say, but I personally enjoyed this one as much or perhaps more than "The Hungry Moon."

I will say, I th
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Iain
I re-read this book again recently. It's under-rated and deserves a bigger audience. Campbell weaves together an ancient pagan mystery with the search for a missing Lugosi-Karloff film, the censorship of the horror genre and media hostility towards a convoy of travellers. It seems like a tall order to bring all this together but he does it very well. There are some terrifying instances, hinted at or directly shown, and the story would be enjoyed by fans of the Wicker Man.

Is there anything bad in
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Stewart Sternberg
There is so much wrong with this novel. Sorry, Ramsey. This is a heavy handed work. Mr. Campbell beats the reader over the head with obvious and predictable foreshadowing. He also does little to develop character and the presence of a group of religious stalwarts provides little thematic support other than to provide fodder for the monsters.

I was reminded of The King In Yellow with the idea that the film at the center of the story is a one which has led to disaster for everyone who has had cont
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Michele
Meh. Too many tropes crammed into a single story: sinister corporation, lost/suppressed/secret document (in this case a Karloff/Lugosi film), eerie scarecrows, ancient curse on family, the land that needs blood to flourish, the cursed object, and (possibly) werewolves. And in the end almost nothing actually happens other than lots of highway driving from one town to another. Would have worked a better as a short story, and with about 50% less stuff.
Margaret M.
Very good scary read - even though this was published 25 years ago, I was able to slide back into the era before cell phones, etc. I thought the ending a bit anticlimatic after so much feeling of foreboding. But it certainly allowed me to feel "spooked" - which a good horror story should!
Doug
Sep 30, 2014 Doug rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: weird
"Freedom of speech is not an excuse to give up moral choice, nothing is."

This is a quote from the back of Campbell's Ancient Images, where he is discussing, some 20+ years later, the writing of a book partially about the way horror was unfairly treated in 1980s (and prior decades) Britain but also largely devoid of sex and violence. More so the latter than the former. I say partially because the book also has

* a missing film,
* a nomadic cult roaming Britain, looking for a new home,
* bits about h
...more
Gary Taylor
Time constraints had resulted in my taking about a month to read this novel.It is testimony to the novel that it evoked a visual response in between my picking it up.
This may not be one of Ramsey Campbell's most atmospheric and unsettling novels,yet it is one of his most entertaining and visual.
Suzanne
I am so glad I do not have to drive anywhere tonight! I love Ramsey Campbell's "what's that hiding in the shadows?" horror. His stuff is just so organic and textured. He is one of the few authors I read that can make me actually smell something. I squealed aloud numerous times during this book. Spooky!
Marie Robinson
Ramsey is great at conjuring unsettling images and creating suspense, but it is too drawn out here, and I was left waiting for a dissapointing pay-off.
Tara Wowra
If I could give this book negative stars I would.
Randolph Carter
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrew
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Allana
Ancient Images is the first Ramsey Campbell story I have read and I was wondering how I would take to this well-known, British Horror author.

As it turned out, I found the book an enjoyable read. A little unchallenging, but nevertheless with an interesting plot line.

We follow the main character in her quest to discover an old horror film which was never released. She feels that in some way the film, or the mystery surrounding it, has been the cause of the death of her friend - the only man though
...more
James Brown
I must be missing something. I'm frankly astounded that this book's average rating his as high as it is. I found it for the most part predictable and repetitive. The foreshadowing is about as subtle as a sledgehammer. The relationships are superficial and unbelievable, as if created by aliens who have been watching us on television.

Pardon the mild spoiler, but I'll be vague, and at any rate the event I'm describing takes place very early in the novel. I'll just say this: the death of a pet is t
...more
Alyssa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Benjamin
A television film editor is set on the path of a mysterious lost film and finds an ancient blood rite that's about to come due on the peaceful lands of an ancient aristocratic family.

I picked up Ramsey Campbell's Ancient Images in 2001, when I lived in England, at a used book store. I'd heard of Campbell in relation to H. P. Lovecraft; instead of writing faux-New England stories, this Brit brought Lovecraftian tropes into the English countryside. But as you can see, I didn't shelf this in Lovecr
...more
Josh
Never before have I been let down by a novel's delivery as severely as I have been here. This novel is absolutely rife with cliché suspense and unimaginative plot devices.

At times I had to flip back to the front cover to assure myself that what I reading was indeed the product of a well respected author's hand. The superficial suspense created by the cat-and-mouse game between protagonist and persuer had me throwing the book against the wall in annoyance. You thought you saw something but it tur
...more
Alessandro Balestra
Graham, esperto nel recuperare pellicole rare e introvabili, muore tragicamente durante la ricerca di un vecchio film dell’orrore con Boris Karloff e Bela Lugosi. Sandy, in memoria dell’amico scomparso, decide di portare a termine le sue ricerche. Dopo una prima indagine scopre gli inquietanti retroscena del film e quanto la sua fama sia diventata, nell’arco dei decenni, alquanto sinistra. Mentre strane allucinazioni sembrano perseguitarla, Sandy giunge finalmente nel piccolo paese dove fu girat ...more
Robin Edman
I liked it for a while, then it got tedious and confusing, though the confusion was probably my fault because the tedium had me not paying very good attention. The, suddenly, it ended, and I was just so let down.
Mike
It took me a little while to get used to Campbell's understated prose, but as the story's gothic nature unfolds it becomes more effective. While I didn't empathise deeply with his lead protagonist I did find myself getting sucked in to her overall plight and she made a series of very convincing decisions.

The scenario really put me in mind of Thomas Tryon's Harvest Home, a boom I haven't read in twenty years but may very well revisit.
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John Ramsey Campbell is a British writer considered by a number of critics to be one of the great masters of horror fiction. T. E. D. Klein has written that "Campbell reigns supreme in the field today," while S. T. Joshi has said that "future generations will regard him as the leading horror writer of our generation, every bit the equal of Lovecraft or Blackwood."
More about Ramsey Campbell...
The Hungry Moon Cold Print Alone With the Horrors: The Great Short Fiction, 1961-1991 The Doll Who Ate His Mother The Darkest Part of the Woods

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“She walked Toby to Victoria Station and left him at the barrier. On her way into the underground she thought he’d followed her, but there was nobody to be seen behind her on the escalator that sailed downwards with a faint inconsolable squeal. She sat on a bench on the empty platform, the breaths of oncoming trains stirring the hairs on the back of her neck. She leafed through Graham’s notebook, but couldn’t concentrate; she found she had to keep glancing along the platform towards the tunnel. Some fault in the mechanism made the train doors reopen after she boarded, as if someone had leapt on at the last moment. The galloping rush of the wheels made her think of a hunt in the dark.” 1 likes
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