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The First Pan Book Of Horror Stories
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The First Pan Book Of Horror Stories (Pan Book of Horror Stories #1)

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  108 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Specially selected for Pan, here are 22 terrifying tales of horror by such famous authors as Peter Fleming, C.S. Forester, Bram Stoker, Angus Wilson, Noel Langley, Jack Finney and L.P. Hartley.
Paperback, Twenty-fourth Printing, 317 pages
Published 1980 by Pan Books Limited (first published 1959)
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Aug 04, 2013 Paul rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like their tales with liberal doses of outrageous camp
From 1958 to 1988 The Pan Book of Horror Stories was the annual British gorefest. It started out here, the very first of the 30, with a most unscary black cat on the cover, and with some kind of literary aspirations. Within a few years it fell, nay, it swandived, into the filthiest of sewers, it became caked with disgust and it revelled in relentless cruelty.


There seem to be hardly any reviews of this nasty stuff, so here I boldly go. The favourites from this first rather feeble volume are :...more
The First Pan Book of Horror Stories has a lot to answer for. It was the first horror anthology I ever read, some fourteen years ago now, I guess. I was hooked from the start and I went back and re-read it straight away. It inspired me to seek out the sequels, along with a whole many other anthologies besides, so it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Looking back at it now, I see that it’s a bit of a varied collection, and some of the stories are weak. But the ones that stay with you a...more
One of my early exposures to horror fiction and it hooked me. This is the first place I found "Contents of the Dead Man's pocket" by Jack Finney and I thought it was just the perfect horror storie. There's a lot of good stuff here though, including "Flies" and others.
Petra Xtra Crunchy
Growing up I never remember my mother reading anything but one of this endless (more than 30 vol.) series. So I read them too. Good bedtime reading if you like this sort of thing.
This is a republish of an anthology, first published in 1959. I had overlooked this fact at first, so some of the stories I was annoyed with for not being original, may actually have been so back in the day ;) But overall this wasn't a great collection. The first half was very unsurprising to any horror buff, the second had some nice stories: Oh mirror mirror, A serenade to baboons, The squab. But for the rest I didn't find any good story flow. I would probably have liked this when I was younger...more
Dominique Lamssies
I read the American edition of this book, which has all the same stories in it.

I give Van Thal credit because the book contains at least one horror story for every kind of taste you could have when it comes to horror. There's psychological, ghosts, slasher, animals, cosmic and everything in between. If you ever want to break out of your comfort zone within horror and try a new subgenre, this is the way to go because all the stories are high quality.

But if you are very set in your ways when it co...more
Sarah Sammis
I read this book in Jr. High. It has stories by Nigel Kneale, Isaac Asimov, and others.
A confession: I will basically read any anthology of ghostly or horrible or weird stories that I find in front of me as long as it contains at least one or two works by familiar authors which I haven’t read before. I picked up this on a whim from Foyles and it’s actually a reissue of the 1959 edition of what would become the longest running horror anthology in the world. Much as I expected, the stories are pretty much split evenly between really interesting and really bad.

I suppose what they ha...more
Aussiescribbler Aussiescribbler
Although I only read a few volumes at that time, the Pan Books of Horror Stories made a big impact on me in my adolescence. For a short time I loved these gruesome tales with their shocking twist endings. Around the same time I ate up most of the Edgar Allan Poe stories. A little later I went off horror for a while because I was suffering from OCD and depression and had too many horrible ideas already in my head to want to add any more. It would be a number of years before my taste for horror re...more
Let me tell you of a dirty little secret, reissued from the UK’s pulp past. This book is a glorious reissue of the first in a series of thirty horror books that delimited and defined many a British horror reader for over twenty-five years.

On its original issue it was seen as something garish and unpleasant, its horrific tales too gruesome and unsettling for many. When you ask many of the present day genre writers – Stephen Jones, Clive Barker, Mark Morris, Phillip Pullman – it is this series the...more
Jonas Wilmann
(2,5 stars) This is the first one in the Pan series, first released in 1959 and re-released in 2010. It's a pretty uneven collection of horror stories. There are a few brilliant ones (Submerged by A.L. Barker, The Squaw by Bram Stoker and Flies by Anthony Vercoe), some in between ones and a lot of really awful ones! These latter are flawed foremost by predictability and an almost mind numbing text book approach to horror. There's, obviously, a reason why many of the names in this collection are...more
Great collection of well written creepy and dark short stories. A few with a sharp sinister edge, some macabre. No worries, you seasoned horrors fans will deem this child's play. Every light in the house won't need to be turned on. Entertaining but by no means 'horror' heavy. Great stories to read by a camp fire while deep in the woods.
Yeah, I understand that 6 decades ago people were easier to scare, but I certainly wouldn't describe ANY of the stories in this anthology as "spine chilling".

Some were definitely thought provoking - The Contents Of The Dead Mans Pockets especially so - but none of them really even gave me the creeps, let alone frightened me.

I enjoyed reading them nonetheless and would probably read other volumes of this series, albeit with lower expectations.
P.S. Gifford
I started reading this series when i was around eleven or twelve. They shocked the hell out of me...and I loved it. As the series continued the shock factor seemed to be increased. Whereas some of the stories seem included for gore/shock value alone some of the most memorable stories i have ever read are in this series.
A great collection of old horror stories that all end with fantastic twists. I found myself thinking 'this isn't horror' in places but it's different to the horror I normally read. It's extravagant and often gory but most of the stories sent a chill running down my spine and made me question reality.
Jeannie Sloan
I received this book as a gift and I am very glad my friend sent it to me.The stories,for the most park,are dark and horrific.
I understand that this is the first book in a series of many Pan books.I will be reading many more because this one was so good.
Bryony Allen
The first 'horror' books I ever read during my youth. A great set of creepy stories in this reissue of the 1959 original. Definitely more good than dud stories to be found here. If you like spooky reading give it a go.
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Bertie Maurice van Thal (1904-1983), known as Herbert van Thal, was a British bookseller, publisher, agent, biographer, and anthologist.
More about Herbert van Thal...
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