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All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  733 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
The affair is a military wedding. What will begin, however, with the solemnity of marriage vows will end in the echoing screams of the damned - an ungodly spectacle of spilled blood and sobbing, throat-aching terror. There is a curse that grips the Baldwins from generation to generation, from horror to bloody horror, and that climaxes in a spine-chilling nightmare of black ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 15th 1986 by Tor Books (first published 1977)
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(showing 1-30)
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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Stephen King liked this book. I did not. That makes me sad.

America's premier novelist of terror. When he turns it on as he does here, nobody does it better.

*glares at Stephen King*

I just can't finish it. I tried. It has voodoo and snakes. Dang it. I just couldn't figure out which character was who and what the hell was happening. I did read over half the sucker before throwing in the towel.

I'm bored now.
Jun 21, 2012 Feliks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre-horror
There is no other horror novel quite like this one. Its notoriety and reputation--its esteem and admiration--are fully well-earned. It was conceived at the dawn of the horror-fiction revolution stirred awake by Stephen King; during that long 'lull' before the genre exploded and multi-millions began to be tossed around. Ambitious mass-market authors at that time, were not really throwing all their energies into this genre because it was considered a 'sleepy backwater'. A special-interest genre. I ...more
Jan 31, 2013 Char rated it really liked it
I read this e-book with my horror group at Shelfari.

This book is widely considered a classic by many hard-core horror fans. It features African voodoo, slavery, southern plantations, snakes, curses and a unique cast of characters. It is well written and the story is beautifully told. I recommend the STORY highly for any fan of old-school horror.

However, the formatting problems in this book seriously interfered with my enjoyment of the story. There were commas and periods out of place, character
Robert Beveridge
There are certain novels that are discovered early on by other novelists and talked about constantly. Some of the time, the public picks up on these and turns them, and their authors, into popular figures. Far more often, however, they are left in obscurity among the masses while achieving legendary status among the industry insiders. Anne Rivers Siddons' _The House Next Door_ is a prime example; Lee Smith's _Oral History_ is another. And there are many other examples, including this tome, which ...more
Dec 31, 2014 Chris rated it it was amazing
John Farris is a legend in the horror genre, but unfortunately unknown to newer readers. Considering he's credited as being an influence to Stephen King, that should be enough.

This novel follows two families, but largely the wealthy Southern Bradwins, as a horrific wedding day tragedy unfolds, and the expatriate British doctor who comes to take care of the surviving war hero son. Deadly paths converge amid suggestions of an ancient African horror that has survived to seek it's vengeance.

Dec 02, 2012 Addy rated it really liked it
Beautifully written and great story but didn't get the ending. I hate that, but what you gonna do? I'll give it 4 stars.
Aug 18, 2011 Sandy rated it really liked it
Having never read anything by John Farris, I stumbled upon his 1977 novel "All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By" after seeing David J. Schow's very laudatory remarks concerning the book in Jones & Newman's overview volume "Horror: 100 Best Books" (1988). In his essay, Schow calls it a "unique horror novel; the strongest single work yet produced by the field's most powerful individual voice," as well as "the first modern sexual horror novel yet written." "All Heads Turn" was hardly an early w ...more
Mar 19, 2013 Leslee rated it really liked it
This is a horror novel with some clout - mentioned both by Stephen King in Danse Macabre and again by Kim Newman and Stephen Jones in Horror: The 100 Best Books.

It's also a horror novel that was released over 30 years ago, but luckily has been re-released in ebook format and is now available on amazon for less than 5 dollars, which is a great price for this treasure of a horror novel that is a must read for anyone who considers themselves as a devotee of the horror genre.

All Heads Turn... is v
Matthew Bielawa
Jan 03, 2015 Matthew Bielawa rated it really liked it
John Farris weaves an intricate dark story that I just loved. The first third and last third have so much action, I was practically falling off the chair! It's quite an involved story with so many interesting characters spanning three continents. I have to admit that the middle third did throw me a bit, requiring me to read a little slower (I'm already a careful and slow paced reader) and repeating pages at a time. But I write this only for those who might feel bogged down and a little....dare I ...more
Nov 26, 2009 Kelly marked it as to-read
On the back of the book Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, Stephen King is quoted as saying "I haven't read such a relentlessly creepy family saga since John Farris's All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By." So I looked it up and added it to my TBR pile.
Feb 25, 2009 Gil rated it it was amazing
Well, I finished my "close" read of this amazing novel, and my one-word review is "Wow!"

There is a clarity to Farris's writing that I envy, a strong control that holds back the horror and then examines it clinically, without shying away from any of it.

I look forward to the straight-through read of the page proofs. My publisher client tells me I'll have another of Farris's to read in about four months. Great!
Ben Loory
Apr 05, 2015 Ben Loory rated it liked it
really strange and grandly ambitious southern gothic / val lewton-style horror. interesting amalgamation of characters and settings. great opening scene in the church. never actually scary, though-- and gets less scary as it goes. by the end it's like, yeah, okay, let's just kill this snake lady and get on with it.
Barrymore Tebbs
Jun 09, 2012 Barrymore Tebbs rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 05, 2013 N N rated it it was ok
Not my usual cup of tea, but the title was too baroque to pass up. The book is a good example of an American author floundering out of his depth. The first part, set in the US, is competent and establishes the right kind of southern gothic atmosphere. Then for some perverse reason (the plot does not demand it) the second part takes the action over to Britain and strips the author of all credibility. Characters start talking as if they were Hollywood Englishmen played by Ronald Colman or Dame May ...more
Aug 01, 2015 Bibliophile rated it liked it
Well this was different. A review would hardly do this 70's horror classic justice, so I'll just leave you with a quote from the first sex scene. If your first impulse is to retroactively nominate it for Bad Sex in Fiction Award, you should probably skip it. If you're squealing with delight, go ahead and read it. There's much more where that came from.

"Nhora swayed in the tree house of my manly trunk, eyes like caged deathbirds brightly tuning, her hair let down to drape my thighs, navel coming
Tero Kuittinen
Oct 19, 2013 Tero Kuittinen rated it it was amazing
Sizzling voodoo horror from the Seventies - one of those pre-King novels that have become largely forgotten. One fascinating thing about this book is that it shows what horror was before it became formulaic during the Eighties. The structure and character development are interesting and somewhat odd, the atmosphere of the book is unique.

"All Head Turn..." has one obvious structural problem - the second half cannot sustain the heady pace of the first one. But the quality of the writing sustains
Dec 29, 2008 Sidney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By is a horror classic and like the best horror tales it immerses the reader in its world, a Southern plantation where a proud Southern family is plagued by a voodoo curse. The opening scene as a military wedding is disrupted by madness is only the beginning for a great, chilling experience.
Jun 29, 2010 Charles rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Good book. An ambitious book. Beautifully written. Gory in places. There were a few moments when I was confused about the turn of events but for the most part I sailed through it easily enough. The ending is right on track for the rest of the story.
Nov 18, 2014 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Being a long-time fan of both the southern gothic and horror genres, I was immediately drawn to John Farris' All Heads Turn, not only for its strangely poetic and mysterious title, but also for themes of voodoo (something that has interested me for a long time) and black magic. Unfortunately, as many of you are probably aware of, this particular novel is VERY difficult to acquire in print. Online prices for the book border on ridiculousness. Instead, I took to searching thrift stores high and l ...more
Tobin Elliott

I tried. I really tried on this one. I'm not sure what's stopping me from going any farther than 146 pages. The writing is above-grade, if a little overly wordy and descriptive. The characters and dialogue are done well.

But to me, it just feels like an author that's done with horror, and trying to stick a bit of it in, enough that the publisher can sell it as a horror novel, when it's really much more of a historical drama.

Even then, normally I could deal with that and carry on. But I just d
Jeff Francis
Feb 19, 2015 Jeff Francis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fiction
Having such an esoteric reading quirk as out-of-print horror novels from the ‘70s/’80s is a hit-or-miss proposition. Most aren’t that bad, but are still quite lowbrow, their joys serving as a type of literary comfort food. Then some are just God-awful, coming off as if they were written by a high-schooler during study hall.

But there is another end of the spectrum: those real finds that surprise you with their quality. Ones that aren’t merely good “horror” novels but simply good novels, period.

Aug 02, 2010 Martha rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Patient people who love voodoo stories
Shelves: horror
This came highly recommended from a horror group I'm in. I must be a bit jaded, because I didn't actually find this book shocking in the least. And maybe I'm just spoiled by reading so much rich language by classic horror writers that modern horror writers fail to impress me.
Whatever reason, I had a hard time forcing myself through this book. It just didn't grip and pull me in at any point. The story itself isn't bad, but I felt that the first half of the book (aside from the very beginning) was
Dennis Anthony
Mar 25, 2015 Dennis Anthony rated it really liked it
This man is a wonderful writer. I believe he is underappreciated and too little read these days. This book is gothic and dark and strange and fascinating to behold. Having said that, I would take seriously all the other comments written about it. This will not be to everyone's taste. I'm not a big voodoo fan and I think some reviewers make too much of that aspect of this book. It's really about families and their sins, and voodoo is just the brush that paints the picture.

The "doctor," Jackson,
Jun 15, 2015 Nick rated it really liked it
That "All Heads Turn" was published by Playboy is proof of mainstream publishers' squeamishness and literary publishers' elitism. Farris has written a compelling, alternately lyrical and disturbing novel with believable characters and some of the most impressive plotting I've seen in horror. Voodoo, unwittingly imported on the previous century's slave ships, is real, and Dr. Jackson Holley, an Englishman and thus outsider, watches it destroy an aristocratic southern family from within. There's a ...more
Apr 07, 2011 Julai rated it really liked it
Voodoo snake goddess sexy stuff all the way from Africa to a plantation named "Dasharoons." I love it when people feel the need to name their home, especially some dumb name like this that sounds like a brand of cookies from the 1930s. This book was creepy, dirty, and violent. IN short, I loved it.
Ralph Carlson
Oct 27, 2014 Ralph Carlson rated it it was amazing
Read this book when it was first published and while I liked it, thought it was just okay. This second read I found was fantastic. It was a great read which I loved a lot. I have found this quite a few times with books the second time of reading them.
May 13, 2015 Bill rated it it was amazing
This is an awesome southern gothic horror book. The reading is a little cumbersome and it rambles a little but very worth it.
A.M. Dellamonica
Jun 17, 2014 A.M. Dellamonica rated it really liked it
The opening of this novel may be one of the best things I've ever read--creepy, suspenseful, unexpected and tragic--but all that potential never quite comes to a satisfying conclusion.
Jan 03, 2017 Marian rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror-weird
True weird fiction should never be fully explained.

Another time, another place this book should've been season 2 of True Detectives. It's got Southern Gothic, decaying grandeur, racial/socio-economic division, and family secrets. There are no heroes, but the villains aren't all evil either. They're unknowing pawns on both sides.

It's an easy read. Definitely not for kids or the weak stomached !

Jan 06, 2015 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-horror
All Heads Turn When The Hunt Goes By has not only a great title, but also a story that grabs you and pulls you along. A member of the black magic genre, it is a continuation of Rider Haggard’s 1887 novel She, in which Ayesha, an ancient white goddess in Africa with supernatural powers, dies but, like General Macarthur, promises to return. Now shheeee’s baaaacccckkk! And she's pissed!!

This 1978 novel starts in June of 1942 when Captain Charles (“Champ”) Bradwin attends the wedding of his brother,
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American writer and screenwriter of both adaptations of his own books (e.g. 'The Fury'), of the works of others (such as Alfred Bester's 'The Demolished Man') and original scripts. In 1973 he wrote and directed the film 'Dear Dead Delilah'. He has had several plays produced off-Broadway, and also paints and writes poetry. At various times he has made his home in New York, Southern California and P ...more
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