I'd give the novella "The Haunted Hotel" a 4/5 stars. It made me want to read more Collins in the future. The other stories in this collection are notI'd give the novella "The Haunted Hotel" a 4/5 stars. It made me want to read more Collins in the future. The other stories in this collection are nothing special, though. ...more
This is another anthology of spotty quality. They range from "eh..." to good. Sadly, some of the best stories I have read previously in better antholoThis is another anthology of spotty quality. They range from "eh..." to good. Sadly, some of the best stories I have read previously in better anthologies. The stories I liked best were:
Squire Toby's Will by J. Sheridan LeFanu is one of the author's best efforts. I love the story's message to respect the wishes of the dead. 9/10
The Valley of the Spiders by HG Wells is a creepy little story that would be most effective on readers with an unreasonable fear of spiders, such as myself. 7/10
Pickman's Model by HP Lovecraft is a story I probably don't need to go into too much. It's one of HPL's classics. 8/10
Bianca's Hands by Theodore Sturgeon is an absolute classic of weird horror. Very odd, and the description of the hands is effectively chilling. 9/10
The Girl with the Hungry Eyes by Fritz Leiber is a tale of an unconventional vampire. Quite original. 8/10
Sticks by Karl Edward Wagner is a nice little tale of ancient mystery and madness. I'm a sucker for that. 9/10
Sardonicus by Ray Russell is a classic pulpy tale of horror, also made into a movie I liked. 8/10
The Roaches by Thomas M. Disch is a nice little story of human spite made weirder by bugs. 7/10
The Doll by Joyce Carol Oates is one of those stories that gets creepier and sadder every time you read it. It's almost perfect. 10/10
The Crate by Stephen King is one I was surprised to like. I think I saw it filmed years ago in a movie, but the story is better. I love the ending. 7/10
Okay, so that's 10 stories I really liked, 5 of which I've read before.
I don't think anyone on goodreads has listed all the stories you get in this collection, so I'm going to go ahead and do that. In closing, I'd say this one is not too highly recommended. It may have suffered from having too many editors, and having to accommodate everyone's opinion and taste. That may have also affected the lack of "flow" to the stories. If you would like a good one, my favorite collections are put together by Marvin Kaye.
Hop Frog by Edgar Allan Poe Rappaccini's Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne Squire Toby's Will by J. Sheridan LeFanu The Squaw by Bram Stoker The Jolly Corner by Henry James Man Overboard! by Winston Churchill The Hand by Theodore Dreiser The Valley of the Spiders by HG Wells The Middle Toe of the Right Foot by Ambrose Bierce Pickman's Model by HP Lovecraft Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper by Robert Bloch The Screaming Laugh by Cornell Woolrich Bianca's Hands by Theodore Sturgeon The Girl with the Hungry Eyes by Fritz Leiber Come and Go Mad by Fredric Brown The Scarlet King by Evan Hunter Sticks by Karl Edward Wagner Sardonicus by Ray Russell A Teacher's Rewards by Robert Phillips The Roaches by Thomas M. Disch The Jam by Henry Slesar Black Wind by Bill Pronzini The Road to Mictlantecutli by Adobe James Passengers by Robert Silverberg The Explosives Expert by John Lutz Call First by Ramsey Campbell The Fly by Arthur Porges Namesake by Elizabeth Morton Camps by Jack Dann You Know Wille by Theodore R. Cogswell The Mindworm by CM Kornbluth Warm by Robert Sheckley Transfer by Barry N. Malzberg The Doll by Joyce Carol Oates If Damon Comes by Charles L. Grant The Oblong Room by Edward D. Hoch The Party by William F. Nolan The Crate by Stephen King...more
Ligotti is definitely a good writer. That being said, I did not enjoy reading this collection. I love gothic and classic horror style, I actually readLigotti is definitely a good writer. That being said, I did not enjoy reading this collection. I love gothic and classic horror style, I actually read those styles more than contemporary horror. Usually I love reading those for the suspense, atmosphere, and payoff, all of those more chilling than I find contemporary in-your-face horror to be. Ligotti does very well with the atmosphere, and sometimes with suspense, but there is no ultimate payoff.
Ligotti's stories are dense in description and feeling, favoring those over actual plot development. The saying "all dressed up and nowhere to go" comes to mind. In fact, I would say that most of these stories don't have much of a plot. They are more nihilistic slice-of-life monologues than stories in the familiar sense. That is fine for some people, but I get bored when there's not much actual story taking place. For instance, "The Red Tower" is ALL description. Nothing actually happens in it. The rather bloated language got to me at times, too. I took to skimming some of these stories so I could actually finish the book.
There are some pros here. Ligotti is a skilled creator of atmosphere. When he turns it on, his stories can get really weird, which is what many readers (including myself) want. The best weird stories in this collection, to me, are "The Clown Puppet" and "Gas Station Carnivals". That being said, I don't think I will go out of my way to acquire any more of his books. Maybe if I see one in a used book store one day I may pick it up. Maybe. ...more
This is a very good little collection of supernatural tales by a sometimes overlooked writer. Some of the very best classic tales I've read are here,This is a very good little collection of supernatural tales by a sometimes overlooked writer. Some of the very best classic tales I've read are here, "The Dead Smile" and "The Upper Berth". Other noteworthy tales included are the title story, "The Screaming Skull", and "Man Overboard!". I don't care too much for "The Doll's Ghost", it's a little bit too sickly-sweet.
In all, a recommended collection for readers of classic horror. I enjoyed it very much, and I'm glad I took the time to read more Crawford....more
Nothing much new, innovative, or even scary here. I can tell Bloch is a good writer and I will try not to judge his work based on this book. I forcedNothing much new, innovative, or even scary here. I can tell Bloch is a good writer and I will try not to judge his work based on this book. I forced myself to finish it because it's short, but I didn't pick it up for days at a time. I'd compare this most to Matheson's collection Button, Button: Uncanny Stories which I enjoyed probably an equal amount. Matheson is an amazing horror writer and can't be judged from that stinky collection!...more
This was my first crack at reading MR James, and I must say I really enjoyed it. Probably not much can be said about his writing that hasn't already bThis was my first crack at reading MR James, and I must say I really enjoyed it. Probably not much can be said about his writing that hasn't already been said, but I will give my impressions anyway.
James writes in a much more readable and direct way than some other writers of classic or gothic horror, for example LeFanu. The prose is still elaborate enough to be very satisfying to a reader of classic horror.
I am definitely interested in reading more MR James in the future. My favorite stories in this collection were 'Lost Hearts', 'The Treasure of Abbot Thomas', 'Mr Humphreys and his Inheritance', and 'The Ash-Tree' (because I hate spiders!)....more
One of the best single-author collections I've ever read, and a wonderful introduction to Clark Ashton Smith. CAS is simply one of the most talented wOne of the best single-author collections I've ever read, and a wonderful introduction to Clark Ashton Smith. CAS is simply one of the most talented writers I've had the pleasure of reading. His language is rich and decadent to read, a treat like fine chocolate. He melds genres wonderfully, in fact I cannot really describe his style or genre of writing except in list form. I cannot believe I just now started to read him. This book took me over a month to read simply because I didn't want it to be over!
All of this collection was great, a few of my favorite stories are "The Dark Eidolon", "The Isle of the Torturers", "The Seven Geases", and "The Monster of the Prophecy". I am definitely going to be grabbing up any and all CAS books I can find from now on! I recommend this collection to any CAS newbies, fans of horror, scifi, and fantasy, or anyone that enjoys a great short story....more
This is a hard book to rate, because really not much is wrong here. Most of these stories have something to do with the original Hellraiser movies orThis is a hard book to rate, because really not much is wrong here. Most of these stories have something to do with the original Hellraiser movies or the Hellbound Heart novella. I say most, a few have no discernible connection as far as I can see, or maybe I'm just dense. The only real problem that affected my enjoyment of this book was that the great majority of these stories were VERY similar. Person either knowingly or unknowingly summons Cenobites, torture and sexual perversity ensue. Sometimes the person becomes a Cenobite themselves. This theme is used in most of these stories to greater or lesser effect, depending on the skill of the writer. Some I have to acknowledge, were very imaginative. My favorites from this collection were:
"Prisoners of the Inferno" by Peter Atkins. Draws upon the idea of a movie being able to hurt the watcher. What would happen if what was onscreen wasn't just fantasy?
"The Cold" by Conrad Williams. If your true love didn't live in your time, would you still love each other? What if she was a murderer too?
"The Confessor's Tale" by Sarah Pinborough. A Cenobite origin story that reads like a dark folktale.
"The Collector" by Kelley Armstrong. A high-tech tale of Lemarchand's box.
"Our Lord of Quarters" by Simon Clark. Another tale of a Cenobite from times past, bargaining with a king.
"The Dark Materials Project" by Sarah Langan. An attempted scientific explanation for the darkness of humanity.
"Only the Blind Survive" by Yvonne Navarro. Another story that reads like a dark folktale, dealing with Native Americans this time.
This may seem like quite a few stories I enjoyed, so why 3 stars? Well, you'll notice that's less than half the stories in the book. The others I found either pointless or forgettable. It's definitely not a bad collection and I could recommend it to fans of Barker that don't mind some sex and violence mixed together. Hell, I don't really mind that. What I minded was the similarity of many stories started to grate on me after a while. I couldn't sit down and keep reading story after story without taking breaks with other books. I have to admit there may not be a huge amount of wiggle room when you need to stay in a theme, but some of these authors broke these preconceptions. Those very imaginative stories are worth reading this collection for....more
I'm going to finish reading this book another time. It has a nice folkloric feel to it, but some of the stories are very short and didn't compel me toI'm going to finish reading this book another time. It has a nice folkloric feel to it, but some of the stories are very short and didn't compel me to keep going. To be fair, though, not too much has kept my attention lately.
Of what I've read I'd say my favorite was Walk Like a Mountain, which oddly enough wasn't one of the 'scary' ones....more
I'm torn on rating this one. While it contains most of LeFanu's best stories, there are some major clunkers in here also. Most notably, 'The FortunesI'm torn on rating this one. While it contains most of LeFanu's best stories, there are some major clunkers in here also. Most notably, 'The Fortunes of Sir Robert Ardagh' has the exact same ending as the much better story 'The Haunted Baronet'. Stories like 'Ardagh' wouldn't interest any readers except the completionist ones. It's true that LeFanu is one of the masters of gothic horror stories. I'd recommend starting with the collection In a Glass Darkly if you're new to him. ...more