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Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,681 ratings  ·  59 reviews
A gripping, chilling collection of 47 stories and six poems, dating back to Shelley and Stevenson, but also including modern masters.
Hardcover, 616 pages
Published June 1st 1985 by Doubleday & Company, Inc.
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  1,681 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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Jack Tripper
Jul 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anthology, horror, weird

After owning this for several years, I decided to finally read the entirety of this doorstop, instead of just reading whatever story catches my eye at the moment. Dig that Edward Gorey cover art. Wish it would let me make it bigger, but oh well.

Full review to come.
H.M. Ada
Dec 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: horror aficionados
Shelves: read-horror
I savored these stories and poems, reading them over the course of several years, whenever it was late at night, and I was in the mood for some good horror.

The Professor's Teddy Bear, by Theodore Sturgeon, is possibly my favorite short story ever, and I have read it many times. The other stories are a sampling of masters of the genre and are a great way to discover these authors and their styles. Some are classics, but others are lesser known. They are not gory or edge-of-your-seat scary, but
Aug 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of macabre short stories and poems
Aug. 19, 2016
This is the latest collection I've begun dipping into at the public library in Harrisonburg, VA; and I'll be returning to it when I'm back there again next summer, barring anything unforeseen. The scope of the collection is much like that of Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural (which was probably one of editor Kaye's influences) --both supernatural works and tales of natural terrors. Here, though, the latter aren't separated out as sharply as they are in the earlier classic
John Adams
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural by Marvin Kaye

This book is billed as 'a collection of spine-chilling tales old and new' and it doesn't disappoint. This anthology of 53 short stories and a few poems is divided thematically into tales of fiends of creatures, lovers and other monsters, acts of god and other horrors, the beast within and ghosts and miscellaneous nightmares. There's over 650 pages of shivering, uncomfortable stories in this volume - no one ever accused Kaye of not giving
Sep 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful collection of short stories and novellas, both classic and modern. Some authors well known and others lesser known but deserving of a wider audience. It was quite by accident that I found this little gem in the library. It was just a quick glance of the title that attracted me, and although I didn't hold high expectations, it didn't disappoint. I was actually highly impressed with the selections.

Some of the best pieces include the Gothic novella, Carmilla, written by Dublin author
William Crawford
Jul 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The kind of stories which would best be read in a nightgown sipping brandy by a roaring fire. These stories avoid the gore and surprise aspect of fear, and dig at the core of your soul. These are the kinds of stories that plant little seeds of fear, where days later you'll still be ruminating about some line or image. An all-star cast of authors, but many not the ones you'd expect given the subject matter. Orson Scott Card, a 16 year old Tennessee Williams, Walt Whitman, Isaac Asimov, Robert ...more
Paula Cappa
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Because I am a reader and writer of horror fiction, when I found this anthology, I fell in love. Some stories are traditional supernatural but most are offbeat and by lesser known authors in this genre. "Bubnoff and the Devil" by Ivan Turgenev is a perfect read for a lonely night at home. Walt Whitman's first short story, "Death in the School Room" is a surprise since we don't know him to write this kind of horror. "Graveyard Shift" by Richard Matheson (about the Dark Mother) has the most ...more
Rebecca Vernon
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing. One of the best collections of supernatural literature I've read. Lots of obscure stories from famous authors.
Michael Hall
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A great collection of short stories that spans the time between classic horror literature and the almost modern day. Many of these come for well known authors, but most are from writers I've never heard of or read before -- although I think I should. Some of the stories are quick and barely enter into the realm of horror, some are witty in a very dark way, while others are deep and macabre. You will advance with an adventurous spirit in one story wanting to know what happens next, yet have to be ...more
Jaime Contreras
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
This collection starts off with classic tales by Bram Stoker, Ivan Turgenev, Robert Louis Stevenson, M. Lucie Chin, Mary Shelley and Edward Hoch. these tales while not scary are seminal classics. There are also great tales from Tanith Lee, Sheridan LeFanu, Orson Scott Card, Ray Russell, Richard Matheson, and Leonid Andreyev and then the collection begins to drag. Despite the talents of Dylan Thomas, Leonid Andreyev, Pierre Courtois, Jack London, Stephen Crane, Damon Runyan, and Tennessee ...more
This superb collection of tales of terror (which the editor, Marvin Kaye, takes pains to point out is distinct from "horror") includes classic and modern tales ranging from the 18th Century right up through its publication in 1985. Of the 53 short stories (and a few poems) in this volume, most were quite good, 15 were great, and a half-dozen were simply exceptional--far better than par for most short story collections.

Highly recommended reading for those chill October nights when the moon is
Susan Haines
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
After I dropped the book I was reading in the bathtub, I needed a replacement to read while it dried. I came upon this used book at my mom's library, not expecting much from it.

I was pleasantly surprised at the true old-fashioned nature of these stories, many of them written by classic authors. They remind me of the old black and white scary movies I used to watch as a kid.

Some of the best: "Sardonicus," "The Professor's Teddy Bear," The Hospice Moon Face," "Dracula's Guest," "The Bottle Imp,"
Oct 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the best anthology of "horror" stories that I know of, although a few of them are arguably fantasy; i.e., "Riddles in the Dark" which is Tolkien's original expression of the contest of whits between Gollum and Bilbo.

There really are no "bad stories." That said, a few of my favorites are the Bottle Imp by Stevenson, the Transformation by Shelley, Carmilla, by LeFanu, and the Christmas Banquet by Hawthorne. This is the book I pickup every year in October (which is when I tend to actually
Jim Mcclanahan
A large volume with multiple authors. Some clever and creepy tales. I mostly read stories by authors I already admire. So I included Theodore Sturgeon, Tanith Lee, Orson Scott Card, Isaac Asimov, A. Merritt, Ogden Nash, Ambrose Bierce, Robert Bloch, H. P. Lovecraft and J.R.R. Tolkien. They're all there and many more besides.
Diane Lynn
Oct 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
Picked this book up from a display at my local library. It is a collection of short stories, some by famous authors, some lesser known.
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My favorite collection of short horror stories! This has something for everyone! Vampires, evil teddy bears, gothic horror, fantasy! I also love it included the rewritten chapter in the hobbit!
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
An extensive collection of classic stories with diabolical creatures, ghostly presences, madness, evil deeds, tales of revenge and weird experiences.

The stories I preferred are the following ones:

The Bottle Imp - Robert Louis Stevenson - 1891
A bottle, containing an evil spirit that grant wishes, passes from hand to hand, bringing loads of miseries to its owners.

The Transformation - Mary Shelley - 1831
A proud and vain man who has squandered his fortune refuses to come to his senses and loses
Chris Laskey
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am always fascinated and interested in reading the not well known tale and this volume contains plenty. Read when first published back in the eighties - so time has further made many of the works more quaint than terror still most of the short stories are great reads. And since he managed to find an amazing amount of really short stories - you pass by an average one quickly. Though titled as Masterpieces they exist to a certain amount in Mr. Kayes head. Some have been selected not so much for ...more
Pamela Mukherjee
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
You may choose this from print book at a thrift store for around some 500/- and think about later whether it is the best buy you've ever constructed. This is one book you read yearly and still don't get exhausted. Altered by Marvin Kaye, "Showstoppers of Terror and the Supernatural" is a gathering of forty six short stories, one novella, and six poems. The supervisor has secured more than two hundred long stretches of loathsomeness writing. Something worth being thankful for about this ...more
Alex Andrasik
This is a great discovery! I'm going to read bits and pieces of it every Halloween for years to come. Perfect for those satisfying little frissons of weirdness and horror. The excised original first chapter of Bram Stoker's DRACULA that opens the collection is a standout, just a perfect distillation of ramping tension and unease, with some great descriptions of storm. The editor's brief introductions offer some great context to each piece, as well as audience-whetting details of what's to come.
Lynsey Walker
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A rare thing this one, a compendium where 90% of the stories therein are very bloody good.

This is deffo a must for any fan of creepy fiction, and although there was no blood or guts a few were fairly disturbing (tentacled monster babies anyone?) stories included along with classics like Carmilla.

Wonderful, truly wonderful
Karen G
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderfly unexpected mix of tales. Perfect for reading on a cold, rainy autumn day!
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fun collection of short stories of "fiends and creatures, lovers and other monsters, acts of god and other horrors, the beast within, and ghosts and miscellaneous nightmares."
Steven Perry
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Some unusual choices as well as the obligatory Poe and Lovecraft, but I really enjoyed Kaye's commentary on the stories and the biographical information about the authors.
Brian O'Connell
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, classics, weird
Excellent selection of classic horror and ghost stories, with some real shockers in there. Recommended.
Chelsea Detweiler
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lots of intriguing stories here!
Randi Kennedy
A solid collection of well known and obscure stories. Highly recommended for horror fans
Feb 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, horror
I read this in fits and starts over the past several years, usually around Halloween. Last year I decided to finish it around Christmas, thinking of the great tradition of spooky tales on Christmas Eve.

Masterpieces is a bit of a stretch. There were definitely some classics, like Goethe's "The Erl King" and Tolkien's "Riddles in the Dark" chapter of The Hobbit. But there were also many low-profile stories by literary greats like Jack London, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mary Shelley, and Walt Whitman.
The rockabilly werewolf from Mars
Very uneven anthology, with some great stories, and some that are unreadably bad. In the first category, we would find both classics like The Hospice and unexpected pieces like The Vengeance Of Nitocris (a Tennessee Williams story first published in Weird Tales); while in the second category (the bad ones), the stories include The Upturned Face (not horror) and that downright stupid Card story about the weird kid in the bathroom, which just reads like a bad (and I mean really bad) imitation of ...more
Feb 19, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK I can finally say I have finished it - and what a monster of a book it was. It was both challenging and fascinating - first of all, though I think I need to explain the book a bit more beyond the "blurb" on the website. The book really deals with terror - as the editor/author explains in his afterwards, horror is linked to revulsion either experienced up or witnessed by, where as terror has no such links (though it can be) and as such is "cleaner" and as a result more elemental and primal. To ...more
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MARVIN KAYE is the author of sixteen novels, including his Dickensian pastiche, The Last Christmas of Ebenezer Scrooge, now optioned to be made into a feature film, and his just-completed sequel to Frankenstein, as well as the terrifying Fantastique and Ghosts of Night and Morning; the SF cult classics, The Incredible Umbrella and (coauthored with Parke Godwin) The Masters of Solitude, and the ...more
“My nightmares never go away, and yet my lips are sealed to the world and especially to him.” 0 likes
“There are some sleeping dogs that should be left to lie; there are some questions that should not be asked.” 0 likes
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