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Penny Dreadfuls: Sensational Tales of Terror

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  390 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Penny Dreadfuls: Sensational Tales of Terror is an anthology of twenty tales of horror and the supernatural published in the nineteenth century. In addition to works by Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, Wilkie Collins!, and other well-known writers, it features several sensationalized retellings of famous folk legends and accounts of notorious highwaymen. T ...more
Hardcover, 666 pages
Published January 28th 2015 by Fall River Classics (first published 2014)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Kirstin
SUCH. A. HARD. BOOK. TO. RATE.
I was really excited to recieve a copy of this book as a gift recently, because I was understandably under the impression that it was a collection of 19th century penny dreadfuls. In reality, it is a collection of 19th century gothic fiction; short fiction, as well as full blown novels/novellas. The desparity of the lengths of the pieces themselves was quite jarring actually; the shortest story in the book being only a few pages long, and the longest approximately 2
...more
Krisette Spangler
Nov 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I had a great time reading this collection of gothic horror stories. The last story in the book is a novel called 'The String of Pearls'. It was fantastically horrible. Imagine going into the barber for a shave and never coming out again. Where are all of the people disappearing to? If you don't read the whole book; I highly recommend reading 'The String of Pearls'. You'll never look at meat pies the same again. ...more
Jessica Worthington
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed these "tales of terror", especially "The String of Pearls". This book also consisted of Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which were both a great read. I also love that this book has a nice introduction about the history of penny dreadfuls; since, until I picked up this book, I had never heard of. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves short stories and horror. ...more
Kim
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finished the first story in this bundle of penny dreadfuls - Mary Shelley, Frankenstein.
I knew the story but never read the book. "For whilst I destroyed his hopes, I did not satisfy my own desires. They were forever ardent and craving; still I desired love and fellowship, and I was still spurned. Was there no injustice on this?" To read this story from the view of the monster makes this really hard to understand. They call him a monster while the people surrounding him made him a monster, not g
...more
Ankur
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
It was the perfect time of the month to read this book with Halloween just around the corner. While some of the stories in this book do not exactly fit in the category of "Penny Dreadfuls" they were nevertheless interesting to read as well. Also I came across some sensational short stories which were written by some of my favorite authors whom I always thought wrote full novels, so it was quite a surprise to see their small works as well. I'll write short reviews of each of the stories found in ...more
Caidyn (he/him/his)
This is such a diverse spread of classic horror. While they aren't really Penny Dreadfuls (except for the final story, The String of Pearls or Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street), they are good and creepy! A few well-known stories are in here -- Frankenstein, an Edgar Allan Poe short story, and Jekyll and Hyde -- but most are more obscure. I really loved that. While some stories were really boring, most were good and interesting! I'd definitely pick this book up again if I needed some ...more
Skjam!
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: horror and thriller fans
Recommended to Skjam! by: the cover
While the term “penny dreadfuls” proper belongs to a particular type of inexpensive newsprint periodical, as explained in the introduction to this volume, the twenty stories chosen here can all be described as lowbrow sensationalist literature written for those seeking thrills in their fiction.

Of these, Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley (1818 edition), The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, and “The Pit and the Pendulum” by Edgar Allen Poe ar
...more
Wendy
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful collection of short gothic horrorstories. It contains some classics like Frankenstein or Sweeney Todd, but also has some lesser known stories included. Some where more dreadful than others.
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
" Penny Dreadfuls were cheaply printed, inexpensive publications written to titillate the masses with shocking thrills and lurid horrors. Over time, "penny dreadful" became a catch-phrase for any story steeped in gothic horror that pushed the limits of what was acceptable in popular fiction." From the Dust Jacket

This is a collection of twenty short stories, some novellas, of gruesome and horrific stories of varying quality. Some, such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Edgar Allen Poe's The Pit
...more
Carly Nicholas
May 05, 2017 marked it as books-i-want-to-buy
Recommends it for: Horror fans, Fans of the authors
This book contains horror stories thatvwould have been a "penny dreadful" printed in chapters for a penny and "shilling shockers" which were similar. Unfortunately the original penny dreadfuls such as the original story about "spring-heeled Jack" is not included which is disappointing.

Frankenstein (or the modern prometheus) by Mary Shelley: So far the letters in the story as correspondence is boring to read, I hate that gothic horror is something long and drawn out to get to the point. Hopefully
...more
crystal
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: halloween-reads
I’m marking this as read even though I only read Frankenstein and Diary of a Madman as part of my Halloween reads. I plan on going back later and reading the other stories.

Frankenstein was a good read although at times I had trouble getting into it. Mostly because I felt bad for the monster. He just wanted to be loved!! 😭Frankenstein himself was frustrating. I was thinking of him as a dead-beat dad. You made this creature and you couldn’t even take care of him. It was nice at the end when Walton
...more
Kathryn
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
I started reading this book as my bedtime reading on October 23rd, 2019; last night I finished reading the book, and I very much enjoyed reading it.

This book contains two books, both great (Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, the 1818 Edition, and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson). Among the stories are "The Pit and the Pendulum" by Edgar Allan Poe, "The Dualitists; Or, The Death-Doom of the Double-Born" by Bram Stoker (a very good, horrible little story), "Lost in a
...more
Rudy Gutierrez
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
The old English in most of the stories took a moment to fully comprehend but it was fun taking a journey back in time and experiencing the literature of yesteryears. Overall a good read but not a quick one by any means. I actually put it down and read other books in between.
Patricia
Jan 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
While I found many of the stories to be on the slow read side, I absolutely loved the string of pearls story. It definitely made up for the earlier disappointment of the book.
Jazzy Lemon
This was my first Barnes & Noble book, I had £10 toward a book at Waterstones and picked up this one. It looks and smells delicious, the cover and pages are a delight to touch, and is chokka block with not only little-known stories, but the 1800s blockbusters, like Frankenstein, Jekyll and Hyde, and topped off with Sweeny Todd.

Well worth the money and a treasure for your bookshelf.
Helen
Nov 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Realized why they were called "dreadfuls" reading this collection of short stories and novels. I love 19th century fiction, and have no problem with wordiness and lack of character and plot development that were common before the modern trend of realism. Most of the stories had something intriguing about them, usually the unusual situations the characters found themselves in. Some of the stories read as ghost stories, meant to frighten while being read, but were then easily forgotten. The best w ...more
Trevor Woodhouse
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A great collection of stories, some were not the best but the others made up for it. Ranges from extremely gory to more implied violence. Somewhat overly wordy at times and hard to read what with the old writing style but very enjoyable if you like horror stories.
Rachel
Jun 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-physical
Technically, there are spoilers in here for Frankenstein and The String of Pearls; or Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet-street, but I'm not going to hide the review or use the spoiler tag, because who hasn't heard of either of those or have at least a vague understanding of the basic plot in either story.

This is a somewhat difficult book to review.

Some of material in this book was for the most part written quickly for inclusion in magazines or newspapers by people who were looking for a qu
...more
Samantha van Buuren
This book is a fantastic collection of gothic horror from the 1800's and just beautiful to behold.

I knew the book contained quality literature when I read the contents and found The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. This is a favourite classic of mine and was a joy to reread! I also found some incredible new stories that were creepy, disturbing and fantastic to read.

The Wehr-Wolf: A Legend of the Limousin by Richard Thomson is a wonderful example of the werewolf my
...more
Rebecca
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Readers will be spooked & unnerved when they experience the stories in “Penny Dreadfuls”.

Dzienmianowicz has complied 20 different Victorian era horror tales, including Frankenstein & Sweeney Todd, that all have something dark or sinister about them.

The detailed and informative introduction is very intriguing, and is an interesting way to get readers interested in the stories of the novel.

All of the stories use mood (like the gloomy atmosphere in Sweeney Todd), foreshadowing (like in Jekyll & Hyd
...more
Meganm922
(I read through the stories, omitting the stories I’ve read before and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde because I own that story separately. I’m only reviewing Sweeney Todd at this time.)

I read this for the 2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge for book that is also stage play or musical.

The String of Pearls was a horrific and entertaining tale of a gruesome barber who murdered his clients. I enjoyed the story in print, but it was nowhere near as amazing as the musical.

I thought the short s
...more
Ricky
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this collection primarily because of the language and sentence structure used at the time the stories were written. Almost all stories had something entertaining to offer. Most stories are quick. I figured the original 1813 Frankenstein, which opens the collection, would be the longest, but Sweeney Todd, a serial upon which the musical is based, closed out the book at something like 250 pages. I'd say that Sweeney was my favorite. ...more
Kirsten Simkiss
Aug 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
On the whole, this was read as a study in horror fiction more than anything. On the whole, it's really interesting to see how these stories made the genre of horror evolved. However, on the whole, I didn't really love the writing style in most of them. Some I was familiar with, while others I had never really heard of. As an educational reading exercise, it was very informative. But, for me, this book became a chore and really wasn't all that fun. ...more
Alex
Penny Dreadfuls are dreadful in many ways, yet they're still quite fun for quick little reads. This took me a while to get through because I was only reading one story or so when I felt like it instead of going through the whole thing at once. If you're looking for gripping reads, this wouldn't be it, but they are indeed fun little tails of horror. ...more
Donna Krebs
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
This is an interesting collection of horror stories from the 1800's. Of course, since these are older stories the pace is generally slower. It also contains Frankenstein, Jeckel and hyde, and a very old version of Sweeny Todd. There are so many differences between it and the modern version! Well worth the read even if only to realize how much writing styles have changed. Very creepy reading! ...more
Caleb Aarsand
Jan 28, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. My criticism of this book lies in the fact that 90% of the contents aren’t actually penny dreadful. This is a book containing two novels with a few short stories between them. Some stories were brilliant, and others couldn’t keep my attention. That said, it’s in interesting book to peruse.
Douglas Ogurek
Apr 30, 2020 rated it liked it
A massive collection of older horror stories including classics such as Frankenstein, The Pit and the Pendulum, and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Some stories were reasonably entertaining, while others were so antiquated that I had trouble following the story line. Readers used to be so much more patient.
Matt
Oct 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great book. I love the leather bound cover and gilt edged pages.
The tales inside are a mixed bag of well known classics and more obscure penny dreadful tales.
There’s some I’d never heard of but thoroughly enjoyed reading them.
They certainly saved the best for last with Sweeney Todd.
Definitely worth a read if you want a collection of original Victorian Penny Dreadfuls.
Chelsea (RobinBooks)
Most of these we're boring and not scary but I do realize the time period they were in. Realizing more and more that classics are not my cup of tea. The Executioner was 1 star and String of Pearls was 2 stars for me. Overall just not loving the stories but I do love this cover. ...more
Paul Roof
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great Collection of short stories, my Favorite is String of Pearls. This is a must read for anyone that enjoys Horror Short Stories.
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Sexy Books Club: Penny Dreadfuls 1 8 Aug 05, 2015 04:00PM  

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Born in 1957, Stefan Dziemianowicz works for the publisher Barnes & Noble as an editor.

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