Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Classic Tales of Horror” as Want to Read:
Classic Tales of Horror
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Classic Tales of Horror

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  577 ratings  ·  72 reviews
Not for those of a nervous disposition, this chilling collection contains some of Edgar Allan Poe's best known stories, including The Fall of the House of Usher and The Masque of the Red Death.

Themes of guilt, fear and revenge abound as the master of gothic horror transports readers into mysterious worlds, carries them on dangerous sea voyages, and investigates gruesome mu
Paperback, 238 pages
Published 2016 by Arcturus Publishing Limited (first published January 1st 1964)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Classic Tales of Horror, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Classic Tales of Horror

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  577 ratings  ·  72 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Classic Tales of Horror
Ashley Daviau
Oct 23, 2017 rated it liked it
I read a couple Poe stories in high school and college as I'm sure most everyone has but this is the first time I really delve into his work. I'm sad to say that I am a bit disappointed. I know this collection is just a fraction of his complete works and I'm sure there are many gems that weren't in this particular collection.

I only really enjoyed three stories from this one which normally would merit less than three stars. But the three stories that I did enjoy, I REALLY enjoyed. Actually, I di
This collection is a total mixed bag.

Some of these stories are A-Grade horror (eg. The Black Cat, The Masque of the Red Death), some are ridiculously terrible (The Imp of the Perverse), others just leave you scratching your head wondering what just happened, or what the point was (The Man of the Crowd, Some Words with a Mummy) and one had me in stitches from its absurdity (Never Bet the Devil Your Head). The first few and the last few didn't really rate with me (there's only so many tales of 'be
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, classic
A great collection of Edgar Allen Poe short stories. It totally got me in the spooky mood for October. Poe can be hard to get through sometimes, but I still enjoyed reading it. Poe was a pioneer of horror and psychological thriller, and it shows in his works. Last time I read Poe was in grammar school/high school, so I forgot how good he is at horror. My top 5 stories in this book are:
1. A Tell Tale Heart (obviously)
2. The Pit and the Pendulum
3. Berenice
4. The Black Cat
5. The Assignation (The V
Evan Harte
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
One of the most boring, depressing, and laborious chores I've ever forced myself to complete.

Poe's use of excessive amounts of language spanning multiple paragraphs and sometimes multiple pages when the same can be said in a few sentences makes me sick to my brain.

Maybe I "just don't get it". Or maybe I do and just don't care.
Cori Reed
Oct 19, 2017 rated it liked it
To be honest, I expected to like this a lot more than I did. By the end I just wanted the stories to stop. There are 21 stories in this collection and I enjoyed maybe half. Poe is very flowery. I think, in the future, if I look for more of his work I won't devour almost two dozen stories in three days. Poe might be a one story here and there kind of guy for me. ...more
Daniel Carpio
Nov 04, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club, classics
I have never read soooo many words and understood so little
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
a horror story with a happy ending? shouldn't exist my friend ...more
May 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: good-riddance
I finally got around to reading Poe. I felt somehow obligated because he's one of the most famous classic authors of America. Now that I'm no longer a student, I find myself reading fewer classics...maybe due to a deficiency in motivation or attention span?

I have two complaints about this edition. The first I can blame on the publisher. Poe has a tendency to throw in Latin, French, and Greek words (especially using passages as epigraphs), and no translation is provided. This is infuriating becau
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
his collection of twenty six tales of horror range from the macabre to the terrifying and all carry the characteristic trademark of Edgar Allan Poe doing what he does best, that is to entertain and disturb in equal measure.

It took me a little while to read this edition as the font is quite small and needs some concentration, however, what always comes across is the skillful level of writing, and whilst some of the stories didn't appeal, others most certainly did and left me with a feeling of dis
Sarah Howard
Oct 27, 2020 rated it did not like it
Now that I'm somewhat more mature than I was in middle school (and less adverse to to the spooky and macabre), I'd hoped to discover some sort of love for Poe in this collection of short stories. Unfortunately, I found myself in a month-long reading slump because reading this book made me so tired. It almost seems like there was a cultural disconnect. I'd reach the end of each story and found that no matter how many summaries or how much reflection I did, I just didn't "get" it. There were a lot ...more
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's been a long time since I've read any Poe stories, and I'm sure I've never enjoyed them more. They're dense and erudite, but not too archaic, and the abyssal depths of despair and madness, explored here with vigor, are as compelling now as ever. Not all of the stories are masterpieces, but I'd list Ligeia, Masque of the Red Death, and The Pit and the Pendulum as favorites. The Imp of the Perverse deserves special mention for its amazing title, and for artfully describing Freud's "Death Drive ...more
Madison Thorburn
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I find Gothic horror hard to be weirded out by due to its superfluous language
Jun 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, owned, collection
It only took me 379 days to read this damn book, but I did it.

The qualifier here is that I actually just stopped reading it for several months at a time, multiple times. This isn't because it's bad (I actually really enjoyed it), it's just dense and there were often other things I wanted to read instead. Also, the prose itself is so entrancing that it made me sleepy every time I read it.

That being said, I love EAP. I don't think I'd ever read anything of his that wasn't The Tell-Tale Heart or Th
Jan 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Long, tough read. Some of the more classic tales (The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Hop Frog) were magnificent but the majority of the others were hard to follow and understand in Poe's old-timey dialect. I'm definitely up to give this a re-read in the future.

Advice for anyone picking this up for the first time: It's a read best saved for when you can give it your full attention and focus (ie. not on the rush hour bus to work).
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I like Poe's writing but his longer stories usually take at least half the story before they feel like they have become actual horror stories. ...more
Taylor Carson
Jul 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Some of his stories are better than others, but this is a great collection of Edgar Allen Poe.
My favorite is “The Tell-Tale Heart”.
Kirill Abbakumov
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
A reading full of contrasts. It was a definite slog given Poe's Victorian verbose writing that is hard to follow, and which most of the time I just didn't and skimmed some parts or didn't pay attention to. Quite a bit of obsolete vocabulary I had to actually look up in the dictionary.

Being a collection of "short stories" or rather "tales" some stories were gripping and others were obnoxious and absurd. A real mixed bag as each story speaks differently to each reader.

I found most of the stories
Tales of Horror

Metzengerstein ★★★
MS Found in a Bottle ★★
Berenice ★★★★
Morella ★★★
Ligeia ★★
The Devil in the Belfry ★★★★
The Fall of the House of Usher ★★★
William Wilson ★★★
The Man of the Crowd ★★★
The Murders in the Rue Morgue ★★★★
A Descent into the Maelström ★★★
Never Bet the Devil Your Head ★★★
Eleonora ★★★
The Masque of the Red Death ★★★★
The Tell-Tale Heart ★★★★
The Black Cat ★★★★
The Pit and the Pendulum ★★★
A Tale of the Ragged Mountains ★★★
The Premature Burial ★★★★
The Oblong Box ★★★
The Purloined Let
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, horror
Oh god. I did it. I read the whole damn thing and have learned that Poe probably isn't for me. He rambles. He rambles about the most inane things and it drives me crazy. I still have love for him, the Raven is one of my favorite pieces of literature; but good god, your tangents drive me insane! Still. I salute you, good sir. Well done. Well done. ...more
Nov 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Poe likes to talk about mental/physical illness, drinking, mean dudes and tragic dead wives. Wonder why...
Liked The Cask of Amontillado, The Red Death, The Black Cat(animal abuse warning) and The Tell Tale Heart. The Raven wasn't in this book though....
Feb 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I feel like the first ~ half of the short stories were all pretty boring and sleep-inducing, which made me not want to pick this up as much, but then the last ~ half or so was absolutely amazing? That was a really strange choice of the publisher to arrange 'em like that. Oh well. 3.5-ish. ...more
Nov 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Before I start my review, I've got to admit that I was never an Edgar Allan Poe fan. I usually do not pick up works by American classic authors, and whenever I do, I rarely enjoy them. Obviously, I got to study Poe when I was in high school. We got to read 'The Black Cat' that became a favourite of mine and a few short horror stories that I don't even remember.

That said, I didn't exactly hate my time with Poe. I did find some new favourites, but most of the stories in my collection made for dull
Feb 07, 2021 rated it did not like it
Right, this is almost a 'Did not finish', for I sort of did not finish it. I have a few more stories to go through (yes, 'go through' rather than, in actual fact, 'read') but I have seen enough and I can confidently say there will be no pleasant surprises among the tales I have skipped. Not to mention that I am not getting any of that time back so I deserve to, at the very least, rant!

The stories that stood out were 'The Oblong Box', 'The Tell-Tale Heart' and Hop - Frog'. Why did they stand out
Marah Merai
Jun 17, 2020 rated it liked it
I can definitely see why Poe is regarded as a masterful and influential author for Gothic fiction as a genre. He also really had a thing for themes of self-destruction, alcoholism, and beloveds succumbing to mysterious disease. (Wonder why...!)

I wanted to like this more than I did. The publisher of this edition definitely did Poe dirty by not providing any translations for the Latin, Greek, and Italian words he likes to sprinkle in and by arranging the stories pretty much from worst to best.

Amy Braun
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's been a long time since I read anything by Poe and couldn't pass up the deal on this book, especially in time for Halloween. Having read through this collection, I know it's good and part of the reason I bought it was to experience an author who's so influential and acclaimed. That said, I don't think all of these are his best. Certainly, there's famous stories like "THE BLACK CAT" and my personal favourite, "THE TELLTALE HEART," but some of the other stories just seemed to drag on for long ...more
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
It was good to re-connect with some old favorites--e.g., "The Cask of Amontillado" and "The Masque of the Red Death". There are some other lesser-knowns here that may not connect well with the modern audience, but Poe's use of language and imagery is as usual the prototype for later narratives in the genre. There is here his common theme of anguish and mental illness, as well as illness in general. He was a weird dude, but he was truly talented, and I enjoyed sitting back and reflecting on every ...more
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Rereading this collection is comforting and also frightening! I used to think The Masque of the Red Death was my favourite but it feels eerily apt for our time now. So The Fall of the House of Usher might be my new favourite! Also, The Black Cat is still gruesome and horrible and makes me want to cuddle my cat. You can see Poe's common themes when you read his stories in succession and he has a way of writing about death in a way that is entirely unique. He's a master and remains so.

book blog |
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
I just finished reading 'Classic Tales of Horror' by Edgar Allen Poe and it is basically just a collection of his short stories. They weren't scary (I'm terrified of horror so that's about it) and it was hard to understand the writing (which was understandable considering it was from a century or two ago). Some of the stories were creepy but overall I thought the book was boring. If you're into classic literature though, go for it, cause some of the writing was extraordinary. 2.5/5 ...more
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, short-story-sffh
An entertaining collection of short stories by Edgar Allen Poe.

1. Metzengerstein
2. The Assignation
3. Berenice
4. Morella
5. King Pest
6. Shadow: A Parable
7. Ligeia
8. The Fall of the House of Usher
9. William Wilson
10. The Man of the Crowd
11. The Oval Portrait
12. The Masque of the Red Death
13. The Pit and the Pendulum
14. The Tell-Tale Heart
15. The Black Cat
16. The Premature Burial
17. The Oblong Box
18. The Imp of the Perverse
19. The Cask of Amontillado
20. Hop-Frog
Victoria Frost
In my personal opinion, I am not 100% sure if I enjoyed all of these Poe tales within this particular book. I have read Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde and other authors of the same time - I found them very vivid and interesting. However, with Poe's tales, I did not have the same enthusiasm that I would have otherwise enjoyed. ...more
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Lovecraft Compendium
  • How We Weep and Laugh at the Same Thing
  • The Great Winglebury Duel
  • A Terrible Beauty Is Born
  • Alone on the Beach at Night
  • Forbidden Colors
  • The Whisperer in Darkness: Collected Stories Volume 1
  • The Secret Laboratory Journals of Dr. Victor Frankenstein
  • Death On The Ice: The Great Newfoundland Sealing Disaster Of 1914
  • Paved with Good Intentions: A Demon's Road Map to Your Soul
  • Arhitectura valurilor
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Strange Tales
  • The Return of Sherlock Holmes / His Last Bow (Collector's Library)
  • Sfârșitul Ceaușeștilor. Să mori împușcat ca un animal sălbatic
  • Două eseuri despre paradis
  • Note Din Secolul Kitsch
See similar books…
The name Poe brings to mind images of murderers and madmen, premature burials, and mysterious women who return from the dead. His works have been in print since 1827 and include such literary classics as The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, and The Fall of the House of Usher. This versatile writer’s oeuvre includes short stories, poetry, a novel, a textbook, a book of scientific theory, and hundreds of ...more

Related Articles

"Horror fiction has traditionally dealt in taboo.… It makes monsters of household pets and begs our affection for psychos. It...
578 likes · 765 comments