I'll be curious to hear what you think of the rest of the collection. I liked "The Bean-Nighe" quite a bit, but for me the book's high point is undoubtedly "Up, Like a Good Girl."
Very seconded. Of those I've read, can't think of one DKH story I didn't rate, but Up, Like a Good Girl has that extra something. Fair play to R. Chetwynd-Hayes for having the good taste to resurrect it.
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.
Post by charliegrenville on Jun 18, 2014 23:27:10 GMT
Not my fave, but an interesting and varied collection.
Standouts include LOVERS LEAP, SUITABLE APPLICANT, THE BEAN-NIGHE, THE TUNNEL and the incredible SAD ROAD TO THE SEA, all so different from each other yet unified by Pan and Van Thal's unique appetite for the macabre. The poem MY DEAR HOW DEAD YOU LOOK is as daft as its title might suggest, and could have really only surfaced in the late 60s (I half imagine 'Priscilla Marron', whoever she was, reading this out in some down at heel Soho coffee joint) but I couldn't have picked a better way to round the book off, almost like an aperitif. SAD ROAD was also, of course, a lyrical inspiration for the band Leaf Hound, as were THE EMISSARY and THE MAN WITH THE MOON IN HIM from earlier collections, alongside others I have yet to identify referenced in their songs 'Sawdust Caesar' 'Drowned My Life In Fear' 'Stagnant Pool' and 'Growers Of Mushroom' Don't worry, they're mates of mine, so I'll get to the bottom of it...
No 8 is also notable for further, similarly disturbing contributions from Rene Morris, Dulcie Gray, Basil Copper, Walter Winward and Martin Waddell, some rather horrid 'short shorts' (but 'oo wears 'em?) from AJG Rough, whoever he or she may be, in the form of PLAYTIME and SUGAR AND SPICE. At the tender age of eleven, these had exactly the effect on me they were meant to, and I couldn't have picked a better launch pad for my own literary career...
Oh, and all the Dot Haynes stories listed in this thread are superb, but my favourite never even appeared in a Pan collection: it is, of course, the utterly bone-chilling A SONG AT THE PARTY, from NEW TERRORS 2. Over to you, Ramsey...
"I need some help, I've erred."
"Yes, well, we've ALL 'eard, duckie. It's common knowledge."
Post by charliegrenville on Jul 6, 2014 8:20:34 GMT
Been digging out a couple of tales per book recently and giving them the once over, some old faves with the newly added benefit of adult hindsight, some I hadn't read before at all.
THE TUNNEL and THE COFFIN MAKERS were ones I remembered fondly from all those years ago, and I was pleased to see my appreciation hadn't dimmed. But new to me, after all these years, was THE BENEFACTOR- eeyuk!!! Not even a twist, just pure sadism of the kind that, in these revisionist days, would see its author Yewtreed out of work!!! But to be honest, there's a few of them in the series, right through to the 30th, and, in the Paniverse, there are no taboos anyway...
"I need some help, I've erred."
"Yes, well, we've ALL 'eard, duckie. It's common knowledge."
SAD ROAD was also, of course, a lyrical inspiration for the band Leaf Hound, as were THE EMISSARY and THE MAN WITH THE MOON IN HIM from earlier collections, alongside others I have yet to identify referenced in their songs 'Sawdust Caesar' 'Drowned My Life In Fear' 'Stagnant Pool' and 'Growers Of Mushroom' Don't worry, they're mates of mine, so I'll get to the bottom of it...
Hope you do, Chas. I'm not one for the dreaded FaceAche...er...Book, but idly googling Peter French flung up his FB page and under Books was.....The Pan Books Of Horror. Oh yes.
Raymond Harvey - The Tunnel: Night signalman George Wiggs arrives home unexpectedly to discover wife Veronica in bed with his friend Steve. He sneaks out unseen and returns to the box to plot his fiendish revenge. Two cups of drugged tea later and the lovers are bound hand and foot to the tracks. Dead grisly!
Following on from Chas Dickens' The Signal-man, at first glance not much has changed in approximately a hundred years ; George goes through much the same routine as Dickens' protagonist in actual work terms. The difference being George is married. However, his night shift hours mean that he doesn't see that much of his Mrs. and when he does she tends to give him the brush-off. Still, he has a handy pile of jazz/stroke/rhythm/art magazines locked away in his place of work, where he can gaze wistfully at charming, smiling, barely-clad ladies. It's that smiling that makes all the difference. An accident involving a goods (not passenger) train closes the line one evening, and George toddles off home, down the empty train tracks through a rather grim, rat-infested tunnel. He has high hopes of pleasantly surprising his wife, and perhaps capturing some of the early sensual days of their union, but is a bit surprised to find his friend Steve's motorbike outside his house - and his friend almost inside his wife. Rather than cause a scene, George quietly returns to his signal box, to think about his, his wife and his friend's future - or lack of it in the latter two cases. He returns home at the normal time (as if nothing had happened) and later on, invites his wife out to the box for a special announcement - Steve is to be there too. She's none too impressed, but obviously Steve's presence swings her attendance. Here come the mega-spoilers - George has laced the tea with various sleeping draughts, and announces that he's been promoted to a signal box up north. Veronica and Steve are suitably stunned, especially when George offers to go on his own, and as the drugs begin to work. Steve awakens first, naked and with arms and legs tied across the railway line deep in the dark depths of the tunnel. Veronica is in a similar state , feet almost touching those of Steve. George has a thing about seeing his friend's hands wandering about his wife's alabaster nudity earlier, hence the unusual bondage arrangements. The first train passes through, duly severing the couples' limbs, and leaving them in a pool of blood as the hungry rats advance. This morning, I was pondering what happens next over a cup of coffee with The Verve's Bitter-Sweet Symphony playing in my head and wishing I still smoked. Veronica has been reduced to a screaming bloody mess, and Steve unexpectedly becomes the romantic hero instead of the filthy adulterer, crawling on his bloodied stumps, ignoring the ravening rodents, to manoeuvre his mistress's neck across the cold steel, then laying his own head beside her, so that their agony, slow death and imminent rat banquet prospects are curtailed by sweet oblivion courtesy of the next express. Excuse me. I need a moment.
Gerald Kersh - Sad Road to the Sea: Thatcher the tailor is owed money by several of his customers but that's of no consequence to odious landlord Mr. Burke. He wants the rent paid up in full today otherwise Thatcher is out on the street. In a moment of panic Thatcher batters the horrible bastard and makes a break for it down to Southend. All he wants is to swim in the sea before the corpse is discovered and the police come hunting for him.
More of a crime and pursuit story than outright horror, but Thatcher's nightmare is one of number #8's highlight's and would have made the story worthy of inclusion in Ron Holmes Macabre Railway Stories alongside Raymond Harvey's The Tunnel.
A very poignant tale of a hapless man's descent into madness because of financial pressure, and making the wrong decisions. Dem's bang on with his crime and pursuit analysis, and also about Thatcher's nightmare. There is something peculiarly horrible about things starting to go wrong , and the more you try to sort things out, the worse it gets. Fate perhaps.
Gerald Kersh is a very interesting fellow, who led a very interesting life.I read Comrade Death in one of the M&S anthos, and that's pretty far from a trad horror tale. It was a struggle, but made you think. Sad Road To The Sea was more my kind of thing. Twists you inside though. Further to Chas's comments above I lucked onto a copy of the album Growers Of Mushroom by Leaf Hound. Have only navigated the first four tracks and it's a lot heavier than I was expecting. Track 2 is Sad Road To The Sea, but I couldn't find a lot to link the two, apart from the title. However, according to the sleeve notes (this is a 2005 reissue of a 1971 record) - "I was reading horror stories and I thought 'Leaf Hound' was a great name, as was 'Growers Of Mushroom'. Peter French 'Many of the of the song titles and the name of the band were taken from a book of stories by horror writer Hebert Van Thal' (sic).
Peter elaborates (from Psychedelic Baby Magazine) 'I thought of the name ‘Leaf Hound’, after I read a short horror story about a dog returning from the grave covered in mud and leaves so I penned the name ‘Leaf Hound’. The title ‘Growers of Mushroom’ was taken from another short horror story I had read about a woman who was slowly poisoning her man by cooking him deadly Toadstools, although the lyrics were more about having a hallucination.'