Weird Terror Tales was a short-lived companion publication to Startling Mystery Stories and Magazine Of Horror which ran for just the three issues over 1969 and 1970 and, for once, I have a full run of something. The debut opens with the customary excellent editorial from Lowdnes - in this instance, he debates the difference between terror and horror - and there are the regular departments familiar from MOH and SMS. The stories themselves are a bizarre mix of the acknowledged classic, new fiction and and out-and-out vintage pulp madness, much of it reprinted from Strange Tales. As with SMS and MOH, I'll try and knock out some plot outlines at some later date, although if anyone else wants to jump in, please feel free. In case you're wondering, Eddy C. Bertin's The Whispering Thing is the same story known to many of us as The Whispering Horror, perhaps the finest story in Pan Horror # 9:
Weird Terror Tales #1 (Health Knowledge Inc. Winter, 1969)
Cover - Virgil Finlay The Editor's Page (On Terror vs. Horror)
Edmond Hamilton - Dead Legs Edward Bulwer-Lytton - The House And The Brain Edgar Allen Poe - MS Found In A Bottle H. P. Lovecraft - He Clark Ashton Smith - The Beast Of Averoigne Eddy C. Bertin - The Whispering Thing Nat Schachner & Arthur Zagat - The Dead-Alive
Weird Terror Tales #2 (Health Knowledge Inc. Summer, 1970)
Cover - Virgil Finlay The Editor's Page (On "Forbidden Knowledge")
Sewell Peaselee Wright - The Dead Walk Softly August Derleth - The Shadow On The Sky Dick Donely - The Laundromat Pearl Norton Swet - The Man Who Never Came Back Seabury Quinn - The Web Of Living Death
Weird Terror Tales #3 (Health Knowledge Inc. Fall, 1970)
Cover - Richard Schmand The Editor's Page (On Arkham House's Cthulhu Mythos Anthology)
Hugh B. Cave - Stragella Joseph McCord - The Girdle Henry S. Whitehead - The Trap G. Appelby Terrill - The Church Stove At Raebrudafisk Steffan B. Aletti - The Cellar Room H. Warner Munn - The Wheel
G. Appelby Terrill - The Church Stove At Raebrudafisk: Deliciously nasty: Czergova, 1913. Sixteen year old Djira, the village belle, is waylaid by oily Orl Surl. When she rejects his passionate advances he slits her throat and leaves her for the wolves to dispose of. Unbeknown to him, a small boy witnessed the crime and the men-folk eventually capture him, tying him to a stout pipe in the church while they inform the police. Enter Djira's father, a blind man, whose job it is to fire the stove ...
Hugh B. Cave - Stragella: A corpse-festooned lifeboat is adrift in the Indian Ocean. Miggs and Yancy, the only survivors of the tramp ship Cardigan are dying of thirst. Salvation seems at hand when they cross a fog-bound ship, The Golconda, but it proves to be derelict save for the skeletons of the crew ... untl nightfall, and the arrival of Stragella, a beautiful Serbian vampire, and her undead accomplices Papa Bocito and Serannis. Miggs is soon drained of his blood but Yancy survives thanks to his tattoo ...
H. Warner Munn - The Wheel: A companion piece to his Weird Tales/ Not At Night squirm-inducer The Chain. The American, Preece, is given a guided tour of Bohorquia's torture chamber, the centre piece of which is a customised treadmill suspended over a trough of bubbling pitch. Once you're on there, it's a case of keep walking, keep awake, as the guy operating the fiendish contraption has all these snazzy coloured levers he can pull to flick you over the side.
Mein host, who is clearly a loose cannon, relates the grim fate of three of his ancestors at the hands of the Inquisition and the campaign by generations of Bohorquia's to obliterate the families responsible from the face of the earth. Now there's only one person to be rid of and the revenge is complete. Rotten moment for Preece to realise who he's descended from ...
Munn capably handles the suspense and nihilistic ending is, to my mind at least, exactly spot on.
Joseph McCord - The Girdle: When Pelham puts on his belt he is transformed into a werewolf. He kills five German infantrymen by tearing out their throats. To be honest, this is a lesser Weird Tales/ Not At Night offering, not quite bonkers enough to be brilliant/ terrible.
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.