Don Congdon (ed.) - Tales Of Love And Horror (Ballantine, 1961)
Twelve stories of the thin line between love and hate
Richard Matheson - No Such Thing as a Vampire Jack Finney - Love Letter Davis Grubb - Horsehair Trunk Roderick MacLeish - Lucia's Kiss Charles Mergendahl - Sign of Scorpio Helen R. Hull - Clay Shuttered Doors William Sansom - Various Temptations May Sinclair - Nature of Evidence Evelyn Waugh - Tactical Exercise Ray Bradbury - The Illustrated Woman Robert Graves - The Shout John Collier - Not Far Away, Not Long Ago
Helen R. Hull - Clay Shuttered Doors: Thalia dies in a car accident but is brought back to a form of life by her selfish husband, Mr. Winchester. She withers away, her every day a struggle to assert control over her fading body. "I can never get in again! Never! The black agony of fighting back!" The grim, underplayed finale is superbly handled.
William Sansom - Various Temptations: Ronald Raikes, 31, is wanted for questioning in connection with the Victoria murders. Four London prostitutes have been strangled in a week and the known sex-offender has gone to ground. On impulse, he climbs a ladder and climbs in the open bedroom window of Clara, a plain and lonely woman who’s just been reading about the slayings. Telling her not to be frightened, he finds himself pouring out a very diluted account of his life story. Despite suspecting him to be the murderer, still she shelters him, finding it all a great adventure and soon they are making arrangements for their wedding. To celebrate his 32nd birthday, Clara throws him a party and, much to her own amazement, dolls herself up for the occasion, getting her hair done, buying a new blouse and even applying a dash of lipstick which is probably not the most advisable course of action in the circumstances, though the creepy undercurrent suggests she had a death wish all along.
Richard Matheson - No Such Thing As A Vampire: Romania: Despite a bedroom liberally festooned with crucifixes and garlic, and the nightly vigils of her husband, Madam Alexis awakens each morning to find her nightgown shredded and blood-stained from the twin punctures in her neck. Is she being preyed upon by the undead, or is someone she's wronged wreaking a ghastly vengeance?
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.