Posted by demonik on June 29, 2011
Simon Raven – Doctors Wear Scarlet (Panther, 1967)
This deliberately outrageous novel deserves to be read even by those who will find that they detest it – Guardian
Obviously destined to be the most smashing popular success since Sapper – Spectator
It terrifies, it sometimes nauseates but it demonstrates one thing triumphantly. Mr. Raven can write – The Times
This is story-telling as it ought to be …. it is not, however, for the squeamish … Bram Stoker himself could not have provided more dark shocks – Books & Bookmen
A climax that is definitely X-certificate – Yorkshire Evening Post
Posted in filmed, novel, Simon Raven | Tagged: Doctors Wear Scarlet, Incense For The Damned, novel, Panther, paperback, Simon Raven, vampire, Vault Of Evil | Leave a Comment »
Posted by demonik on May 5, 2009
Tom Owen – Circus Of Horrors (Panther, 1960)
Obsessed by a burning desire to create beauty from ugliness he probed deeper and deeper into the mysteries of surgery using the living as guinea pigs for his sinister experiments.
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Posted by demonik on May 5, 2009
Kingsley Amis – The Green Man (Panther, 1971)
The Green Man’s Maurice Allington is a worldly publican, but haunted. His pub is inhabited by the spirit of Dr. Thomas Underhill, the seventeenth century scholar rumoured to have killed his wife. The local sexton had refused to dig Underhill’s grave. And the rector had declined to officiate at his funeral.
And there are skeletons in the cupboard of Allington’s own domestic affairs – just rattling to get out.
“The main one was somebody called Dr Thomas Underhill who lived here in the later seventeenth century. He was in holy orders, but he wasn’t the parson of the parish; he was a scholar who for some reason gave up his Cambridge fellowship and bought this place. He’s buried in that little churchyard just up road, but he nearly didn’t get buried at all. He was so wicked that when he died the sexton wouldn’t dig a grave for him, and the local rector refused to officiate at his funeral. They had to get a sexton from Royston, and a clergyman all the way from Peterhouse in Cambridge. Some of the people round about said that Underhill had killed his wife, whom he used to quarrel with a lot, apparently, and he was also supposed to have brought about the death of a farmer he’d had trouble with over some land deal ….. both these people were murdered all right, half torn to pieces, in fact, in the most brutal way …..”
“Tale of supernatural terror meets sex-farce” …… It’s all going so well for Maurice Allington, genial, alcoholic landlord of charming country gastro-Pub The Green Man, Fareham, Hertfordshire. As a distraction from his day to day duties, Maurice is on the verge of cracking it as far as persuading understanding wife Joyce to join he and bit-on-the-side Diana in a three-in-a bed romp. But just lately, Maurice has been seeing ghosts, relatively benign ones to begin with, but these are merely the warm-up acts for powerful seventeenth century Black Sorcery wizard Dr. Thomas Underhill who is soon making a nuisance of himself in Maurice’s affairs. Maurice realises that Underhill has grim designs on the life of his young daughter Amy – perhaps the only person on earth he truly cares for – but what chance has he against a dead man who can – and does – raise that most destructive of nature’s forces, the Green Man itself?
Despite his unashamedly Jamesian approach to his ghost story, Amis crams it with incident and introduces so many spectres that the reader’s attention has little chance of wavering. At one point, time literally stands still for all but Maurice and his latest guest, a nondescript young man who, it transpires, is God, and, to put it bluntly, not somebody you’d wish to invest any faith in.
As to the feted “domestic affairs”: There was much feverish anticipation when the BBC2 ran it’s three-part adaptation as the sub-plot involving Allington’s (Albert Finney) attempts to get wife Linda Marlowe to agree to sharing a bed with he and Sarah Berger came to a head. Maurice eventually gets his wicked wish, but should have realised that, with luck like his, it was always going to go * ahem* tits up …
See Vault Of Evil’s Green Man thread for more
Posted in filmed, Kingsley Amis, novel | Tagged: books, Brian Frowde, fiction, Ghost Story, horror, Kingsley Amis, The Green Man, Vault Of Evil | Leave a Comment »
Posted by demonik on August 12, 2007
Stephen Gilbert – Willard (Panther, 1971, originally Michael Joseph, 1968 as “Ratman’s Notebooks“)
The narrator (unidentified) is a clerk in the company founded by his late father which now belongs to former employee Mr. Jones. Nagged by his ailing mother and shunned by girls, the lonely outcast begins to train a colony of rats his mother has ordered him to destroy before they infest the property. Fortunately, the old girl hasn’t got long to go and, shortly before her death, Ratman sends eight of his fast expanding army on a mission to bite through the tyres of Jones’ car after the skinflint “usurper” refuses him a wage rise.
Once his mother is consigned to the soil, the raids become more ambitious. Led by Socrates – the most devoted and responsive rodent – they rob the Malcolmson’s place and the lady of the house informs the press of her encounter with “a rat the size of a man”. This prompts our hero to dig out a theatrical mask to wear on future missions. All goes well until Socrates is killed and a new leader emerges. Ben – as eulogised by Michael Jackson in one of his creepiest love songs – has dominion over all the rats and can apparently read. He bugs the narrator out something terrible and, once they’ve murdered his worst enemy, he abandons them at the scene of the crime. He’s going to start a new life, enjoy his recent inheritance, marry the girl and … Oh. Maybe Ben doesn’t like the idea of that too much.
There’s something about this novel that strikes me as very “Best of Pan Horror Stories” circa ‘67-70, and it certainly screams “Film me!”. Offsetting the murders and mayhem are episodes of macabre humour and heartbreaking sadness as, having found happiness for the first time in a wretched, downtrodden, lonely existence, the clerk watches helpless as his best friend is killed and then finds himself usurped all over again.
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