Sonntag, 29. Juli 2012

Contest time!!!!

I’ve received over 5000 hits and that means it’s time to give some shit away!

Hey Folks,
     I’ve been doing this Blog since January and this is my 34th posting. I was looking at my statistics and saw that I’ve know received over 5000 hits! I don’t really think that my Blog has been read 5000 times. I figure that most of those are Google hits from people looking for photos and scans.

But I figure that it worth celebrating anyways. So I’m holding a little contest. The first reader who can tell me what book this scan is from will receive a free copy of “The Ghoul Keepers”! I’ll send it anywhere in the world since it’s small enough to be mailed as a letter.
So who ever posts the first correct reply wins the copy of “The Ghoul Keepers”

                                    What is the title of this book?

                                                                   THE PRIZE!
         I bet that you're starting to slobber already!

The 2nd contest, although a little bit easier you the reader, will be a purely subjective decision on my part. I’m looking for  constructive criticism and/or suggestions on improving this Blog and increasing my readership. It’s starting to get embarrassing to constantly be trolling for the “Horror Bunker” in all of the FB groups that I belong to,  over at "The Vault of Evil" and the REH Forum. I love compliments, but this time I mean it when I say that I’m seeking suggestions and constructive criticism. So comments such as “It’s great, don’t change a thing” or “you suck” don’t count.
So which ever reply pleases me tho most wins a nice copy of Robert Bloch's "The Star Stalker". It was published by Pyramid books back in 1968. 

                         A highly coveted copy of Bloch's Hollywood Expose´

And lastly I want to thank all of the other Blogs and Pages who have been kind enough to advertise “The Horror Bunker” and subsequently helped immensely to increase my readership.


I’m indebted to all of you and all of you have my thanks!
Thank you!

That’s it for this week.

Take care everyone and may the center hold!


The Contest is now closed!
Since I only had 3 replies there are 3 winners!

Sonntag, 22. Juli 2012

Horror Times Ten

Cover blurb:
Ten chilling Tales of Horror By such Masters as Ray Bradbury. August Derleth, Robert Bloch and H.P. Lovecraft
Edited by Alden H. Norton
Berkley Medallion Books.
9th Printing. February 1972. $0.60

                                            My copy.

  • 7 · Introduction · Alden H. Norton · in
  • 10 · The Trunk Lady · Ray Bradbury · ss Detective Tales Sep ’44
  • 30 · Cool Air · H. P. Lovecraft · ss Tales of Magic and Mystery Mar ’28; Weird Tales Sep ’39
  • 40 · The Lonesome Place · August Derleth · ss Famous Fantastic Mysteries Feb ’48
  • 49 · The Dead Remember · Robert E. Howard · ss Argosy Aug 15 ’36
  • 58 · The Captain of the “Pole-Star” · Arthur Conan Doyle · nv Temple Bar Jan, 1883
  • 82 · That Receding Brow · Max Brand · nv All-Story Weekly Feb 15 ’19
  • 124 · His Unconquerable Enemy [“The Rajah’s Nemesis”] · W. C. Morrow · ss The Argonaut Mar 11, 1889; Weird Tales Aug ’29
  • 135 · The Dead Valley · Ralph Adams Cram · ss Black Spirits and White, Stone & Kimball: Chicago, 1895
  • 145 · The Gorgon’s Head · Gertrude Bacon · ss The Strand Dec, 1899; as by Dorothy Baker in toc.
  • 157 · The Skeleton in the Closet · Robert Bloch · ss Fantastic Adventures Jun ’43

Hi Folks,
This week’s book is “Horrors Times Ten” edited by “Alden H. Norton” with stories introductions by “SamMoskowitz”.  Mr. Norton was editor of over 30 pulp magazines over the years. He edited “Argosy”, “Famous FantasticMysteries, Fantastic Novels, Super Science Stories, Astounding Science Fiction and many others. Mr. Moskowitz was one of the original founders of organized SF fandom, SF-Fantasy& Horror expert/historian, critic and writer. You would hope that with the combined talents of both men that you would be holding a first class anthology in your hands. Don’t worry; it is a first class anthology! “Horror Times Ten” went through 9 printings between June 1968 and February 1972. This must have been a pretty popular book. This was one of four horror anthologies that Mr. Norton edited. The others are “Masters of Horror”, “Hauntings and Horrors” and “Horrors in Hiding”. I never ever saw a single on of these books in the paperback racks. I was only aware of them through the ads in the back of “Famous Monsters of Filmland”. Happily (for me) I own all of them now and eventualy I'll cover the others too. I posted scans of these FM ads a few weeks ago. So scroll down if you want to take a gander at them.
I find “Horror x10” to be an exceptional anthology. Mr. Norton says in his introduction that he wanted to include stories that haven’t been included in other anthologies. I’ll admit that there were quite a few stories that were new to me. The “H. P. Lovecraft” and “August Derleth” Stories weren’t new to me, but then again how many later collections reprinted them to death?
“Horror Times Ten” also sports one of those wonderfully creepy, Halloween kinds of covers that I love. The sloppily buried reminds me of “Basil Rathbone”. And come to think about it, I think that he quite making films at about the time this anthology was originally published.

Now let’s take a look at the stories!

This is more of a mystery than a horror story. It’s also a Ray Bradbury story that I’ve never had the pleasure of reading! It’s only been anthologized twice. That was a very nice surprise! What makes “The Trunk Lady” even more special is that is such an early story from Mr. Bradbury that it is totally lacking in any of the whimsy or sentimental nostalgia that was to become Mr. Bradbury’s trade mark later on. This is a nice little “vanishing corpse” mystery. A little boy discovers, while playing in the attic” the body of a recently strangled young woman. He tries to tell his parents, but sadly, the corpse doesn’t play along and vanishes. No one seems to want to believe him. And even stranger, they seem to want to shut him up about the matter completely. Several generations of the boy’s family all live together in the mansion and all are eccentric enough to be possible suspects. One of them is even sneaking into the boy’s darkened bedroom at night while they think he is asleep. So it’s quite natural when little Johnny Menlo starts becoming quite worried and paranoid. I liked the story a lot. It’s not your typical Ray Bradbury story. It would have made a great episode on the old “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”.

Cool Air 
I’m surprised that this was considered a “rare” story. Okay, maybe Mr. Norton meant that it hadn’t been reprinted outside of Lovecraft collections. I like “Cool Air”. It’s an enjoyable little non-“Mythos” story from Mr. Lovecraft. All I say is that if you have any truly odd neighbours, then maybe you should just leave them alone. And think about ehat happens to all that meat in your freezer when the electricity fails.

The Lonesome Place 
Mr. Derleth’s “The Lonesome Place” is one of the all time great stories about the horrors of childhood. I could write an entire post just about how much I love this story. I first read it in the very early 1970s in “Hauntings: Tales of the Supernatural” (edited by Henry Mazzeo and illustrated by “Edward Gorey”.). This was one of the best books we had in the library at Johnny Clem Elementary School in Newark Ohio. I still have a copy. To bad it was never released in paperback. It is truly a classic anthology.
“The Lonesome Place” deals mainly with a child’s fear not so much of the dark, but of what can be hiding in the darkness. The narrator (Derleth?) recalls how during his childhood he would have to walk home after dark down long un-lit tree lined streets. The worst part of his walk home is past a darkened and tree lined lumber yard. He becomes convinced that something is hiding among the piles of lumber waiting to get him. His best friend is also convinced that something is hiding there at night. By the end of the story this fear of a monster is confirmed when something terrible happens on the exact same spot a few years later. Wonderful, wonderful story! It works on every level and is in my opinion the very best story Mr. Derleth ever wrote.
One of the reasons I love this story is that even thought it takes place in a small town in Wisconsin, it reminded me so much of my own hometown of Newark Ohio which only had a population of about 35,000 people back then. The neighbourhood that I grew up in was almost at the edge of town. Rugg Avenue was also one the last street built before WWII. The neighbourhood between us and the edge of town was built in the 1950s. So I lived on a street built around 1900 with old style houses. That basically means we had front porches and side walks. Rugg Avenue was also one the very few streets still paved with brick. It was long and narrow with one street light at each side street. There only three of these along the entire street. What made it worse was that every single house in this part of town had two huge old maple trees that not only touched side by side, but arched across the street to touch each other. This made for some very long and very dark walks home. And don’t forget that 40+ years ago most people were home for the day by 6PM. The concept of 24/7 didn’t exist back then. My friend Rod lived on the parallel street a block over and at the opposite end. He had a huge collection of pre-code comics that were passed down from his dad and uncle. So walking home early evenings down very long dark streets with a head full of gory horror comics wasn’t very induceful to a peaceful state of mind. Most of the times no one even had a porch light on. So being the over imaginative little dork that I was, I ended up running home quite a few times after becoming convinced that something was out there with me.
That’s why I love this story so much.

The Dead Remember
This is a nifty story by REH that is told entirely in flashback through letters and sworn court affidavits. A drunken racist cowboy murders a black couple who he stopped by visit while on his way to town. The cowboy looses at playing dice and accuses his host of cheating him. A heated argument ensues and the innocent pair gets murdered by the cowboy. The woman curses the cowboy with here dying breath. What follows is a short,  but suspenseful “revenge from the grave” story. I liked it. It’s a shame thought that Mr. Howard didn’t break into to Argosy until after his death!

The Captain of the “Pole-Star” 
I have this in a collection of Conan Doyle horror stories, but had never gotten around to reading it. That was a mistake since this is one genuinely creepy story. Doyle himself had been a Doctor on a whaling ship above the Artic circle and those experiences add a weight of authenticity to this sad and scary story. With out giving too much away the story is about a whaling ship that is threatened to be cut off by shifting ice flows near the North Pole. To make matters worse, the Captain himself appears to be haunted or at least going insane. And this haunting/insanity seems to be spreading through the ship. This is a genuinely creepy story that you won’t quickly forget.

That Receding Brow  
„Max Brand“is remembered today for being one of the greatest western writers who ever lived. He was also one of the greatest pulp writers of his day. He wrote over 500 novels under 19 pseudonyms. His real name was Frederick Schiller Faust. He was killed during WWII in Italy while working as a front line correspondent.
“That Receding Brow” is an interesting, but fairly odd kind of story. It starts out as “lost world science fiction” and turns into supernatural horror revenge story.  I won’t say too much about it. I just want to point out though that if you are going to befriend a missing link Sasquatch creature then don’t go and murder his mate. You shouldn’t do this especially if he turns out to be some kind of nature Elemental. I enjoyed this genre mash-up myself, but I couldn’t really recommend to most other readers.

 His Unconquerable Enemy (“The Rajah’s Nemesis”)
This is one mondo bizzarro revenge tale taking place in India back in the 19th century. It reads almost like proto torture porn.  A servant angers a Rajah and keeps getting limbs lopped of. In the end he’s just a torso in a bag when he finally gets his revenge on the Rajah. What is so weird is the matter of fact narration by a visiting British M.D. Who not only witnesses the entire events, but even completes the amputations of the disgruntled servant’s arms and legs after each attempted at severing a limb is botched by the royal executioner. Our disinterested narrator even watches the “human caterpillar” carry off his final revenge against the Rajah without even batting an eye or lifting a finger to intercede in the unfolding tragedy. This story is so bizarre that it has to be read to be believed. It even has a dismembered child in it to spice things up. As if the dismemberment and torture of servants isn’t enough to make this story a full fledged creep out.

The Dead Valley 
This one was pretty good. A couple of Swedish kids discover a lost valley full of deadly fog with a bone surrounded dead giant dead Oak tree in the middle of it. This is aA short and weird, but not very memorable story. It makes for a nice filler story. And  it might be mostly  of interest to completists.

The Skeleton in the Closet 
This one is a short piece of humorous horror that Mr. Bloch loved so well to write.
Mr. Bloch was a wonderful author. He liked to try to write funny stories at times. Some of these of stories even had their own kind of charm since he liked to end them with some of the most groan inducing puns that the world has ever seen. It’s sad to say though that this isn’t one of them.
A young man inherits his late Uncle’s mansion only to discover a living talking skeleton hanging in the closet. It turns out that his uncle was a magician, that he was murdered and this is his skeleton. So the two of them go on a zany search to find out who killed the uncle and placed him in this state.
In his introduction to the story, Sam Moskowitz, says that they wanted to end the collection on a lighter note. As much as I love and admire Mr. Bloch, I think that this story ends the anthology on a weak note. I found the story to be lame and terribly dated.

All in all, I think that “Horror Times Ten” is a very good anthology with several rarely seen stories. It’s  a book that’s well worth seeking out.

That’s it for this week.
Thanks for stopping by.


Sonntag, 15. Juli 2012

Aitch-Pee-El’s Greatest Hits (kinda)!!

The Dunwich Horror and Others
 LancerBooks. 2nd Edition. March 1969. $0.75
Jove/HBJ Books. April 1978. $1.75

The Colour out of Space
Lancer Books. Third Edition. March 1969. $0.75
Jove/HBJ Books. May 1978. $1.75 

                                             My copies.

The two volumes are a break down of the original “Arkham House” hardback edition of “The Dunwich Horror and Others”. It’s basically “August Derleth’s” choices of HPLs best representative stories. I have no idea why two of the best stories from the hardback aren’t included here.

The Dunwich Horror and Others” Contents:

HBJ and Lancer editions:
  1. H. P. Lovecraft and His Work by August Derleth
  2. In the Vault
  3. Pickman's Model
  4. The Rats in the Walls
  5. The Music of Erich Zann
  6. The Haunter of the Dark
  7. The Picture in the House
  8. The Dunwich Horror
  9. The Thing on the Doorstep

The Colour out of Space“contents:
HBJ and Lancer Edtions:
  1. H. P. Lovecraft and His Work by August Derleth
  2. The Colour out of Space
  3. The Picture in the House
  4. The Call of Cthulhu
  5. Cool Air
  6. The Whisperer in Darkness
  7. The Terrible Old Man
  8. The Shadow Out of Time

And here are the contents to the original „Arkham House“ hardback edition of “The Dunwich Horror and Others”
  1. H. P. Lovecraft and His Work by August Derleth
  2. In the V ault
  3. Pickman's Model
  4. The Rats in the Walls
  5. The Outsider
  6. The Colour out of Space
  7. The Music of Erich Zann
  8. The Haunter of the Dark
  9. The Picture in the House
  10. The Call of Cthulhu
  11. The Dunwich Horror
  12. Cool Air
  13. The Whisperer in Darkness
  14. The Terrible Old Man
  15. The Thing on the Doorstep
  16. The Shadow Over Innsmouth
  17. The Shadow Out of Time
For whatever reasons, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” and “The Outsider” haven’t been included. Go figure, since both of these are very important HPL stories.

Hey All!
For starters, I want to apologize again for the lazy posting again this week. I’m going back to work tomorrow after two weeks vacation and the past week has been cold and wet, so I’m not the happiest camper in this neck of the woods. That’s my problem though and not yours! So I decided to do another post that needs no real research or even reading on my part. This means that I’m digging out a few books with really neat-o covers that I’ve read so often that I know the stories by heart. And I’m betting that quite a few of you also knows these tales inside and out.
As far a covers go though, I have to admit that even though I have a soft spot in my heart for the Lancer editions, the HBJRowena Morrill” covers definitely fire the Lancers. These are so dead on in their own way that they are almost too literal.  I do love that bat winged crab in the upper left of the HBJ “Colour out of Space” though. When I saw these newer covers back in 1978 I completely flipped out and bought them on the spot. These were days when teen aged  part time shoe salesmen were just rolling in dough and could afford such impulse purchases like that.
I want talk about Mr. Lovecraft first though. I’m guessing that if you are reading this post then you are already familiar with Mr. “Howard Phillips Lovecraft”. If not then go click on the link under his name to learn about the man, his works and his unique vision. I’m not going to really cover that here today. Many others have done a much better job than I ever could or will do.
I discovered Mr. Lovecraft through a collection of his stories that was published by “Scholastic books” back during the very early 1970s. This collection was called “The Shadow over Innsmouth andother Stories of Horror”.                      

It was a pretty cool book that was sadly a little to “far out” for my 10 year old brain. A few years later I discovered several collections that had been published by “Ballantine Books” as part of their “Adult Fantasy Series” edited by the great “Lin Carter”. These I enjoyed better since I was a few years older. Finally when I was 14 I stumbled across the 2 collections brought out by “Lancer Books”. I was finally at the right age to become totally submersed in Mr. Lovecrafts’s world. Even though I had previously read several of these stories as a ten year old I couldn’t appreciate them very much then. I’m of the opinion that if you don’t discover HPL at a very early age then you’ll never be a fan later on. It’s happened to me time and again that I would convince an adult friend to give Lovecraft a try only to have them return the book a few days later with a puzzled expression as if to ask “what kind of f***ed  up §hit do you read?”. As crazy as HPL’s universe is, it’s not as much the stories themselves that are so wonderful and addictive. It’s, in my opinion, the mood and experience that makes these stories so special. How he describes things and the mood he sets can only be experienced in the theatre of your mind and no where else. You can’t describe this quality. Go ahead and try to explain a “Mythos” story to one of the uninitiated. You’ll just get a puzzled look .Once they read one of these stories, they’ll get it or they won’t. Most likely they won’t. And since I still immerse myself in these stories even after almost 40 years of haven discovered them, I like to believe that I get it. I’m going to stop here before I drag you all down into some bizarre disjointed ramble. Needless to say, HPL is a very personal experience for those who enjoy his stories. And speaking of stories, let’s take a tiny look at the contents.

Don’t cheat dead people. They don’t take it well!

A „true“artist is never appreciated during his lifetime. He has to transform into an eater of corpses first.

Maybe those aren’t just rats in the walls your hearing. It could be an army of subterranean inbred cannibal mutants from the rim. And anyone who give their cat such an awful name deserves whatever happens to them.

Music of the Spheres can be an out of this world experience.

Don’t steal shit from old churches in the “foreign” part of town. Especially if you’re the hysterical type and the church once housed some crazy cult!

You are what you eat. And it’s not smart to have a break down in the hills outside of Arkham Massachusets!

Even if you are some crazy old back woods wizard, you shouldn’t pimp your albino daughter to extra-dimensional gods!

 Try to avoid transgender sex with a much younger human-fish man hybrid regardless of how hot she is!

Don’t drink the water and don’t breath the air. And some people don’t realize that they should git when the gittens good!

Don’t answer if he does call. And mongrel foreigners don’t seem to have the best taste in religions!

Is it me or is it getting warm in here? Or like my dad always said. “Keep your damn fingers off of the thermostat!  Put on a sweater if you’re cold!”

Lobstermen from Pluto don’t make the best neighbours!

Don’t rob weird old neighbours no matter how good of an idea it seemed at the time. He’s probably weird for a very good reason.

If you think that your flashbacks back in the 1960s were something, you should see what they were doing back in the 1920s!

Go to thise wiki link for genuine synopsis's of all of the stories: "The Dunwich Horror and Others". All of the stories are linked there.

Well, that’s it for this week!
Thanks for stopping by and take care every one!

I also take requests.
So if I own it, I'll cover it!

Sonntag, 8. Juli 2012

Tales From the Crypt #1
Ballantine Books. March 1965. $0.50

  • "Dead Right" (Davis)
  • "The High Cost of Dying" (Crandall)
  • "Reflection of Death" (Feldstein)
  • "Poetic Justice" (Ingels)
  • "Whirlpool" (Craig)
  • "Blind Alleys" (Evans)
  • "Let the Punishment Fit the Crime" (Davis)
  • "And All Through the House" (Craig)

The Vault of Horror No.1
Ballantine Books. August 1965. $0.50

  • "Star Light, Star Bright" (Craig)
  • "Last Respects" (Ingels)
  • "The Trophy" (Davis)
  • "Curiosity Killed" (Evans)
  • "The Basket" (Davis)
  • "Fed Up" (Craig)
  • "Wish You Were Here" (Ingels)
  • "The Craving Grave" (Orlando)
                                                                         My copies.

Hi Folks!

     I’m in the middle of 2 weeks of vacation so this is going to be a fairly short and lazy post this week. And since I worked in the Garden all day my back hurts and I’m tired. So instead of actually presenting any literature, I’m presenting 2 paperback collections of old EC horror comics’ reprints. "Tales from the Crypt” and “The Vault ofHorror”. Back in the mid 60s Ballantine published 5 EC Comics paperbacks. The two collections covered here and two collections of Ray Bradbury Horror and SF stories that had been adapted by EC. The 5th volumes were a collection of SF stories. The series includes….

Vault of Horror. (Horror)
The AutumnPeople. (Bradbury)
Tomorrow Midnight. (Bradbury)

As awesome as the old EC stories were these paperback are not the best of formats to present them in. The stories are reprinted lengthwise with 2 to 4 comic panels per page. So in order to read them you have to turn the books sideways and hold them like a calendar. The black and white line drawings have been very nicely reproduced. It’s just such a bitch to handle the books in such an odd manner in order to be able to read them. So to be honest, my only true reason to even buy these two books was because they were dirt cheap and the covers are simply wonderful to behold. The Frank Frazetta cover to “Tales from the Crypt” is doubly awesome since it has Frazetta’s name and the date of publication on the pictured tombstone and this is probably Frazetta’s first horror cover painting, since it pre-dates his famous cover paintings for the Warren horror comics, Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella. Mr. Frazetta's cover for "Vault of Horror" isn't too shabby either.
 According to Wikipedia, this collection was used as the basis for the old “Amicus” anthology film “Tales from the Crypt”.  Which has to be more than a coincident since all of the stories that appeared inn the film are also here in the book. All through the house” is one of my all time favourite EC stories. Who can’t resist a psycho axe welding Santa chopping up a two timing murderous slut wife? You have to give the folks from EC credit. People always got their just deserts in the EC stories!
 In defence of these collections though, I have to give them credit for re-introducing the stories to a new generation of horror fans. The paperbacks were published more than ten years after EC ended their horror and SF lines and right before Jim Warren launched his line of EC inspired black and white horror comics. And the first full reprints didn’t come until the early 1970s. Printing in black and white was very important since it allowed publisher to get the crippling and emasculating “Comics Code”. This is why “Mad Magazine" is published to this day in b&w instead of in color, like it originally was back in the 1950s.

Like I said, it’s a short posting this week! That’s all! Go home!

And thanks for stopping by.


Sonntag, 1. Juli 2012

The Ghoul Keepers edited by Leo Margulies
Pyramid Books G-665,
1961, 35¢, 157pages

                                                                       My copy.

“The Ghoul Keepers" is one of those kinds of anthologies that I like best. It’s a fairly light one night read, has an awesome “John Schoenherr” cover, has nothing but stories that originally appeared in “Weird Tales” magazine and only has one story that’s been heavily anthologized.
What more can you ask for? What I also find nice about this collection is that it contains all but two stories from the “Dorothy McIIWraith” era (1940-1954). Henry Kuttner’s “Elak of Atlantis” story “Spawn of Dagon” and Edmond Hamilton’s “Isle of the Sleeper” are the only stories that were printed during “FarnsworthWright’s” editorship. Unfortunately my copy is one of those old paperbacks where the glue has turned brown and brittle. I actually had to take it apart and re-glue it. Thank God that there are several sites on the Web that give instructions on paperback restoration and repair.

This is also one of four anthologies that Mr. Margulies edited that entirely consisted of “Weird Tales” reprints. The other three are “Weird Tales”, “Worlds of the Weird” and “The Unexpected”. All three are also fine collections. Mr. Margulies was a Pulp and paperback editor from the early 1950s up till 1975 when he passed away. He also helped launch the “Popular Library” line of paperbacks from “Pine Publishing”.

Now let’s take a look at the stories…….

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” by Robert Bloch.

This is a fun and ugly Robert Bloch story written after he had shrugged off his Lovecraftian influences and was writing those Robert Bloch kinds of stories that you either love or hate. I tend to love them. This is a great love triangle story that goes terribly wrong. Hugo, a young drifter who I guess you could describe as borderline mentally retarded gets hired as the backstage assistant to Victor Sadini, a travelling vaudeville Magician. Hugo falls in love with Isobel, Sadini’s beautiful stage assistant. She convinces Hugo that Sadini is a genuine magician whose powers are real and uses them to keep her enslaved. The real deal is that Isobel is carrying on with George who is a Crooner travelling the same circuit. They want to run off with all of Sadini’s money and props. Isobel then seduces poor stupid Hugo and convinces him that the only way to set her free is for Hugo to kill Sadini who has shown Hugo nothing but kindness. To cut to the chase, Hugo offs Mr. Sadini and takes possession of Sadini’s supposed source of magical power, his Wand. Hugo then takes Sadinis place on stage since he is now a true magician and performs the sawing the lady in half trick. We can all see where this goes. I liked the story quite a bit and it’s very much an “EC comics” kind of story even though it predates the EC line of horror comics by a few years.

“The Martian and the Moron” by Theodore Sturgeon.

Even though this was published in “Weird Tales” it’s not a horror story. Its light hearted SF about a 1920s Radio Nut who receives messages from Mar which no one believes.  So 20 years later, his son woes a beautiful young woman who is none to bright and a total blank slate.  It turns out she’s is a Martian experiment sent to Earth to learn about us. She is a kind hearted mental sponge who soaks up earthly life style. This is a good natured and sweet story. More in line to a 1930s screwball comedy that late 1940s horror that Mr. Sturgeon was so good at before he made his big mark as a science fiction writer.

“The Isle of the Sleeper” by Edmond Hamilton.

Edmond Hamilton wrote tons of stories for “Weird Tales” back in the 1930, both Science Fiction and Horror. All of his “Interstellar Patrol” stories appeared in “WT” even though they were some of the very first “Space Opera” stories. “Space Opera” was created at this time by “E.E. doc Smith”, “Jack Williamson” and Edmond Hamilton. I’ve always felt that Mr. Hamilton was at his very best during the 1920s and 1930s when he was writing crazy and over the top “Age of Wonder” stories. His horror stories from this period are also great fun. Sadly “Isle of the Sleeper” isn’t one of them. A man gets stranded on a desert isle where he meets the love of his life. They are then threatened by “the Sleeper” who rules the isle. It turns out that out narrator is the sleeper and it was all a dream. Or was it? This one didn’t impress me at all. It goes to show that even the greatest of writers don’t always produce great stories.

“Please Go ´Way and Let Me Sleep” by Helen W. Kasson.

 This story is a rare bird. It’s a humorous horror/ghost story that actually works!  The occupants of the Collins’ family vault are up in arms. It seems a distant cousin is mourning above the vault every Sunday morning and disturbing the rest of those residing in the vault. They hold as family meeting and decide to fight fire with fire by haunting their “Haunter”.
The story is lots of silly and gruesome fun that actually succeeds at being a funny ghost story. I particularly enjoy how the vault residents bicker among themselves the hierarchy of the dead. What is particularly interesting is the “Helen W. Kasson” was “Stanley G. Weinbaum`s” sister!!

“The Lake” by Ray Bradbury.

It’s no wonder that “The Lake” is one of the late Ray Bradbury´s most reprinted stories.
(It can’t believe that after 40+ years of reading that I’d say “the late Ray Bradbury”.)
This is one of many horror stories that Mr. Bradbury had published in “WT” very early on in his career. What I like so much about these stories is that it seems that Ray was still young enough to be not dipping his childhood in so much sugar. This story is so damned good that it brings the entire anthology to a dead stop. After reading it for the first time you’ll probably have to put the book aside for a while. Young Harold is spending the day for the very last time at a lake in Michigan where so many childhood summers have been spent. He is moving to L.A. the next day with his mother. He’s leaving his childhood home forever. He’s also leaving “Tally” who was his first and greatest love. On his last evening at the lake he begs her to come back to him. She drowned in the lake when they were both 12. Many years later he returns with his bride on their honeymoon. He sees a life guard come out of the lake carrying something. It is the well preserved body of a little girl who drowned over a decade before is discovered. She is so well preserved that Harold gets the impression that she’s only asleep. What he sees brings back to him the knowledge of everything he has lost. He then returns to a bride who he now hates. This story hits like a hammer every time I read it. I love it and despise it.

“The Witch in the Fog” by Harry Altshuler

This one is a wonderful story of revenge during a foggy English night. A British “Gentleman” sold his young Ward to an Indian Prince against her will for a large sum of money. Many years later she returns to England to stalk him. She finally visits him at home one night to exact her revenge. But first she shows him what she has learned since joining the “Thugee” Cult by single handily dispatching two armed burglars. This one has a current of nastiness running under the surface that makes it so good. You go girl!

“Clair De Lune” by Seabury Quinn

“Claire De Lune” is another of Mr. Quinn’s wonderful “Jules de Grandin” stories.
For those of you who don’t know, Seabury Quinn was “Weird Tales” most popular writer during its original run. He wrote something like 93 “de Grandin” stories between 1925 and 1951. And these weren’t the only stories he published in “WT”.  Jules De Grandin is a Fench occult detective who lived in New Jersey with his friend and co-investigator, Dr. Trowbridge.
Think retro-X-files here. Jules and Trowbridge went up against and defeated every conceivable kind of supernatural and weird menace. Werewolves, ghosts, demons, gods, cultists, vampires, serial killers ect. You name it and they fought it. The series is terribly formulaic and illogical. It’s kinda like being with “Jessica Fletcher” in that supernatural evil rears its head anywhere these two gentlemen go. I love these stories though. They display an odd combination odd combination of charm, warmth and pure grisliness that’s hard to imagine without reading them.
Clair de Lune is a typical “de Grandin” story with he and Trowbridge go up against a female psychic vampire with strong lesbian overtones. Imagine Sherlock Holmes and Watson fighting monsters and you’ll have a good idea of what these stories are all about. I can’t get enough of them. I have all but one of the “Popular Library” collections printed back in the 1970s. I read them sparingly so that I’ll always have another adventure to look forward to.

“Spawn of Dagon” by Henry Kuttner.

Henry Kuttner started his career as a very young member of the original “Lovecraft Circle” before moving on to being a pretty good “Weird Menace” and horror writer during his 2nd writing phase. After that he moved on to pulp SF but didn’t truly shine until he married and started collaborating with great “C.L.Moore”.  Mr. Kuttner wrote a series of “Sword and Sorcery” stories about “Elakthe last prince of Atlantis” for “WT” in an attempt to try and fill the hole left by the death of “Conan” creator “Robert E. Howard”. Sadly the shoes left by REH were so big that no one has ever been able to fill them. We have to give Henry credit for trying though. The “Elak” stories are basically fluff. Fun fluff, but still fluff.
“Spawn of Dagon” is more or less “Generic S&S hero meets the children of Cthulhu”. Elak is given the job of destroying a magic gemstone and murdering the wizard who owns it. He ends up getting involved with a “Dagon” sect of Lovecraftian squid entities who wish to destroy manking and take over the word. They always seem to want to do that? Don’t they? This is a light but fun S&s story that shows the influence of both REH and HPl on the young Henry Kuttner. It’s a nice story that’s not to terribly memorable.

All in all “The Ghoul Keepers” is a strong and diverse collection of stories that you should read if you can find a cheap copy on line. It’s good for an evening’s entertainment. Trust me. I wouldn’t lie to you!

Take care and thanks for stopping by!