Monday, 8 February 2016

'The Willows' wins!

The just-a-bit-of-fun poll on the stories of Algernon Blackwood ended with a resounding victory for 'The Willows', with 'The Wendigo' lagging in second place. I think the next author should be M.R. James - but which stories to include? Or, more importantly, which ones to leave out? Here is a provisional list - what's missing?

"Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad"
Casting the Runes
Lost Hearts
A Warning to the Curious
The Ash-tree
Count Magnus
Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book

Black Mass: 'All Hallows'

Over at the ST YouTube channel (oh yes, we have one of those as well) you can hear a number of old radio shows and readings of classic tales. Here's one, an excellent dramatisation of Walter de la Mare's classic tale, broadcast back in the Sixties on US radio.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

City of the Living Dead (1980)

I could just have typed 'WTF Fulci?' about a hundred times, but instead I'm going to try and convey the essence of what I experienced as I watched this remarkable film. I recorded my 'thoughts' on a small digital device as I went along. I may have been slightly drunk. What follows has been edited for swearing, repetition, and repetition.

Do I heard Tubular Bells in the distance?

Okay, this is City of the Living Dead, a Fulci film from 1980. It begins with a piercing scream followed by the familiar white titles on a black background. Then we find ourselves in a graveyard as the credits roll. The camera moves in a wobbly way as I read a list of Italian names. The soundtrack has a distinct whiff of John Carpenter about it. 'Story and screenplay by Lucio Fulci, Dardano Sachetti'. An Italian production, but from the blurb I know it's set in America, and I'm watching the dubbed version, so fun and hijinks will probably ensue.

Now we see someone walking through the graveyard - it's a priest, and he's looking a bit pale. Not at all well. This is a man who's seen too much, and possibly drunk too much. And at the bottom of the screen appears the legend 'dunwich', with a small 'd' - perhaps this was trendy in 1980? 'Yeah, capital letters are like, capitalist? Tools for fools, man!' Shut up and have the last Mars Bar.

Anyway, close-up now on a tombstone that reads: The Soul That Pines For Eternity Shall Outspan death. You Dweller Of The Twilight Void. Come, Dunwich. oo-er

The priest is now looking up a tree limb that might well be sturdy enough to support the weight of a man. Just speculating wildly, here.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Spooky Book Arrives!

Malevolent Visitants by C.E. Ward is now available at Sarob Press, but it's going fast. I thought I'd mention it as I've just become the proud owner of a review copy. The superb Paul Lowe cover is a hint as to its contents. Malevolent indeed! With swords and that. Anyone who knows Clive Ward's fiction will know that he is 'old school', creating modern tales that are solidly in the tradition of M.R. James. If you like traditional English ghost stories try and get hold of this book, not to mention his previous Sarob volumes Vengeful Ghosts and Seven Ghosts & One Other.