Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Ghostly Terror and Vampire Horror reviews!

You can blame us being away at the Dundee Comics Day for this and a few other reviews not appearing during the Halloween weekend. Let’s just pretend that we did it anyway, eh?
So, these two short story audiobooks released by AudioGo are themed around the subjects, as you can see, of ghosts and vampires.

First up the ghost collection, Ghostly Terror.

This is the shorter of the two collections, featuring three stories.
it opens with ‘Canon Alberic’s Scrapbook’ by M.R. James, read by Andrew Sachs. I had not heard or read this one before, but it is a very good story, as you would expect from an author like James. He constructs a great sense of creeping dread, which is aided considerably by the sound design and Sachs’s reading.
The final story is one I was more familiar with - W. F. Harvey’s 'The Beast With Five Fingers', which if you have never read or heard before is well worth your time.
But best of the lot is the middle story, 'The Yellow Wallpaper’ by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and read by Laurel Lefkow.
To my shame I had never heard of either the story or author previous to this. The story is a masterpiece and a perfect example of portraying paranoia and mental breakdown. Truly unsettling.

The second collection is called Vampire Horror.

It begins with a story that is not only very good, but very important. It is The Vampyre by John Polidori. This is a long story, so make sure you’re on a long journey when you start listening (I’m assuming here that you also listen in the car!).
It is very good because it has an interesting structure and a creepy atmosphere. It is important because it bears some resemblance to a later, more well known book about pursuing a vampire across Europe, only this was written 78 years before that one.
My favourite story in the collection was the next one: Wailing Well by M.R. James. This is in turn a pitch black comedy and genuine horror by way of a pretty brutal morality tale.
The collection is rounded of with two more tales: the sinister ‘For The Blood is the Life’ by Marion Crawford and another M. R. James effort, ‘An Episode of Cathedral History’, which is as far from the other James story in this set as is possible to be. It’s dark and disturbing and, like the James story on the Ghosts collection, it feels like something a young Clive Barker would have written.

So – you’re a horror fan? Buy these.

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