Encyclopedia Phantasmagoria

Guide to the Fontana Ghost, Horror & Tales of Terror series’.

Bounds – Buzzati

Posted by demonik on May 22, 2007

Sydney J. Bounds – The Mask: Len Roberts of The Echo turns up for Jane Clay’s Halloween party wearing an authentic death mask. He collars Shirley-Anne – she’s come as the virgin sacrifice – and explains its origin: “Remember Martin Fletcher? … Local lad made bad. Had a nasty habit of cutting up young girls and packing their dismembered bodies in trunks.” At the end of the night, Jane can’t find the couple. But there are some strange noises coming from the kitchen, so that’s a good sign …. (Frighteners)

Sydney J. Bounds – Hot House: Mr. Parker of Organic Fertilizers pays a visit to Colonel West at his country residence, The Plantation on the outskirts of Bredon Village. The Colonel reckons his beloved plants will thrive on blood. They do. (Frighteners)

Sydney J. Bounds – A Complete Collection: Pulp author Michael Cox is ambushed by his number one fan at the World Fantasy Convention in London and can’t shake him. Jonathan Jamieson also has a morbid obsession with Egyptian burial practices …. (Frighteners 2)

Sydney J. Bounds – An Eye For Beauty: Cockney sculptor Dave Breton’s work goes from rubbish to genius when he takes a studio on a Greek island. Now he specialises in life-size statues of nude beauties, their faces frozen in silent terror. What is the secret of his success? (Frighteners 2)

Sydney J. Bounds – The Pauper’s Feast: “In his nightmare he had seen the old burial ground at Shoreditch and the dead rising from their graves, the corpses of children who had died of starvation. He visualised his picture. The cemetery by moonlight, the open graves shrouded by curling mist, the young cadavers rising to feast on the living.”

Artist Joseph Vernon Laycock decides to attempt the painting of his bad dreams. He pays some ragged children to masquerade as the living dead, then drives his model out to the graveyard where, unbeknown to her, she is to play their “victim”. I love Syd’s work, and this is among my all-time favourites of his. (Gaslight Terror)

Sydney J. Bounds – The Man In The Mirror: “A haunted chess set? That’s a good one!” Doug Hone, mouthy Londoner (there is no other type if horror fiction is anything to go by), fancies himself as a chess wizard. Driving down to Somerset on his holidays, he stops off at a village pub, The Castle, and is delighted to find that the locals’ favoured in-house entertainment is chess. Having trounced all comers, he alienates them further by going on about how much better everything is in the capital. Then he spots a set of beautifully carved pieces. These belonged to the late club champion, Thomas “Old Stew” Stewart, whose ghost haunts the pub and is still partial to a game after closing time … (Ghost 11)

Sydney J. Bounds – A Little Night Fishing: Tregorrow, Cornwall. Cockney villain Robson falls foul of a wrecker’s ghost working in conjunction with the clientelle of The Black Swan pub. (Ghost 12)

Sydney J. Bounds – The Night Walkers: Two years into their marriage and with disillusion setting in on both sides – he drinks too much, she’s no longer a dolly-bird – Roger and Jan take a holiday on the canal. It doesn’t help any. The locals at The Swan urge them to avoid Dead Man’s Loch on account of its dreadful reputation locally. Several people have drowned at the spot and their ghosts – the Night Walkers – “like company”. So, naturally, Rog steers the Sister Rose straight toward it. (Ghost 15)

Sydney J. Bounds – The Flesh Is Weak: Jonathan Pike is convinced that his skeleton is in revolt against his body, “breaking free of its natural confines, shredding muscle and tendons, skin and flesh!” His doctor won’t listen. (Horror 4)

Sydney J. Bounds – Young Blood: Mini-skirted hipster Joy Eager goes to see her favourite band, the Ghouls, at the Swing-In Club (“But they’re zany, mum. Way out”). The band are famous for their smash hit You’re My Meat, Baby, and Joy gets taken to meet them backstage …. (Horror 4)

Sydney J. Bounds – Cold Sleep: Cryogenics. Hughie Clark, hypochondriac, joins the masses of the terminally ill paying to have themselves frozen until such times as a cure is found for their illnesses. He’s in for a nasty shock when he reawakens. (Horror 6)

Sydney J. Bounds – Homecoming: Michael Wilde overdoses in the bath after his girlfriend leaves him. He’s been a week in the grave and he’s not looking or smelling so pleasant when a mad scientist and his assistant dig him up and revive him Frankenstein fashion. Pitchfork wielding villagers pursue his festering corpse to the graveyard. No surprises, but much lovely pus oozing, dripping blue flesh and rotting teeth action in this one. (Horror 9)

Sydney J. Bounds – No-Face: The Yucatan rain forests, and the pompous, double dealing Elliott makes the mistake of photographing a stone idol. (Horror 11)

Sydney J. Bounds – The Circus: Arthur Bragg, a reporter whose career has been dedicated to exposing hoaxes and phonies, chances upon a travelling circus when his car breaks down in the West Country. The handwritten poster reads; “Before your very eyes, werewolf into man! See the vampire rise from his coffin! Bring the children – invest in a sense of wonder!”
Dutifully, the Sunday Herald scribe attends the event, and it is a truly spectacular show. Along with the advertised attractions, ringmaster Dr. Nis introduces a mummy and an animated corpse.

After the performance, an outraged Bragg confronts Dr. Dis in his caravan. He is not unexpected. (Horror 13)

Sydney J. Bounds – The Animators: Harrington and the geologist Pugh are collecting rock samples on Mars when the ground opens up and swallows Pugh. He smashes his visor and suffocates, but he won’t stay dead. Soon he has killed four colleagues back at the Base and they too are zombified. Now these undead pursue Brunel across the blood red desert. Can he hold out until the rescue ship arrives?

Syd also appears as Sydney J. Beecham, a victim of the blob from outer space in Chetwynd-Hayes’ Shipwreck from the same collection. (Terror From Outer Space)

Elizabeth Bowen – The Demon Lover: Mrs. Drover returns to her boarded-up home in bomb-ravaged London in keeping with a promise she made her soldier fiance on the ever of his departure to France twenty-five years earlier. He never returned and was presumed missing in action. Mrs. Drover secretly saw this as a lucky escape – he was extremely hard going.

As the agreed hour arrives, her nerves overcome her – the letter from the “dead” lover awaiting her on the table didn’t help – and Mrs. Drover rushes into the street to hail a taxi. Even if you guess the ending, this story packs one of the creepiest endings this side of Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Three Miles Up or Burrage’s One Who Saw. (Ghost 2 & London Terror)

Elizabeth Bowen – The Cat Jumps: The Harold Wrights purchase Rose Hill, a lavish Thames Valley mansion, which has stood vacant for several years due to the dreadful Bentley murder: a husband hacked up his wife in virtually every room of the house. At the Wright’s weekend housewarming party, the guests include the imaginative young Muriel whose morbid obsession with the case soon disturb the others, especially when she begins voicing her suspicions about one of their number, Edward Cartaret …. (Horror 1)

Marjory Bowen – The Crown Derby Plate: Miss Martha Pym, sixty year old antique dealer, has always wanted to see a ghost, but maybe not as much as she’d like to locate the one piece missing from her beloved china tea set. Staying with friends on the Essex flats, talk turns to Hartleys, the house where she purchased the incomplete set at auction thirty years ago. Hartleys is now owned by the reclusive and reputedly eccentric Miss Lefain. Perhaps she’ll know the whereabouts of the missing plate? (Ghost 1)

Marjorie Bowen – The Prescription: Verall Hall, Bucks. Christmas at Mrs. Janey’s and the hostess arranges for Mrs. Mahogany the famous medium to have one of her turns by way of amusement for the guests. It’s all breathtakingly dull stuff which is why the party react with scepticism when the medium goes into one, uttering cries of “Murder!” and describing in detail the demise of a young woman who’s been administered a lethal dose of arsenic, location unknown but nearby.

As Mrs. Mahogany departs she encounters latecomer Dr. Dilke. “You’re very psychic, aren’t you?” she states and so it proves when, that night, he’s aroused from his bed and ushered aboard an ancient coach by a man desperate to save his dying wife. Dr. Dilke recognises a case of poisoning when he sees it and writes a prescription although he’s a hundred years too late to save her life. (Ghost 16)

Marjorie Bowen – Kecksies: Bowen at her most horribly brilliant. Sir Nicholas and Edward Crediton demand shelter and food at the hovel of Goody Boyle. She informs them that there is already a corpse under her roof, that of Robert Horne who Crediton banished because he was a rival for the hand of Anne, now Mrs. Crediton. Both men mock the dead man and generally behave abominably and when Goody Boyle tells them that the strange friends he made while roaming the marshes are coming to pay their respects, Crediton suggests a jest. He will take Horne’s place and give the outcasts a fright! So they dump the body in a hemlock patch and Sir Nicholas helps wrap his friend in the shroud. They would do well to remember Horne’s oath that he would possess Anne one way or another …. (Ghost 18)

Marjorie Bowen – Florence Flannery (Horror 7)

Ray Bradbury – The Next In Line (Horror 1)

Ray Bradbury- The Man Upstairs: Mr. Koberman is strange. He works nights, barely speaks and eats with a wooden fork and sthingy. Neither is he fond of young Douglas, who spies on him through the panes of coloured glass between floors of the lodging house where they both reside. When the glass is smashed, Douglas is blamed and punished. His hatred for Koberman intensifies and when he overhears other boarders discussing a spate of mysterious murders in the town, which one of the men attributes to a vampire, he plans on a course of action.
And then it all gets decidedly weird. (Horror 5)

Ray Bradbury – The Smiling People: It has now been a fortnight since Mr. Greppin gave his grim relatives their smiles, but he’s still not sure they won’t spoil it for him when he brings his imaginary fiance home, so Aunt Rose, Uncle Dimity and the kids Lila and Lester will have to move out. Via the furnace if needs be. Not that they’ll notice … (Horror 10)

Ray Bradbury – I, Mars (Terror From Outer Space)

Charles Brameld – Above And Beyond (Ghost 18)

Christianna Brand – Akin To Love: The bedroom has an appalling reputation dating back to the Seventeenth Century when the young man who lived there joined the Hellfire Club. Even in relatively recent times his evil presence has driven two women to suicide. Now he appears to the virginal Sam, and it transpires that all it will take to set him free is for a woman to listen to his confession and forgive him. Not being used to being chatted up by a Satanic corpse, Sam falls for it, even going so far as to romp with him on the four poster. Only then does she realise the soul destroying truth. (Horror 14)

Joseph Payne Brennan – Levitation: Morgans Wonder Carnival plays Riverville, an isolated mining community starved of entertainment. The troupes star attraction is the black-clad Hypnotist who requires a volunteer for his demonstration. Frank is eventually shamed into the job after lobbing peanuts at volunteer #1. The Hypnotist puts him under and commands him “Rise from the platform. Rise!” Frank rises. The Hypnotist falls to the floor clutching his chest. Frank rises. (Ghost 7)

Joseph Payne Brennan – The Horror At Chilton Castle: Wexford village, North of England. Brennan, on a working holiday in England, has a chance meeting with William Cowarth, factor of the castle, who informs him that tonight’s the night when Frederick, the 13th Earl, must learn the sinister secret of the locked room. Brennan’s arrival is providential as another of the blood is required to accompany him, and Frederick’s father has recently died. Within, fettered to the wall, awaits Lady Glanville who made a pact with the Devil in the 15th Century. How has she survived that long? (Horror 9)

Ann Bridge – The Accident (Ghost 4)

Ann Bridge – The Song In The House (Ghost 9)

Richard Bridgeman – Morgan’s Trust (Welsh Terror)

Emily Bronte – The Horrors Of Sleep: Poetry, not usually my thing at all but this super-morbid groan of despair hits the spot. “Sleep brings no joy to me/ Remembrance never dies …..” Inspired move, including this in the same volume as Tery Tapp’s The Bed! (Ghost 17)

Anthony Burgess – An American Organ: Narrative of a disturbed man who trades in his late mother-in-law’s ornaments for a keyboard. On getting over the shock his impossibly understanding wife thinks it would be nice if he were to give her a recital while she’s taking a bath. She doesn’t even baulk when he asked her what Crippen played to his victims. (Horror 13)

Gerald Bullett – Dearth’s Farm: ‘Bailey’, a down and out, visits his cousin Monica and her husband James Dearth at their isolated Norfolk farm. Dearth dotes on his white horse, Dandy and Bailey can’t help but notice the startling facial similarity between the pair. It soon becomes apparent that the Dearth’s despise each other and Monica confesses to being frightened of her husband’s uncanny power over Dandy who has recently tried to trample her. It transpires that Dearth is able to leave his body and take possession of the horse at will. And now he suspects Bailey and his wife of conducting an affair …. (Ghost 7)

Ken Burke – Starvation Diet: Andrew and the Doc are the only survivors of the shipwreck, with the medic saving his injured friend from drowning and carrying him to the island. Marooned with minimal provisions, it looks all up for the pair, but Doc is no quitter. The day after he’s amputated Andrew’s bad leg, he wanders the island, joyfully reporting back that a crate of the ship’s supplies have washed up on the beach. They dine on roast pork and all is bearable for a few days, but Doc is worried about Andrew’s arm. It doesn’t look so good. It might even have to come off … (Horror 14)

Thomas Burke – The Lonely Inn (Ghost 11)

Thomas Burke – The Hollow Man (Horror 9)

Thomas Burke – The Bird: Captain Chudder gets a young Chinese drunk and whisks him aboard the S.S. Peacock to keep him entertained during the voyage. Every night Sung Dee’s shrieks for mercy are heard from the cabin but nobody thinks to intervene on account of Chudder’s white parrot. The bird acts as his master’s eyes and ears among the crew, and all are agreed that there’s something uncanny about it. Back on dry land, the ill-used boy seeks his revenge.
One of the stories that Peter Penzoldt got so upset about in his The Supernatural In Fiction on account of its “descriptions of sadism”. It’s certainly ghastly enough, but just what the Captain does to the boy is alluded to as opposed to lovingly gloated over. (Horror 14)

A. M. Burrage – The Green Scarf (Ghost 11)

A M Burrage – One Who Saw (Ghost 14)

A. M. Burrage – The Waxwork: Raymond Hewson, a journalist down on his luck, decides, for purposes of an article, to spend a night alone in the Murderers Den at the Waxworks. Among the replicas of such charmers as Crippen is a particular model, that of Dr. Bourdette, ‘The French Jack The Ripper’, which really disturbs him, and as the night drags on he can’t help but be anxious that the cut throat was never captured … (Horror 5)

Sir Richard Burton – The Saving Of A Soul (Ghost 15)

Meg Buxton – The Herb Garden (Ghost 15)

Meg Buxton – The Children And The Apple Tree (Ghost 16)

Meg Buxton – Situation Vacant (Ghost 19)

Meg Buxton – Carrie Liddicoat’s Cottage (Ghost 20)

Dino Buzzati – Just The Very Thing They Wanted: Antonio and Anna arrive in town on a sweltering hot day. Despite appearances to the contrary, they are told that all the hotels are full. This they can bear, but Anna has to cool down. Exhausted, they arrive at the public baths, but the queues are massive. When Anna arrives at the kiosk, the officious attendant won’t accept her money as she’s lost her ID card. By now thoroughly dejected, they wander into a park and … there’s a fountain! Anna joyfully wades in but the adults begin yelling at her that it’s for children only. She tries to reason with them … and incites a riot. “This was a heaven sent opportunity. There was no longer anything to stop them pouring out their very souls, from ridding themselves of that whole load of filth and evil that piles up inside one for years and that no-one really notices is there.” Anna and Antonio have indeed given the crowd “just the very thing they wanted” – an excuse to take out all their loathing on two helpless individuals. (European Terror)

Dino Buzzati – Seven Floors: Lawyer Giovanni Corte, suffering from an unspecified but non-life threatening illness, is admitted to the brilliant Prof. Dati’s private hospital. It’s an impressive building, seven stories high where the relatively healthy cases are lodged on the top floor and the terminal cases the bottom. Due to a series of “administrative errors”, Corte descends floor by floor despite assurances from successive doctors that there’s nothing much wrong with him. (Horror 4)

Dino Buzzati – Something Beginning With ‘L’: Shroder, a prosperous timber merchant, loses all after forcing a ragged man to help push his cart out of a ditch. His actions were certainly little regrettable, but the true horror of the story is in the craven behaviour of Dr. Lugosi and the sadistic glee Sheriff Valerio takes in the stranger’s ghastly fate. (Horror 12)

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