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

Archive for the ‘Film/ TV tie-in’ Category

R. Chetwynd-Hayes – The Elemental

Posted by demonik on August 15, 2007

R. Chetwynd-Hayes – The Elemental (Fontana, 1974)

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Madame Orloff (Margaret Leighton) in From Beyond The Grave
The Elemental
A Time To Plant – A Time To Reap
Birth
The Labyrinth
Someone Is Dead
The Jumpity-Jim
The Wanderer

Back cover blurb:

A beautiful, horror-crazed hunchback …
A house with devouring walls …
A corpse which seeks gruesome revenge …
An unspeakable gaoler from the grim, dark past …

Fear has many faces. Here are eight of its more bizarre, more nerve-jangling aspects, brought into icy focus by a master of the macabre.

The Tandem – Fontana bust up.

To coincide with From Beyond The Grave‘s release, Fontana published a tie-in edition of The Elemental, but as Chetwynd-Hayes explains, there were a few legal problems to be sorted out. “There was a big fight between Tandem and Fontana about who was going to bring it out. Bertie Van Thal got me into that mess: ‘Don’t worry’, he said, ‘I’m your agent, I’ll handle this for you’. Then he dropped me in it and said ‘It’s nothing to do with me’. The book finally came out from Fontana and Tandem brought one out at the same time as ‘by the author of From Beyond The Grave – that’s how they got over it.”

Stephen Jones & Jo Fletcher, Talk Of The Devil: A Writer In The Dark Lands, Skeleton Crew, Sept. 1990

Strictly speaking, The Elemental was hardly a tie-in with From Beyond The Grave at all as it only included one of the four stories featured in the film. The Gatecrasher came from The Unbidden and The Door and An Act Of Kindness from Cold Terror, both of which had been published by, yes, Tandem. The “Here are eight of its more bizarre, more nerve-jangling aspects” line on the back when there are only seven stories suggests they were really determined to get this out to coincide with the film. At least he was (still) on good form.

The Elemental: Surrey. Reginald Warren has an elemental attach itself to his shoulder on the tube during the rush hour. Clapham-based Clairvoyant Madame Orloff, who happens to be in the same compartment, offers to rid him of the fast-growing parasite (for her usual fee), but Reginald thinks she’s nuts and is glad to escape as his stop, where his wife Susan is waiting for him in a backless sun-suit. Unusually for RCH, theirs is a happy marriage … or it is until the elemental mauls Susan, whereupon Reginald relents and hires Madame O. By way of exorcism, the clairvoyant chants some toe-curlingly unfunny doggerel and that certainly gets rid of the tenacious entity, but once she’s scarpered and the coast is clear, it returns to settle the score.

The Jumpity-Jim:

The Primate Horrific or Jumpity-Jim hath little intelligence, being but a form of low existence that doth demand life essence and warm blood. Once it hath been raised it will leap about with much speed and agility, and, if that which it needs be not at hand, will depart with a mighty explosion.

But should there be within the radius of twenty feet, a virgin, who hath the right essence, and should the flesh of her back, that which lies between the neck and the upper portion of the loins, be bare, then will it leap thereon, and will become as part of the poor wretch, as doth the legs and other members that did God in his bountiful goodness provide.

Once the abomination has mounted the steed, it can in no wise be removed, unless a like-virgin, cursed with the same essence, can be induced, or forced, to accept the loathsome burden.

Conrad Von Holstein, Unnatural Enmities And Their Disposal

Young Harriet lands the unenviable position of kitchen maid at Dunwilliam Grange. Her career doesn’t get off to the best of starts as, while she awaits collection outside The Royal George, she’s beset by ranting preacher Father Dale. When she tells him where she’s heading, he rips the dress from her back and begins an inspection of her body for “the devil’s mark”. Dashing, handsome Lord Dunwilliam appears just in time to rescue her from further molestation, and the Priest launches into a tirade against him and his family, the gist of it being that they’re a shower of Black Magicians and the day of the Lord’s vengeance is near.

It’s some time before Harriet encounters the reclusive Lady Dunwilliam, a beautiful woman of twenty-six, cruelly disfigured by a spectacular hunchback. Ma’am seems to take a shine to the girl, instantly promoting her from the scullery to companion, and Harriet frets that maybe the mistress fancies her, especially when she demands the girl wears a backless dress with no underclothing.

The reality, as it turns out, is far, far worse than she could have imagined …

At first I thought that if ever a Chetwynd-Hayes story was nailed on for the full Amicus treatment it was this one, but on reflection The Jumpity-Jim would have been even better suited to a Hammer big tits and bonnets production in the Taste The Blood Of Dracula mould. The spurious Von Holstein book surfaces in a number of RCH stories and Lord Dunwilliam (or a relative of his) also appeared in Lord Dunwilliam And Cwn Annwn. Finally, RCH re-wrote The Jumpity-Jim as a Clavering Grange story, Loft Conversion, for Tales From The Other Side

Someone Is Dead: First published account of Francis St. Clare and his glamorous assistant Frederica Masters’ misadventures (although The Wailing Waif Of Battersea from the later Night Ghouls is alluded to in the text) sees them investigating a haunting at Clarence Grange, built on the site of a seventeenth century prison. The malevolent spectre is that a sadistic warden, Royston Wentworth who is using black magic to build a bridge between his own time and the present day. But who is he using as a conductor? Francis is his usual chauvinistic self, and makes the near-fatal mistake of underestimating his enemy, something he is duty-bound to do at least once per story. Fred is flogged during a psychic trance, makes the occasional “outrageous” remark and wears a mauve blouse which, like all her others, has a “dangerous split” down the centre: does she bulk buy them? The story is probably overlong and you’ve guessed the human portal long before St. Clare, but it’s an entertaining diversion for all that.

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J. S. Le Fanu – The Vampire Lovers

Posted by demonik on July 14, 2007

The Vampire Lovers And Other Stories: by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (Fontana, 1970)

Le Fanu - Vampire Lovers

“A thrillingly macabre film from AIP-Hammer starring Ingrid Pitt and Peter Cushing”

Published to tie-in with the Hammer movie, this one saw Le Fanu’s famous “Carmilla” retitled for the occasion, but nobody seemed to mind too much. A novelisation would have been interesting, but this serves as a decent enough introduction to the author’s work.

Vampire Lovers (Carmilla)
Shalken The Painter
Sir Dominick’s Bargain
Narrative Of the Ghost Of a Hand
Green Tea
An Account Of Some Strange Disturbances In Aungier Street
The Fortunes Of Sir Robert Ardagh

Le Fanu - Vampire Lovers (backside)

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Ted Hart – Thriller

Posted by demonik on July 13, 2007

Ted Hart – Brian Clemens’ Thriller (Fontana 1975)

Brian Clemens' Thriller

File It Under Fear
Lady Killer
The Colour Of Blood
Ring Once For Death
Murder In Mind

File It Under Fear: Local girls are being preyed upon by a serial killer. Liz, a librarian, thinks she’s discovered the killer’s identity, but her increasingly panicked attempts to warn everyone fall on deaf ears.

Lady Killer: Jenny marries Paul Tanner after a whirlwind romance, blissfully unaware that he’s a bygamist and that, together with conniving wife #1, he’s desperate to get his hands on a sizeable insurance bonus should she tragically precede him to the grave. Similar to the opening story in “The Monster Club”, but minus the Shadmock.

The Color of Blood: Julie finds herself holed up at a remote country manor with the personable Arthur Page who just happens to be an escaped psycho known as the Carnation Killer.

Ring Once For Death: Bereaved Laura Vallance takes on a butler. He turns out to be a variant on Paul Tanner in “Lady Killer” and, having hired his wife as the maid, soon settles down to the cheery business of poisoning his wealthy employer.

Murder In Mind: A distraught woman, married to a thriller writer, stumbles into a police station, claiming to have murdered a girl with a poker. The lack of victim sees to it that she’s disbelieved by all but one diligent bobby.

Ted Hart – More stories from Thriller (Fontana, 1975)

One Deadly Owner
The Next Scream You Hear
Death To Sister Mary
A Place To Die
K Is For Killing.

I’ve not seen this one, but “The Next Scream …” episode features Satanism and “Death To Sister Mary” has a Soap Opera star mithered by an obsessive fan who wipes out several members of the cast.

Thanks to ade for the scan!

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Bryan Douglas (ed.) – Mystery and Imagination

Posted by demonik on July 5, 2007

Bryan Douglas (ed.) – Mystery and Imagination (Fontana 1968)

Mystery & Imagination

The Body Snatcher – R. L. Stevenson
Room 13 – M. R. James
The Phantom Lover – Vernon Lee
Lost Hearts – M. R. James
The Fall of the House of Usher – Edgar Allan Poe
The Canterville Ghost – Oscar Wilde
The Tractate Middoth – M. R. James
Carmilla – Sheridan Le Fanu

THE BODY SNATCHERS … Doctors whose enthusiam for surgery knew no bounds …

LOST HEARTS … The brilliant scholar had all that he needed: money, a beautiful house, peace – except hearts – other people’s hearts.

THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER … Edgar Allan Poe’s classic story of a horror: a great house … its haunted heir … and the sister he loved more than life itself …

THE PHANTOM LOVER … She was obsessed by a ghost … a ghost who reacted out of the past to take her …

ROOM 13 …. How could there be a shadow dancing wildly on the wall? A reflection from a room that didn’t exist …?

AND OTHER MAGNIFICENT TALES from the TV series that is enthralling millions of viewers.

Thanks to blackmonk of the Vault Of Evil board for the cover scan.

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