Encyclopedia Phantasmagoria

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

Archive for the ‘Frighteners’ Category

Mary Danby – Frighteners 2

Posted by demonik on August 15, 2007

Mary Danby (ed.) – Frighteners 2: New Stories of Horror and the Unknown (Fontana, 1976)

Frances Stephens – Claws
Roger Malisson – The Thirteenth Kestral
Roy Harrison – The Cockroaches
Roger F. Dunkley – Cross Talk
Sydney J. Bounds – A Complete Collection
Tim Vicary – Guest Room
Dorothy K. Haynes – Fully Integrated
Robert P. Holdstock – Magic Man
Kay Leith – Avalon Heights
Bryn Fortey – The Substitute
Bernard Taylor – Pat-a-cake, Pat-a-cake
Sydney J. Bounds – An Eye For Beauty
Catherine Gleason – Friends
Margot Arnold – Brain Drain
Roger F. Dunkley – The Method And Madness Of George Strode

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Mary Danby – Frighteners

Posted by demonik on August 15, 2007

Mary Danby (ed.) – Frighteners: New Stories of Horror and the Unknown (Fontana, 1974)


Kay Leith – For The Love of Pamela
Sydney J. Bounds – The Mask
Joyce Marsh – Old Heather’s Picture
Bernard Taylor – Cera
Pamela Vincent – Lost Soul
A. E. Ellis – If Thy Right Hand Offends Thee …
Martin Ricketts – Dissolving Partnership
Terry Gisbourne – The Quiet Man
Francis Stephens – A Walk Along The Beach
R. Chetwynd-Hayes – The Catomado
Dorothy K. Haynes – Dorothy Dean
Sydney J. Bounds – Hothouse
Julia Birley – The Old Men
Pamela Vincent – Homicidal Maniac!
Bernard Taylor – My Very Good Friend
Martin Ricketts – And Now The Pact
Adrian Cole – The Horror Under Penmire

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Saki – Swain

Posted by demonik on May 22, 2007

Saki – The Wolves Of Cernogratz: When a member of the Cernogratz family dies it is said that all the wolves come down from the hills to mourn them and a great tree falls in the forest at the moment of their passing. The insufferable Countess and her equally arrogant brother don’t believe in either the legend or their old Governess Amalie’s insistence that she is the last of the bloodline. (Ghost 4)

Saki – The Interlopers: Carpathian Mountains. Ulrich von Gradwitz and Georg Znaeym are sworn enemies, continuing a family feud over ownership of the forest that has lasted generations. One stormy night they face each other in the wood, but before either can strike a fatal blow a huge tree falls pinioning both men to the ground. As they await rescue they make their peace and each man prays that his own people reach them first that he can insist they free the other before him. At last they can discern figures in the mist loping toward them …. (Horror 1)

Saki – Sredni Vashtar: Conradin, lonely and frequently ill, despises his cousin and guardian Mrs. De Ropp with a passion. All he has in the world is his hen, a polecat-ferret and a vivid imagination. It’s the latter that allows him to build a religious cult around the ferret which he names Sredni Vashtar and worships with offerings of nutmegs and a “paeon of victory and destruction”. Mrs. De Ropp – who enjoys tormenting her charge – sells the hen and now she’s discovered Sredni’s hutch hidden away in the garden shed. With the boy banished to the house under the watchful eye of the servants, can his God save itself? (Horror 6)

William Sansom – A Woman Seldom Found: A disillusioned young man on holiday in Rome meets and falls in love with a mysterious and beautiful woman and it seems that his desperate belief that there is such a thing as the perfect encounter is about to be realised … (Horror 5)

William Sansom – Various Temptations (Something Terrible, Something Lovely, 1948): Ronald Raikes, 31, is wanted for questioning in connection with the Victoria murders. Four London prostitutes have been strangled in a week and the known sex-offender has gone to ground. On impulse, he climbs a ladder and climbs in the open bedroom window of Clara, a plain and lonely woman who’s just been reading about the slayings. Telling her not to be frightened, he finds himself pouring out a very diluted account of his life story. Despite suspecting him to be the murderer, still she shelters him, finding it all a great adventure and soon they are making arrangements for their wedding. To celebrate his 32nd birthday, Clara throws him a party and, much to her own amazement, dolls herself up for the occasion, getting her hair done, buying a new blouse and even applying a dash of lipstick which is probably not the most advisable course of action in the circumstances, though the creepy undercurrent suggests she had a death wish all along. (London Terror)

‘Sapper’ – The House By The HeadlandOur pub-crawling narrator in Harris Tweeds is caught in a fierce thunderstorm on the South Western moors and seeks shelter in a remote, seemingly derelict house. It’s a splendidly gloomy place – all cobwebs, dust and darkness – and the same might be said of the cadaverous host, Rupert Carlingham, who creeps up on him as if from nowhere. Carlingham, clearly mad, has come home early to catch his far younger, pretty wife Mary at it with her lover, John Trelawnay. Our narrator is powerless to intervene as an afternoon of real-life melodrama, murder and suicide is replayed before his horrified eyes … (Ghost 15)

Robert Scheckley – Specialist (Terror From Outer Space)

Arthur Schnitzler – The Fate Of The Baron (European Terror)

Sir Walter Scott – The Tapestried Chamber (Ghost 12)

Sir Walter Scott – Wandering Willie’s Tale (Scottish Terror)

A. Scupham – Destination Glen Doll (Ghost 16)

Ronald Seth – The Reverend John Jones And The Ghostly Horseman (Welsh Terror)

Bob Shaw – Invasion Of Privacy (Terror From Outer Space)

Robert Silverberg – Back From The Grave: When John Massey, 44, discovers his young wife Louise in bed with her flashy friend, Henry Marshall, it triggers a coronary. Louise knew it was coming – the doctor had confided in her that she must prepare for widowhood – and as John sinks to his knees she explains how she and Henry have been lovers for years and that she only married him to get her hands on his inheritance. This is bad enough, but it gets far worse: such was the rush to get his funeral over and done with that John’s been buried alive! Can he get out of his coffin and dig his way to the surface before the air runs out or the graveyard rats get at him? (Horror 17)

May Sinclair – Where Their Fire Is Not Quenched (Ghost 6)

May Sinclair – The Villa Desiree (Ghost 20)

May Sinclair – The Victim: Steven Acroyd, a young chauffeur to old Mr. Greathead at Easthwaithe Lodge on the moors, is possessed of a dreadful temper, so when he catches the harmless Ned Oldishaw mucking around with his girl, Dorsy, he beats the lad to a pulp. This overreaction leads to his being cold-shouldered in The King’s Head, but far worse than that, Dorsy declines his marriage proposal on the grounds that she’s frightened he’ll kill somebody. Dorsy is right: when she leaves the village after a chat with Mr. Greathead which he partially overhears, Steven blames her departure on the old man and vows to get even. He dismembers him and throws the pieces down a pit.

A year later, Dorsy returns. She’s had a change of heart and is now set on becoming Mrs. Acroyd. Steven would be delighted … were it not for the fact that Mr. Greathead has chosen the same moment to put in a reappearance. But the old boy’s ghost isn’t out for revenge. He just wants a little clear the air chat … ( Horror 2)

Kushwant Singh – Death Comes To Daulat Ram (Oriental Terror)

A. E. D. Smith – The Coat: On a cycling holiday in France, the narrator stops off to mend a puncture at a deserted chateau near Vosges where he is seen off by an animated coat. He later learns that it belonged to a sadistic murderer in Napoleon’s army whose own daughter was obliged to shoot him in the back. (Ghost 9)

Lady Eleanor Smith – Mrs. Raeburn’s Waxwork: Patrick Lamb, out of work actor, takes the job of attendant at Mugivan’s Waxwork Exhibition. From the start he’s morbidly fascinated by the image of a beautiful poisoner. Comes the day when a veiled woman requests a guided tour of the chamber of horrors … (Gaslight Terror)

Lady Eleanor Smith – No Ships Pass:  When the yacht The Seagull catches fire and explodes, Patterson is washed up on what first appears to be a beautiful island. The first person to greet him is a simple-minded dwarf, Heyward, who was marooned there several years ago. Then there’s the Cockney, Dicky Judd, a survivor of the Titanic versus iceberg clash, Spanish pirate Captain Micah Thunder late of The Black Joke and finally his prisoner turned mistress the beautiful Dona Ines who looks twenty and is all of one-hundred and sixty years of age. Judd explains that they’re stranded on a mirage island, “floating round the world, picking survivors from shipwrecks in all the seven seas.” There’s no death for any of them, but neither is there any escape and “no ships pass”. They can be injured and pain still hurts so its best not to upset the sadistic Thunder by chatting up Dona. Each of them has gone from sanity to madness and back again many times over, finally deciding that the only way to cope in Limbo is to stop thinking. Patterson finds it impossible to give into this perpetual living death and builds a raft. What will happen when he sets out to sea?   (Ghost 3)

Lady Eleanor Smith – Satan’s Circus: The famous, ever-travelling Circus Brandt has a terrible name among those who’ve toured with them and this entirely due to the antics of the saturnine Carl Brandt and his Morticia Adamms of a wife, Lya. Hired hand Anatole, a deserter from the Foreign Legion, learns too late that you cross the latter at your peril when she gives him the choice of either filling in for the absconded lion-tamer ot being handed in to the authorities. No animals react well to Lya passing near them and at that night’s performance she deliberately causes Anatole’s gory death. Hints of vampirism in the pay-off. (Horror 2)

Barbara Softly – Master Ghost And I (Ghost 10)

Robert Solomon – The New Old House (Ghost 18)

Barnard Stacey – The Devil’s Ape: Artist Nickey and guests intercept a parcel for Hugh in the flat upstairs. Hugh is entirely humorless and his friends delight in winding him up so their first thought is to replace whatever is inside the package with some old tat. On discovering that Hugh’s ordered a book on black magic, Nickey decide’s it would be a great crack if they transferred Mr. Grumpy’s soul into the lay-figure he’s recently acquired. They dress the dummy to resemble Hugh and read allowed the spell. Eerie laughter from the room upstairs … (Horror 10)

W. J. Stamper – Fidel Basin: Haiti. having seen the squalor and starvation of the prisons where so many of the townsfolk are being unjustly held, Captain Vilnard is so disgusted at his army’s treatment of their own people that he resigns his commission and defects to the rebels, advising his lieutenant, Fidel Basin, to do likewise. But Basin only has eyes for promotion and is quite happy to carry out whatever barbaric orders are forthcoming from Port au Prince. Now the army have had enough, the soldiers mutiny and Michel meets a deservedly dreadful end – trussed to the festering corpse of an innocent prisoner who died of tropical dysentery. (Horror 17)

Francis Stephens – A Walk Along The Beach: Four-year-old Tod, pet-torturing little bastard, learns too late not to torment the mutated jellyfish washed up on the stony beach at Dirk Point near the nuclear power station … (Frighteners)

Frances Stephens – Claws: Tony Price escapes his creditors by doing a flit to the Outer Hebrides where he lands a job at a lobster refinery. Unfortunately, one of his colleagues, Logan, takes an instant dislike to him for being a ‘prancing Nancy boy’ Southerner with a flash car, and Price is obliged to bash him over the head and feed him to the merchandise. The Islanders don’t take kindly to this at all. (Frighteners 2)

Frances Stephens – Only Child (Ghost 15)

Robert Louis Stevenson – The Bodysnatcher: Fictitious account of the Burke and Hare murders. Edinburgh, 182-. Fettes, a medical student of some promise, is assigned the duty of paying the Resurrection Men who deliver corpses out back of the dissecting rooms for Dr. K— to distribute among his classes. It is soon obvious to Fettes that many of the “subjects” did not die of natural corpses – one such, ‘Jane Galbraith’ (Burke victim Mary Patterson) is his drinking partner of the previous day – but he’s imposed upon by star pupil Wolfe “Toddy” McFarlane to keep his suspicions to himself as no good can come of pointing the finger. McFarlane has good reason to silence him, for he too is a murderer. When a man named Gray insults him in a bar, he delivers his body to Fettes and bribes him to keep his mouth shut. The pair go into business together, digging up bodies from neighbouring churchyards until the night they receive their come-uppance following their exhumation of a farmer’s wife at Glencorse. (Scottish Terror)

Angus Stewart – Brown God In The Beginning (Scottish Terror)

Bram Stoker – The Squaw: The narrator and wife Amelia are honeymooning in Nuremberg where they befriend loud Nebraskan Hutcheson, a well-meaning but somewhat clumsy adventurer with a neat line in grim reminiscences. When Hutcheson gormlessly kills a kitten, its mother trails him everywhere, finally getting its opportunity for revenge in the Torture Tower where he will insist on climbing inside the Iron Virgin to try it for size. (Horror 1)

Bram Stoker – The Secret Of The Growing Gold (Horror 12)

Bram Stoker – The Burial Of The Rats (Horror 16)

Theodore Sturgeon – The Other Celia (Horror 12)

Psu Sung-Ling – The Magistrate Of Hu-Nan (Oriental Terror)

Psu Sung-Ling – The Inn At Ts’ia-Tien (Oriental Terror)

Virginia Swain – Aunt Cassie: The old girl has lived with nephew Edward Alden and his family for twelve years, an absolute dear but with one grating habit – she will insist on seeing the ghosts of her dead at inopportune moments and passing on their (usually critical) observations. When she upsets his wife and daughter with some alarming faux pas, even Edward thinks maybe it’s time she made other arrangements. Besides, one of the spooks keeps going on about his drinking. But he has a business arrangement tonight and the roads are icy. Best be very careful, especially as he knows the brakes to be faulty. Best have another shot of whiskey to keep off the chill …. (Ghost 11)

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Pain – Ryunosuke

Posted by demonik on May 22, 2007

Barry Pain – Not On The Passenger List (Ghost 4)

Pansy Pakenham – The Cook’s Room: The late James Maxwell-Smith of Terncote Manor had two passions in life – detective fiction and his French cook, Elise. When he died, his bereaved lover moved home across the channel. A guest in her old attic room has a nasty experience involving a bed, the marble bust of James and the ghost of Elise who has just committed suicide (!) (Ghost 16)

Mary E. Penn – In The Dark (Ghost 19)

Eden Phillpots – The Iron Pineapple (Cornish Terror)

Rog Pile – Mary: Introduces the uneasy subject of mongolism, then all but taboo in horror fiction and gives the whole thing a queasiness from the first page: you can’t help but feel sympathy for the girl or her parents – what’s going to happen to make the situation worse? The answer is the girl she meets at the pond behind her new home … (Horror 11)

Simon Pilkington – The Inheritance (Scottish Terror)

Hal Pink – The Screaming Plant: “A figure with the body, arms and legs of a man, but with roots instead of hands and feet and a cluster of leaves where the head should have been .. the mandrake was supposed to be a plant with human form and the voracity of a carnivorous animal which reached out with its root tentacles to seize unsuspecting herb-gatherers and crush them to death, gaining strength from their blood.”

Botanist Barker has recently acquired a genuine mandrake seed and, when it germinates, the plant grows to monstrous proportions, taking over the cellar. It’s size isn’t the only imposing thing about it: “Flower-shaped suckers there were indeed, opening and shutting like so many gasping mouths waiting for food. Tom, the Persian cat is the first victim, the plant totally exsanguinating him, and then it corners Barker. When the narrator rushes to the rescue, they hack the abomination to pieces with an axe, accompanied by the sound of its screams. (Horror 12)

Marion Pitman – Dead And Alive (Horror 11)

Edgar Allan Poe – The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar: “His face wore a leaden hue: the eyes were utterly lustreless and the emaciation was so extreme, that the skin had been broken through by the cheek-bones. His expectoration was excessive.”

Take a fond, lingering look because that’s the best author and bibliophile M. Ernest Valdemar gets to look at any point during the story. The dying man has agreed to his friend P—‘s macabre request that he allows himself to be mesmerised on his death bed. It all goes far better than anybody could’ve reasonably have wished – seven months after his passing Valdemar is showing no sign of decomposition – but then P– makes a fatal miscalculation. Rousing Valdemar from his trance, he asks “Can you explain to us what are your feelings or wishes now ?” … (Ghost 2)

Edgar Allan Poe – A Tale Of The Ragged Mountains (Horror 5)

Edgar Allan Poe – The Tell-Tale Heart: Poe’s work has been done to death by millions better than me, so, as with M. R. James, Blackwood, Lovecraft and the like, I’ll spare you an illiterate’s-eye view and just mention that I like him best when he’s at his most hilariously ghoulish. In The Tell-Tale Heart, the narrator, at pains to assure us of his sanity, commits premeditated murder on an old neighbour with whom he has no quarrel whatsoever: he just can’t abide one of his eyes. After spying on the old fellow for several nights and revelling in his discomfort, the murderer flattens him under his own bed, dismembers the body and conceals it beneath the floorboards. There’s nothing to connect him to the crime so when he’s visited by police investigating a shriek in the night it should be a formality to convince them of his complete innocence, what with his superior brain and all. (Horror 8 )

Edgar Allan Poe – A Descent Into The Maelstrom (Sea Terror)

Charles D. Pollexfen – Stowaway (Sea Terror)

Arthur Porges – Ruum (Terror From Outer Space)

Robert Presslie – The Night Of The Seventh Finger (Terror From Outer Space)

J. B. Priestley – The Grey Ones (Ghost 6)

Alison Prince – Mother’s Day: Nice Tom Rampage and his feisty, Save The Whale campaigning girlfriend Irma visit his embittered, paranoid old mother at the nursing home. Irma’s been messing about on the tennis courts and has a speck of rust in her eye. Let Mrs. Rampage see to it for you, dear …

You know exactly what’s going to happen – especially if you’ve read the back cover blurb which puts even the most sadistic Vault spoilers to shame – but it’s the crushing inevitability of the outcome that gives Prince’s evil little tale its power. (Horror 16)

Alexander Pushkin – The Queen Of Spades (Ghost 4)

Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch – The Roll-Call Of The Reef (Cornish Terror)

Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch – The Seventh Man (Ghost 3)

Edogawa Rampa – The Hell Of Mirrors : From childhood the brilliant but unbalanced Tanuma has been obsessed with reflective surfaces and, having finished his education, he sets up a laboratory where he can indulge his passion to his hearts content. A voyeur, he trains a powerful telescope on his neighbours and a concealed periscope through which he spies upon the antics of his maids, one of whom, Kimiko, doubles as his lover. When it comes to his creative side, perhaps his finest achievement is to invent the mirror ball, except his is turned inside out and large enough to contain a man. After several hours spent testing it out, he emerges a drooling maniac. “But how could this come about? Could the mere fact of confinement inside this glass sphere have been enough to drive him mad? …. What in the devil had he seen there? (Oriental Terror)

Tina Rath – The Fetch (Ghost 19)

Tina Rath – Fifth Sense: Jenny, the village idiot, has been murdered along the cliff, her head separated from her body which has been chewed. Little Sara’s belief that a werewolf is responsible is not as wide of the mark as her father believes. The killer is no stranger to either of them.(Horror 17)

James Reynolds – The Headless Rider Of Castle Sheela (Irish Terror)

James Reynolds – The Weeping Wall (Irish Terror)

Tony Richards – After Dark: Greenwich Village, New York. Jazz legend Jaybee Klane has been dead twenty years when his new, ground-breaking album After Dark is released to a mixture of rave reviews and outraged cries of “hoax!” Jaybee died of a bullet wound to the head. The verdict was suicide although his his old manager, Kenneth Zoth, knows this to be nonsense. Now the pair are reunited in the crumbling Bleeker Street slum where Klane made his home … (Ghost 17)

Tony Richards – Streets Of The City: Marshall Harris ran when his girlfriend, Kris, was raped and torn to pieces by a street gang. Twenty years later, he is in love again and plans to marry. A series of violent murders occur, the victims all friends or acquaintances of his, and whenever the murderer is apprehended, each claims a girls voice in his head ordered him to do it. (Ghost 18)

Tony Richards – Our Lady Of The Shadows (Ghost 20)

Tony Richards – Headlamps: Colorado. Thirty-five years ago, in the autumn of 1934, old Harry was disfigured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. He’s remained up in the mountains ever since, forcing lone drivers off the narrow road with his decrepit, explosive-laden truck. Tonight its the turn of John Turrell, lost en route to Pikes Peak. (Horror 14)

Martin Ricketts – And Now The Pact: Miller finds a book containing instructions on how to summon the Devil, which he does. They make the usual deal – Miller’s soul in exchange for gold, flash cars, a beautiful woman – in a disappointingly workmanlike four pager. (Frighteners)

Martin Ricketts – Dissolving Partnership: Brooks moves in next door to partner Crowell at Mrs. Graham’s guest house following the mysterious disappearance of the previous tenant. The pair are planning their next robbery, and Crowell has finally perfected his serum that will reduce a man to under twelve inches tall … (Frighteners)

Mrs Riddell – Old Mrs. Jones (Ghost 7)

R. Ellis Roberts – The Narrow Way: Was it a black miracle, or did Father Lascelles poison his congregation and single-handedly “convert” the parish of Uny to Catholicism in August 1912? According to Lascelles, he prayed to the Lord on All Souls Night to visit the community as the Grim Reaper and, as a result, a plague decimated the population. To Lascelles, the end justifies the means as “all of those who died were reconciled to the Holy Church before death. Of those who remain, nearly all have adhered to the church.” He has even converted Mr. Trengrowse of “the primitives.” Dr. Marlowe and Sir Joshua confront the fanatic and he assures them there’ll be no more deaths as he has prayed for them to cease. (Cornish Terror)

Lennox Robinson – A Pair Of Muddy Shoes: The female narrator holidays at her Aunt Margaret’s house in West Cork, the scene of an attempted murder some years earlier when Ned all but throttled his wife and was committed to an Asylum for his trouble. Now the girls is possessed by the recently deceased Ned soul, and, sleepwalking, goes in search of his widow …. (Horror 8 )

Sax Rohmer – Tcheriapin: A celebrated violinist, famed for his tortured composition The Black Mass gravitates toward Dr. Kreener (“a Don Juan of science”) and his Soho bohemian set. Kreener has developed a process whereby he can reduce and preserve flowers and even animals to a gem-like state. As yet, he hasn’t experimented on a human being but Tcheriapin’s constant goading of fiery Scot Andrews provides a perfect opportunity. (Horror 7)

David E. Rose – White Christmas : Short, sad moodpiece. After a long illness, Louise at last feels well again, just in time to enjoy Christmas Day and all its lovely surprises. Cut to a snowbound churchyard where a funeral is in progress …. (Ghost 15)

A. L. Rowse – All Souls’ Night (Cornish Terror)

Akutagawa Ryunosuke – Hell Screen (Oriental Terror)

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