Sunday, 8 April 2012
House of Fear Review
Objects in Dreams may be Closer than they Appear by Lisa Tuttle:
A case of sometimes it's best not to let your curiosity get the better of you, it could have been a bit tighter, but an interesting tale none the less.
Pied-A-Terre by Stephen Volk
I think Stephen did a great job of writing from a female perspective, and it might make you even more weary when next you go house hunting.
In the Absence of Murdock by Terry Lamsley
Terry has a very old fashioned feel to his writing and checking out his books on Goodreads he's quite the master of the short story. I think lovers of pulp fiction will enjoy this one.
Florrie by Adam L. G. Nevill
As much I liked the other ones so far, I liked this one the most, the transition the story makes from beginning to end is quite remarkable. It will certainly make you think about who lived in a house previously to you.
Driving the Milkway by Weston Ochse
This was more a haunted RV than a haunted house, but a great tale none the less. Weston really plays on the nostalgia factor of what it was like to grow up, how wild our imaginations were (and sometimes still are). It shows us what lengths people will go to keep a friendship alive, a story I won't forget anytime soon.
The Windmill by Rebecca Levene
This is an honest look inside the head of a prisoner, how they feel they did nothing wrong and it's society that is persecuting them. An error he soon pays for, maybe a little too harshly, but that's for you to decide.
Moretta by Garry Kilworth
When and if I reach retirement I hope I have some excitement in my life like the main character does in this story, but maybe not as life threatening. Although the story wasn't particularly frightening it still had a nice charm to it.
Hortus Conclusus by Chaz Brenchley
It's about a group of friends who go help the mother of a deceased friend clean up a disused garden, and it doesn't take long before strange things start to happen. Things that prove that maybe their friend's spirit hasn't yet departed. While I enjoyed the story, I think it could have been a bit more scarier, but I don't think it was the aim of the story, because it left me feeling uneasy, like you should be doubly sure you treat people with respect while they're alive otherwise it might come back to haunt you.
The Dark Space in the House in the House in the Garden at the Centre of the World by Robert Shearman
Being a Dr Who writer (mentioned in the foreword before the story) I knew this story was going to be a little different and I wasn't disappointed. Cindy and Steve are forbidden from going to the centre of the forest, but predictably they don't listen. Being passive aggressive God is disappointed, but he does little to punish them, only
warning them not to go into the attic. And so the story goes on with its many twists and turns. It's the sort of story Alice would be proud of. The overall tone was compelling and it felt like a breeze to read.
The Muse of Copenhagen by Nina Allan
Nina has a done a great job of writing from the male perspective, normally you can tell quite easily that a writer is a bit out of their depth. Johnny gets a strange call from his uncle stating that he doesn't have long to live and when he inherits his childhood home he should get rid of it as soon as possible. Johnny goes over, but he soon gets caught up on childhood memories and doesn't want to get rid of any of it. Then his trip into the village changes everything and quickly decides to sell, but it's too late, he is not alone.
An Injustice by Christopher Fowler
A group of friends decide to go ghost hunting. Max, Ali and Shape. Max is the serious one and is in love with Ali and she doesn't know it, because she's too busy trying to get into Shape's pants and Shape doesn't care because he's only in it for the moment and will do anything to piss off his upright parents. Finding a possible ghost in the wrong side of town they stalk and soon discover that it's not all as it seems. A great story that ties in modern events quite nicely.
The Room Upstairs - Sarah Pinborough
The story had a laid back feel to it. A man casing out the town waiting for his accomplice to arrive, but soon gets distracted when something upstairs in the B and B he's staying in makes an awful racquet every night. He confront the other guest and landlady, but they know nothing. It soon reaches a stage where he can't take it any more and goes and finds out for himself. He finds something that makes him realize he should maybe change his ways.
Villanova by Paul Meloy
This story opened like many horror movies do all bright and happy but with something sinister lurking underneath. Ken takes his two girls on holiday. Steven a member of staff at the resort is charming, but in a clumsy way. There's something odd about him, but Ken isn't sure exactly what. As with any good horror story it steadily gets darker and has a decent pay off at the end.
Widow's Weeds by Christopher Priest
Christopher Priest is one of those writers I've heard a lot about, but haven't had a chance to read much of. I liked his casual and engaging style, and wouldn't mind reading more of his stuff in the future. Dennis is a lonely magician and finds what seems to be a perfect match through an internet dating site. She turns out to be all that he wanted and more, but as you've most probably guessed there's more to her than meets the eye. The story was maybe a bit too predictable, but somehow that was part of the charm.
The Doll's House by Jonathan Green
Having just finished reading the story it is the freshest in the my mind. The story builds up the tension quite nicely, maybe a little too dragged out, but a bit a shorter and it might have not worked as well. You could really feel the frustration of the main character as she goes through the day to day life of being a stay at home mum. It even made me feel anxious about my own washing and ironing.
Inside/Out by Nicholas Royle
This story had a dream like feel to it, you can almost see the shroud of fog in your mind's eye as you follow the main character as he stalks someone. It's one of those stories where a lot happens, but nothing too solid you can recall later. Although I do remember the gist of it, and it all comes together in a nice ending where everything suddenly makes sense. As you can imagine too late for the MC to do anything about it.
The House by Eric Brown
As stories go this a prime example of how you shouldn't let the past chain you down. Things happen and it may be hard at first, but you have to put it behind you. Focus on the future and the good things in life. The main character realizes it late in life, but better late than never. It's the sort of story you would expect to be made into a late Sunday evening drama you can enjoy with the family. In addition it's unique compared to the other stories, when you realize it's not the house itself that is haunted.
Trick of the Light by Tim Lebbon
This story pretty much continues the theme of the previous one. Live life while you have the chance. Penny a widow (husband missing for 7 years while on holiday and presumed dead) never was the adventurous type and didn't share her late husband's need to see the world and discover new things. She just wanted to stay at home in her own little world where nothing changed. After years of no news she decides to sell up house and buy an old mansion. I'm assuming Peter was quite well off because the place sounds massive. As you would suspect all is not right with the house and strange things start happening. Things that remind her of her husband.
What Happened to Me by Joe R Lansdale
I think this story was a fitting choice to end off the collection. It was suitably creepy and it's one that really fires the imagination. When the main character and his buddies pool their resources together to rent an old house they thought they had found the bargain of their lifetimes. The first flatmate pretty much leaves the first day there and the next soon after leaving the MC to tackle things on his own. Things get worse and worse to the point where he finds a previous tenant of the house, an old woman who used to live their when she was a girl, to help him get to the bottom of it. A woman the house seems to still have a strong bond with. Overall the story flowed nicely and even though the story was fantastic in nature it was told in a way that made it very much possible. A story I think I would make a great movie if was made by someone like Peter Jackson.