Boris Karloff presents tales of the frightened Horror Book Review
Featured Book Review: Darkbound
Darkbound is an amazing book. Michaelbrent Collings outdid himself with this book. It is not at all what I thought it would be. I took three nights to finish this book because I stayed up way past my bedtime. Darkbound was so suspenseful that I just kept on reading to…
Horror books Review
This small, unobtrusive paperback contains 124 numbered pages, and 26
delightfully spooky and wonderfully terrifying stories. Each story is preceeded by a full-page, on which is written only the title of the story, and whose story it is, (for instance, “The Man In The Raincoat”—The story of Sylvester Dodge, “The Deadly Dress”—The story of Delores Martinez”, are the first two.) Each title has, after it, “The story of…”, and is written in such a style as to make the reader believe that these strange stories actually did occur.
I am privileged to have been able to watch the TV show “Thriller”, starring Boris Karloff, when it first appeared on TV. All of the stories are told in the same matter-of-fact, easy-to-understand, yet chilling manner, with which Mr. Karloff introduced the stories on his TV show. Many of the stories start with a question in the first few sentences, which invite the reader to suspend disbelief, and become involved—totally involved—in the short stories, (none of them over five pages in length), given. For instance, the first paragraph of “The Graveyard Nine”, (The story of the Ravenswood Rangers), goes like this:
Terror knows no one peculiar country, no native ground. Nor
does it discriminate against men because of their race,
color or religion. Terror has invaded all countries, all
homes, all professions…..and possibly, therein lies the
lawful fright of Terror. Now, would you ever believe that
Terror could infiltrate upon the placid, green fields of
baseball? Come, sit yourself beside me, and look out upon
the playing field, while I tell you the eerie and uncanny
history of the Ravenswood Rangers…a baseball team like
Into each story, the reader thus is drawn. The print is large and
well-spaced, the stories short, and ....shuddery, and to the, er…point.
Yes, these stories are just MADE to be read by those in the Baby Boom
generation and later….as they are each short enough to be read through, even by us—we who have, all too often, had our attention-spans shortened, and often, almost obliterated, by constant exposure to ten minute segments between tv commercials. No—there is NO excuse, and (yipes!) just about no way out. Once a pe4son starts reading one of these terrifying and, (for the moment, anyway), totally believably real stories, one must, perforce, continue for the three or three and a half more pages, till the end of the tale. And then, mayhap…start another?
It is stated on the back cover that Boris Karloff recorded the stories in this book, TALES OF THE FRIGHTENED, on Mercury Records. So, if you cannot read the print, or the candles or electricity blow out, or are just too frightened to hold the book open and read it….you still vcan know these stories, if you wish!
None of these stories is diappointing. All will give you thrills and chills….and perhaps a bad dream or two. I wish more of them had happy endings…but they all do make you think. Expanding one’s consciousness by reading of things most probably undreampt-of by most people, is the “raison d’etre” for most ghost stories, as far as I’m concerned. And there is most truly, much “food for thought”, in this slim volume!
The text here is by a gentleman named Michael Avallone, but I am quite sure that Boris Karloff himself must have given Mr. Avallone much inspiration on how the tales are to be told, and, perhaps, the very stories of these tales, themselves. True or not, they all have the knowing, laid-back style I remember so well from Mr. Karloff’s spoken words on “Thriller”. When I first saw the show, in fact, I was SO young I knew nothing else about Mr. Karloff except that he was the host of this TV show. He seemed to be very intelligent, and very much the gentleman….and I had no idea at all why my parents were apprehensive about my watching him, and his show. My paperback copy states the original date of copyright of this volume as 1847…hah, hah, little joke there! No, no—the real original copyright date is given as 1963, by Lyle Kenyon Engle, 1963 was also about the time that the “Thriller” program was on TV. A later copyright date, 1973, is above the 1963 date, and seems to have superceded it. Underneath is a message stating, “This book is…....” Well, maybe I won’t tell tell you the exact words, but it does say whether this is a fiction or non-fiction book!
All in all, a small, perhaps overlooked classic of twenty-six terrifying tales. Because of the copyright dates, a reader can be sure that this is a “PG” rated volume—gore is kept to a true miniumum, and descriptions of same is left mainly to the reader’s imagination. Sex is even less in evidence—it is allurement, and the beauty of a woman which is described here, not the sex act itself. There is no need, of course, for prolonged sex or violence in a book like this. Terror and trepidation are largely left up to the reader to imagine. To me, this is all for the good—expanding the imaginationm and allowing a reader to draw pictures in his or her own mind, of what is happening, are what stories like these should do. Or—as I once descibed the difference between modern, all-too-graphic movies, and the old-fashioned kind, “There are horror stories—and then there are horrIBLE stories!” These are DEFINITELY
simply horror stories. And all of them are good ones!
In his last movie, Boris Karloff played an ageing horror movie actor. A young man, making present-day “R” and “X” rated horror movies, told Mr. Karloff’s character, “YOUR MOVIES REALLY BLEW MY MIND!” Mr. Karloff’s character looks, slowly and disapprovingly, at the young man before him, before summing up his, (and paranthetically, my own), feelings in one, magnificient word: “OBVIOUSLY”! (Yayyyyyyy!!!! Thanks Mr. Karloff!!!!)
A good horror story, well-told, leaving the reader and the reader’s imagination to fill in the details. No excess blood. No excess gore. Just a story that allows a person to think on good, and on evil, and why there is a difference, and what that difference is. In stories, and in titles like: “You Can Take It With You”, “The Phantom Soldier”, “Say Good Night To Mr. Sporko”, “Portrait In Hell”, “Terror In The Window”, “The Barking Dog”, “Terror In The Window”, “The Barking Dog”,....and many others, there is much to think about and ponder on. As you read these stories….and ever afterwards, as well!
p. S. WARNING: Read them yourself, before giving it to a super-sensitive child—or adult. And be SURE to read the copyright page first….which tells the real truth, as to whether these are merely fiction stories, made from someone’s imagination,...or not!