The real shining piece of this book is the ghost and the setting. The whole world of the opera house comes alive as the ghost wrecks havoc and extracts vengeance. This is a review of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera (Le Fantôme de l’Opéra).
As much as I rarely buy newly published books, I make exceptions for curations of ghost stories and new printings of old, often forgotten work. This is a special Halloween review of Weird Women and Haunted Houses.
It might seem strange, and I’m sure it’s not a preference that many people share, but sometimes when I feel my worst — very anxious, very depressed, very not well — and can’t sleep, scary stories are what I turn to. There’s something about ghosts, goblins, vampires, and spooky houses in settings a hundred and fifty years old that draws me out of the racing thoughts my brain gets stuck in. This is a review of Horror Stories.
I’ve met people that swear by Camp Crystal Lake and others that don Freddy’s classic bladed gloves or put on the Ghostface mask from the Scream series. But nothing really gives me that feeling of decay, destruction, and ghostliness like stories, films, and books that have Victorian settings. This is a review of Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black.
It was my lovely spouse who actually recommended this book. She’s made quite few of Compestine’s recipes and enjoyed them almost as much as I know she enjoyed the stories. This is a review of Ying Chang Compestine’s A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts.
What do you think of when you think of Gothic mystery? A mysterious death followed by a mysterious will? Opium? Scary governesses? Some kind of murder plot? Graves? Estranged uncles? Gypsies? Creepy cousins? Murder? Gambling debts? Estates badly managed?
Did you say all of the above?
This is a review of Sheridan Le Fanu’s Uncle Silas.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the term ‘Grand Guignol’ as it is used as a description for a modern film or novel. It was actually a theatre in Paris. This is a review of Maurice Level’s Thirty Hours with a Corpse.
For a few years, starting when I was twelve or thirteen I followed the same ritual on Friday nights. Right after dinner, as dusk was falling, I’d walk to the mall across the street and enter the store, making a beeline to my favourite section — the horror movies. This is a review of Ray Russell’s The Case Against Satan.
Something to note about Ligotti: You have to expect to think. Sometimes, when I’m in the mood for a horror story, I’ll pick up a collection and know that I’m reading a good yarn that is just and only that. But Ligotti interweaves an existential dread into his stories and concepts that keep you thinking long after the story ends. This is a review of Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe.