Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Sixteen Skeletons from My Closet edited by Robert Arthur
Dell, 1st printing, 1963
Genre: Horror, suspense, thriller
Synopsis & Review: Another AHP collection, this time of sixteen stories, and with an emphasis on mystery, thrillers, and crime fiction. Perhaps I’m picky, and just don’t like any crime fiction that’s not by Woolrich, Chandler, or Thompson; I don’t know. But this collection did very little for me. It was a bit of a chore to finish.
It’s a much more contemporary collection than Stories My Mother Never Told Me, with no stories from before 1957 or after 1961. So I would hazard a guess that they were all published in contemporary magazines about that time, and that this ought to represent the creme de la creme of thrillers of the day. But it doesn’t. Many of the efforts seem almost amateurish and transparent at best, and hopelessly uninteresting at worst. Read the rest of this entry »
Tales for the Midnight Hour by JB Stamper
originally published 1977
Scholastic, 10th printing, 1986
Genre: YA, juvenalia, horror, scary stories
Synopsis & Review: Tales for the Midnight Hour is a classic collection of seventeen “stories of horror” for juveniles. It includes reworked classics like “The Velvet Ribbon” and classic folklore motifs such as a villain recognized by injury sustained during a crime (“The Ten Claws”) or animal vengeance (“The Gooney Birds”), as well as various unfamiliar weird tales. All the stories are very short, with none longer than ten pages, and simple. The simplicity is at times problematic, as some readers will be endlessly curious about the background or resolution. The endings tend to rely on a simple shock or twist.
While it isn’t as well-written, researched, or annotated–not to mention illustrated–as the seminal Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, it is instantly recognizable to many readers from the late Seventies till now, even after two decades in some cases. Read the rest of this entry »