Saturday 27 November 2010

More of the Stuff of Sleepless Nights

I must say a very profound thank you to Johnny Mains, whose dedication to the cult of paperback horror is such that he has a website devoted to the premier UK paperback anthology series,  the Pan Book of Horror. But in addition to all the research he has conducted on it's editors and writers, he has also published his own collection of works by these writers,  many of whom were working under pseudonyms. The book entitled "Back From The Dead" features 16 stories by these authors. many published for the first time and as I'm about halfway through them I can attest that they are all real  chillers, designed to plunge you into uncomfortable dreams and when I've done with that collection it will be back into the new republished Pan Book of Horror Stories, which again is down to Johnny's boundless energy and enthusiasm for these books and comes with a fascinating introduction covering the history of this long running series.

Here from Johnny's vault is the original artwork by William Francis Phillipps for the cover of the third book in this series.

And if that hasn't left you a little breathless just check out "The Signalman" another brilliant BBC adaption from 1976 with Denholm Elliot's masterful portrayal of the man in question. This video has only just been posted to YouTube by the DickensXmas channel so don't forget to give it a big thumbs up rating.


and then:

and finally:


  1. I well recall that amazing cover. I was over at a friend's (Peter Slinger, whose parents ran the Barley Mow pub in Tilford) and he showed me that picture and it gave me such a fright that I refused to be left in the room with it. Granted, I was 9 - but I had read Dracula the previous year without batting (lol) an eyelid, so those Pan cover artists knew how to hand out some serious scares.

    It's rather brilliant that the critter in the grave isn't a skeleton or zombie, as it would be nowadays. Is it something that eats the dead? A thing that the grave gives birth to, nesting among the bones? The mind can't help dwelling on a lot of rather chilling possibilities, but in the end you just have to accept that it's inexplicable - and that's what makes it so memorably disturbing.

  2. I had it worse than you, Dave - I lived across the road from a cemetery!

    That cover had something really unsettling about it.

    B Smith