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Pistol_Pete
Sep 15, 2007

I disagree! Only 2 Princesses have died. That is one of the smallest number of dead Princesses you can have.


Oven Wrangler

Drunken Baker posted:

The worst part for me was when the aul girl (who Pinhead literally kicks to death) quips, "These aren't your usual sado-machoists from beyond the grave!"

At first I thought, oh that's cute, harking back to the naming debacle with the first Hellraiser film. But it's so clunky and horrible and on the nose and it makes my drat skin crawl now.

The worst part for ME is when Hell is properly described for the 1st time and some of the demons are riding about the City of the Damned on bicycles. loving bicycles. I'm hoping I hallucinated that particular detail so please let me know if I'm mistaken.

A much better and unjustly much-neglected novel is The Shaft, by David Schow, which I read recently. Written in the late 80's, The Shaft is set in Chicago in the depths of winter and it's a gritty crime thriller where the supernatural elements are only slowly and subtly introduced (most of the key characters don't realise that they're actually starring in a horror story until it's FAR too late...).

This is a beautifully well-written book: I've read plenty of godawful horror, so I know something good when I see it. The key characters are deftly drawn and you really start to care about them, even the shithead drug dealer Cruz, who flees to Chicago after successfully daring his bosses girlfriend to leap from a hotel roof into the pool while they're all shitfaced drunk (you can probably guess how that turns out). Also, look at this front cover. LOOK AT IT:



In short, this book owns and everyone should read it.

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Pistol_Pete
Sep 15, 2007

I disagree! Only 2 Princesses have died. That is one of the smallest number of dead Princesses you can have.


Oven Wrangler

Jedit posted:

If the BBC adapted it, it's probably good.

Regardless, I don't see any point in picking out places to start when you're most likely to be reading any given one of James's ghost stories in a single volume collection. He only wrote 34, and you can get 33 of them for under 1 on Kindle or the main 30 for free.

The BBC always gently caress them up, though. They take a perfectly crafted, stand-alone short story, that James spent the best part of a year polishing and say: "Heyyyyy, this story is good, I guess, but what if we add this to it!" Like, they took Whistle and I'll come to You and added in a subplot where the dude's wife had Alzheimers and he was super-conflicted about it and the haunting all somehow fed into that and it sucked balls. It also completely missed the dry, understated humour that's an essential ingredient of an M R James story by making the protagonist a lonely, regretful old guy rather than an earnest young nerd who totally doesn't believe in ghosts... until he's faced with the evidence of his own eyes! An M R James story is already a near-perfect little tale: all they have to do is translate it into a visual medium but no, every time it's "We're updating this for the modern era!" and they poo poo out a high-budget, star-studded, impeccably produced failure.

Yeah, I'm mad.

Pistol_Pete
Sep 15, 2007

I disagree! Only 2 Princesses have died. That is one of the smallest number of dead Princesses you can have.


Oven Wrangler

Flopstick posted:

You should respect the source material, of course, but part of that is accepting that you are working in a completely different medium and need to make accommodations for that.)

Yes, I'm aware of the technical issues in translating a printed story into a visual one. Conveying something through film is quite different to achieving the same thing in a written story. My issue is that the directors of MR James adaptions (doing an annual Xmas adaption has become a bit of a tradition at the BBC) invariably start adding in fresh and incongruous elements to the stories, just so they can boast that they've "made their mark" on an established classic. Invariably, it fails to work and detracts from the story, rather than making it more comprehensible for a contemporary audience.

Pistol_Pete
Sep 15, 2007

I disagree! Only 2 Princesses have died. That is one of the smallest number of dead Princesses you can have.


Oven Wrangler

He has a new novel out at the end of October!

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-reddening/adam-nevill/9781916094116


quote:

The Reddening is an epic story of folk and prehistoric horrors, written by the author of The Ritual, Last Days, No One Gets Out Alive and the three times winner of The August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel.

Pistol_Pete
Sep 15, 2007

I disagree! Only 2 Princesses have died. That is one of the smallest number of dead Princesses you can have.


Oven Wrangler

alf_pogs posted:

just finished "The Inhabitant Of The Lake and Less Welcome Tenants" by Ramsey Campbell and its very enjoyable - but pretty meat and potatos weird Cthulhuverse fiction

In his defense, those stories were all written when he was between the ages of 14 and 19!


Owlkill posted:


I hear a lot about Campbell being a writer of Mythos fiction but somehow I seem to have avoided that in what I've read of him so far, though I've only got those two collections. He's very good at evoking a particularly British dinginess that somehow really adds to to the creeping grimness, I find. And some good folk horror themes too.

Yes, Campbell wrote a lot of good stuff in the 70's and 80's, all set in the bleak, declining, post-industrial urban landscapes of the era. Lots of lonely protagonists trudging home in the dark, down streets of empty, condemned houses to their grim rented rooms, while something unspeakable (but strangely and horribly familiar) lurks behind them in the shadows.

Pistol_Pete
Sep 15, 2007

I disagree! Only 2 Princesses have died. That is one of the smallest number of dead Princesses you can have.


Oven Wrangler

Just finished John Lindqvist's 'I'll Always Find You' and, well, that was a chilly and uncomfortable read. It's highly autobiographical and Lindqvist claims in the book that everything he's writing about actually happened. This means that you're never sure where the truth ends and the fiction begins and you're left with the unsettling feel that rather more of it is accurate then you'd like.

Lindqvist writes his best when he's drawing on the grim experiences of his early life and there's a horrible authenticity to the events that he describes.

Pistol_Pete
Sep 15, 2007

I disagree! Only 2 Princesses have died. That is one of the smallest number of dead Princesses you can have.


Oven Wrangler

It's well worth reading but lacks the rawness of I'll Always Find You. The narrator of the later book is basically an older Oskar who never got to meet Eli: lonely, isolated and embittered. Let The Right One In was itself highly autobiographical and it's jarring to see some of the characters and locations from that novel reappearing in a book that the author assures us is completely true this time.

I am Behind You is a bit more Twilight Zone: you can read it as an enjoyable supernatural thriller without having to squirm through the author's unflinching accounts of screwing up his relationships or getting arrested for shoplifting (I found these harder to read than the horror bits lol).

Pistol_Pete
Sep 15, 2007

I disagree! Only 2 Princesses have died. That is one of the smallest number of dead Princesses you can have.


Oven Wrangler

Anyone reading Adam Nevill's new book, The Reddening? It's pretty much like his other books to date: folk horror, detailed research, isolated protagonists with troubled pasts and the inevitable flakey and unreliable boyfriend but Nevill IS awfully good at pulling it all together.

I just wish he'd extend his range a bit: I've always thought he has at least one excellent crime novel in him.

Pistol_Pete
Sep 15, 2007

I disagree! Only 2 Princesses have died. That is one of the smallest number of dead Princesses you can have.


Oven Wrangler

escape artist posted:

11/22/63 is in my top 5 King novels ever. Definitely a must read.


11/22/63 is good 'cos it forces King into a time period where he can't mangle modern technology

More seriously, it's kinda freaky to think that a time period that we regard as another era is one that King's old enough to have experienced 1st hand.

Pistol_Pete
Sep 15, 2007

I disagree! Only 2 Princesses have died. That is one of the smallest number of dead Princesses you can have.


Oven Wrangler

a foolish pianist posted:

The Shaft by David Schow. It's fun, and it loving loves going on and on about cocaine.

EDIT: this is the cover


The Shaft is great: the characters all think that they're in a gripping, sleazy crime thriller and don't realise that it's actually a horror story until far too late. Beautifully written, too.

Speaking of beautifully written, I'm on T.E.D. Klein's The Ceremonies at the moment. You can tell the dude spent years writing this because it's so perfectly polished. Trouble is, I've come to really like the four main characters in the book (Ok, not the college-lecturer protagonist so much, 'cos he's a bit of an rear end in a top hat tbh) and I'm getting to the point of the book where bad stuff is going to start happening to them, rather than the walk-on characters. I kind of want to sneak a look at the end, to see who gets to survive but then that would spoil the book.

Pistol_Pete
Sep 15, 2007

I disagree! Only 2 Princesses have died. That is one of the smallest number of dead Princesses you can have.


Oven Wrangler

anilEhilated posted:

Tangentially related to the Klein talk - where would you folks recommend starting with Ramsey Campbell?

He's written a lot and his short stories are generally better than his novels. A collection like Cold Print or Alone With the Horrors is a good place to start. Ramsey's short stories are often about unspeakable things slithering around in the shadows of English post-industrial urban landscapes, so if you like that sort of thing, either of those collections should be good. Alone With the Horrors also comes illustrated with some, ahem, terrifying... proto-photoshopped images based on the stories.






The unspeakable horror!

Pistol_Pete
Sep 15, 2007

I disagree! Only 2 Princesses have died. That is one of the smallest number of dead Princesses you can have.


Oven Wrangler

fez_machine posted:

I love Midnight Sun but it's more a mood piece than anything else.

At the very least read his autobiographical introduction to The Face that Must Die, because it's one of the best pieces of autobiographical horror that exits. Basically, it recounts his very messed up family life and upbringing and his struggles to care for his schizophrenic mother.

Given the terrible sense of loneliness and isolation that permeate so much of his work, it's kinda nice to learn that Campbell himself has children and a long, happy marriage

Pistol_Pete
Sep 15, 2007

I disagree! Only 2 Princesses have died. That is one of the smallest number of dead Princesses you can have.


Oven Wrangler

ravenkult posted:

I have bad news, friend.

Reading Richard Laymon, you can always tell that he really enjoyed writing that stuff and didn't feel any need to hide the fact.

Pistol_Pete
Sep 15, 2007

I disagree! Only 2 Princesses have died. That is one of the smallest number of dead Princesses you can have.


Oven Wrangler

MockingQuantum posted:

I'm tempted to read it because I love Blackwood, but I did not like The Twisted Ones at all. It felt like she wanted to write a love letter to this deeply weird, fascinating early horror story but did it in the most bland, straightforward way (with, imo, a very grating main character). It felt like a book with a lot of potential, but it just never got close to paying any of it off.

Does The Hollow Places have the same problems? I think a lot of my issues might boil down to Kingfisher/Vernon's writing style in general. This may be selling her short, but The Twisted Ones read, to me, like she didn't quite succeed in making the jump from writing kids/YA books. It just reads as very shallow.

I found the (2) main characters in this book annoying as hell and I don't know why the author went down this path. The Hollow Places could have been an excellently creepy book but it's horribly marred by having protagonists who seem to have wandered in from a sitcom. Having these two stumble through an alien world having 'wacky' exchanges and amusing domestic mishaps sure is an interesting way to build atmosphere. And yeah, it was all just a bit 'young adulty', too, like the author didn't want to go all in on the horror but keep it diluted with more reassuring stuff, so as not to unsettle the readers too much.

I give the Hollow Places 3 stars for effort, minus 1 star for awful protagonists and minus another star for screwing up the atmosphere.

Pistol_Pete
Sep 15, 2007

I disagree! Only 2 Princesses have died. That is one of the smallest number of dead Princesses you can have.


Oven Wrangler

Paddyo posted:

I read Elementals immediately before jumping into Blackwater, and yeah, you can definitely tell that McDowell approaches the supernatural stuff with a certain vagueness, and doesn't really feel the need to dump exposition on the reader. On one hand it's pretty cool because it preserves the sense of weirdness and mystery, but on the other hand I can't help but to feel like he's pulling a bit of a JJ Abrams and doesn't wrap up all of his plot threads.

Yeah, I felt similar: great plot, unforgettable characters but the supernatural elements could feel strangely haphazard, like McDowell was thinking: "Ok, better throw some spooky poo poo in, 'cos that's my thing." The family saga by itself is more than enough for a set of novels without adding in a race of shape shifting river monsters and murdered characters periodically reappearing as vengeful ghosts.

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Pistol_Pete
Sep 15, 2007

I disagree! Only 2 Princesses have died. That is one of the smallest number of dead Princesses you can have.


Oven Wrangler

Ornamented Death posted:

Most anything by Skipp and Spector with the caveat that their books meet your criteria but lack the humor of JDatE.

Comedy option: Have you heard of Edward Lee?

The Light at the End is a beautiful (ok, perhaps that's not the right word) evocation of grimy, dangerous 1980's New York. Quite apart from its merits as a horror novel, it's become a period piece that pictures a New York that doesn't exist any more and it's fun to read for that reason alone.

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