Sunday, August 17, 2014

Vampire Stories – review

Editor: Alan Durant

First Published: 1998

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: Bloodcurdling and bone-chilling!

Bloodsucking vampires and savage werewolves – two of the most petrifying creatures of classic horror fiction brought together in one terrifying collection.

Includes stories by Angela Carter, Arthur Conan Doyle, Anthony Masters, Richard Matheson, Saki, Bram Stoker.

The review: I picked this compilation in a publisher’s clearing house in Whitby but it took me a little while to get around to reading it, though that was for no other reason than a backlog of reading material.

Strangely, for a book whose title only mentions vampires it does have werewolf only stories. However, looking at the vampire side, we have included within Matheson’s Drink my Blood, which lent its story to the film Morticia, as well as a Woody Allen comedy vampire tale about Dracula and the seemingly obligatory Dracula extract.

I was particularly taken by the tale The Vampire of Kaldenstein by Frederick Cowles. In many respects it felt like a Hammer plot but was actually published in 1938. Interestingly, of three vampires, two could be destroyed but the third not – though why was not explained. I was also taken by the Roger Zelazny penned Dayblood, which looked at something that predated upon the predator - though what it was remained a mystery.

Over all it is a short volume – made more so by the fact that there are werewolves infecting the vampiric mix. I'm not marking it down for that – and indeed enjoyed some of the shaggy dog stories – but perhaps reflecting their inclusion in the title would have been good.

There are better compilation volumes out there but this wasn’t bad. 6 out of 10 shows it as containing some goodies but a little laden with obvious and too well trodden choices – especially the Stoker extract and the Conan Doyle.

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