Sonntag, 25. März 2012

Pleasant Dreams & Such Stuff As Screams Are Made Of

Let’s go twice around the Bloch!

This’ll be a fairly short post this week. I’ve just gotten back from working 6 hours in the garden and I’m kinda bushed.

I have two Robert Bloch anthologies from 1979. I had both of these during my senior year of High School and lucked out a few months ago when I purchased a fairly large lot of Bloch paperbacks on Ebay for a ridiculously low price! Got to love those kids who have no interest in this stuff and let an old guy like me get the stuff fairly cheap!

I lot of younger readers might not realize how big a deal Mr. Bloch was at one time. I started out in the1930s writing for "Weird Tales” and corresponding with H. P.Lovecraft. Bloch and HPL even killed off each other in respective stories. He also wrote gritty crime novels along with his more well known works in Horror and SF. He was also a screenwriter who scripted 3 Star Trek episodes for the original series. “Cat’s Paw”, “What are little Girls made of?” and “Wolf in the Fold”. He also did scripta for shows like “Alfred Hitchock Presents” and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”. He had his own Horror anthology Radio show where he wrote scripts based on his own short stories! He also wrote several film scripts. 2 of these are in my DVD collection. They are “The House that Dripped Blood” and “Asylum”. These were anthology films also based on short stories by Mr. Bloch. And I guess I need to mention that the Classic film “Psycho” directed by Alfred Hitchcock was based on the Bloch’s novel of the same title.

The only thing I never cared for in Mr. Bloch’s stories is that he had a weakness for terrible puns. He usually saved his puns for “Grand-Guignol” horror stories in an “EC Comics” vein. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s mostly a matter of taste.
I think that the man was truly a giant of the field though and has been sadly missed since his passing in 1994 of Cancer. He was a HUGO and Grand Master winner among many other awards.

“Such Stuff as Screams are Made of”
Ballantine / Del Rey. February 1979. $1.95

·  Introduction by Gahan Wilson
·  The Tunnel of Love
·  The Unspeakable Betrothal
·  The Girl From Mars
·  The Head Hunter
·  The Weird Tailor
·  Lucy Comes to Stay
·  The Pin
·  I Do Not Love Thee, Dr. Fell
·  Luck Is No Lady
·  The Cure
·  The Screaming People
·  The Big Kick
·  The Masterpiece
·  Talent
·  The Final Performance
·  Life In Our Time
·  Underground
·  A Case Of The Stubborns
·  The Head
·  What You See Is What You Get
·  Nina
·  Author's Afterward

My favourite story in this collection had to be “A Case of the Stubborns”. I originally read it in “Fantasy & Science Fiction” It’s one of those rare stories that manages to be simultaneously funny, gross and touching. It even got filmed for an episode of the old “Tales from the Dark side” show. The stories in this collection run from the late 40s up to the late 70s.

The next one is a real classic!

“Pleasant Dreams”
HBJ Books. June 1979. $1.75
  1. "Sweets to the Sweet"
  2. "The Dream-Makers"
  3. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"
  4. "I Kiss Your Shadow"
  5. "The Proper Spirit"
  6. "The Cheaters"
  7. "Hungarian Rhapsody"
  8. "The Lighthouse" (with Edgar Allan Poe)
  9. "The Hungry House"
  10. "The Sleeping Beauty"
  11. "Sweet Sixteen"
  12. „The Mandarins Canaries“
  13. „Return of Sabbath“
  14.  „One Way to Mars“

This is a reprint of Mr. Bloch’s 2nd collection that was published by “Arkham House” back in 1960. The contents have been changed a tiny bit for the paperback collection though. This collection covers stories from the late 1930s up to the late 1950s.

If anyone is interested , “Chasosium Books” has reprinted  “Mysteriesof the Worm: Early Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos”. This is a wonderful collection of ALL of Mr. Bloch’s “Cthulhu Mythos” stories and is quite a bit cheaper than buying the original 1970s paperback from “Zebra Books”.



That’s it for this week. I’m tired from gardening and it’s almost supper time.

Thanks for stopping by!



  1. Love that SCREAMS cover! I've never seen it before. Interesting to note it does NOT include the phrase "author of PSYCHO!" on the cover.

    1. It is a cool cover! I can't decide if "Psycho" didn't become a curse for Bloch. The book is good, but quite a bit different than the film. book covers have become terribly ugly these last 20 years. It used to be that even the genric covers were pretty amazing.Just look at you collection.
      Take care.

  2. My intro to Bloch, pretty much, came in the form of a couple of beat-up copies of PBs from probably the '60s -- ATOMS & EVIL (Gold Medal) & THE LIVING DEMONS (Belmont). I remember reading stories from those in science class in 9th grade ... which probably explains why science was my worst subject in school.


  3. I caught hell for reading "Famous Monsters" in class.

  4. Hi.

    Long shot I know but I'm trying to track down the details of a short story I read a long time ago in a horror anthology.

    You seem to be a fan of these things so I wonder if you knew?

    The story centres around a guy who wakes up to find himself on top of a large chimney. He has no recollection of how he got there and there seems to be no way down. As time goes by he notices that there is a groove running around the centre of the brickwork along the lip of the chimney upon which he is standing and that there appears to be a metal blade rising very slowly out of the groove. Eventually he realises that the blade will continue rising and if he does not move out of the way it will slice him in 2 so he's faced with a choice of jumping to his death on the outside of the chimney or jumping into the chimney itself and not knowing whether there will be anything to cushion his fall.....

    I don't know whether it was in one of the Pan anthologies or some other anthology but if anybody knows the title and the author I would be grateful for the details.

    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Graeme,
      I was stumped so I went and asked at "Vault Of Evil: Brit Horror Pulp Plus!" and found out it's "An Experiment in Choice" by Desmond Stewart in Pan Horror 10. Those folks know everything!

      take care.

  5. Thank you!! Very much obliged to you for your help!

  6. Thank you too! That story has stuck in my mind for forty years (not least because he jumped outwards, which made no sense to me), and only now do I know where it came from!