- 9 · Death Is a Dream · Robert Arthur · ss AHMM Jun ’57
- 23 · The Whole Town’s Sleeping · Ray Bradbury · ss McCall’s Sep ’50; EQMM Jun ’54
- 43 · Evening Primrose · John Collier · ss, 1940
- 57 · The Cocoon · John B. L. Goodwin · ss Story Sep/Oct ’46
- 77 · Vintage Season [as by Lawrence O’Donnell] · C. L. Moore · na Astounding Sep ’46
- 131 · The Ash-Tree · M. R. James · ss Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, Edward Arnold, 1904
- 147 · Side Bet · Will F. Jenkins · ss Colliers Jul 31 ’37
- 159 · Second Night Out [“The Black, Dead Thing”] · Frank Belknap Long · ss Weird Tales Oct ’33
- 171 · Our Feathered Friends · Philip MacDonald · ss When Churchyards Yawn, ed. Cynthia Asquith, London: Hutchinson, 1931
- 183 · Back There in the Grass · Gouverneur Morris · ss Colliers Dec 16 ’11
- 201 · D-Day · Robert Trout · ss Saturday Review of Literature Oct 27 ’45
- 205 · The Man Who Liked Dickens · Evelyn Waugh · ss Hearst’s International Sep ’33
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Montag, 13. August 2012
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
12 Stories for Late at Night
Dell Publishing Co.
New Dell Edition 9th Printing. January 1973
“12 Stories for Late at Night” is one of my favourite “Alfred Hitchcock” anthologies and is one that once again shows us what a fine anthologist “Robert Arthur” was. It’s a terrible shame that he was always stuck behind the “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” header and never truly received the fame or credit that he deserved.
This anthology contains 12 very strong stories which cover a broad spectrum of stories that can be classified as “horror”. What I find so great about these “Hitchcock” anthologies is that they helped to bring a lot of great stories out of the genre ghetto by introducing some wonderful stories and writers to a reading audience that usually wouldn’t be seeking these kinds of stories out. I’m not a 100% positive on how many there were exactly, but from the ones that I’ve seen and owned, it appears to me that the majority of these anthologies from Dell contained mostly suspenseful murder stories with the occasional “horror” story. “12 Stories for Late at Night” contains nothing but horror stories. I’m betting that tens of thousand of folks were introduced for the first time by this series to such genre greats as “Ray Bradbury”, “John Collier”, “M.R. James”, “Frank Belknap Long”, “C.L.Moore (with Henry Kuttner) and many others. All of the above mentioned authors appear in the volume alone! Like I said, this anthology offers a huge spectrum of stories across the entire spectrum of horror short stories! Heck, I even had an old Aunt who many years ago ravenously read the “Hitchcock” anthologies even though she wasn’t, as far as I knew, a “horror fan”. That proves to me both the quality of the stories chosen by Mr. Arthur for these anthologies that and Mr. Arthur’s extreme good tastes in short stories in general.
Thank you very much Mr. Arthur!
And now to the stories….
“Death Is a Dream” by Robert Arthur.
A young Lawyer, during the first week of marriage with his young bride, starts having problems with nightmares, a split personality and a deceased first wife who doesn’t seem to be so dead after all.
The ending is telegraphed, but still it’s still a fun piece of grisly and hysterical melodrama.
“The Whole Town’s Sleeping” by Ray Bradbury.
Before he became “RAY BRADBURY” Mr. Bradbury penned quite a few genuinely effective horror stories for “Weird Tales” and some of the other magazines.
This one which originally appeared in the women’s magazine “McCall’s” was one of those doozies. It’s incredibly similar to a story by “Charles Beamont” called “The Hunger”. Both stories deals with attractive spinsters in their late 30s who flirt with death had the hands of serial strangler rapists. I guess it’s some sort of sexist “she was askin’ for it” sexual frustration thing. Mr. Bradbury’s story shows us how dumb it is to challenge death in a town being terrorized by a serial rapist strangler. Our heroine just has to go and ignore all warnings by walking all the way home after midnight from the movies through a heavily wooded ravine by her self.
This is one scary story, which even though you know it won’t have a happy end, which keeps you on edge up to the very end. It just goes to show that some people need to get laid more often.
“Evening Primrose” by John Collier
This is a great story with an awesome premise which must have been highly original back in the 1920s. A poet turns his back on society by deciding to hide out and start a new existence in a large department store. He even has to pose as a mannequin to avoid being caught by the night watchman. It turns out he’s not the only one who lives this way and discovers a hidden society of misfits living in the cities department stores and other institutions such as the city morgue. They have a strict moral code of conduct which is enforced by the morgue dwellers. Sadly our poet falls in love with an orphan who has been enslaved/indentured by some of the fallen aristocrats living in hiding and runs afoul of the ghoulish morgue enforcers who are both taxidermists and cannibals.
This is a great story told in a genteel style which still manages to be suspenseful and gory.
“The Cocoon” by John B. L. Goodwin
I’ve covered this one before in my post about “Things with Claws”. This one scared the spit out of me as a kid. A spoiled little rich boy loves to collect and torture butterflies and moths. He finds a very large and odd cocoon which he takes home and pins to the wall. The ending is so terrible that I’ve never forgotten it even after 40 years. That it’s a child who suffers such a nasty death makes the ending almost unbearable.
The wife and husband team of “C.L. Moore” and “Henry Kuttner” were a big deal back in the 1940s. They were responsible for many classic stories such as “Mimsy were the Borogoves” and “Vintage Season”. Both were very successful alone back in the 1930s with many stories that appeared in “Weird Tales”. Their most special stories were collaborations under the names of “Lewis Padget” and “Lawrence O’Donnell”. Vintage Season is a melancholy and somewhat frightening Science Fiction novella about Catastrophe Tourists from the far future who rent a mansion in a small town during the month of May. Their purpose and origins slowly unfold during the story as the owner of the rental slowly starts a romance with one of the female visitors. It turns out that something very bad is going to happen and these “tourists” want to witness it. This is an extremely sad story and one of Catherine Moore’s very best if not the best thing she ever wrote. Many scholars credit her with most of the writing in this story. It bet the readers who were expecting a murder mystery got their socks knocked off by this one.
BRAVO MR: ARTHUR!
“Vintage Season” was filmed in 1992 with Jeff Daniels as “Grand Tour-Disaster in Time”. Check it out if you can find it. But Hollywood being Hollywood the film has a happy ending.