Author Archives: Phil Hickes

Book Review: The Red Church – Author Scott Nicholson

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THE RED CHURCH This big, fat slice of American Gothic has been haunting my Kindle for the past few nights. It’s one of those ‘can’t wait to get into bed and read’ books. Remember when you were young, and you’d be walking home, but when you got to that house, you know, the haunted one, you’d run hell for leather until you were safely clear? Well the eponymous Red Church takes its place alongside old … Continue reading

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Book Review: We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Author Shirley Jackson

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WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE The best works of fiction are those that absorb you to such an extent that they become a work of non-fiction, in that the world you’re drawn into is real and utterly absorbing. This is one of those memorable literary experiences. It’s a particular treat if you like your fiction dark and bewitching. Imagine a black cat, illuminated by a candle atop a skull, sitting in an old … Continue reading

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Book Review: The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror – Edited by Stephen Jones

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This tome features horror luminaries such as Stephen King (and son), Ramsey Campbell and Brian Lumley. A fairly safe bet then, for some classic tales to darken the corners of the room. The introduction is worth a mention, as it appears to catalogue every single horror story penned in 2009. How anyone goes about compiling such encyclopaedic reference material is a mystery worthy of Dupin. But it’s an excellent way to discover new authors, so … Continue reading

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Book Review: Shrine – Author James Herbert

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James Herbert O.B.E (see, even Her Majesty likes horror) is the UK’s Stephen King. He’s a man who almost single-handedly dragged the genre screaming and kicking back into the mainstream from the dark cupboard under the publishing stairs where it had been hiding – in the UK at least. His novels have sold millions across the world and have been translated into 33 languages. Small and wiry, and always attired in black, he has a … Continue reading

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Book Review: Cold Hand in Mine Author: Robert Aickman

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Robert Aickman (1914-1981) described his stories as ‘strange.’ Probably because no other word quite does them justice. Interestingly, he came from a rich horror heritage, his grandfather Richard Marsh having been a rival in popularity to Bram Stoker with his occult novel, The Beetle. But, during his life, Aickman was known as much for his conservation work on British waterways as he was for his writing. A man ahead of his time in many ways. … Continue reading

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Book Review: The Black Book of Horror

Black Book of Horror

This compendium of chills aims to satisfy the twisted desires of those who like their horror in short, scary bursts. Harking back to the glory years for short horror stories, when the Pan Books proved demand was high for both the genre and the format, the Black Books of Horror are now up to number seven in the series – though having never read one before, it made sense to start where all good stories … Continue reading

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Vintage Screams: Whistle and I’ll come to you (1968)

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M R James. The very name sends a delicious shiver down the spine, synonymous as it is with the cream of ghost story writing. Arguably, with the exception of Dickens, James is unrivalled – the epitome of perfection within this noble genre. You’ll certainly be hard pressed to name a writer with such a lauded canon of spooky tales as this intriguing medieval scholar. If you’re new to M R James, it’s useful to remember … Continue reading

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Book Review: The Forbidden (Books of Blood Volumes 4-6) – Author Clive Barker

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The Forbidden is one of the stand-out tales from Barker’s acclaimed Books of Blood series: a genre-redefining collection that prompted the horror high-priest Stephen King to proclaim breathlessly that ‘Clive Barker is so good I am almost literally tongue-tied.’ (For any horror fan not to have read these gory, otherworldly fables is a like a church-goer eschewing the New Testament.) It’s the story that eventually morphed into celluloid slasher Candyman. Yet there are many differences with … Continue reading

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Film Review: The Devil Rides Out (1968)

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SYNOPSIS: The Duc de Richeleau and his friend Rex discover their young charge Simon has fallen in with the powers of Darkness and is about to be baptized into the service of evil. The Duc is fortunately versed in such matters and finds himself locked in a duel with the deadly Mocata, disciple of the left-hand path.

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