Saturday, October 12, 2013

And Meanwhile, at the Bottom of the Bloody Box...

...I discovered a full set of the new Penguin Horror series. Thanks to Elda Rotor of Penguin for sending these. I look forward to dipping into each of 'em this October (Tia has long made a habit of reading Jackson's The Haunting every Halloween, so I'm sure she'll snatch that one).

It's especially gratifying to see Ray Russell's Haunted Castles included in this set. Russell -- the one-time executive fiction editor of Playboy who helped promote the work of such writers as Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson -- is himself a bit of a forgotten man these days. Guillermo del Toro sums up Russell's work this way in his introduction: "Russell links postpulp literature and the Grand Guignol tradition with the modern sensibilities of America in the 1960s. Within him resides a neo-paganistic streak that is passed from Algernon Blackwood and Sax Rohmer to him and other writers of unusual proclivities, such as Bernard J. Hurwood. A fascinating combination of the liberal and the heretic... Russell is the literary equivalent of the Italian filmmaker Mario Bava, a supersaturated neo-Gothiscist who shines above the premises of his material based on style, conviction, and artistic flair."

Well said... and if you've never read "Sardonicus," you need to fix that up right now. You'll see just how right del Toro is.