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Posts Tagged ‘novelisation’

Robert Bateman – The Hands Of Orlac

Posted by demonik on March 11, 2011

Robert Bateman – The Hands Of Orlac (Four Square, 1961)

Inner blurb
Brilliant surgery after a disastrous aeroplane crash restored Steven Orlof’s hands – the hands of a world-famous concert pianist. Slowly his skill at the piano returned to him, but there were puzzling oddities.

Were his hands larger, clumsier than before the accident? But serious burns and plastic surgery could account for that.

Those scars around his wrists? The result of skin grafts, perhaps.

Or was it something more dramatic than skin grafting, something uncanny, haunting, even deadly?


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Phil Smith – The Incredible Melting Man

Posted by demonik on July 14, 2009

Phil Smith – The Incredible Melting Man (Nel, 1978)

Incredible Melting Man


Three astronauts had returned safely from the Mars landing. Two were dead and Steve West was on the run.

On the run from the quarantine hospital which had been treating him … from the authorities who had to conceal his escape at all costs … from his friend Ted Nelson … and from the dreadful organism which had taken possession of his flesh, turning him into a fiendish nightmare but leaving his mind intact to cringe from the murderous horror he had become.

“What unearthly offspring would grow from the jelly that was once his friend?”

An outrageous rip off of The First Man In Space via Quatermass. Steve West, the “jelly” in question, brutally destroys a nurse and flees the hospital so that he can turn to sludge in peace. Since his exposure to whatever radiation it was that has poisoned his cells, he’s developed a taste for human flesh and blood (unfortunate for him but very rewarding for us) and roams the woods killing people and leaving pools of mucous everywhere.

Naturally, General Parry over at Houston doesn’t want a word of this to come out as “Nothing must interfere with the next phase of the programme”, so Dr. Nelson is ordered to find his friend and return him to the Hospital without anybody finding out that the psycho-killer is not only a blob of slime but … their astronaut.

Joe Petagno

Joe Petagno

Thanks to Steve Goodwin for the cover scan (1978 edition: above)

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A. V. Sellwood – Children Of The Damned

Posted by demonik on May 23, 2009

A. V. Sellwood – Children Of The Damned (Four Square, 1963)

Children Of The Damned

Children Of The Damned

Where did they come from …. who gave them human form …. These strange children with their fantastic powers?

Of additional epic appeal to Vault’s black magic paperbacks corps due to the author’s collaberation with Peter Haining on the latter’s first published book, the much loved Devil Worship In Britain (Corgi, 1963).

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‘John Sayles’ – Piranha

Posted by demonik on September 14, 2007

‘John Sayles’ – Piranha (Nel, Oct. 1978, Dec. 1978)

It credits John Sayles on the cover and spine, but inside it warns:

This novelisation by Leo Callan

The blurb:

They came downriver in their thousands.
Their teeth could strip a living man to the bone in seconds.

Their hunger for flesh was insatiable and their vicious attacks had already left a trail of carnage and mutilation in their wake.

As the waters flowed, so the deadly fish went with them, ever nearer, nearer to the unsuspecting Lost River holiday Camp. Children bathed, couples lingered in the shallows, water-skiers sped unknowingly towards the horror that was surging towards them …

And for the piranha, it was feeding time.

Just hit chapter six and the mutant piranha have already made quite a mess, starting with a pair of backpackers who decide to go skinny dipping in a private pool at midnight despite the sign warning ‘US Army Test Site. Authorised Personnel Only.’ Dr. Hoak, who invented them, has just admitted that they’re not normal killer fish but an entirely new species, Sarrasalmus Mutandis.


Maggie “Oh My God!” McKeown sets out to find the missing kids (its her job) and calls at the cabin of misanthropic Paul Grogan, recently divorced and permanently pissed. Somehow she convinces him to drive with her to the Army base without even offering him 25p toward his next can. They’re attacked by a stranger just as they’ve begun draining the pool but easily overpower him and tie him up for questioning. He is Dr. Robert Hoak. The Government paid him a bundle to work on ‘Project Razorteeth’ because they were planning to unleash the super-Pirahna into the North Vietnamese river system! Now the war is over, he’s been left to continue his work because you never know who the US will wage war on next and it’s best to be prepared. The Razorteeth are two feet long (approx.), brainy and ultra-fangy, and they got that way through “genetics, radiation, behaviour modification, selective breeding – you name it.” And Maggie and Paul have stupidly released them into the water supply! And all the little kids – including Paul’s daughter, Susie – are taking part in some kind of gala thing at the Lost River Holiday Camp! And it’s about to start … right now!

This is all very well, but, as mentioned, Paul is on a downer against mankind, so why should he care? Fortunately, he has two almost-friends – a pissed-up old backwoods bum named Jack and his ancient mutt, Brandy – so when he discovers Jack cut down to stumps and Brandy barking at the culprits, he sobers up and becomes a man again. Hoak likewise redeems himself by sacrificing himself to save a boy who has just watched his Pop get eaten alive, and for a moment it seems it will all be a big letdown and the piranha won’t get at the kids. Luckily for us, Camp Owner Mr. Gardner and his henchman Colonel Flaxman – who was in on the Razorteeth project and has secretly bought shares in the Lost River Camp – have Paul and Maggie thrown into jail before people start listening to their mean-spirited and alarmist moaning. As the days first race gets underway, the killer fish advance. Fucking blood and guts everywhere!

It runs for 143 pages, but you can drop at least twenty from the total as they’re either blank or given over entirely to chapter headings and what looks like a photocopy of the cover image!

Posted in Horror Fiction, John Sayles, Leo Callan, NEL, Novel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

August Derleth – The Unquiet Grave

Posted by demonik on September 14, 2007

August Derleth (ed.) – The Unquiet Grave: 15 More Uncanny Tales Of Terror (Four Square, 1964)

He was willing to go to Hell for the kiss of the pale and beautiful vampire who enslaved him – but he held the sword ready to destroy her at the height of his ecstasy.

They came from another world, those nightmare creatures. They gave out sounds that were low and throbbing, and the sight of them drove men mad. They were outside the tent now.

A huge, white, hairy creature dropped onto his neck and clung there. The maniac fell to his knees, clutching at the horror which had him in its deathly grip. Older than time, this glittering incarnation of evil waited like a sentinel to claim its victim from the tomb …

Henry S. Whitehead – The Shadows
Carl Jacobi – Carnaby’s Fish
Donald Wandrei – The Painted Mirror
Clark Ashton Smith – The Double Shadow
Robert Bloch – One Way To Mars
Arthur Machen – Out Of The Picture
Everil Worrell – The Canal
C. M. Eddy jnr. – Deaf, Dumb And Blind
Robert S. Carr – Spider-Bite
John Metcalfe – Brenner’s Boy
Anthony Boucher – Mr. Lupescu
Mary E. Counselman – Seventh Sister
John Martin Leahy – In Amundsen’s Tent
Alan Nelson – Man In A Hurry
Howard Wandrei – The Last Pin

The Unquiet Grave and The Sleeping And The Dead (Four Square, 1964) were originally published as the one volume, thirty story The Sleeping And The Dead (Pellegrini & Cudahay, New York, 1947).

Inevitably, Peter Haining was the driving force behind these welcome re-issues. Writing in Horror: Best 100 Books (Xanadu, 1988) he selects the original Sleeping And The Deadas his favourite book and comments: “… before I finally became a full-time writer and anthologist, I had the great satisfaction of arranging the first publication in Great Britain of ‘The Sleeping And The Dead’ in a paperback edition…”

John Martin Leahy – In Amundsen’s Tent: (Weird Tales, Jan. 1928). North Pole, 1912. The three man expedition led by Sutherland comes off even worse than Captain Scott’s. Not only have the rival parties reached the Pole before them, but they’ve got some very hostile company – beings from another world who drive men insane on sight of them. Sutherland and Travers go missing in the night, leaving Drumgold to record their final moments in his journal. It is later found by yet another expedition – in the same tent as Drumgold’s head which has been staked out on a pole!

Howard Wandrei – The Last Pin: (Black Mask, 1940). Local toughs Ernie and Emil Strobel are forever in trouble until the elder Emil is condemned to hard labour for killing a man in a row over a dime-a-dance girl. Emil swears to get even with Judge and Jury, and several of them meet their deaths in a remarkably short space of time. Meanwhile Ernie has begun acting weirder than usual, piercing himself with safety-pins until there’s a neat line of them down his leg. One for each dead Juror, in fact …

Robert S. Carr – Spider-Bite: (Weird Tales, June 1926). In the tomb of Ner-Taul lies Za the scribe, guardian of the treasure of Ahma-Ka. Prof. Ashbrooke and young assistant Phil find the mummified Za in a vault beneath a vault and discover a means to revive him using the juice of the Mona bush and the venom of the huge white tomb-spiders which were incarcerated with him. The natives don’t like these albino arachnids at all, and Ashbrooke and Phil are none too keen by the end of the story.

Anthony Boucher – Mr. Lupescu: (Weird Tales, Sept 1945). Little Bobby’s ‘imaginary friend’ Mr. Lupescu turns out to be real enough: the man with the big red nose, red gloves and red eyes is actually Uncle Alan with a monster makeover. Alan’s decided to kill Bobby’s dad Robert because he wants to get back with his former lover Marjorie, who only married Robert for his money. Unfortunately for Alan, the terrifying Gorgo proves to be no figment either …

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