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As horrible as in Horror Volume Five? 'By delicate use of surgery without anaesthetic I have observed the reaction of a man to his innards. I have fed another patient one of his eye-balls in a strawberry jelly...' 'When she was within two feet, she laughed. I tried to move away as from out of her mouth sprang a huge rat, its teeth dripping with blood. From her nostrils wrigg As horrible as in Horror Volume Five? 'By delicate use of surgery without anaesthetic I have observed the reaction of a man to his innards. I have fed another patient one of his eye-balls in a strawberry jelly...' 'When she was within two feet, she laughed. I tried to move away as from out of her mouth sprang a huge rat, its teeth dripping with blood. From her nostrils wriggled a tiny snakes, and then another and another...' 'Tissue and muscle and sinew and the shining nobs of bone, practically intact; a soft mass that he knew for a man by the shape. Eyes in lidless sockets, fleshless limbs that stuck together, lipless mouth and bared brain...' Perhaps more horrible?


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As horrible as in Horror Volume Five? 'By delicate use of surgery without anaesthetic I have observed the reaction of a man to his innards. I have fed another patient one of his eye-balls in a strawberry jelly...' 'When she was within two feet, she laughed. I tried to move away as from out of her mouth sprang a huge rat, its teeth dripping with blood. From her nostrils wrigg As horrible as in Horror Volume Five? 'By delicate use of surgery without anaesthetic I have observed the reaction of a man to his innards. I have fed another patient one of his eye-balls in a strawberry jelly...' 'When she was within two feet, she laughed. I tried to move away as from out of her mouth sprang a huge rat, its teeth dripping with blood. From her nostrils wriggled a tiny snakes, and then another and another...' 'Tissue and muscle and sinew and the shining nobs of bone, practically intact; a soft mass that he knew for a man by the shape. Eyes in lidless sockets, fleshless limbs that stuck together, lipless mouth and bared brain...' Perhaps more horrible?

30 review for The Sixth Pan Book of Horror Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Graham

    The sixth in the inexhaustible series. There seems to be more modern fare in this one and less of the classics. Without preamble, the contents are as follows: THE OLDEST STORY EVER TOLD, by Romain Gary: In which a Polish POW finds work as a tailor before meeting an old friend. A prison camp tale of psychological terror, detailing the lives of former POWs trying to adjust after WW2. Harrowing indeed. 5/5 MAN SKIN, by M. S. Waddell: A strange wizened old man takes his young friends to the allotment. The sixth in the inexhaustible series. There seems to be more modern fare in this one and less of the classics. Without preamble, the contents are as follows: THE OLDEST STORY EVER TOLD, by Romain Gary: In which a Polish POW finds work as a tailor before meeting an old friend. A prison camp tale of psychological terror, detailing the lives of former POWs trying to adjust after WW2. Harrowing indeed. 5/5 MAN SKIN, by M. S. Waddell: A strange wizened old man takes his young friends to the allotment. Straightforward grue, gleefully fashioned. 3/5 CAMERA OBSCURA, by Basil Copper: A loan shark goes after a collector with a remarkable object. A simple revenge story in spirit, but Copper adds enough otherworldly weirdness to make it thoroughly effective. 4/5 PARTY GAMES, by John Burke: A friendless boy gatecrashes a birthday party, with horrific consequences. An action-packed tale filled with all the gruesomeness a horror fan could want. 3/5 THE UNFORGIVEN, by Septimus Dale: A young girl is chastised by her father, a man of the cloth. Mean-spirited and unpleasant. 2/5 PUPPETMASTER, by Adobe James: An elderly puppeteer sees his creations come to life. Inevitably from this author, madness, murder and rape are the result. 2/5 NO FLIES ON FRANK, by John Lennon: An overweight man has marriage troubles. Strange, offbeat, comic and written in an unfathomable dialect. You know the only reason it's included here. 3/5 A HEART FOR A HEART, by Ron Holmes: A doctor's affair ends in murder. Seems to me like an unnecessary excuse for bloodshed. 1/5 A REAL NEED, by William Sansom: A obsessive man is sent to a rural farm, but it all ends in tragedy. Straightforward bloodshed, lacking the subtlety of the author's other work, unfortunately. Very much a lesser piece as a result. 2/5 GREEN THOUGHTS, by John Collier: A botanist's rare orchid displays some unusual characteristics. A "killer plant" story lifted by lots and lots of bizarre black humour. 4/5 GIVE ME YOUR COLD HAND, by John D. Keefauver: A love affair uncovers some dark secrets. Typically, this is a psychological effort from the author, tightly written and gripping with it. 4/5 MY LITTLE MAN, by Abraham Ridley: A literal "madwoman in the attic" story. Unfortunately, the terrible quality of the writing makes this one virtually unreadable. 1/5 CRACK O' WHIPS, by H. A. Manhood: An entertainer seems unnecessarily cruel to his troop of performing poodles, but one day the tables are turned. A nice sense of social realism pervades this unpleasant and, it has to be said, rather engaging little effort from a long-forgotten author. 4/5 THE INMATE, by Richard Davis: A man living in remote Scotland decides to build a zoo, with unguessable consequences. Pretty much a re-run of Henry S. Whitehead's superior WILLIAMSON, and not nearly as shocking as it wants to be in this day and age. 3/5 RETURN TO DEVIL'S TONGUES, by Walter Winward: A holiday goes sour thanks to the titular landmark. A predictable, but atmospheric little chiller. 3/5 PUTZ DIES, by Septimus Dale: A Nazi war criminal is imprisoned by the authorities. Horrific, yes, but entertaining, not particularly. 3/5 THE ROAD TO MICTLANTECUTLI, by Adobe James: An escaped convict makes his way through the Mexican back roads in a bid for freedom. The usual graphic tale from this author, with lots of darkness, demons, and, unsurprisingly, depraved sex. 3/5 THE DOLL OF DEATH, by Vivian Meik: An African suffers from a terrible voodoo curse. Meik used his real-life experience of voodoo magic to write some effective black magic-themed chillers, and this one is no exception. 4/5 LOVE ME, LOVE ME, LOVE ME, by M. S. Waddell: In which a man falls in love with a spectre. A traditional love story mixed with the grotesque. Better than I expected. 3/5 THE SHED, by Richard Shapley: A man's train journey ends in horror. A bleak and early effort in the 'torture porn' genre. 3/5

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    Contains one of PB's All Time Greats : "Crack o' Whips" by H A Manhood (1934) A stunning portrait of a nasty drunk Victorian guy who works at travelling fairs running a dog act, and the bunch of kids he's cruel to and who are a lot crueller in return. Couldn't believe how beautifully this was written & I then found out H A Manhood was thought of as something of a short story genius in the 1930s but he couldn't make any money at it and he jacked it in. He wrote one novel - dig this title : "Gay Ago Contains one of PB's All Time Greats : "Crack o' Whips" by H A Manhood (1934) A stunning portrait of a nasty drunk Victorian guy who works at travelling fairs running a dog act, and the bunch of kids he's cruel to and who are a lot crueller in return. Couldn't believe how beautifully this was written & I then found out H A Manhood was thought of as something of a short story genius in the 1930s but he couldn't make any money at it and he jacked it in. He wrote one novel - dig this title : "Gay Agony" . You couldn't make it up, "Gay Agony" by H A Manhood. He spent most of his life living in a railway carriage and growing his own vegetables. Only died in 1991 by which time he was completely forgotten. None of his books are listed on Goodreads which makes him Ultra-Obscure.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Aussiescribbler Aussiescribbler

    This volume may seem to have had fewer stand-out stories in it than the five that came before it, but it was still a joy to read. Reading a well-written old fashioned horror story is like settling into a comfortable chair at the end of a hard day. Not that there aren't some unsettlingly tales in this volume - some which remind us that the dividing line between ourselves and madness might not be so far away, others inspired by real-life atrocities, and yet others whose eye for the grisly detail m This volume may seem to have had fewer stand-out stories in it than the five that came before it, but it was still a joy to read. Reading a well-written old fashioned horror story is like settling into a comfortable chair at the end of a hard day. Not that there aren't some unsettlingly tales in this volume - some which remind us that the dividing line between ourselves and madness might not be so far away, others inspired by real-life atrocities, and yet others whose eye for the grisly detail makes us just that little bit less likely to dismiss them as too far-fetched. Romain Gary - The Oldest Story Ever Told Romain Gary was a French novelist, of Lithuanian-Jewish heritage. He was also a diplomat, film director, and screenwriter, and served in the French Airforce during World War II. Some horror stories acquaint us with horrors of the flesh. Others, like this one, deal with horrors of the spirit. A survivor of the Nazi death camps travels to the other side of the world, but the nightmare isn’t over. As the title implies, the theme is one which has a historical resonance to a persistent trend in history. M. S. Waddell - Man Skin Martin Waddell is an Irish author best known for his children’s books. But back in the Sixties he wrote a series of gruesome horror stories, thirteen of which were included in the Pan Books of Horror Stories, some credited to M. S. Waddell and some to Martin Waddell. This is a grisly tale, made creepier by the fact that it’s antagonist is referred to sympathetically as “the poor thing”. An outlandish story which works because it sketches a realistic environment and characters and taps into a sense of urban alienation. Basil Copper - Camera Obscura Basil Copper’s first time in print was the appearance of his story The Spider in The Fifth Pan Book of Horror Stories. Some horror stories are morality tales. Greedy characters will pay a high price for their worship of Mammon. Copper may have been just starting out as a published author, but this story has a classic feel - the strange old house with its twisting staircases and it’s owner so gentle, so polite… John Burke - Party Games John Burke was an English novelist and short story writer who specialised in movie and television novelisations, ranging from Look Back in Anger to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Creepy children are one of the perennial subjects for horror stories. This one adds a Grand Guignol conclusion to the inherent anxieties of overseeing the chaos of a children’s party. Septimus Dale - The Unforgiven Septimus Dale is best known as the author of the short story The Little Girl Eater, which was included in The Fourth Pan Book of Horror Stories. Like the first tale in this collection, this could be referred to as an “old story”. It begins with a graphic description of the rotting corpse of a girl and then proceeds to inform us of how she got that way. No supernatural horror here, just a narrative illustration of a dark tendency that has plagued us over the centuries. Adobe James - Puppetmaster Adobe James was the pseudonym of James Moss Cardwell, an American writer and educator. A number of his stories are featured in this series, including one of my personal favourites - The Ohio Love Sculpture (included in The Fourth Pan Book of Horror Stories). As I began reading this story I found myself asking if it could possibly be what it seemed to be. What else could it be? And, yet, how could anyone actually expect to pull that off? Ambitious to put it mildly. Presumably the author was hoping we wouldn’t be sure what he was up to until the final line, but it is a bit too obvious for that. While it might not quite work, it’s a remarkable story which gave me something to think about, because it plays in a field were you can’t help but to kick up some interesting dust. John Lennon - No Flies on Frank 1965, when this book was published, was the year of Help! and Rubber Soul. The height of Beatlemania, so why not include a story by John Lennon in the collection? If this two page story, from the collection In His Own Write, is anything to go by Lennon’s talent with short stories did not match his talent for songwriting. I doubt if it would have been published professionally if he were not a celebrity. That’s not to say there is no amusement to be had from this tale of domestic brutality and social propriety, but he seems to think he’s James Joyce, with lines like this : “Yes, though I wart through the valet of thy shadowy hut I will feed no Norman.” Just substituting words that sound vaguely like other words at random may cause some disorientation, but it’s a cheap gimmick if it doesn’t aid the storytelling. Ron Holmes - A Heart for a Heart I can’t find anything out about the author. This one is short and gruesome, with one kind of effective moment in it. Nothing special, but it certainly doesn’t outstay its welcome. William Sansom - A Real Need William Sansom was a British novelist and short story writer. He had a story included in each of the previous two volumes. Sansom has a real skill in bringing us into the mindset of psychopathic characters. Here we have a tale of an aesthetic obsession that leads to bloodshed. John Collier - Green Thoughts Apart from being a famous author of short stories, John Collier contributed to the screenplays of famous movies, including Sylvia Scarlett (1935) and The African Queen (1951), though the latter was uncredited. This story falls into the popular sub-genre of the botanical horror story, being a wonderfully grotesque and blackly humorous tale of a sinister plant. John D. Keefauver - Give Me Your Cold Hand Keefauver contributed the story Kali in The Fifth Pan Book of Horror Stories. This one is a hard-boiled crime story given a horror twist. Abraham Ridley - My Little Man I don’t know anything about the author. This is another of those stories which we quickly realise is from the point of view of a seriously disturbed character. How disturbing you find it may depend on how many of these kinds of stories you’ve read, but it is well handled. Crack 'O Whips - H. A. Manhood Harold Alan Manhood (1904-1993) was a British author who lived much of his life in a converted railway carriage in the Sussex countryside, growing his own food and brewing his own cider. While many horror stories deal with the supernatural, some confine themselves to a realistic depiction of grim reality. This tale of animal cruelty and its consequences for the perpetrator is a dark and gritty slice-of-life. Richard Davis - The Inmate Richard Davis was the author of a story called Guy Fawkes Night included in The Fourth Pan Book of Horror Stories. This is one of those stories which begins in an insane asylum. We are introduced to a particularly traumatised patient and then listen to the story of how she got that way. I could see where this one might be heading, but it is enjoyably transgressive. The plot reminded me a lot of the movie The Bride and the Beast (1958) (dir. Adrian Weiss), which had a script by Edward D. Wood, Jr. (of Plan Nine from Outer Space fame). No mention of angora in this story though. Walter Winward - Return to the Devil's Tongues This is the first of four stories by Walter Winward which would appear in early volumes of this series. He was a British-born novelist, who lived in the United States, North Africa, France, Malta, Mexico, Turkey, and Sweden, and worked at a variety of different occupations ranging from Royal Marine Commando to professional gambler. Here we have a classy ghost story all about the passion of lovers too wild to be constrained by death. Septimus Dale - Putz Dies A gruesome tale about a man awaiting execution for horrendous crimes against humanity. Definitely a character to make your skin crawl. Where the story goes may be a little too obvious, but it is appropriate. Adobe James - The Road to Mictlantecutli Adobe James’ second contribution to this volume is a moral fable set in the Mexican desert, as a convict headed for a hanging makes a last ditch attempt to escape. A simple story well told and with memorable imagery. Vivian Meik - The Doll of Death Vivian Meik’s story The Two Old Women appeared in The Fourth Pan Book of Horror Stories. When I reviewed that volume, I couldn’t find out much about him, but now I’ve found a webpage that gives quite a bit of information : http://desturmobed.blogspot.com/2012/... . He was born at sea, on 21 July 1894, and raised in Calcutta. He wrote about his experiences with native peoples in India and Africa before moving on to fiction. Another horror subgenre consists of colonial tales of native black magic, often featuring heroes with stiff upper lips and villains who “go native”. Meik seems to have specialised in such stories. No surprise given the time and culture he lived in. Here we have an example which is a unique take on the voodoo doll concept. In 1973 it would be filmed as an episode of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. M. S. Waddell - Love Me, Love Me, Love Me A haunting tale of a strange seduction. Simple and eerie. Richard Stapley - The Shed Richard Stapley was a British-born stage and screen actor as well as writer. His films included : The Three Musketeers (1948) (dir. George Sidney) - with Gene Kelly, Little Women (1949) (dir. Mervyn LeRoy) - with Elizabeth Taylor, The Strange Door (1951) (dir. Joseph Pevney) - with Charles Laughton and Boris Karloff & Target Zero (1955) (dir. Harmon Jones) - with Charles Bronson. He also had uncredited bit parts in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) (dir. Blake Edwards) and Frenzy (1972) (dir. Alfred Hitchcock). The first part of this story consists of a first person account of a confusing and terrifying ordeal undergone by its protagonist. The rest of the story is in the third person and follows a different character, through whose dialogue the true nature of what has been going on is made clear. What we learn does come as a surprise. There are unanswered questions which subtly add to the sense of unease with which we are left.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Glen Hannah

    "The Sixth Pan Book of Horror Stories" Selected by Herbert Van Thal "The Pan Book of Horror Stories" series was popular enough to span about twenty volumes over the 1960s and '70s. The talents of mainly British writers were showcased and each volume contained around twenty spinechillers. A snarling rat sitting on a skull adorns the cover of this volume from 1965. It's a strange amalgam of stories comprising of prose that would have been new and challenging for the time with more conventional storie "The Sixth Pan Book of Horror Stories" Selected by Herbert Van Thal "The Pan Book of Horror Stories" series was popular enough to span about twenty volumes over the 1960s and '70s. The talents of mainly British writers were showcased and each volume contained around twenty spinechillers. A snarling rat sitting on a skull adorns the cover of this volume from 1965. It's a strange amalgam of stories comprising of prose that would have been new and challenging for the time with more conventional stories. It threatens to wallow in mindless gore at one point with consecutive stories racking up the body count. Fortunately, it recovers to present more inventive tales. All up, it's a worthy collection, with the better stories making up for the lesser ones. "The Oldest Story ever Told" by Romain Gary A Jewish tailor comes face to face with the S.S. officer who tortured him. Offbeat ending lifts this up a notch. (4/5) "Man Skin" by M.S. Waddell Serial Killer Chiller that pre-dates "Silence of the Lambs," a story that played with similar themes. Elevated by a cold, detached writing style. Memorable.(5/5) "Camera Obscura" by Basil Copper. When a moneylender attempts to collect a debt from an eccentric with a strange photographic device, his life takes a bizarre twist. Effective step into the "Twilight Zone" and a highlight of the volume. (5/5) "Party Games" by John Burke. Horror at a children's party. Short and effective. (4/5) "The Unforgiven" by Septimus Dale. A Girl is tormented by her father. Solid but rather nasty psychological horror. Not for everyone. (4/5) "Puppet Master" by Adobe James. A puppet master tries to destroy his own puppets but they have other ideas. Okay but treads familiar territory. (3/5) "No Flies on Frank" by John Lennon. Black humour from Beatle John Lennon. A piece that originally appeared in a volume of his own nonsense verse. Out of context it works quite well, providing some releif after the knife wielding carnage of the previous three stories. (4/5) "A heart for a heart" by Ron Holmes. A surgeon has diabolical plans for his wife. Gore and Madness. A bit overdone. (2/5) "A Black Need" by William Sansome. First person tale of madness and murder like the one that preceded it. (2/5) "Green Thoughts" by John Collier. Bizarre horror with victims becoming part of a plant. Oddly entertaining and certainly original. (3/5) "Give me your Cold Hand" by John D. Keefauver. Passion, treachery and murder. Solid "blood crime" tale, well told. (4/5) "My Little Man" by Abraham Ridley. Another first person tale from someone who's mad. Bit of a trend here. Quite effective this one. (4/5) "Crack o' Whips" by H. A. Manhood. A nasty dog trainer who uses a whip to get his animals to perform, gets a taste of his own medicine. No surprises. (2/5) "The Inmate" by Richard Davis. A Woman becomes fascinated by a gorilla that her husband has in captivity. A matter of taste. (3/5) "Return to Devil's Tongue" by Walter Winward. A man's house guest is drawn to a scene of an old murder. Solid but unremarkable ghost story. (3/5) "Putz Dies" by Septimus Dale. A sadistic war criminal, paralysed from the neck down, faces the electric chair or perhaps a worse fate. Original and effective. (4/5) "The Road to Mictlantecutci" by Adobe James An escaped criminal encounters a sombre priest and then a beautiful woman on a dark desert road. Familiar but solid supernatural tale. (3/5) "The Doll of Death" by Vivien Meik. A Doctor is Central Africa discovers that black magic is behind the mystery of a strange love triangle. Awkwardly written story. One of the weaker entries in the collection. (2/5) "Love Me, Love Me, Love Me" by M.S. Waddell. Superb little chiller about a female spectre that follows a man home. Simple but effective. (4/5) "The Shed" by Richard Stapley. A hospital patient recalls a train trip that took him to a mysterious shed where he was tortured and blinded. Intriguing first person set up is let down by an unsatisfactory second half that explains the mystery. (3/5) Some of these stories, like "Camera Obscura" have appeared it subsequent anthologies. Sadly, like so many short story collections, there is nothing in this volume about the authors or why their stories were chosen. Overall rating for this collection 4/5 (just)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Aisling

    A bit of a mixed-bag which shows its age. My favourite story was 'Man Skin'. The pathetic quality of the creature contrasts very well with the gruesomeness implied by the title. Most of the stories are still good reads sixty years on, but 'Doll of Death' carries the distinct shadow of racism and imperialism. Set in Africa (with all-white protagonists, of course...) it's an almost Gothic story in which the dark forces of folk magic are set against the establishment figures of two white male authori A bit of a mixed-bag which shows its age. My favourite story was 'Man Skin'. The pathetic quality of the creature contrasts very well with the gruesomeness implied by the title. Most of the stories are still good reads sixty years on, but 'Doll of Death' carries the distinct shadow of racism and imperialism. Set in Africa (with all-white protagonists, of course...) it's an almost Gothic story in which the dark forces of folk magic are set against the establishment figures of two white male authorities (a doctor and a governor of some kind). Guess who wins? It stacks up rather poorly next to 'The Road to Mictlantecutli' which, set in Mexico with an American protagonist, treats its setting with more respect and manages to create much stronger characters. Shades of the Second World War can be felt in the stories 'The Oldest Story Ever Told' and 'The Shed'. The latter evokes a sense of concentration camps and death marches, but with an altogether stranger conclusion. There's plenty of gore on display as well for those who enjoy the more gruesome aspects of horror. 'A Heart For A Heart' is a short and utterly blood-drenched tale. 'The Unforgiven', another short and haunting story, includes graphic description of decay. 'Party Games' has a wonderfully grisly conclusion to its tense tale. All in all it was enjoyable, but I'm not sure how many of the stories will stick with me as time goes on.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Donna McCaul Thibodeau

    When I lived in Scotland as a child, I had the whole collection of Pan Horror Stories. Eventually, I had to give them away because they scared me so badly. So I was interested to see how I would feel about them as an adult. Sadly, I didn't think they held up particularly well over the years. A few of the stories were okay but the majority of them were just...meh. When I lived in Scotland as a child, I had the whole collection of Pan Horror Stories. Eventually, I had to give them away because they scared me so badly. So I was interested to see how I would feel about them as an adult. Sadly, I didn't think they held up particularly well over the years. A few of the stories were okay but the majority of them were just...meh.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Scorpion

  8. 4 out of 5

    Karl Hickey

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mavis

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ian Munro

  11. 4 out of 5

    Liz Chell

  12. 5 out of 5

    jsewellmcevoy

  13. 5 out of 5

    Arthur Chappell

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tomcat

  15. 4 out of 5

    Si

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shazia Zafar

  17. 5 out of 5

    Simon Rowling

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kirk King

  19. 4 out of 5

    Owl

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nick

  21. 4 out of 5

    Þórhallur

  22. 5 out of 5

    Julie Higgs

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ang3lic

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gerry

  25. 4 out of 5

    Darren Phasey

  26. 5 out of 5

    Oliver Smith

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bill

  28. 4 out of 5

    Adele Geraghty

  29. 4 out of 5

    Frankie Roxx

  30. 5 out of 5

    Letande D'Argon

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