Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Book Review: SHUDDER STORIES the series from the 1980s

Ever since my entire library was stolen from me I have looked to rebuild. One set of items I have turned my attention to are publications. Not the pulps per se, but specifically the publications that came into existence to fill the void created by the incompetence of WEIRD TALES; a recurring but not clichéd literary theme.

One such series is title SHUDDER STORIES a slim volume regularly published by Cryptic Publications and edited by Robert M. Price; who was also a contributor.

Here such artists as Hugh B. Cave, Frank Belknap Long, Carl Jacobi, Gary Lovisi and Robert M. Howard brought us the 'weird menace' tales of long ago; stories once published by the likes of DIME MYSTERY, TERROR TALES and HORROR STORIES. The kind of action one would see in the movie serials after the cartoon and the short and just before the main feature.

These were and are the grand guingol tomes harkening back the phantom days.

In other words these were the Shudder Pulps of days gone by whose influence is immense on horror literature as well any and all comic book plots. The story is simple: Bad guy, who is a really evil guy; Pretty Girl, who is kidnapped and threatened, and also maybe tortured, some by Bad Guy, and Good Guy who saves the Pretty Girl and the day by defeating Bad Guy.

Your basic literary plot line. Check your modern action film. But this is also a plot line that for its day introduce an amoral aspect to the story under the banner of evil. You see the bad guy was just simply bad and seemingly kept coming back as an arch enemy with the focused thirst aimed squarely at the comely lass.

In essence shudder stories were the bastardized grandfather of the modern slasher trope or theme.

So you see their importance. Their necessity to be read.

The print runs of SHUDDER STORIES is small but back issues can easily be found for purchase online and in used book stores at reasonable prices.

Hunt for them and buy them as they are fascinating studies in the overall evolution of the horror genre.

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