Michael Avallone – Tales of the Frightened (1963)

Review by Justin Tate

A collection of 26 eerie vignettes. They were written by Michael Avallone specifically for Boris Karloff to narrate. However, only 13 stories were chosen for Karloff’s “Tales of the Frightened” LP (between volumes 1 and 2). Karloff, along with Vincent Price and Thurl Ravenscroft, is one of the most iconic horror voices in history and his vocal talents add generous depth to what otherwise might be ho-hum flash fiction.

Listening to his narration along with the book, my mind frequently drifted away from plot and became more focused on Karloff’s vocal mastery. He increases speed when tension is high, slows down to brood over mystery, and generally makes everything creepier. The text is meant to have a by-the-fire chatty feel, but he finds numerous opportunity to increase the casual tone through vocal inflection when I might not have read it that way.

Read more “Michael Avallone – Tales of the Frightened (1963)”

A.N.L. Munby – The Alabaster Hand (1949)

Review by Justin Tate

Munby would enjoy knowing his collection of ghost stories is now a scarce find and highly collectible. The majority of these 14 tales involve rare book curators or other enthusiasts of antiquity. An occult mystery typically surrounds the rare object in question, as is explained to the protagonist by an acquaintance around a roaring fire.

Like artifacts in his fiction, Munby’s book has its own intriguing history. During WWII, he was captured and held in Germany for five years as a prisoner of war. It was during that time, 1943 to 1945, that he wrote these stories.

Read more “A.N.L. Munby – The Alabaster Hand (1949)”