Monday, February 3, 2014

Things With Claws

Things with Claws
ed Whit & Hallie Burnett
Ballantine Books 1961

Things with Claws

Things with Claws

I had to check the book cover several times to make sure these were supposed to be tales of horror, or terror, or even suspense.  Let's see how they did.

The Birds by Daphne du Maurier - The Birds:
You know this one, it's a classic, fine.  The story, or even the radio adaptation, is better than Hitchcock's version.

The Cats by T. K. Brown III:
A couple has two cats put down because they have no room, and this is a metaphor for the couple not having a frank discussion over whether to have children.  We know this because the author mentions it several times, as if a freshman English paper was integrated into the text.  Thrills!

The Cocoon by J. B. L. Goodwin:
A bratty kid gets his comeuppance after pinning moths and butterflies to his wall.  I think there was an EC comic where a guy gets pinned down by giant aliens.  That would have been cooler, but at least we're in the neighborhood of terror.

Baby Bunting by Radcliffe Squires:
A widow hires a mildly creepy guy as a gardener.  He makes her uncomfortable, so she asks him to leave, which he does without incident.  Chills!

The Red Rats Of Plum Fork by Jesse Stuart
A farm has a lot of rats until they figure out how to get rid of them.  Terror!

Butch by Oreste F. Pucciani
A woman is torn between her dog and a suitor before killing the dog with a fire poker.  At least somebody dies.

The Salamander by William B. Seabrook:
A crazy guy wants to catch a salamander for its alchemic properties.  He dreams he catches one, then wakes up and sets his house on fire.  There are no salamanders.

Return Of The Griffins by A. E. Shandeling: 
An ambassador sees griffins that nobody else can see.  This may be a metaphor for world peace.  Horror!

Congo by Stuart Cloete:
The only story I wanted to see more of.  After a miscarriage, a scientist's wife raises a baby gorilla as her own.  The violent ended occurs off page and is summarized in about as many words as this review.

The Cat Man by Byron Liggett:
We've saved the best for last.  A reclusive author takes his pet cats to a private island, where they breed out of control.  This is before the days of reality TV, so I guess it seems horrific that two hundred cats live on an island a mile long.  You can fit that many into a double wide.

Read more at Vault of Evil.

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