Sunday, July 6, 2014

Terror in the House by Henry Kuttner


Sub-titled The Early Kuttner, Volume One, Haffner Press has produced a book that I understand is already out of print. I’m not surprised. Haffner Press books are all collector’s items. Terror in the House reprints Henry Kuttner’s early stories, from 1936 to 1939. I can’t imagine what volume two will be like, but you can bet I’ll buy it. This beautiful hardcover sold for $40, a steep price in these challenging economic times. I paid it because this is Henry Kuttner, after all. Over forty stories are collected here, including the legendary “The Graveyard Rats” from the March, 1936 edition of Weird Tales magazine. Each story in this collection are gems of moody, gothic horror. And for once the stories are as good as the titles: “Bamboo Death,” “It Walks by Night,” “Coffins for Six,” “The Dweller in the Tomb,” “My Name is Death,” and “The Bells of Horror” and all the rest are pure pulp fiction. Kuttner’s stories are seething with creepiness. Think of them as being the pulp version of a 1930s Universal Pictures horror film – slithering fog, screams in the night, a grinning skull, the stark silhouettes of rain-swept trees, or the cobwebbed archway of a haunted castle. Sure, it’s cornball and contrived Halloween stuff, but that’s why we read them. You’ll pick your favorites here, and the stories I mentioned are my favorites although I enjoyed them all. Many of these stories are among the finest horror stories written in the last century. Haffner Press has already published other Henry Kuttner volumes, and these are his collaborations with his wife, C. L. Moore. I’m eagerly awaiting volume two of the early Kuttner. Terror in the House makes for a perfect introduction to Kuttner’s work, and although this 2010 edition is out of print, copies are available on Amazon and ebay. Henry Kuttner – and this book – deserve a wide audience.

3 comments:

  1. Excellent! I have this book too! I grabbed it when it was first published, which is a splurge for me at $40. I read stories from it only a bit at a time. It's been almost a year since I've pulled it from the shelf to read a story from it. Yesterday I decided to read "Power of the Snake" which means I still have a lot of stories to go. And I won't soon forget "The Devil Rides" which its horrible torture scenes involving horseshoes! This wasn't the Henry Kuttner I knew from the old science fiction stories I've enjoyed. I'm also looking forward to Volume Two, whenever it comes out.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nifty review, thanks. I've been reading Kuttner since I was ten or so--a lot linger than I care to think about--and he rarely lets me down. Whatever "it" is he had "it."

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Kurt and Ed - Kuttner is one of my favorites and I'll post additional reviews in the future. Thanks for checking in!
    Tom

    ReplyDelete

I apologize for the necessity to moderate comments, but somebody opened the zoo cages and the beasts are running amok!