Classic Anthology Of Stories Picked By Karloff And Which In His Words Include Fables, Truly Nightmarish Tales, And An Outright Shocker Or Two Authors Include Turgenev, De Maupassant, Tennyson, Bierce, Buchan, Doyle, Sayers, Maugham, Poe, Browning, Conrad, Lovecraft And Many In 1943, Boris Karloff was induced by his old friend Edmund Speare, an English professor and book editor, to assist in putting together an anthology of horror stories as Speare put it, a collection of bogey stories selected by a professional bogey man The resulting volume, Tales of Terror, consisted of a six page introduction by Karloff and 14 stories, ran to 317 pages, and was a popular release with the public On the strength of that book s sales, the two tried their luck again with an even ambitious project The result was 1946 s And the Darkness Falls, a whopping volume running to 631 pages and containing 59 short stories, each with an introduction from Karloff , in addition to 10 short, eerie poems scattered throughout An impressively wide ranging survey of the horror story, this staggeringly generous volume presents tales from as far back as the 8th century A.D all the way up to modern times, and its roster of authors is a nicely multinational one 25 are British, 12 are American, 5 Irish, 2 French, 2 Russian, plus 1 Pole, 1 Greek, 1 Scotch, 1 Welsh, 1 Chinese and 1 anonymous The title of the collection is an ambiguous one Of course, it can connote the coming of night, when many of these chilling tales take place, but it can just as easily suggest the approaching end of life of the 59 stories in the book, death is a looming factor in the overwhelming majority Not that the accumulated impact of these stories is a depressing one the tales vary too greatly in both subject matter and theme for the reader to become worn out with 600 pages of such fare.Many of the authors whom one would expect to find in a volume of this nature are present H.P Lovecraft is represented with his great tale The Thing on the Doorstep Algernon Blackwood is twice represented, by the beautifully mystical The Stranger and the straightforward spook tale The Woman s Ghost Story Ambrose Bierce offers us the darkly humorous My Favorite Murder August Derleth shows us the horrors contained in The Panelled Room Hugh Walpole tells us a tale of unease in The Silver Mask and Oliver Onions offers us the haunting story John Gladwin Says But then there are some fairly well known authors whom one would NOT necessarily expect to find in a horror collection Ivan Turgenev is represented by the very strange tale The Adventure of Second Lieutenant Bubnov Guy de Maupassant gives us two tales, The Madman and Little Louise Roque the latter being one of the best tales in the collection Lafcadio Hearn provides the beautifully written L Amour Apres La Mort Arthur Conan Doyle writes of grotesque mutilation in The Case of Lady Sannox Somerset Maugham tells a story of Devil s Island in An Official Position the great Irish poet William Butler Yeats is represented by the very odd story The Crucifixion of the Outcast Nikolai Gogol is shown to great effect with his wonderful horror tale Viy and Joseph Conrad tells us of a monstrously nasty sea vessel, The Brute And then there are the dozens of other writers that I had never previously encountered, but whose work here will surely prompt me to seek out As I said, this is a staggeringly good collection, with nary a clinker in the bunch.The 59 stories in the volume can be grouped into a good dozen types I suppose tales dealing with Murder as their subject predominate, with Frederick S Greene s The Black Pool, Tennyson Jesse s The Mask, Violet Hunt s The Witness and Richard M Hallet s The Razor of Pedro Dutel being standouts Haunted House stories are of course present, best exemplified by Henry R Wakefield s The Red Lodge and A.M Burrage s Browdean Farm Tales with Ghosts include Edward F Benson s The Hanging of Alfred Wadham, Richard Hughes The Ghost and Selma Robinson s wonderful The Departure, while tales of other Supernatural Doings include John Buchan s The Grove of Ashtaroth, Dorothy L Sayers The Cyprian Cat and that anonymous tale, The Sutor of Selkirk And then there are stories of Insanity, such as the truly disorienting tale by Walter de la Mare, Out of the Deep Elizabeth Bowen s Telling and L.A.G Strong s very surprising Breakdown The anthology also gives the reader numerous tales of Suspense, including McKnight Malmar s The Storm Thomas Burke s The Horrible God Michael Joyce s gripping Perchance to Dream and perhaps my favorite story in the entire collection, William Irish s Three O Clock Given how terrific this tale is, it should perhaps come as no surprise that Irish was a pen name for the great Cornell Woolrich And there are still categories represented herein Tales of Poetic Horror include Lord Dunsany s Where the Tides Ebb and Flow, while Comedic Horror stories are best represented by John Collier s Another American Tragedy and The Chaser Besides Gogol s Viy, stories featuring Female Monsters include Shen Chi chi s Jenshih, or the Fox Lady and William B Seabrook s The Caged White Werewolf of the Saraban There is a beautiful yet horrifying tale of the Afterlife, May Sinclair s Where Their Fire Is Not Quenched an Essay, Jonathan Swift s notorious treatise on the necessity of cannibalism, A Modest Proposal and any number of stories that must be deemed Unclassifiable Some of the finest of this last group include John Galsworthy s The Black Godmother Eileen Verrinder s Footsteps Maurice Level s who is represented by four grisly short tales in this volume A Maniac and Dorothy Richardson s deliciously downbeat Death Yes, it is quite an overwhelming collection, and the intros written by Uncle Boris for each story demonstrate what an erudite, well read and sophisticated gentleman he was The man turns out to have a way with the pen himself, and makes for a wonderful guide throughout this lengthy, fascinating and at times horrific journey He not only gives the reader a compact biography of each author, but also tells us why he has chosen each tale for his volume, and what exactly he likes about each story He is as well spoken as Frankenstein was inarticulate no surprise there, really I might also add here that And the Darkness Falls was selected by editor David G Hartwell for inclusion in Newman Jones excellent overview volume Horror 100 Best Books, and I have no hesitation in agreeing with that inclusion As Hartwell says in his article Never has star making been used effectively in the horror field, with ingenuity and broad ranging taste the result is a great anthology I could not agree. As with almost every anthology, there are a number of weak stories here Of the seventy or so stories here, I had only read six before There were only several stories I skipped totally, largely because of unforgivable lapses of style I found several stories in this book I would place among my favorite horror short stories The Madman by Maupassant A brilliant idea, chillingly done The Storm by McKnight Malmar One of my favorite stories in here One of the best things about this anthology is the extent to which it includes stories by a number of minor, obscure writers One Who Saw by Ex Private X A deceptively simple story about a strange woman in a dark courtyard Footsteps by Eileen Verrinder Interesting story about a blind man whose sense of hearing becomes maddeningly acute The Red Lodge by Henry Wakefield One of the best haunted house stories I ve encountered An Official Position by Maugham I ve encountered this one before, but it is a brilliant and artfully told story A masterclass in suspense Telling by Elizabeth Bowen A Robert Aickman esque nightmare As one would expect from Bowen, impeccably written The Chaser by John Collier A small, witty tale The Wierd of Avoosl Wuthoqquan by Clark Smith I enjoy this type of story Jack Vance later did it very well , and this story breaks up a run of mediocre ghost stories quite well.
Boris Karloff was an English actor who emigrated to Canada in the 1910s He is best remembered for his roles in horror films and his portrayal of Frankenstein s monster in the 1931 film Frankenstein, 1935 film Bride of Frankenstein, and 1939 film Son of Frankenstein His popularity following Frankenstein in the early 1930s was such that for a brief time he was billed simply as Karloff or, on som
- 631 pages
- And the Darkness Falls
- Boris Karloff
- 06 March 2019 Boris Karloff