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DAVID CASE
And Now The Screaming Starts...


click to enlarge

Pan, London, 1973
price: 25p; 128 pages

(first published 1971 under the title 'Fengriffen' in a collection called Fengriffen and Other Stories by Macdonald & Co)


The blurb on the back:

Pervading evil …
Unholy darkness…
Bewildered and terrified, a young bride finds herself powerless to resist the grotesque horror of an inhuman revenge…
and within the accursed walls of Fengriffen Manor, a cycle of torment, lust and nightmarish dread draws even nearer its hideous climax…


opening lines:
My first impression of Fengriffen House was skeletal.


Despite Roy Ward Baker in the director’s chair, and despite the cast including Peter Cushing, Herbert Lom, Stephanie Beacham and Patrick Magee, And Now The Screaming Starts really wasn’t much of a film. Just another sad relic from the dying days of British horror.

The book, on the other hand, is a surprisingly solid piece of work. Set sometime in the late-19th century, it’s a fairly basic family curse/revenge piece with supernatural overtones and with class conflict at its heart (debauched aristo vs honest woodsman). The other key opposition is that of science, in the form of a psycho-analyst, trying to get to grips with primitive superstition. It’s nothing spectacular, and the exposition of the plot is a bit formulaic, with a series of characters telling pieces of the story, but it works well enough and keeps you reading.

As you’ll see from the publishing details, this was originally conceived as a novella and was reprinted as a stand-alone piece under a new title to cash in on the movie version.

tasteful
Ms Stephanie Beacham


ARTISTIC MERIT: 3/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:
3/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT:
3/5


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Ray Russell, Unholy Trinity
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