Sublime Horror

Celebrating the best in horror

Category: Reviews (page 1 of 4)

The Devils (Devil’s Advocates) by Darren Arnold review – a potted history of Russell’s controversial masterpiece

The Devils is Ken Russell’s notorious 1971 historical drama telling the extraordinary story of a case of possession in 17th century France, in the city of Loudun. I start with possession because, were this any other story, that would be the most extraordinary part. But this isn’t a film about possession; it is a film about the dangers of religion and politics colliding, and it’s message is as resonant today as it was on release (and on publication of the Aldous Huxley book, The Devils of Loudun from 1952, on which the film is partly based).

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Bone China by Laura Purcell review – a well-researched and atmospheric Gothic chiller

After first discovering Laura Purcell’s precise skill for crafting unsettling and foreboding Gothic tension in The Silent Companions, I was excited to read her third novel Bone China. Bone China follows housemaid and nurse Hester Why as she joins Morvoren House, an imposing abode atop the cliffs of Cornwall, and its peculiar and withdrawn mistress Miss Pinecroft. As Hester learns of the strange household dynamic and superstitious nature of the residents, she must also keep her own secrets of her blighted past.

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Wonderland: An Anthology review – ‘lose yourself in the rabbit hole of this delightful anthology’

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has captivated minds, young, old and eternally, since its publication in 1865. From literary spin-offs to film adaptations, its influence has been widespread. 154 years has not lessened its charm, and Titan are celebrating its longevity with an anthology, simply titled Wonderland.

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The Institute by Stephen King review – hope in the face of terror and evil

Let me admit something up front – I was initially a bit nervous to take on this review. How do you review a Stephen King novel when you’ve been a devoted “Constant Reader” (to borrow King’s term) for most of your life? The task was daunting, but I ultimately decided that my desire to read his latest novel, The Institute, as soon as possible was stronger than my fear of reviewing King’s work. If you’re on this site, you’ve likely encountered something written by Stephen King, whether it be a bestselling novel, short story collection, screenplay, viral tweet, or virtually any other written medium. I could list the awards he’s written, but I think it’s more valuable that I just say this: Stephen King is a horror legend and a vital figure of horror fiction. 

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The Weird Tales of William Hope Hodgson review – weird riches and uneven writing

In his introduction to The Weird Tales of William Hope Hodgson, a new anthology of Hodgson’s short stories, editor Xavier Aldana Reyes writes: “Hodgson has not always been as well-known or admired, however, and had remained rather forgotten until the late 1980s…it is not difficult to see why. Hodgson’s writing is certainly uneven and…prone to repetition…” But, Reyes writes, Hodgson’s “stylistic shortcomings” are compensated for by his “imaginative invention and ability to conjure up a strong feeling of dread of the unknown”.

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To Rouse Leviathan by Matt Cardin review 
- interrogating the shadow of faith

Following hot on the heels of the cosmic horror masters, from Chambers to Ligotti, To Rouse Leviathan, a collection of short fiction by Matt Cardin, is a solid contemporary entry into the corpus of cosmic horror, though it delivers moments of tonal inconsistency and some story entries that slightly weaken the structure of the work taken as a whole. Ligotti himself has praised this collection, writing “That the so-called reality we bump into on a daily basis should be seen as pure misconception is a fundamental assumption of Matt Cardin’s vision.”

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The Possession by Michael Rutger review – our own heads are dangerous places to be

Small-town weirdness meets supernatural thriller in screenwriter Michael Rutger’s The Possession, a sequel to The Anomaly, which was released in 2018. Hands up – I have not read The Anomaly, so came to this cold. Despite a few small mentions about the climax of the last book, which of course meant nothing to me, I did not suffer. Rutger doesn’t labour the point, and just gets on with the business of a new adventure.

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The Forgotten Girl by Rio Youers review – should have forgotten the guy

Harvey Anderson is living his life as a 26-year-old busker in New Jersey when, one day, he is seized by violent men who beat him up and ask where they can find Sally Stirling, his girlfriend of five years. Only Harvey doesn’t remember Sally. The leader of this gang, “the Spider”, reveals that Sally has the ability to wipe memories and that he has been hunting her down for nine years to take back the memories she robbed him of. A well-paced thriller-esque chase ensues: Harvey tries to hunt down the elusive Sally and find out what happened to her and his memory.

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Trolls by Stefan Spjut review – an unworthy slog

Trolls is the sequel to Stallo Spjut’s previous output, Stallo, which followed Susso Myrén and her family as they confronted the reality that trolls exist, can turn into animals, and are being fed children by humans. Excited by the prospect of reading Scandi horror with folkloric creatures for the first time, I eagerly jumped in. It is clear that the novel is a sequel, as past events are immediately alluded to and discussed briefly, yet there is a sense that the reader should already be aware of previous happenings. I hadn’t read Stallo and so I found the writer’s reluctance to lay the groundwork to ensure the sequel also read as a standalone frustrating. Your first warning: it is necessary to read the first book to ensure Trolls reads more smoothly. 

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Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson review – how modern-day monsters are created

It is 1816 and a nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley is staying in Geneva, Switzerland, with Lord Byron, John Polidori, her stepsister Claire Clairmont and her lover, Percy Bysshe Shelley. The group engage in a task: write a horror story. Excited, Mary begins, not knowing just how much her own story and characters will haunt her.

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