Reviews by Henry L. Ratliff

The Dunwich Horror

by H. P. Lovecraft

(1929) Horror (Occult) / Thriller

R: * * * * *

Plot bullets

  • The town of Dunwich lies in the Miskatonic Valley, where legends of evil abide.

  • Dunwich's , Whateley family is mysterious and even feared. Wilbur is perhaps the strangest member of the family, as he was born under strange circumstances and grows to manhood very early. The Whateley farm is given wide berth due to ever increasing sounds, odors and unexplained events.

  • Wilbur and his Grandfather are believed to deal in the supernatural. Wilbur takes on a task to obtain access to the famous book of the occult, the Necronomicon. With the knowledge in the book he could bring back the 'Old Ones, An ancient race that wants to take back their world

  • Wilbur's efforts to obtain the book are brought to the attention of a college professor Dr. Armitage, who knows the true terror held within it's pages.

  • Wilbur dies in his attempt to get the book. Back on the Whateley farm, strange things are happening. There are strange sounds, odors, destruction and even death. And this all seems to be caused by a huge, yet invisible beast.

  • Dr. Armitage and two fellow professors, who have been convinced of the danger at Dunwich, set out to investigate and end the menace. Perhaps Wilbur and his Grandfather were not the last of the Whateley's.

  • Perhaps it is only now that the town must deal with the true terror of 'The Dunwich Horror'.

First published in 'Weird Tales' vol 13, April 1929 Vol. 13, no. 4.

There is a 1970 movie version that loosely adheres to the plot. It adds a girl and Wilbur is a handsome sophisticated man. It unfortunately turns the theme into a satanical sexual story. The movie as a horror picture is good, but it is not 'The Dunwich Horror'.

Reviewed on 2014.07.23

Dead Men Tell No Tales

by E.W. Hornung

(1897) Mystery (Criminal) / Adventure (Survival) / Thriller (Conspiracy)

R: * * * *

Plot bullets

  • A ship catches fire and sinks. It appears that only one man survived.

  • The survivor lost everything, he lost the woman he loved.

  • That man soon finds that all is not as it seemed, and that his life may still be in danger. He is the only one who may give a different account of the tragedy.

  • As the situation unfolds, he discovers that the ship and it's passengers were sacrificed for criminal gains.

  • He finds his love alive and makes plans to save her, from what seems to be a strange captivity.

  • An evil plot was laid. The ship was sunk. The Innocent lives of men, women and children were taken. They unfortunately fit the classification of the old adage, 'Dead Men Tell No Tales'.

Reviewed on 2014.07.22

The Co-Citizens

by Corra Harris

(1915) Humor(Satire) / Political (Women\'s Suffrage)

R: * * * *

Plot bullets

  • Sarah Hayden Mosely has died. What she leaves behind, her will and the wealth it represents, will do more to and for, the residents of her county and state, than the total effect of all her living days on Earth.

  • She has left funds, from the Mosely Trust that she controlled, to establish \'The Co-Citizens\' Foundation Fund of Jordan County\'. The foundation\'s purpose, is in support of women suffrage.

  • The foundation has three prominent members, two women and one man. These three individuals must convince the men of the city, county and state to allow women the right to vote.

  • In addition, there was the money, loans, land and mortgages, held but the Mosely Trust, of which the organization has $20,000 a year, with which to work.

  • The foundation is cleverly lead and the new advantage it has, puts a different light on the balance of power and influence in the war between man and woman. Who has the greater staying power, the men, or the women that makeup and are known as \'The Co-Citizens\'.

I give it 4 of 5 stars.

The19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote in 1920.

Reviewed on 2014.07.14

The Phantom Ship

by Frederick Marryat

(1838) Horror (Gothic) / Supernatural (Ghost ship) / Adventure (Quest) / Romance (Tragic) / Nautical (Sailing ships)

First serialized in 'The New Monthly Magazine' March 1837 - August 1839.

R: * * * * *
Plot bullets

  • Philip Vanderdecken of the Netherlands, has a great task ahead of him. He has sworn an oath on behalf of his dead father, to return to him a sacred relic..

  • His father is the unfortunate captain of the 'Flying Dutchman' A ghost ship that is doomed to sail the oceans, never touching land, until the relic is returned and the father is forgiven for curses to heaven and the death of a crewman, Schriften, who's apparition tries to foil Philip's quest.

  • Philip falls in love with and marries Amine, but leaves her at home for several voyages while he tries to fulfill his oath. The phantom ship is sighted on several of his voyages which end in tragedy, and death for all but him.

  • He finally takes his wife on what he hopes is his last voyage. The ghost ship is again sited and tragedy befalls them . Philip and Amine are rescued separately.

  • Philip has repeated difficulties as he tries to find his way to his wife. Amine is put on trial by the Spanish Inquisition, for mystic procedures she conducted to discover Philip's fate..

  • Tragedy has plagued Phillip's life, and all those he has sailed with, befriended or loved have suffered the same fate. Will he ever be able to fulfill his quest and put to rest the endless wanderings of the Flying Dutchman, 'The Phantom Ship'?

Reviewed on 2014.07.12

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