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Ancient Images Mass Market Paperback – June 15, 1990


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (June 15, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812502639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812502633
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,023,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

British horror writer Campbell here focuses on one of his most intriguing inventions, a horror film supposedly starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, made in England in 1938 and immediately suppressed. When film editor Sandy Allen decides to track down a print of the film, her detective work leads her to Redfield, a rural community known for the delicious wheat that grows on its rich soil, fertilized by blood from an ancient massacre and, it turns out, in need of a fresh infusion every 50 years to maintain its fecundity. During her search, Sandy is shadowed by bizarre creatures that sometimes look like dogs and sometimes like scarecrows. After Sandy finally pins down the connection between the film and Redfield, the creatures come out of the shadows and reveal themselves. Campbell's novels tend to be dense and less accessible than his short stories, but this narrative seems more relaxed and simplified--perhaps his most readable effort since his debut in The Doll Who Ate His Mother.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A colleague's violent death and its apparent cause--a stolen copy of an old, never-released Karloff/Lugosi film--set film editor Sandy Allan on the trail of the film's origins and history. Mystery surrounds the movie, and as Sandy learns of the tragedies which haunted its production, she finds herself threatened by an ancient force protecting secrets deeper than the suppression of a 50-year-old movie. Interestingly, in this novel centered on a horror movie supposedly judged too disturbing to be shown in theaters, author Campbell makes it clear that his own view of the genre does not include the splatter films and paperbacks of the 1980s horror market. His brand of fear derives from atmosphere, suggestion, and his trademark fever-dream world, where litter scuttles across deserted sidewalks and toadstools gleam like eyes. Campbell is renowned among fans and writers alike as the master of a skewed and exquisitely terrifying style, and this latest novel will only add to his reputation.
- A.M.B. Amantia, Population Crisis Committee Lib., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
An excellent story and I love the Greenman mythology woven into it.
Amazon Customer
The plot totally lost me after the first half of the book and I had to force myself to finish.
Awilson
I can understand that the story is unfolding slowly but I'm finding it too slow.
IanKH

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Ancient Images is a wonderful horror novel, more than making up for a few plot flaws with an incredible atmosphere which slowly pulls you further and further into the story. The novel offers a terrific "hook" that many horror aficionados such as myself are almost powerless to resist: the search for a lost, almost mythical horror movie starring both Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. The film, Tower of Fear, has never been seen, and the rumors surrounding its filming speak of strange happenings and almost ghostly events which supposedly frightened many of the crew and cast so badly that no one even cared that the final product essentially disappeared from the face of the earth before anyone could see it. Now, however, one professional movie buff (Graham) has found a copy after years of searching for it. He invites his friend, film editor Sandy Allan, to see its unveiling at his apartment, but when Sandy arrives, the film is gone. She is then horrified to see her friend jump from the roof of the adjacent building and plunge to his death. When a pompous film critic derides her late friend's quest for a movie that he says never existed, Sandy sets herself the task of finding the movie and vindicating her friend's claims. All she has to go on is a list of contacts Graham made in his search, consisting mainly of men who worked on the film in some capacity. She travels all over the countryside trying to speak to these contacts, finding herself rebuffed by some but increasingly finding more and more evidence of the fear that still haunts the minds of the cast and crew 50 years after the film was made.Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 8, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
With a remarkable body of work spanning the last 30 or so years, Ramsey Campbell has distinguished himself as one of the greatest horror writers of the 20th century. His is a rare distinctive voice in modern horror fiction, one that has consistently lived up to the dauntingly high standards of horror storytelling set by accepted masters of the field such as M.R. James, while remaining as cutting edge and relevant as any of his contemporaries�.
ANCIENT IMAGES, a typically excellent horror novel from Campbell, further reinforces this perspective on his career. The story, abetted by Campbell�s ever-vivid and suggestive prose, echoes the form and content of the classic Jamesian ghost story. We are presented first with an intriguing & quite plausible mystery in the form of an old horror film that apparently disappeared from the public eye shortly after release. Things take a deeply sinister turn when the mystery is linked to a remote, rural English village and its generations-old secrets. As the mystery unravels, the supernatural dread begins to mount, for there are hideous things lurking in the shadows or waiting, standing eerily still in distant fields (hence the resemblance to scarecrows), that will strike swiftly and kill mercilessly to protect those secrets.
Apart from certain elements I felt the plot would have been stronger without (specifically, the �feral� travellers, whose role in the book was never quite convincing), this is, in my view, a virtually flawless horror novel. Perfectly structured, deliberately paced, chillingly atmospheric, mysterious, frightening�but never sacrificing credibility for a quick, cheap shock. And all wrapped up with one of Campbell�s wonderful, darkly ironic stings at the end of the tale. Vital modern horror reading.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 14, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
ANCIENT IMAGES IS A brilliantly creepy novel that fully lives up the claustrophobic terror of Campbell's short fiction. Campbells' ability to create a scene of terror in broad daylight is unparalelled. I would certainly recommend this book highly to readers of intelligent, cerebral horror.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Matt Cowan on December 28, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was the book that really got me hooked on reading horror novels when it came out. It is a pretty strange story about ancient evil tied up with an old supressed Bela Logosi/ Boris Karloff movie. Ramsey Campbell is such a wonderful writer that I was hooked from the beginning all the way to the end!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RJT on June 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The description drew me right into purchasing this book. Though I'd never read any Campbell, I will now as I get a chance. A well-planned and tightly woven tale of intrigue, murder and pagan beliefs still held secretly in a corner of England is coupled with a young woman and her friend searching for a copy of a movie made several decades before by Karloff and Lugosi, but which never made a screening and had seemingly vanished, so no copies were available. Side plots include the wandering "Enoch's Army," a group of people who believe everything is pretty much going to hell in a handbasket and they want to settle on land by themselves and away from everything in the outside world. Secretive villagers, a smug and rude lord of a manor, and research into the world of old movies blends seamlessly into a tale that is difficult to put down. The first chapter sets up an image that the reader slowly comes to understand as pages flip by. A very enjoyable read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By PJ Rawls on May 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
With the exception of Shirley Jackson, I can't think of another writer who uses the written word to conjure up an atmosphere of dread and foreboding as effectively as Ramsey Campbell. The actual plot of Ancient Images is not particularly novel (at least not anymore - feudal secrets and ancient familial curses abound in today's film and literature). But the elements Campbell uses to tell his story and the characters who people it are fresh and three-dimensional.

Following the mysterious suicide of her friend, Sandy Allan, a film editor, tries to track down on an elusive horror movie called "Tower of Fear" starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi that her friend was to have shown on the night of his death. A plethora of memorable supporting characters, some human some not, emerge to help or hinder her in her quest. A seemingly out-of-place politicized plot point involving Enoch's Army, a homeless band of unwanted vagabonds led by a pagan/socialist leader, dovetails beautifully into the main story, adding to the sense of impending doom. One of my favorite scenes involves a trio of provincial ladies in their Sunday best waiting for her at the outskirts of a local cemetery where Sandy makes a disturbing discovery - the menace behind their gloves and lacy hats is palpable and all the more scary given their prim facade.

Although the prose is typical Campbell, sophisticated and subtly descriptive, in some places the writing becomes rather obvious in its attempt to telegraph a sense of fear or hint at a plot point. Fairly early on, it's clear there is a monstrous presence stalking Sandy and several times her ignorance is conveyed in a "little did she know" manner of less-nuanced and more melodramatic storytelling.
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