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Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural: A Treasury of Spellbinding Tales Old and New Hardcover – May, 1985

15 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 623 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (May 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385185499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385185493
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #392,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By S. Sroczynski on June 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The words I am about to write will not do justice to this anthology. If you are a fan of horror short stories, get this before you get anything else. None of the stories are bad, and many are terrfying and unforgettable. Theodore Sturgeon's "The Professor's Teddy Bear" is unique, grotesque, and it will stick with you for months. "His Unconquerable Enemy" has a gripping climax that will amaze you. "The Bottle Imp" is a grand tale of treachery, pain, and sacrifice. "Hop-Frog" is a Poe selection that is every bit as brilliant as his more famous works, and in traditional Poe fashion it is a tale of revenge. I could go on about every story in here but instead I will just very strongly recommend this to all fans of horror literature.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By mellion108 VINE VOICE on May 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is an absolute treasure! Stoker, Lovecraft, Poe, Shelley, Asimov, Bierce, Tolkien are all here. You'll also find Richard Matheson, Tanith Lee, Sheridan LeFanu, Orson Scott Card (with one of the most disturbing, chilling tales I've ever read), Ogden Nash, Tennessee Williams, Jack London, Walt Whitman (is this high-school english class! ), Robert Bloch and more. Each selection comes with a little background note providing some info about the author, history about that particular story and recommendations for other related readings. This collection is fantastic; it doesn't disappoint. English class would have been infinitely more interesting with this kind of reading!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By K. Hill VINE VOICE on March 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Masterpieces" is correct. This book is hard to put down. Usually when reading a collection gathered on a mutual theme, the mind of the reader eventually numbs from the sameness of the stories. Not so with this anthology. Each story is unique, unpredictable, and well written. I enjoyed it greatly. I give it the highest praise possible here--5 stars.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Reader in Tokyo on March 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was published in 1985. It contained 53 works by as many writers. There were 47 short stories and 6 poems.

The editor said his basis for selection was stories that gave his jaded spine a chill. He tried to focus on the psychology of terror, the "cosmic fear of the unknown," rather than the gory and repugnant; on stories with an "icy insight into human nature," rather than blood. He avoided any tale that had been anthologized too often.

The pieces ranged from the 1770s to the 1980s, covering virtually every decade. Two-thirds of the works were from the 20th century. More than half of the writers were from the United States, with the rest from Great Britain, Ireland, Russia, France and Germany. The earliest writers included both those well known (Goethe, Mary Shelley, Hawthorne, Poe, Tennyson, Turgenev, Whitman), and lesser known (Bürger, Tieck, Courtois, Hearn).

From the 20th and late 19th centuries, there were contributions by prominent writers who wrote often on terror or the macabre (LeFanu, Bierce, Stoker, Maupassant, Stevenson, Saki, Crane, London, Lovecraft, Bloch, Sturgeon, Highsmith, Matheson) and prominent ones who didn't (Andreyev, Runyon, Tolkien, Ogden Nash, I. B. Singer, Tennessee Williams, Dylan Thomas, Asimov); most of the tales from the latter were hardly spine-chilling. Lesser-known writers for this period included W. C. Morrow, Ralph Adams Cram, Abraham Merritt, H. F. Arnold, John Dickson Carr, Jack Snow, Stanley Ellin, Ray Russell and Parke Godwin from the United States, A. M. Burrage and Robert Aickman from England, and Anatole Le Braz and Maurice Level from France.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Corey Cook on April 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up at the thrift store for about thirty-five cents, expecting the usual collection of stories that I have probably read countless times before in other anthologies.While it did have the requisite Poe and Lovecraft, I was pleasantly surprised by the offbeat and rare pieces of work this book offered. Some standouts include "Graveyard Shift" by Richard Matheson (immeasurably better than the King story of the same name, "The Night Wire" by H.F. Arnold, and Orson Scott Card's "Eumenides In The Fourth Floor Lavatory". The roster also includes such authors as Dylan Thomas, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Theodore Sturgeon. All in all, a good collection with more than a few surprises.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jordan on August 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I read this book when I was a teenager, and it has log stood as the basis by which I compare all horror story collections. Not one has been able to compare. I still tell people of the story of the Professor's Teddy Bear, still recall the vibrant image of the Orang-U-Tangs and the missing chapter between Bilbo and Gollem. If someone finds a collection as great as this, I pray I can come across it to enjoy someday, as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paula Cappa Reviews on July 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Because I am a reader and writer of horror fiction, when I found this anthology, I fell in love. Some stories are traditional supernatural but most are offbeat and by lesser known authors in this genre. "Bubnoff and the Devil" by Ivan Turgenev is a perfect read for a lonely night at home. Walt Whitman's first short story, "Death in the School Room" is a surprise since we don't know him to write this kind of horror. "Graveyard Shift" by Richard Matheson (about the Dark Mother) has the most chilling characters. I especially like Mary Shelley's The Transformation. This is a Romeo and Juliet story but with an ugly twist. From creatures to ghosts to obscure beasts, there's plenty of variety.
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