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Scared Stiff: Tales of Sex and Death Hardcover – September 7, 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Enlarged edition (September 7, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765300044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765300041
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,235,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Etchison is one of our best horror short story writers, achieving his chilling effects by weaving together almost disparate sinister elements: a barely heard sound, the look of a street, a memory. This collection, his third, contains 13 stories; most are good, and some quite frightening. In "Call 666" a man whose life is disintegrating after a breakup with his emotionally disturbed lover stumbles upon what may be an order-by-phone murder service. In "The Spot" a professional apartment cleaner, repeatedly confronted with the dead ends of other people's lives, begins to see intimations of his own future. "The Soft Wall" concerns a man whose marriage has become unbearable; in an hallucinatory nightmare, from which he never escapes, he dismembers his wife. "Bloodgame" tells of a TV game show host whose life is ingeniously undone by the daughter of a man whom he had destroyed decades before. And in "Home Call" a social worker makes the huge mistake of not heeding her own disturbing intuitions.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The subtitle speaks the truth: the 10 tales in Campbell's collection are filled with graphic, steamy sexual encounters, many of which end badly. "Dolls" is set in Puritan America, where a group of wayward churchgoers have formed a sexually free group called the coven. The group's leader, John, uses dolls to strike at his enemies until his own power is turned on him in an unexpected way. In "The Other Woman," Phil becomes obsessed with the covers he paints for horror novels, which depict the strangulation of a beautiful woman. He is unable to muster up any passion for his wife, Hilary, until her growing frustration with his indifference forces him to try, with disastrous results. In "Stages," Ray discovers a powerful drug that allows him to participate in others' sexual experiences. Though the collection is a reprint, it features three new stories, "The Limits of Fantasy," "The Body in the Window," and "Kill Me Hideously," and a new afterword by the author, which begins, "Nobody rebels like a good Catholic boy." Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This collection is a combination of a reprint of a previous anthology containing seven repeat tales plus three new short stories released in the nineties and a new afterward. Each tale is well written, cleverly designed and clearly show why Ramsey Campbell is the father of erotic horror, as they all star a perverted individual either as a tormentor or a victim. Not for everyone, Scared Stiff: Tales of Sex And Death consists of ten frightening and horrifying yet erotic somewhat perverted stories at least from the mindset of this middle age female boomer who loves the macabre but is often disgusted by the plots. This anthology provides a voyeur's look into the soul of this award winning horror author great.

Harriet Klausner
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Schtinky VINE VOICE on January 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
Clive Barker's introduction is as good as the stories themselves, stating in regards to the melding of horror and erotica that "In an age when characters in all manner of fiction have forsaken their blushes to fornicate, horror fiction clings to its underwear with a nunnish zeal." Since Scared Stiff was first published in 1988, this was one of the influential books that led to the production of more erotica in horror, such as the Hot Blood series.

There are only seven tales in this collection, making it a wonderful traveling companion or vacation book. Starting with `Dolls', we visit a quiet village and the witch's coven that conjures the devil during orgies, leading to `The Other Woman', a tale of an artist's obsession with his work bleeding over onto the canvas of his own life.

Next is `Liliths', probably my favorite story in the compilation. A strange shop appears out of nowhere, and a man makes a purchase that changes his life. A life sized doll that fills him with compulsive behavior.

`The Seductress' is a low-key suspense tale, of obsessive love and a mother's revenge. `Stages' tells of us a deadly combination of $ex, drugs, and voyeurism. `Loveman's Comeback' speaks of possession, and the lengths one will go to in order to break out of a bad relationship. And finally, `Merry May' is about wandering into a strange town, and finding their odd celebration a little more than you can handle.

While in comparison to today's erotic horror, Scared Stiff is a bit tame for this blossoming genre, but Ramsey Campbell's early foray into this forbidden realm truly opened doors for those of us who enjoy peeking into the bloody rooms to find titillating delights within. If you are really a fan of visceral lust run amok, then you should own a copy of Scared Stiff. Enjoy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Prattle On, Boyo on June 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
If you bought this book expecting a lot of sexual action, then you'll be sorely disappointed. Eroticism is *not* hot sex. Try your local adult bookstore, instead. That said, *real* Ramsey Campbell and/or *real* fans of the horror genre will appreciate this collection. To be fair, the first three titles aren't all that. They are, in fact, rather dull. However, the shudders and shivers pick up in "The Seductress" and increase from there. Hot sex seekers should look elsewhere for their carnal fixation(s).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Blue Tyson on January 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
A short selection of Campbell's story wherein he is dealing more explicitly with
sexuality, from the disturbed and the alone kind, to the volunteer for group ritual with bad end variety. They are pretty decent, overall, with a 3.45 average.

Scared Stiff : Dolls - Ramsey Campbell
Scared Stiff : The Other Woman - Ramsey Campbell
Scared Stiff : Lilith's - Ramsey Campbell
Scared Stiff : The Seductress - Ramsey Campbell
Scared Stiff : Stages - Ramsey Campbell
Scared Stiff : Loveman's Comeback - Ramsey Campbell
Scared Stiff : Merry May - Ramsey Campbell
Scared Stiff : The Limits of Fantasy - Ramsey Campbell
Scared Stiff : The Body in the Window - Ramsey Campbell
Scared Stiff : Kill Me Hideously - Ramsey Campbell

Coven lubrication.

3 out of 5

Throat art.

3.5 out of 5

Artificial Love Mate.

3 out of 5

Must satisfy.

3.5 out of 5

It's a trip to not do it by myself.

3.5 out of 5

Sexual summoning.

4 out of 5

Ritual ending.

4 out of 5

New scenes.

3 out of 5

Spin show recognition.

3.5 out of 5

Like to be a victim, please.

3.5 out of 5
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