Issue 8 (August 1989)
82 Pages in total

Fear Fiction:
Necroscope III: The Scorce [Extract] - Brian Lumley – 5 Pages
Here we have a five page extract from British horror author Brian Lumley’s novel ‘Necroscope III: The Source’ (1989) which formed the third instalment into his long-running ‘Necroscope’ series.

Fish Bait - Louise Hamilton – 3 Pages
For a long time now Lydia has been feeling wholly unsatisfied with her marine biologist husband Henry.   Over the years, Henry has taken to bringing home more and more fish tanks filled with his rare and exotic fish.  His latest is a tank filled with vicious piranhas, which after shoving aside Lydia’s pots and pans, is plonked down on a sink-side shelf within their kitchen.  To make matter worse, whilst Henry is away working at his laboratory, Lydia is expected to feed and look after the various specimens around the house.  One of which is a tank filled with minute, cotton-thread eels; invisible to the eye and deadly to men who find themselves within any water that is infested with them.  A murderous notion comes over Lydia as she examines these fascinating little eels.  Next time her husband has a warm bath he’ll be having one hell of a shock.  But Henry might not be the only one to fall victim to his exotic specimens...

This gruesome little tale of marital misery delivers an ironically comical twist of sharp-witted black comedy.  The two characters of Lydia and Henry are given starkly animated personalities, with snippets of an unhappy back history and brief insights into each of their own individual perspectives of their miserable marriage.  Lydia’s cruel plot to murder her husband is suitably reflected in her gory comeuppance, as is her husband’s eventual fate after his true colours are revealed.  A brilliantly blunt tale to amuse and entertain with its black comedy laced approach to revenge.

Vitamin Y - Wayne Dean-Richards – 3 Pages
Stanley Fellows is a 215lbs male of 34 years, whose bitterly secluded life had been spent being pampered by his now deceased mother.  His father died a while before his mother passed away, and with no other relatives or friends to speak of, Stanley Fellows has been left to spend his life as somewhat of a recluse; alone in the isolated house that was passed on to him, living off what inheritance he has left.  After many failed attempts at losing weight on various diets and exercise regimes, Stanley replies to an advert he spots for a miracle vitamin to help him shed the pounds – Vitamin Y.  However, his weight loss seems too good to be true and his correspondence seems to go unanswered.  This is weight loss with a terrifying secret...

Cleverly written as the one-sided written correspondence from Stanley to the suppliers of Vitamin Y, the short starts off by cunningly setting down our narrator’s back-story within his initial correspondence to the suppliers.  With a darkly comical approach to the tale employing a constant nervous laughter, the short seems almost like a twisted comic book in its carefree delivery.  Obvious echoes of Stephen King’s ‘Thinner’ (1984) are apparent with the tale’s general premise; however the sheer originality in the delivery of the tale gives the short its own unique edge.  When Fellows realises that something is desperately wrong and his written correspondence goes unanswered, the tale cranks up a notch with a whole new menacing undertone that stays with the short until the final conclusion.  The ending is superb (although utterly predictable from so very early on).  The originality of the delivery and the chilling moment when Stanley goes in search of the suppliers delivery address, are what really make this short.  Altogether a thoroughly enjoyable and appropriately light-hearted read.

Death Came Clad In Black - Mathew Cage – 3 Pages
Deep within a courtroom in hell itself, Death stands trial for wiping out the whole of humanity.  Death’s defence is that of love for humankind, and his plea is one of insanity.  His accuser is none other than Grimalkin; second in command to Lucifer himself.  After hearing Death’s plea, an appropriate sentence must be passed for this most heinous of crimes.  And Grimalkin has a fate that is truly befitting of the crime...

Drawing immediate similarities in the concept to that of Clive Barker’s ‘The History Of The Devil’ (1980), this slightly surreal short plays with the mysterious irony of Death’s love for humankind and indeed the resulting tragedy attached with his misguided compassion.  The storyline progresses well, maintaining an air of mystery around Death’s crime and his reasons behind it.   The mixture of satirical humour and religious irony is well balanced.  The conclusion is indeed befitting of the story, yet perhaps a little too dulled down for a truly satisfying conclusion.  Altogether the short is an entertaining and intriguing little read.

The Line - Brian Mills – 4 Pages
James Luther Hooker is a big fan of the World Achilles Championship – a tournament in which convicted criminals fight to the death against each other, in an arena of screaming fans.  The current World Achilles Champion, Mike Pupunha, is about to begin his next set of fights, and Hooker plans to be there amongst the crowd watching the bloodthirsty action live.  Hooker manages to jump the queue.  However just before he can get in, the gates are closed and an announcement is made informing the waiting throngs that no more tickets are available.  The crowd react in a torrent of violence upon one another, with Hooker in the thick of the chaotic action.  But before the day is over, he will still get to see his hero fight live...

This ultra-violet bloodbath of a tale takes on a popular futuristic concept of pitching criminals against one another, for the sheer entertainment of the fights.  Not a new idea in itself, but one that offers up a whole host of possibilities within a short story.  However, instead of playing around with the concept in a fresh and original way, Mills has instead chosen to build the tale towards an extremely obvious and painfully clichéd ironic-twist-of-fate for our principle character.  As such, the tale is dramatically flawed by the finale being so easily anticipated by the reader.  Furthermore, the build-up to the ‘twist’ becomes increasingly frustrating in the fact that we all know what’s coming.  Although the short is well written and packed to the rafters with sleazy violence, the weakness of the storyline ultimately makes the short somewhat of an unfortunate disappointment.

Beating The Meat - Tony Reed – 3 Pages
Richard Richard is no normal child.  With his father working in a slaughterhouse, Richard spends wistful hours daydreaming about the gory slaughter that takes place behind its cold stone walls.  Furthermore, Richard’s upbringing was splattered with random acts of violence and animal cruelty.  But his romance with slaughter was never going to go on uninhibited.  And so, after overhearing concerns from his mother regarding his violent tendencies, Richard arranges an accident for her which leaves her with a severely broken leg.  As time goes by, Richard receives a four inch jack-knife from his father for his birthday, and so the sacrificial animal cruelty escalates.  Only when his father arranges Richard’s first visit to the slaughterhouse, will his unhealthy desires overwhelm him.  Richard’s future is set to be a monstrous one of torture and death in order to truly satisfy his now out-of-control morbid perversions...

From the very outset, the short bombards the reader with a litany of gruesome and sickening glimpses of slaughter mixed with an unhealthy sexual persuasion towards the act of killing.  The tale is a hideously corrupt coming-of-age story, detailing the monstrous perversions that are slowly nurtured throughout this young boy’s childhood.  With his father repeatedly turning a blind eye to each one of his son’s violent acts, palming them off as mere accidents or a childhood phase, a chilling glimpse of a very scary reality gradually starts to claw away at the reader’s nerves.  With the young character of Richard narrating the story in his calmly detached manner, each shockingly perverse moment is duly amplified by his stark and utterly uncaring nature.  As the short hurtles towards the ending, the short insight into this monstrously dysfunctional individual concludes in the only way it really can – in a glorious display of sexually depraved corruption taken to extreme proportions.  This shockingly brave tale reaches out from its pages and pounds at your conscience for choosing to read such a story.  It’s ‘The Wasp Factory’ (1984) meets ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ (1974).  This is a no-holds-barred onslaught of an utterly depraved mind.  Absolutely spectacular!

Felis Catus Incubus - Paul C Ottaway – 3 Pages
Late one night, whilst George Read’s wife, Edith, is settling down to watch ‘Gardeners World’ on the television, their West Highland white terrier, Bobbie, is heard growling at something in their back garden.  Whilst investigating the commotion, George is confronted by the giant Abyssinian cat known as Goliath from the local farm.  Only now the cat appears to have grown to gigantic proportions.  Together with Bobbie, George escapes back into the house, locking all of the windows and doors, fearful of the cat’s size and its threatening manner.  Only now Edith reminds her husband that the spare room window was left open in order to air the room...

Gloriously cheesy in its premise, this short and sweet tale delivers a purely tongue-in-cheek storyline crammed full of comical dialogue from the aged couple.  This delightfully light-hearted response to a 70’s pulp scenario puts its thumbs up to the ‘Night Of The Living Dead’ (1968) style of home-under-siege scenario, whilst mixing in our two instantly loveable characters’ reaction to such a turn of events.  Glimpses of their heroic terrier draws a lingering resemblance to the story of the loyal Greyfriars Bobby, which only further adds to the heart-warming undertones of the short.  Indeed, perhaps the inclusion and naming of the terrier was a subtle nod to that very dog.  The short ends surprisingly well, with an ending which guarantees a double-take from the reader.  This final joke is one last chuckle at the reader’s assumptions of a predictable finale.  Although the short is simple and relatively straight to the point, the characterisation and comical responses to the situation well and truly make up for any flaw in the storyline.  An enjoyable read from start to finish.

The Sensitive - Anthony Bennett – 3 Pages
Philip, being a typical young adolescent boy, has taken to exploring an old and run-down derelict house.  He has visited this deserted premise on numerous occasions, and each time without his knowledge, he has been watched intently.  However, this time he has brought a friend with him.  Philip plans to test his friend’s loyalty and nerve.  Only after he has proven himself can he join Philip’s gang.  And concealed under the kitchen floorboards lies something that will do just the job for this cruel initiation.  But watchful eyes are studying their every movement...

The short begins with a purposeful air of mystery regarding the voyeuristic presence lurking in the shadows of the derelict house.  From the start the reader anticipates an ‘Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’ (1890) - or more recently ‘The Survivor’ (1976) or ‘The Sixth Sense’ (1999) - style of twist; with our narrator’s intolerance to sunlight, as well as the scenario in which the tale is written from, clearly indicating that the narrator is in fact a ghost.  So, it comes as quite a surprise, when after only a couple of paragraphs, this very detail is announced to the already suspecting reader.  The continuation of the story plays around with the eerie uncovering of Philip’s secret find under the kitchen floorboards and the second most obvious element to the storyline - that Philip’s friend is indeed a sensitive (as the title of the short has already suggested).  No great revelations are thrust upon the reader.  No carefully devised twists or side-steps in the storyline.  The tale simply wraps itself up with an indifferent sigh, leaving the reader with a whisper of something more fulfilling lurking behind the tale, which was never fully utilised.  Although the short is well written and successfully engages the reader with the general mystery behind it all; its lack of any developing storyline leaves the reader feeling somewhat empty after the final sentence has come to an end.

What Happened To Eddie - A.E.B. Arkle – 5 Pages
Eddie is a young student with a deep obsession with the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Arthur Machen, Clark Ashton Smith and the like.  Eddie is also good friends with the story’s unnamed narrator.  However, when Eddie stumbles across an ancient leather-bound book containing handwritten pages full of bizarre inscriptions, the lives of these two good friends soon takes on some dramatic changes.  Using the computer of our narrator in order to hopefully decipher the book’s code and unlock the secrets of the ancient text, the two lads are about to unwittingly unearth a deadly secret that has laid hidden beneath the Nameless City in the Arabian desert known as the Rub al’Khali Alhazred’s Roba El Khaliye, from Lovecraft’s 1927 ‘History of the Necronomicon’.  However, once Eddie reads the now deciphered text, a horrific transformation begins to take over his body.  In his search for answers, and hopefully as a way to reverse the tragedy that awaits his dear friend Eddie, our narrator decides to confront the text that has brought a curse upon both of their lives...

Written by quite obviously a hardcore fan of the whole Cthulhu mythos, the short pays an in-depth and repeated homage to the various Lovecraftian / Clark Ashton Smith-esque texts that speak of this complex and elaborate fiction of Gods and mythical beasts, whose lives span from a time way before mankind.  However, Arkle’s short uses on a surprisingly light-hearted approach to creating a more contemporary dilemma for the mythos.  Although the final outcome has a particularly predictable conclusion, the story itself still maintains a certain air of intrigue surrounding the mysterious text and its origins.  The finale comes along without much of a final punch, but instead gives one last nod towards the author’s heroes before wrapping up this ever-so-slightly tiresome but still well written homage.

A Storm In The Wind [Part One] - Phillip Alton Garner – 5 Pages
Part one of a two part story...

It’s the 17th February 1987 in the Heatherford Research Ministry of Defence Plant, near Oxford, where one of the janitors working his nightshift encounters a terrifying secret from behind a half-closed door.  Before he can even begin to appreciate the terrifying creation that stands before him, his life is extinguished, leaving behind the harrowing expression locked on the features of the janitor’s corpse.  His once dark hair has turned to white.   Under the authority of a Mr Baxter, the death is quickly covered up.  However, when a second employee of the Defence Plant is found dead directly outside the premises locked in a similar state of utter horror, her hair turned white as snow, the employee John Richards becomes suspicious of the experiments that are taking place in the Defence Plant and how these deaths are involved.  And lurking outside in the shadows the beast has just delivered its four offspring into their whole new world.  They’re hungry and must eat soon.  For their growth is in knowing...

The tale quickly establishes the general premise behind the storyline, taking the first victim of the genetically created beast within the very first few paragraphs.  The cover-up and resulting authoritarian oppression of which will take on a strong role within the rest of the tale, is immediately presented to the reader.  The story quickly shifts its point of perspective to that of the escaped beast whose plight outside the building is given an altogether eerie and well delivered prose.  The story soon picks up the pace further with hints towards the psychically-draining powers that the beast and its offspring appear to possess.  Indeed, the short holds a very similar underlying emotive within its subject matter to that of Stephen Gallagher’s novel ‘Chimera’ (1982).  The first part ends on an action-packed cliff-hanger, leaving the short dangling for the final concluding part in ‘FEAR Magazine: Issue 9 (1989).

Pro-Files:
Joe Dante - Dante’s Divine Comedies
– 3 Pages
“He’s worked with Stephen King, directed dark and witty box office smashes such as Gremlins, Inner Space and The Howling.  He’s had his fair share of fights with the studio bosses and holier-than-thou critics.  Joe Dante is, however, determined to direct Gremlins 2 his way and, as he reveals to Tim Lucas, it’ll be one of the wackiest films you’ve ever seen.”

Tom Savini - Hear No Evil, See No Evil – 3 Pages
“Special effects master Tom Savini created Jason Voorhees.  Since that fateful day, when the hockey mask became one of the most controversial faces f fear, he has worked his visual magic in Eyes of a Stranger, Martin, Day of the Dead, Creepshows I and II and, just recently, George Romero’s rendition of Monkey Shines.  Now he tells FEAR’s Stanley Wiater that he wants to direct a remake of Night of the Ling Dead...”

Christopher Pike - Young Blood – 2 Pages
“The young adult fiction market is blasting back into fashion – but now tales of death, mustery and horror are in, while Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys are out.  Best-selling American novelist Christopher Pike is spearheading the campaign to get kids reading again and, as he tells John Gilbert, it’s all a question of seeing them as adults.”

James Herbert - At Home With...James Herbert – 1 Page
“In the first of a gate-crashing series, Dave Hughes pries into the personal life of Britain’s best-selling horror writer.”

Steve Niles (Arcane) - Metamorphosis – 3 Pages
“Superheroes are out, dark humour and fantasy are in, as the demand for adult-orientated horror comics explodes.  FEAR’s Philp Nutman talks to Steve Niles whose American publishing company, Arcane, has put the meat back into the market.”

Movie Mainline:
The Laughing Dead - Among The Laughing Dead
– 2 Pages
“Aztec zombies, Mayan priests and bathtubs of congealed blood.  Author Gregory Frost joined a bunch of famous genre writers in a bid to indulge their fantasies and become film stars.  This is his story.”

Location Shots:
Maine - The Maine Man
– 3 Pages
“Stephen King, the world’s most successful horror writer, has made his home town of Maine, New England, USA the centre of many of his novels.  Hundreds of fans have made the pilgrimage to see his home and the sights that inspired books such as It, Cujo, Salem’s Lot and the novella The Body.  But there are many readers who may never be able to go.  For you, we present the first in a pictoral two-parter from the heart of Kingdom by our expert, Paddy McKillop.”

Book Reviews:
The Great And Secret Show - Clive Barker
Batman - Craig Shaw Gardner
Poe Must Die - Marc Olden
Antares Dawn - Michael McCollum
Dreamthorp - Chet Williamson
Grace - Michael Stewart
Beastmaker - James V Smith Jr
The Killing Glance - D G Finlay
Triumph of the Dark Sword - Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
Angel Fire - Andrew M Greenley
Red Prophet - Orson Scott Card
The Middle Kingdom - David Wingrove
Dolan’s Cadillac - Stephen King

Film Reviews:
The ‘Burbs - Directed by Joe Dante
Batman - Directed by Tim Burton
Moontrap - Directed by Robert Dyke
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier - Directed by William Shatner
Headhunter - Directed by Francis Schaeffer
The Cellar - Directed by Kevin S Tenney
Lady In White - Directed by Frank La Loggia
Dark Room - Directed by Terence O’Hara
War Of The Worlds III: The Television Series - Directed by George Bloomfield


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