More quiet, slow-building, and low-impact "horror" fiction from the days before Stephen King and James Herbert made their presences known. The Nature of the Beast, a paperback original from Bantam by an utterly obscure author named Peter Menegas, about whom I could find nothing (really, Google him) is a fine example of vintage horror cover art by Fred Pfeiffer. What with its nudity and animal imagery, this just screams post-hippy alternative spirituality or some such nonsense. You know, like The Wicker Man or Harvest Home, or the crap changes made to Lovecraft's story "The Dunwich Horror" for its movie adaptation. There are hints of Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby as well as Peter Straub's first horror novel, Julia: women and children with distant, even cruel husbands and fathers who are endangered by supernatural powers that reveal themselves slowly, oh so slowly - I had to give up halfway on this one, honestly I just bought it for its pretty cool cover. It's blandly written, though not actively terrible, and I don't dislike the back cover description:
They are initiating her little boys into the primitive language and rituals of Celtic witchcraft. They have given her sons the gift of prophecy in exchange for perverse and inhuman acts of barbarism. Their power is more ancient than Christianity, more savage than Satanism...
But something tells me I should doubt all that will turn out to be the "ultimate horror." Strange to think pagans really were considered scarier than even Satanism (gasp! horror!) once upon a '70s time.
Doc Savage: Land of Terror
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