Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Horror Fiction Help XXIII

Can anyone help identify these? The first query sounds maddeningly familiar, but damn if I can't quite place it!

1. Late '70s/early '80s: The cover came straight out of Animal Hell, with an illustration of an oversized rat standing on its hind legs, holding the decapitated head of a cat in one hand and gouging its eye out with a bone in the other. Some other vague recollection of the cover includes a pile of bones. I think there also was a little more text on the cover than most books, which leads me to believe it was an anthology of some sort; however I am not positive about this. I remember absolutely nothing about the author(s), title, or back cover. Found! It’s Dr. Rat, 1977 Bantam edition. 

2. Unusual horror anthology that came out in the early '60s. It was paperbound, rather thin, and oversize, roughly 2X the dimensions of a paperback. The cover was dark blacks and purples with creepy drawings overlaid (I believe, going from a half century old memory!), and each of the short, 1- to 3-page stories had an illustration with it. Each story had an EC-like twist ending.

3. '90s or early '00s. It was a book of ghost stories, possibly British or Irish. I think there was a story about a banshee, and another about a ghost carrying a coffin and then appearing in an elevator as a warning, but the story I really remember is one where this girl, every birthday, tells her family a man (possibly named Billy, or William) will come for her. Year after year, he doesn't show - until her 18th(?) birthday, when the candles blow out and he appears on a horse and takes her away.


Brisinghamen said...

Is no 2, this one?


Unknown said...

Thanks so much Too Much Horror Fiction and Brisinghamen for posting and responding, that's very kind of you. Unfortunately this isn't the one, I suspect this is more "high end" than the book I remember which was probably aimed at a slightly more juvenile market.

Your kungfu is weak! said...

Number 1 is very likely William Kotzwinkle’s Dr Rat from 1976. I haven’t read it, but I remember that cover from when I was a kid. There’s a discussion + pic of the cover here:


- rlt

Ringo Piece said...

The first one is Doctor Rat by William Kotzwinkle. I’ve had it for years but never got round to reading it. Kotzwinkle also wrote the novelisation of ET.

JamesR said...

Is the first one, Doctor Rat by William Kotzwinkle?


Will Errickson said...

Thanks everyone! I’ve responded to the seeker with DR. RAT. Now I need a copy!

Todd Mason said...

Kotzwinkle is consistently worth reading. DOCTOR RAT is sobering, there's a bit more joy in his shorter fiction (such as THE HOT JAZZ TRIO), and THE EXILE is just brilliant.

PT-12599 said...

Will, as the individual who had sent you question #1, I have to thank you and your commenters for tracking it down. This most durable of my childhood demons is well and truly slain!

PT-12599 said...

By the way, for those who are interested I found another discussion of Dr. Rat while looking for more by the artist, Ken Laidlaw: