John Landis Presents Haunted Houses: Classic Stories of Doors That Should Never Be Opened (2020)

It seems fall is here, and as the leaves start to turn, one can’t help but turn one’s thoughts to Halloween and ghost stories. It seems while I was working through John Landis’ Monsters in the Movies, he turned around and released a collection of classic haunted house stories now available from DK Canada.

Landis delivers a preface that hints at what the reader is going to find themselves in for, what eeriness and horror lurks within the corridors and pages to come. The hardcover edition is a sturdy and welcoming volume that carries within it fifteen tales that promise to unlock the dark doors within the reader’s mind and let loose terrors of the supernatural variety.

There are a variety of authors on display here, each of them able to craft a spooky tale, and I am going to eagerly devour them all, I think perhaps a story a day once we get closer to Halloween…

The authors on display include Oscar Wilde, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James, Bram Stoker and H.G. Wells. There are stories I know, and stories I have wanted to visit. I’m eager to dig into the Henry James selection, The Turn of the Screw, knowing that it is serving as the basis of the next season of the brilliant Haunting of Hill House.

I’ll be interested as well to see how Lovecraft’s story plays out, considering some of the author’s beliefs, and opinions. I know, I know, separate the art from the artist, but some of his beliefs passed into his writing.

Nonetheless, I expect there will be a number of tales that I will enjoy as I explore them, reading, curled up next to the bedside lamp as the dark shadows draw round closer and closer, lurking as page after page draws me deeper into terrifying residences and the entities that call them home.

Each story is delivered with its own title page, and a notation of when and where it was first published. Little touches like these delight the bibliophile in me.

Printed on thick paper, the book has a welcome heft to it as it sits in the hand, and its handsome cover art looks impressive on any book shelf. You know, after I’m done with it and turned all the lights on to make sure I’m safe.

I like that Landis prefaces the book with his own and only ‘spectral’ encounter. Man, I want to tell him some stories. I think perhaps it’s time Landis and I get together talk horror, ghosts, and other things that scare us.

DK Books’ John Landis Presents Haunted Houses, is available now were your favourite books are sold.

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