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By Robert Bloch

Such Stuff As Screams Are Made Of

SUCH STUFF AS SCREAMS (Del Rey Books (Paperback))

Comments:

What follows are my ratings and comments for each of the short stories in this book. Robert Bloch, the author of Psycho, was also a master short story writer. These stories are only a sampling of his excellent body of work, and I highly recommend this book.

“The Tunnel of Love”
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 6/10
Quote: “But if that was Dolores out there in the water, then what…”

Comments: This is a pretty decent little short story about the fear one has about certain rides turning from silly superstition into deadly reality.


“The Unspeakable Betrothal”
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 8/10
Quote: “But Avis Long’s body was…gone.”

Comments: This one has a Lovecraftian feel to it. I liked the story and wondered what exactly would happen in the end. It doesn’t disappoint.


“The Girl From Mars”
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 8/10
Quote: “The Wild Man from Borneo—he eats’em alive—he eats’em alive--”

Comments: Lesson to the masses: when a Martian chick says she’s HUNGRY, she means it!


“The Head Hunter”
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 10/10
Quote: “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.”

Comments: If you’re sewing on a head, make sure it’s the right one!


“The Weird Tailor”
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “Erik, there is a customer outside.”

Comments: Sometimes the occult, while meant for evil, can be used for a good purpose.


“Lucy Comes To Stay”
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “Vi-cut it out?”

Comments: I like stories where you aren’t sure who is sane, who is crazy, and whether or not something supernatural is going on. This one works well in that regard.


"The Pin"
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 9/10
Quote: "The little fat man whose name was Death."

Comments: Who or what is Death? Can humans see Death at work? Bloch weighs in on that subject with an excellent story with a nice little twist.


"I Do Not Love Thee, Dr. Fell"
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 8/10
Quote: "Who are you?"

Comments: The human mind is capable of extraordinary things. Unfortunately for Mr. Bromely, his own mind wipes him out of existence, but not like you'd expect...


"Luck Is No Lady"
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 10/10
Quote: "Fortune is a goddess and goddesses demand attention."

Comments: Maybe Lady Luck really can come to you in human form. If she does, make sure you don't piss her off!


"The Cure"
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 9/10
Quote: "I find the head shrinker there."

Comments: Note to self: when talking to your South American Indian manservant about a "head shrinker", make sure you use the word psychiatrist!


“The Screaming People”
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 8/10
Quote: “I need the darkness around me, so I must accept the voice.”

Comments: This was the longest story so far, and it was a good one. A psychiatrist and neurosurgeon of sorts has grand plans for his “screaming people”.


“The Big Kick”
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 6/10
Quote: “Actually, you know, I’m a sadist.”

Comments: This was a decent story, but I never really got into it. I kept thinking of Shaggy from Scooby Doo with all of the beatnik talk going on!


“The Masterpiece”
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 10/10
Quote: “But it is the truth—I have created a masterpiece!”

Comments: This one is aptly named. Although the story was short, Bloch hit a home run.


“Talent”
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “Just what I’ve been looking for all these years. And to think I didn’t know.”

Comments: I liked this one pretty much until the very end. Then it got a little cheesy. But the premise was very original and well-executed for the most part.


“The Final Performance”
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 8/10
Quote: “Rudolph the Great. Tha’s me. Keep in practice. Jus’ as good as I ever was. Better. Why, I could go on Sullivan’s show next week…”

Comments: I guessed the ending before it came, but I liked this one regardless. If only he had looked at the Press Books EARLIER…


“Life In Our Time”
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “For quite awhile. Long enough to figure things out and make my plans.”

Comments: Don’t get married for money. It never turns out the way you expect.


“Underground”
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “They will believe. For at night, I shall walk. I, Count Barsac.”

Comments: This one reminded me of Shadow of the Vampire in some ways. Don’t tempt “ignorant peasants” with an opportunity. They’ll seize it!


“A Case of the Stubborns”
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 9/10
Quote: “All I’m asking for is proof. Like the feller says, I’m from Missouri. You got to show me.”

Comments: Grandpa’s causing trouble because he’s set in his ways. Sometimes a man just needs convincing…


“The Head”
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “That’s shit man.”

Comments: This one is set in a post-apocalyptic Earth where the only hope for humanity and the old ways is a young kid whose only goal is to kill off his father and become leader.


“What You See Is What You Get”
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 10/10
Quote: “But the camera doesn’t lie.”

Comments: This one had a great setup and execution. It seemed like an especially well-done Tales From The Crypt, twist and all.


“Nina”
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 9/10
Quote: “I notice her condition when she walked to the boat.”

Comments: Make sure you know who (or WHAT) you’re dealing with before having an affair.


This book of short stories represents over thirty years of his writing, and he mentions himself in an “Author’s Afterword” that several of the stories were building blocks for Psycho. While each and every story in the book can be labeled as “horror” (or “psychological suspense”, as Bloch himself preferred), his writing runs the gamut from dark comedy to sci-fi monsters. As you can see from my ratings above, I really didn’t dislike even one of the stories in this book. That is to be expected since this is for all intents and purposes a “best-of” anthology. I would highly recommend this book, or for the completists out there (and I’m one myself), I would recommend The Complete Stories of Robert Bloch, which is available in three volumes.

287 pp.

email me at: brettsbooks@brettschulte.net

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