“Evacuate? In our moment of triumph?”
In 1977 Peter Cushing personified evil for me with his performance as the cold, calculating Grand Moff Tarkin in the first Star Wars movie. Futura Publications Unlimited released this book a year after that film’s release, no doubt capitalizing on Cushing’s increased fame as a villain in the blockbuster. What I didn’t know at the time (as a lad of three years) was that Cushing had achieved considerable fame as the star of several Hammer films. Those were way ahead of me in 1978, but I’m sure I would have noticed this book immediately.
I mean, it’s Tarkin’s favorite horror stories. Who wouldn’t want to check that out?
The book contains:
How I Became a Monster Hunter; by Peter Cushing
The Masked Ball; by Alexandre Dumas
The Mortal Immortal; by Mary Shelley
Dracula’s Guest; by Bram Stoker
In the Footsteps of the Abominable Snowman; by Josef Nesvadba
The Ring of Thoth; by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Gorgon; by Gertrude Bacon
The Man Who Collected Poe; by Robert Bloch
The Ghoul of Golders Green; by Michael Arlen
There Shall Be No Darkness; by James Blish
That’s a remarkably literate list from an actor, until you realize that Cushing didn’t actually choose the stories. That duty seems to have fallen to legendary British anthologist Peter Haining, whose fingerprints are all over my library in the form of dozens of anthologies on diverse subjects. Haining died about a year ago, but not before releasing scores of anthologies featuring rare stories and overlooked gems. Regretfully, I have not yet had a chance to read the stories in this volume. I’m particularly interested in the Stoker, Conan Doyle, and Nesvadba offerings, as I’d never heard of any of them before picking this up last winter.
I don’t have a ton of “photo” covers in my collection, but this one is one of my favorites.