fulfilling my 2020 goal to read (at least) one book each month that was given to me as a present that i haven’t yet gotten around to reading because i am an ungrateful dick.
THINGS ARE STILL AWFULLY SPOOKTOBERY!
i was so inspired by Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction that i decided to track down some of the animal-based vintage horror books hendrix hailed.
and they were the very best kind of awful. but The Folly is not about killer cats, oh, no.
The Folly is about killer rabbits.
it’s a real problem.
obviously, this cover is why i was initially drawn to the book:
however, no one who owns that version is gonna part with it—that’s an heirloom if ever i saw one, and so i was gifted this edition:
i was very grateful to have gotten it at all, but i do wish this cover artist hadn’t been so lazy. not even a suggestion of a giant carnivorous bunny? not one bloody pawprint? no one’s collecting these books for the articles, man.
as for the content, it’s pretty much in keeping with the other killer animal books i have read from this era, although i will say it’s less porny than some of them, particularly guy n. smith’s crab masterpieces.
here, And then they climbed that mountain is what passes for a sex scene.
it clocks in at 156 pages, which makes for some pretty streamlined horror, and yet like all of these books, everything happening between the animal attacks is kind of boring. nor is it especially rich in science or logic or character development.
here is an excerpt of how people behave when they find themselves in a killer animal book from the 1970s.
but first, some helpful background:
guy corling is a journalist; the chief crime reporter for the planet (that’s The Planet, kids, he’s not the chief crime reporter for all of earth) whose parents have just been eaten by bunnies.
whose PARENTS have just been EATEN by BUNNIES.
naturally, he wants to cover the story, but doesn’t tell his boss that his parents were two of the victims because conflict of interest. early the next morning, a fellow reporter phones him with the disappointing news that scotland yard is suppressing the story, so no big scoop for guy, and guy hangs up, pissed. aaand the curtain rises (all asterisks mine):
He hung up. The telephone rang again almost immediately.
‘Yes?’ Guy snapped, wondering if he was going to be able to get out of bed that day.
‘Fraser here. What’s wrong with you this morning?’*
‘Nothing. I’m sorry, Jack. I didn’t mean to chew your ear off.** I’ve just heard from Jock,’ he told his Editor. ‘He told me that the killings last night are taboo.’
‘That’s it. Got the message this morning from the top brass at Scotland Yard. There’s nothing we can do about it. Well, nothing we can do about printing it, at least,’ he added.
‘What do you mean?’
‘I mean that once you crawl out of your pit *** you start investigating. If we wait for the police every newshound in Fleet Street’ll have the story. Find out what’s going on down there.’
‘What do you reckon, Jack? Why the sudden interest?’
‘Because the police don’t slap blankets over murders unless there’s something they don’t want us to know,’ Fraser claimed. ‘And this thing about your parents being eaten – it’s okay, Jock told me.**** There hasn’t been any more comment about that from the bobbies.’
‘You see a connection?’
‘I don’t see anything – yet. That’s why I want you to start sniffing about. Do some grass root investigation, Guy. If you can remember how, that is. It’ll make a change from propping up El Vino’s,’ Fraser joked, referring to the famous bar in Fleet Street.*****
‘I’ll get on to it right away, chief,’ Guy said, now standing naked by the bed, feeling very much awake.*******
‘I’ll see you tomorrow at the funeral,’ Fraser said before hanging up.******
* i mean, other than your parents being eaten last night. by bunnies.
** too soon, guy
*** seriously, you need more than 24 hours to get over both of your parents being devoured? stiff upper lip &etc
**** pretty callous delivery, that
***** nothing helps ease grief like some insult comedy
******* abrupt dismissal, no condolences necessary
in a book about rabbits who hunt and eat people, it’s bizarre that it’s the human behavior that comes off most unrealistically.
anyway, all you need to know about this one is that it starts with killer rabbits, and then it really gets weird. that climax was…unexpected. not the one they climbed that mountain to achieve. the LITERARY climax.
IN OTHER NEWS, i’m still on the hunt for one more killer cat book, The Cats, but if it ain’t this cover, i’m not opening the door.