Posts Tagged ‘William Meikle’

The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror by William Meikle

December 26, 2017 - 10:23 pm No Comments

The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror by William Meikle
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 9th December 2017
189 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

If you were asked living or dead, which authors you would pick to have at a dinner party, I can guarantee at least one of the great Victorian writers would be on your list. Masters of storytelling, their written stories are still read today.
An old Victorian manuscript is found in a derelict building. Penned by Arthur Conan Doyle, it captures 14 stories regaled to him, Henry James and Bram Stoker when other authors are invited to dine with them.
Before I review this book, there is a disclaimer, I have not read some of these author’s original works. However, after I read this book, I did google these authors to see what works they wrote.
So, with all these stories, there is a lot of choice and for this review I will write about my favourites.
The Immortal Memory: Leo Tolstoy: When Empress Yekaterina Alexeyevna requested a Scottish poet, who could narrate Burn’s in Russian, Captain Marsh knew he had his work cut out. The story is very descriptive of living in Russia, and how certain people suffered to survive. A tragic ending which has an impact on others.
To the Manor Born: Margaret Oliphant: Young Agnus Leckie, was the new maid at the Manor. Trading jobs, she soon gets introduced to the lady of the house. Throughout this story you can feel the love that the master had for his family. A harrowing ghost story that is beautifully written and with a poetic ending.
The Angry Ghost: Oscar Wilde: Tom had always been told by his Aunt Agatha that there were no such things as ghost. Aunt Agatha was a bitter woman who always thought she was right and reminded me of Oscar Wilde’s character Lady Bracknell in the Importance of Being Ernest. This was a comical read with a fitting ending.
The Curious Affair on the Embankment: Arthur Conan Doyle: Inspector Lestrade has been brought into a case of a missing lady. The only stipulation from the powers at be, is that he cannot involve Sherlock Holmes. Lestrade is drawn into the paranormal and must keep his cool when evil prevails. When I have read Sherlock Holmes stories, I have always felt that Lestrade was a bit of an idiot, so this was a refreshing change. Lestrade was very methodical as if he used Holmes powers of deduction. A paranormal mystery which will keep you gripped.
If you have read Songs of the Dreaming Gods, you will find 3 further stories of interest. The High Bungalow: Rudyard Kipling, In the House of the Dead: Bram Stoker and The Scrimshaw Set: Henry James. All three have elements of this book in them and I enjoyed the merging of the author’s work.
The introduction to each story gives it a personal touch and sets the scene for what’s to come. This is book showcases the author’s talents of writing in numerous styles. A great read that spirits you away to Victorian times.

The Ghost Club by William Meikle blog tour

December 13, 2017 - 6:23 pm No Comments


So who is William Meikle, he’s a Scottish writer, now living in Canada, with over twenty novels published in the genre press and over 300 short story credits in thirteen countries. He has had books published with a variety of publishers including Dark Regions Press, DarkFuse and Dark Renaissance, and his work has appeared in a number of professional anthologies and magazines with recent sales to NATURE Futures, Penumbra and Buzzy Mag among others.

 

 

As part of The Ghost Club tour, I got to ask him his views on Scotland in horror films, this is what he had to say.

 The landscapes and towns of Scotland have been sadly underused over the years in horror film, considering the epic possibilities of old cities like Edinburgh or Glasgow used to such effect in REBUS and TAGGART. That’s even before we get to the many isolated coastal communities or the stunning scenery of the Highlands that was put to such great use in out of the genre movies like HIGHLANDER or CENTURION to choose two particularly fine examples.

That said, there have been several Scottish based horror movies that have made their way onto my all time favorite list, and I’d like to bring attention to three in particular that span my movie watching life.

My first viewing of the early Hammer horror X – THE UNKNOWN was sometime around 1970, late night on BBC 2, and it was made vivid in my memory because one of the actors, Scottish character actor Jameson Clark, lived in my home town and we’d often see him in the street.

The movie itself is full of all the stuff I’ve come to love over the years: Hammer horror, big blobby things, a Scottish setting, and scientists dabbling in things best left alone.

It was originally intended to be a sequel to THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT, and you can see some of the joins in the script as a result, but it still holds up well to repeat viewings, and there’s an array of faces that would become much better known in later genre movies and TV, like Leo McKern, Kenneth Cope, Michael Rimmer, Frazer Hines and even a quick appearance from Anthony Newley.

It moves along at a great clip, there’s some decidedly iffy FX, the obligatory child in peril, a pervy doctor hitting on nurses and some lovely melting flesh. Everything a growing lad like me loved at the age of twelve, and still does to this day.

The setting is Scottish seen through an English studio lens, there’s a joke Scottish soldier who gets killed off early after some ludicrous banter, the geography is all over the place, as one minute they’re near Glasgow, then they’re near Inverness, and there are plenty of stock Scots locals harrumphing behind the non-Scottish leads. But none of that matters.

It’s got a big radioactive blob wreaking havoc in Scotland.

That’s enough for me.

There are no big blobby beasties in THE WICKER MAN, but there are monsters, of the very human variety.

My first viewing of this classic was during the cut version’s run as the poor relation of DON’T LOOK NOW in a double bill in the cinema in Glasgow, back some time in ’74 with my then girlfriend. She wasn’t impressed by either, and didn’t last long after that, but both films have stayed with me as favorites down the long years since.

Of the two, DON’T LOOK NOW remains my favorite from an aesthetic and intellectual viewpoint, but the WICKER MAN speaks to my heart in a way few other movies have managed.

The history of the various versions of the film that now exist makes interesting reading on Wikipedia, but even on that first viewing, with bits missing and things moved around from the director’s original vision, the power of the story was evident.

In this one at least the scenery is fully Scottish, even if the south west area of Dumfries and Galloway stands in for a Northern island. Christopher Lee does a grand job of holding the whole thing together, Edward Woodward looks suitably lost, and there’s the best use of a stunt bottom in a movie. Yet again, there are few Scots actors involved, although given the film’s low budget, many of the extras were locals roped in for the duration, which serves to give it at least a bit of authentic colour.

The main thing that struck me, and still does or repeat viewings, is the use of the music. The old songs sung in new ways make the pagan aspects both familiar and new at the same time. I’ve tried using the old songs to this kind of effect in several of my own stories in the new collection THE GHOST CLUB, and I have even been known to sing them on occasion, but I’m no Britt Ekland, who gives Willow’s Song a certain something that did serious things to the teenage me. The songs in the movie serve to disorient the viewer in disconcerting ways, keeping you off guard in much the same way that Sergeant Howie is never quite sure what’s going on until the end that is all the more horrific once we see its inevitability.

All in all, it’s a lovely film, and speaks to the romantic Celt in me in a way few other movies have managed. It was my favorite Scottish-based horror movie for a long, long time.

But it has since been usurped, by a brash, gory, interloper. DOG SOLDIERS which, even although it was almost totally shot in Luxembourg with some stock scenery shots edited in later, still feels like a Scottish movie by dint of Kevin McKidd’s square-jawed lead role.

The in-jokes, the squaddies’ camaraderie, and the big fucking howling things all combine to make this exactly the kind of glorious monster romp that I have always loved. I’ve seen complaints about the monster design, complaints about the accents, and complaints about the script online, but for me, it all worked perfectly, and the first viewing of it left with a huge grin on my face that took a long time to fade.

The setting, starting in wooded glens and moving to the climax in a lonely farmhouse is one I’d love to see more of, and the siege with its deliberately echoed nods to Rorke’s Drift and another favorite movie is tightly managed by a director who just gets what makes a movie like this work.

All of the cast put in great performances, Sean Pertwee gets some great one-liners and a big scenery chewing ending, and McKidd’s physically carries him through the monster attacks with aplomb.

After this, the director’s next movie, DOOMSDAY was also set on Scotland, more sci-fi than horror, and it didn’t speak to me as much as DOG SOLDIERS, which remains, for me, the highlight of Scottish based horror movies.

There are more, like THE DEAD OUTSIDE, which I found a tad dull, and UNDER THE SKIN, which I’ve yet to see, but the three I’ve mentioned are top of my pile.

I’d love something else to come along, knock my wee Scottish socks off, and replace one, or even all, of them though.

 

 

William Meikle’s newest book, out 9th December from Crystal Lake Publishing is THE GHOST CLUB.

It’s a simple premise.

In Victorian London, a select group of writers, led by Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker and Henry James held an informal dining club, the price of entry to which was the telling of a story by each invited guest.

These are their stories, containing tales of revenant loved ones, lost cities, weird science, spectral appearances and mysteries in the fog of the old city, all told by some of the foremost writers of the day. In here you’ll find Verne and Wells, Tolstoy and Checkov, Stevenson and Oliphant, Kipling, Twain, Haggard, Wilde and Blavatsky alongside their hosts.

Come, join him for dinner and a story.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077SWFLZM

 

Twice upon an Apocalypse: Lovecraftian Fairy Tales

May 30, 2017 - 5:24 pm No Comments

Twice upon an Apocalypse: Lovecraftian Fairy Tales edited by Rachel Kenley and Scott T Goudsward: Authors: Armand Rosamilia, William Meikle, Bracken MacLeodPeter N. DudarMorgan SylviaDon D’AmmassaMichael KampWinifred BurnistonZach ShephardGary A. Braunbeck (Introduction)

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 30th May 2017

284 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Like most people I grew up with fairy tales, and have always loved it when authors put their own twist to them. Each story is a different tale but have one thing in common, they all had a Lovecraftian theme.

With 21 stories to capture your imagination, you be hard pressed to find a story that you don’t like. For this review, I am going to pick my favourites.

Little Maiden of the Sea by David Bernard: Using the story of The Little Mermaid, the author tells the story of a female Deep one, who wants to live with humans. Reading this story, I had the feeling that both main characters used each other to get what they wanted in life. The added twist at the end left me wondering if the plan worked.

The Horror of Hatchet Point by Zach Shephard: Based on Rumpelstiltskin and sticking very close to the original this story tells how Rumpelstiltskin uses the Queen to enable him to call forth Father Dagon. Whilst the character of Rumpelstiltskin is a hated child abductor, the author puts a spin on this character and explains the reasons behind his plan.

Let Me Come In by Simon Yee: If you have read The Three Little Pigs, the wolf is the bad guy, however in this story, the wolf has just survived The Great War against the humans and is looking for food. His meeting with the three little pigs and a mysterious white symbol tells the story in a whole new light. It was different to read it from the point of view of the wolf and I did find it funny to hear the pigs swearing, as I am used to the original fairy tale. I liked how the wolf did not use his breath to destroy the houses.

The Little Match Mi-Go by Michael Kamp: After the Old ones were released and destroyed the earth, it was left to the smallest of the Mi-Go to save the earth. This story follows this creature whilst it tries and find Ghatanothoa. Throughout this story I felt sorry for the little Mi-Go as I sensed the quest was hopeless, and I was willing it to survive.

Writing this review, I found it hard to pick my favourites as every story was good. Not having read any of these authors previous works, I did not know what to expect but I have now added more authors to my list to read. I have not read any of HP Lovecraft, but this did not stop me enjoying this book. Lovecraft’s characters suited these fairy tales and returned them to the dark tales before Disney got hold of them. If you like your fairy tales dark or just a fan of Lovecraft then this is a great book to buy.