A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Poor Donald McCloud, he’s just a charitable sort. When he sees a man collapse in the street, withering away from hunger, Donald invites him over to dinner. How could he have known he was expected to provide blood. “I hope you didn’t mind,” explains Eramus the vampire, “but I only moistened my lips. Well, just a swig. After all you did invite me up for nourishment.” And thus begins Donald’s admittance into the strange world of Chetwynd-Hayes’ monsters.
Eramus takes Donald to the Monster Club and introduces him to familiar characters like vampires and werewolfs; a few obscure folks too, like mocks, shadies, and maddies; and even some hybrid characters like humgoos and shadmocks. The whole dark—and admittedly silly—little world reveals itself in five stories framed as Donald’s education in the secret ways of this underground society.
No, none of the tales is exactly terrifying, but they are told with a good deal of suspense, originality, and irresistible charm. It reads very much like one of those old horror anthology films so popular from the ’60s to the ’80s, like Black Sabbath or Creepshow. In fact, The Monster Club was—rather loosely—adapted into one of those anthology films in 1981, with none other than Vincent Price in the role of Eramus. While the film is all campy fun, the book is really much better than that. It’s ideal Halloween reading for those who want the feeling of a horror novel but would prefer to sleep with the lights off afterward.
Review by Matthew