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Nightmare At 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories

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Remember that monster on the wing of the airplane? William Shatner saw it on The Twilight Zone, John Lithgow saw it in the movie-even Bart Simpson saw it. "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" is just one of many classic horror stories by Richard Matheson that have insinuated themselves into our collective imagination. Here are more than twenty of Matheson's most memorable tales of fe Remember that monster on the wing of the airplane? William Shatner saw it on The Twilight Zone, John Lithgow saw it in the movie-even Bart Simpson saw it. "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" is just one of many classic horror stories by Richard Matheson that have insinuated themselves into our collective imagination. Here are more than twenty of Matheson's most memorable tales of fear and paranoia, including: "Duel," the nail-biting tale of man versus machines that inspired Steven Spielberg's first film; "Prey," in which a terrified woman is stalked by a malevolent Tiki doll, as chillingly captured in yet another legendary TV moment; "Blood Son," a disturbing portrait of a strange little boy who dreams of being a vampire; "Dress of White Silk," a seductively sinister tale of evil and innocence. Personally selected by Richard Matheson, the bestselling author of I Am Legend and What Dreams May Come, these and many other stories, more than demonstrate why he is rightfully regarded as one of the finest and most influential horror writers of our generation.


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Remember that monster on the wing of the airplane? William Shatner saw it on The Twilight Zone, John Lithgow saw it in the movie-even Bart Simpson saw it. "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" is just one of many classic horror stories by Richard Matheson that have insinuated themselves into our collective imagination. Here are more than twenty of Matheson's most memorable tales of fe Remember that monster on the wing of the airplane? William Shatner saw it on The Twilight Zone, John Lithgow saw it in the movie-even Bart Simpson saw it. "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" is just one of many classic horror stories by Richard Matheson that have insinuated themselves into our collective imagination. Here are more than twenty of Matheson's most memorable tales of fear and paranoia, including: "Duel," the nail-biting tale of man versus machines that inspired Steven Spielberg's first film; "Prey," in which a terrified woman is stalked by a malevolent Tiki doll, as chillingly captured in yet another legendary TV moment; "Blood Son," a disturbing portrait of a strange little boy who dreams of being a vampire; "Dress of White Silk," a seductively sinister tale of evil and innocence. Personally selected by Richard Matheson, the bestselling author of I Am Legend and What Dreams May Come, these and many other stories, more than demonstrate why he is rightfully regarded as one of the finest and most influential horror writers of our generation.

30 review for Nightmare At 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    8 Excellent short stories, 1 Boring short misfire, and 11 Dazzling, GRANDtastic short masterpieces combine to make this one delicious helping of gumdrop goody goodness....in a scare you stool-less and leave you whimpering kind of way. This is a rare blend of literate, high quality prose and "oh shit" screaming terror. Matheson's story-telling is addictive and the heavy, meaty sense of tension-filled dread with which he is able to consistently imbue his stories is truly special. Yeah, I thought t 8 Excellent short stories, 1 Boring short misfire, and 11 Dazzling, GRANDtastic short masterpieces combine to make this one delicious helping of gumdrop goody goodness....in a scare you stool-less and leave you whimpering kind of way. This is a rare blend of literate, high quality prose and "oh shit" screaming terror. Matheson's story-telling is addictive and the heavy, meaty sense of tension-filled dread with which he is able to consistently imbue his stories is truly special. Yeah, I thought this collection was pretty terrific. Of the 20 tales in this collection, the following are the 11 AWEgasm causing masterpieces that I thought Matheson just knocked out of the park: NIGHTMARE AT 20000 FEET: I must have seen the Twilight Zone episode with a bucky young Captain Kirk a dozen times before finally reading/listening to this classic tale of a mentally troubled passenger seeing a “Gremlin” on the wing of an airplane. Well, as good as the James T. and Rod Serling were at the adaptation, it was a thin, pale shadow to the robustness of the original in its ability to create a rising, pulsating sense of terror. What a great way to lead off this collection as it showcases Matheson’s tremendous skill at layering on real terror with psychological perception so that the reader continues to ask themselves...how much of this is real? DRESS OF WHITE SILK: Holy nutshakers people, this one had me waiting for the bomb to drop (metaphorically as well as in my shorts) from the very first line. Everything about this story of a seriously bizarre little girl and her strange obsession with dead mommy’s heirlooms (including the titular silk dress) spelled CREEPY with a capital AHHHHH!! This one reminded me a lot of Matheson’s "Born of Man and Woman" which is one of my all time favorites. Short, tension filled, engrossing and with the best last line of the entire collection. BLOOD SON: This superb story concerns another very odd boy (I sense a pattern developing) who becomes OBSESSIONALLY “out of his nutty little mind” OBSESSED with vampirism after reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula. He wants to be one...very, very badly, making his family, school mates and neighbors “long tail cat in rocking chair room” nervous whenever he is around. Only an extraordinary writer like Matheson could have pulled this story off as it balances on the edge of “mental instability” and “genuine horror” all the way until another amazing ending. THROUGH CHANNELS: If you want an absolute case study in the art of “let the readers imagination fill in the horror” than this may be it. I have heard from some that this was one of the lesser works in this collection but I would respectfully disagree (and give them a raspberry behind their back). This is a masterly piece. The story takes place in an interview room where a son is being questioned by police about the “horrific” murders of his parents and two of their friends. While I think by the end of the story, it is pretty clear “what happened” it is all slowly pieced together based on the reactions of the officers and the boy who have all seen the crime scene. I will remember this one for a while. WITCH WAR: This 5th story makes it a stellar 5 out of 5 for Matheson in this collection. Despite being completely different from the others, the quality and imagination are superb. This one has a very “Village of the Damned” vibe to it and involves a group of prepubescent (but “holy shit” powerful witches absolutely demolishing an army of soldiers (with tanks, planes, etc.) sent to destroy them. Much more actiony than the previous stories, but the best part of the story is the casual, unemotional mind-set of the little girls who see this as nothing more than a fun game to play. DISAPPEARING ACT: Another fantastic product by Matheson, this story involves a struggling writer who begins an affair with another woman. After arguing with his wife, he calls up his mistress only to discover that no one has ever heard of her. Thus begins a true piece of psychological terror as things begin to disappear from the characters life as if erased from history. This is masterful story-telling. LEGION OF PLOTTERS: One of the most disturbing stories in the collection, this is a salty little psychology study of a man who has hit 11 on the paranoia scale and believes, literally, that everyone is out to get him. When this story is over, it will make you look at certain news stories in a whole new light. DANCE OF THE DEAD:Arguably the most “important” story in the collection for its scathing and piercing commentary on loss of empathy and the ability to human beings to give up the ability to feel compassion for their fellow man. This is also, in my opinion, the most difficult story in the collection to navigate through as it is a futuristic tale full of a strange new vocabulary (which Matheson uses to great effect). In short, the story takes place in a post World War III America where a group of teens travel to a unique bar to see a very bizarre show. My advice: take your time with this one and even read some commentary on the story before you read it. The haunting image of the “show” will stay with me s good long while. THE CHILDREN OF NOAH: This is as good an example of nasty, big city tourist driving through tiny “out of the way” town and having a bizarre run in with the locals. Think “The Wicker Man” or “The Children of the Corn” and you will be on the right track. However, Matheson brings a little extra oomph to this story through his understated writing, his unlikable main character and the slow, tension filled build up to the terror spewing climax...Ah satisfaction indeed!! THE DISTRIBUTOR: Stephen King mentions in the introduction that without Richard Matheson, he would not be here and compared him to his father in the world of writing horror. Well Stevie boy sure must have found inspiration in this tale as it has some amazing parallels to his “Needful Things” (a book I really like but is not generally seen as one of King’s best...shows what I know). This a terrific little story about a man who comes to town and brings a whole bag of “fucking with your life” with him to distribute among the neighborhood. I loved, loved, loved the ending. THE LIKENESS OF JULIE: Another example of absolutely pitch perfect narrative voice and an ending I did not see coming and still can not believe. A guy named Eddie becomes obsessed with a sweet girl in his physics class and can not stop thinking about her. He devises a vicious plan to drug her and black-mail her into being with him. The creep factor in this story approaches “I need a shower” level and Matheson’s portrayal of an out of control compulsion is amazing. Nasty, haunting and brilliantly written, this is a gem. With the exception of Old Haunts, which for some reason I just did not care for, the remaining 9 stories are all better than good to excellent. Two of the stories “Long Distance Call” and “Prey” are among Matheson’s best known stories and I really enjoyed them. I think it just evidences how much I truly loved the 11 listed above that those two did not make the cut. For those interested the remaining nine stories are: Madhouse Long Distance Call Slaughter House Wet Straw The Holiday Man Old Haunts Crickets First Anniversary Prey Overall, a no doubt about it five 5 rating and Richard Matheson earns an immediate spot among the most impressive writers of speculative short fiction I have ever encountered. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    Remember the Twlight Zone episode with William Shatner seeing gremlins on the wing of the plane? Well, that's the title story. And many others in this collection are just as good.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    Good horror stories make you experience the world differently. Unexpected noises make you jumpy. Your slightly odd neighbour begins to look decidedly sinister. You lie in bed thinking that you'll be safe if you don't peek your head out from under your blankets. When you read a good horror story, fear leaks from its pages and infects you. Richard Matheson’s collection Nightmare At 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories is mostly made up of these sorts of stories. You’ve probably read I am Legend - Matheson’s Good horror stories make you experience the world differently. Unexpected noises make you jumpy. Your slightly odd neighbour begins to look decidedly sinister. You lie in bed thinking that you'll be safe if you don't peek your head out from under your blankets. When you read a good horror story, fear leaks from its pages and infects you. Richard Matheson’s collection Nightmare At 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories is mostly made up of these sorts of stories. You’ve probably read I am Legend - Matheson’s story that was recently cinematically butchered by Will Smith. If you haven’t it’s one of the greats – a fantastic read that will blindside you, and blindside you hard. Matheson was a twilight zone writer and he excels at stories with surprising endings that will horrify you, and occasionally even make you laugh. There are some real gems in here- the titular Nightmare at 20,000 Feet is a classic (and was made into an iconic twilight zone story, staring William Shatner), along with Prey, a bullet-fast tale of a murderous wooden doll. The Distributor, recommended to me here on Goodreads, is another winner, a chilling tale of urban terrorism that reads like Eric Frank Russell’s Wasp set in suburbia. It's a pacy, compelling tale that still reads very well. There are also a few clangers too, stories that build well then flame out with an underwhelming ending (such as Witch War which really seemed to go nowhere). Is this common to horror? In my (admittedly limited) reading of the genre I've found that many horror stories start with genuinely atmospheric, palm-sweat inducing build-ups that end with cheesy, unconvincing twists. Several stories in Matheson’s book follow this anticlimactic path – a narrative rollercoaster than scales an ever steeper rise, promising an ever-scarier plummet, that arrives at the top of its arc to reveal a flat section of track and a gift shop. Even Stephen king, that titan of horror whose name cannot fail to be mentioned when discussing his genre, occasionally flubs an ending after tantalising his readers with the sort of build-up that makes you scared to be alone in your own house (As an example I present It: a great story, but the ending… yeesh). Despite all this, when Matheson nails a story, he nails it hard. He builds tension like a master, and he drives even his weaker stories along at a freight-train pace that had me flipping pages with fingertip-searing speed. Matheson's influence on the horror genre is substantial, and several of the stories in Nightmare at 20,000... gave me a sense of déjà vu, reminding me of later works that have no doubt been inspired by his work. King himself is a big fan of Matheson’s, and one of the stories in this volume - Slaughter House - seemed to me to be a possible inspiration for the greatest of his novels (IMHO) The Shining. Unlike say, H.P Lovecraft, Matheson’s short stories can be read together as a whole without his stylistic tics becoming irritating. Nightmare at 20,000... is varied enough in tone, settings and themes to keep things interesting and this is an entertaining compilation that is worth your time, especially if you are interested in the horror genre and the influence that Matheson has had on contemporary writers. Not every story in this book is a winner, but the best ones win big. 3.5 stars.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    Nightmare at 20,000 feet is a collection of short stories by horror and weird fantasy genre trailblazing master Richard Matheson. The collection begins with the title story, a favorite of Twilight Zone fans, both from the show and an episode starring a very young William Shatner and the film featuring John Lithgow in the lead. This is an excellent way to begin because it highlights Matheson’s psychological style of horror blending the surreal and fantastic. Matheson’s genius is close, subtle, th Nightmare at 20,000 feet is a collection of short stories by horror and weird fantasy genre trailblazing master Richard Matheson. The collection begins with the title story, a favorite of Twilight Zone fans, both from the show and an episode starring a very young William Shatner and the film featuring John Lithgow in the lead. This is an excellent way to begin because it highlights Matheson’s psychological style of horror blending the surreal and fantastic. Matheson’s genius is close, subtle, the kind of insanity that covers the distance between the face and the mirror. A stated favorite of Stephen King, Matheson serves as a literary bridge between King and the earlier horror master H.P. Lovecraft. This can best be seen in the Lovecraftian “Children of Noah” and in “Mad House” which must have inspired Stephen King when he wrote The Shining. While some of these stories are little more than sketches like “Dress of White Silk” and “Disappearing Act”, others like “Bloodson”, a pre “I am Legend” and Bradburyesque narrative could be used to inspire longer works. All in all, this is a good collection for a new reader of Matheson as it ranges from the darkly comedic “The Distributor” to the truly disturbing “Likeness of Julie”.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    This is my first real foray into Matheson's work that I can remember (I read I Am Legend a very long time ago and can't quite recall it). I knew he was an important and influential author but I had no idea to what extent! It feels to me like he's the author that had the strongest influence on Stephen King. Their style of storytelling and pacing (at least in the short story work) is very similar! And you can also see why he was tapped to write The Twilight Zone episodes and why that show adapte This is my first real foray into Matheson's work that I can remember (I read I Am Legend a very long time ago and can't quite recall it). I knew he was an important and influential author but I had no idea to what extent! It feels to me like he's the author that had the strongest influence on Stephen King. Their style of storytelling and pacing (at least in the short story work) is very similar! And you can also see why he was tapped to write The Twilight Zone episodes and why that show adapted a few of his stories. If you're a fan of the show, you'll love this collection as the stories have a very similar structure. I listened to this on audiobook throughout the span of several months. I really enjoyed most of the tales in this collection and was constantly impressed with how clever and creative Matheson was in his storytelling. The concept and idea for each story is compelling and will keep you reading. And not only does Matheson show real skill in building upon these concepts in interesting and original ways and bringing it to a slam-bang ending, but he also has a great sense of what to show, what not to show, and when to do so. In the entire collection the writing has a great sense of mischief throughout, that same sense that King's writing has in his best creepy tales. The best example of Matheson's skill is the best story in the collection, the utterly creepy "Dress of White Silk," about a young girl obsessed with her dead mother's belongings. And that final couple of lines? Holy shit. Other standout stories are: "Disappearing Act," "Legion of Plotters," "The Likeness of Julie," "First Anniversary," "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,""Through Channels," "Blood Son"...hell, who am I kidding? Just read 'em all. Definitely a recommendation if you're looking for some classic horror stories this Halloween season.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    Like Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson has created timeless stories filled with the surreal, eerie and bizarre, and each one is certainly worth reading.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    I love Richard Matheson. His short stories are some of the best examples of the craft I've ever seen. He has this way of making me feel like I am a part of the story in a way that works brilliantly, especially considering that Matheson loves an open ending. He lets the reader carry on where he leaves off, and that's one of my favorite things about reading his short stories. Many of the stories in this collection are ones I've read elsewhere, but listening to them on audio this time was fantastic I love Richard Matheson. His short stories are some of the best examples of the craft I've ever seen. He has this way of making me feel like I am a part of the story in a way that works brilliantly, especially considering that Matheson loves an open ending. He lets the reader carry on where he leaves off, and that's one of my favorite things about reading his short stories. Many of the stories in this collection are ones I've read elsewhere, but listening to them on audio this time was fantastic. Blood Son has a manic, urgent needy quality that the reader brought, and I loved it. Long Distance Call was creepy and made me turn on the lights, despite my knowing the story already... the raspy whispered "Hello?" gave me chills. In the best way. Mad House is one of my favorite Matheson stories. It's so good, so detailed in the way that frustration builds and builds and builds... I seriously love this story, both for the psychological aspect, and the manifestation aspect. There are a lot of psychological and paranoia stories in this collection, and they are some of Matheson's best, though back to back like this, it can feel a little bit overwhelming in how similar they are to each other. But, each taken individually, this is an excellent collection of stories.

  8. 4 out of 5

    José

    Podés encontrar esta y otras reseñas en mi blog. Relatos incluidos en la colección: 1° - Pesadilla a 20.000 pies 2° - Vestido de seda blanca 3° - Hijo de sangre 4° - A través de los canales 5° - Guerra de brujas 6° - Una casa enloquecida 7° - El número de la desaparición 8° - Legión de conspiradores 9° - Llamada a larga distancia 10° - La casa Slaughter 11° - Paja húmeda 12° - El baile de los muertos 13° - Los hijos de Noah 14° - El hombre de las fiestas 15° - Viejos territorios 16° - El distribuidor 17° - Gr Podés encontrar esta y otras reseñas en mi blog. Relatos incluidos en la colección: 1° - Pesadilla a 20.000 pies 2° - Vestido de seda blanca 3° - Hijo de sangre 4° - A través de los canales 5° - Guerra de brujas 6° - Una casa enloquecida 7° - El número de la desaparición 8° - Legión de conspiradores 9° - Llamada a larga distancia 10° - La casa Slaughter 11° - Paja húmeda 12° - El baile de los muertos 13° - Los hijos de Noah 14° - El hombre de las fiestas 15° - Viejos territorios 16° - El distribuidor 17° - Grillos 18° - Primer aniversario 19° - El semblante de Julie 20° - Presa Hacía tiempo que tenía pendiente leer relatos cortos de Richard Matheson, así que elegí esta colección que recoge algunos de sus cuentos más conocidos. Matheson es un autor que me enganchó desde el momento que leí Soy Leyenda (la primera reseña que subí al blog es acerca de ese libro, pueden leerla en este enlace y reírse un poco). Es un autor que claramente inspiró a muchos autores contemporáneos del género del terror, concretamente a Stephen King, quien lo considera uno de sus grandes maestros y principal fuente de inspiración. Por eso es muy probable que si te gustan las historias de King, también disfrutarás de los libros de Matheson. «Pesadilla a 20.000 pies...» tiene altibajos como toda colección de relatos, pero en general ninguno de ellos me pareció malo. Curiosamente, la historia que le da el título a la colección fue la que menos me gustó y considero que es la más floja de todas. Posiblemente esto se debe a que es una historia muy conocida y no se diferencia mucho de la excelente parodia de los Simpson, salvo por el final. Por suerte esta historia es apenas el aperitivo y el resto de la colección es muy buena pues abarca diferentes temas clásicos en el género del terror de manera fresca y utilizando diferentes estilos narrativos. En esta colección encontrarás cuentos de vampiros, fantasmas, casas embrujadas, historias apocalípticas y otros relatos muy bizarros. Como mencioné anteriormente, Matheson se luce en cada relato al utilizar diferentes técnicas para contar sus historias. Algunas son narradas a partir de transcripciones de diarios íntimos o de conversaciones por radio, una técnica que en lo personal me encanta y siempre disfruto porque le da un toque diferente a las historias de terror. Mi cuento favorito fue «El baile de los muertos», una historia que transcurre en un mundo postapocalíptico en el que la guerra bacteriológica ha dejado terribles secuelas. Es un relato sumamente perturbador porque es narrado desde la perspectiva de una chica inocente que se va de fiesta con un grupo de amigos de la universidad y es testigo de un espectáculo bastante desagradable. Este relato tiene una adaptación televisiva; la pueden encontrar en Youtube con subtítulos en español en este enlace. Lo que más destaco de esta colección es cómo muchas de estas historias influyeron en autores de terror contemporáneo. Anne Rice dice que «Vestido de seda blanco» fue una de sus mayores inspiraciones para escribir sus novelas de vampiros. También es notorio cómo «Los hijos de Noah» y «El distribuidor» inspiraron a Stephen King, ya que son relatos que se asemejan mucho a la idea de «Desesperación» y «La Tienda», respectivamente. Calificación 9/10 Salvo por un par de relatos que no me convencieron del todo (pero que no son para nada malos), «Pesadilla a 20.000 pies...» es una excelente colección de cuentos de terror que permiten conocer el estilo de uno de los principales autores de terror y ciencia ficción contemporáneos. En estos 20 relatos encontrarás toda clase de historias sobre vampiros, espectros, súcubos, casas embrujadas, virus mortales e incluso grillos asesinos. Matheson es un autor espectacular y lo recomiendo, sobre todo si te gustan las historias de Stephen King.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    I found Nightmare at 20, 000 Feet and Other Stories at my excellent public library. The titular story is the basis for The Twilight Zone episode with William Shatner. Well if you like the show, read the book. Your heartbeat stays erratic the whole time. I love the detail in which Matheson describes the harrowing experience the protagonist has. He knows the gremlin is there but the darn thing disappears when he tries to point him out. The flight crew gets more and more convinced that the protagon I found Nightmare at 20, 000 Feet and Other Stories at my excellent public library. The titular story is the basis for The Twilight Zone episode with William Shatner. Well if you like the show, read the book. Your heartbeat stays erratic the whole time. I love the detail in which Matheson describes the harrowing experience the protagonist has. He knows the gremlin is there but the darn thing disappears when he tries to point him out. The flight crew gets more and more convinced that the protagonist is off his rocker. But he knows he's sane. He is frightened out of his wits, but knowing that he's the only hope for the plane. The reluctant hero comes up with a plan to save the plane because the gremlin is steadily and I must add gleefully, tearing it apart. The climax is short, quick, wonderfully executed. You heave a sigh of relief when the story ends. This volume has other classic stories. Another truly affecting story is Slaughter House. Two very close brothers buy and lovingly restore a Victorian house which is possessed by a spirit with nefarious intent. The spirit slowly drives a wedge between brothers and ends up causing a tragic end for one of the brothers. As usual you can see Matheson's skill in writing. He takes his time to build things up to an exquistive level of terror. You feel the pain of the older brother as he fights to save his sibling. I felt it more intensely because I am very close to my sister and I can imagine how much anguish it was causing the protagonist to watch his brother turn into a stranger. For me the end was satisfying although tragic. I won't give it away. But suffice it to say you walk away with a poignant feeling that will stay with you for days. Another memorable tale is about a young boy who so intensely identifies with the tale of Dracula by Bram Stoker that his life goes in an interesting direction. This story leaves you with almost an upset stomach. As I read more and more horror, I realize how conventional I am. I think this is the power of horror, that it can drive home how settled we are into our normal, nice worlds blithely unaware of how ugly the other reality is. Matheson definitely seems to understand this. He uses the tools available to him to craft this into his stories. It could be circumstances that are horrible. It could be the protagonist that is the real horror, or it could be the fate of the protagonist. And even in the case of one story where a guy murders his wife and then is subsequently haunted by her ghost, you still feel shocked at the comeuppance his wife's spirit delivers to him. In some of the stories you find yourself thinking, that's not fair. And maybe that's the real kind of horror that we face everyday, that bad things happen to the normal, everyday person, the not especially good or bad, person. I think that Matheson really impresses me in his skill with the short story because writing a short story is such an art. I haven't read anything from him longer than a novella, but I will definitely look forward to reading a full length novel by him. However, I know I'll have to gird my loins because it will be a very bumpy, if satisfying ride.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    I expected to like this collection, but I did not expect to love it since I am not generally a lover of short stories. However, Matheson does such a great job of instantly giving you enough background that you feel completely pulled into the story. I found I was able to become vested in the story right away, and that allowed me to connect with the stories. The stories themselves are amazing. My personal favorites were the title story, "Dress of White Silk," "Through Cannels" and "Blood Son." Gre I expected to like this collection, but I did not expect to love it since I am not generally a lover of short stories. However, Matheson does such a great job of instantly giving you enough background that you feel completely pulled into the story. I found I was able to become vested in the story right away, and that allowed me to connect with the stories. The stories themselves are amazing. My personal favorites were the title story, "Dress of White Silk," "Through Cannels" and "Blood Son." Great writing and a very imaginative creep factor. I loved it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    3.5 Stars A couple of really good stories and quite a few not so good stories. Although I might have my expectations set a little too high after reading I am Legend and Hell House.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Chris_P

    NIGHTMARE AT 20,000 FEET: **** DRESS OF WHITE SILK: ***** BLOOD SON: **** THROUGH CHANNELS:**** WITCH WAR: ** MAD HOUSE: **** DISAPPEARING ACT: ***** LEGION OF PLOTTERS: ** LONG DISTANCE CALL: ***** SLAUGHTER HOUSE: *** WET STRAW: **** DANCE OF THE DEAD: **** THE CHILDREN OF NOAH: *** THE HOLIDAY MAN: **** OLD HAUNTS: ***** THE DISTRIBUTOR: **** CRICKETS: *** FIRST ANNIVERSARY: **** THE LIKENESS OF JULIE: **** PREY: *** I think it's needless to talk about the way Matheson wrote his stories. The above ratings have n NIGHTMARE AT 20,000 FEET: **** DRESS OF WHITE SILK: ***** BLOOD SON: **** THROUGH CHANNELS:**** WITCH WAR: ** MAD HOUSE: **** DISAPPEARING ACT: ***** LEGION OF PLOTTERS: ** LONG DISTANCE CALL: ***** SLAUGHTER HOUSE: *** WET STRAW: **** DANCE OF THE DEAD: **** THE CHILDREN OF NOAH: *** THE HOLIDAY MAN: **** OLD HAUNTS: ***** THE DISTRIBUTOR: **** CRICKETS: *** FIRST ANNIVERSARY: **** THE LIKENESS OF JULIE: **** PREY: *** I think it's needless to talk about the way Matheson wrote his stories. The above ratings have nothing to do with his writing style and were given while always having his brilliance in storytelling as an undeniable fact. That is to say that the 2 and 3-star stories were also good but simply not as good as the rest. As I was reading this amazing collection, I couldn't help marveling at how many later films, novels and shows were inspired by this brilliant author (beside the ones that became episodes of The Twilight Zone). Without extreme horror, splatter, profanity and all these techniques used (to no avail most times) by contemporary horror authors to scare the readers, Matheson manages to deliver some intense thrills proving that it's purely a matter of talent to write stories that can cut those who read them as well as the one who wrote them. Such stories simply never get old.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Troy Blackford

    Holy *crap*, was this a punch in the gut! This collection is for anyone who loves horror. It'll knock your socks off. All kinds of stories: some admittedly better than others, but none of them bad. Many of them exceptional.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Doreen Petersen

    Wonderful collection of short stories. Not quite to the level of Stephen King but very good. I would recommend this one.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Badseedgirl

    Nightmare at 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories by Richard Matheson should be required reading for all fans of horror. Not just because Mr. Matheson was one of the first Grand Masters of Horror, inducted in 1993 by The World Horror Convention, or because he has been the influence of such authors as Stephen King (Also a Grand Master), but because so many of these short stories were the basis of amazing movies and TV anthologies that we have all enjoyed. • Nightmare at 20,000 feet (Twilight Zone TV series Nightmare at 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories by Richard Matheson should be required reading for all fans of horror. Not just because Mr. Matheson was one of the first Grand Masters of Horror, inducted in 1993 by The World Horror Convention, or because he has been the influence of such authors as Stephen King (Also a Grand Master), but because so many of these short stories were the basis of amazing movies and TV anthologies that we have all enjoyed. • Nightmare at 20,000 feet (Twilight Zone TV series and movie) • Disappearing Act (Twilight Zone TV series) • Long Distance Call (Twilight Zone TV series) • Dance of the Dead (Masters of Horror TV Series) • The Likeness of Julie (Tales of Terror Movie) • Prey (Tales of Terror Movie) Mr. Matheson is in his element when he is writing true horror. The psychological horror stories were for me hit and miss, but the true horror was chilling. For me the three stand-outs in this series were “Crickets,” “The Distributor,” and “Dance of the Dead.” I’m throwing in "Witch War" for honorable mention because it was another standout. I read “Crickets” alone in the dark and could not get the idea out of my mind when finished. The sound of the cricket is so ubiquitous here in the country that one almost doesn’t hear it anymore, but what if they were communicating to us through those chirps, or worst yet communicating with something else. “The Distributor” was probably the stand-out in the psychological terror stories in this series. There is somethings so disturbing about the character of Theodore Gordon, who destroys the lives of his new neighbors so completely and with such glee and zeal. It was truly terrifying, and when he posts the results in his book and the reader realizes just how many times he had done this, it was just another level of horror. Sublime. Masters of Horror: Season 1, episode 3 I was first introduced to “Dance of the Dead” by Showtime’s amazing Anthology Series “Masters of Horror.” Although only 2 seasons long, it was an amazing introduction to the horror genre and included 1 hour movies from some of the greatest names in horror ever assembled. You should check them out, several can be found on youtube.com. But I digress, but only slightly. The thing is, I was mesmerized by the story when I first saw it. It was horrifying and tragic, heart breaking sad and a coming of age story all wrapped up in one. I immediately ran out and found the story and read it, I was disappointed because the short story was markedly different from the TV series I had just watched. Now ten years later and vastly more well-roundingly (sp) read, I was able to read this story with fresh eyes. The only thing the screen writer (who incidentally was Richard Matheson’s son Richard Christian Matheson) did was expand on the themes his father laid out in the short story. I just loved it on this second reading. I have to be honest in “Witch War,” I just liked the juxtaposing of the giggling teenage girls and the destruction of the army. It was a revelation to read. 5 of 5 stars

  16. 4 out of 5

    Trudi

    I expected to LOVE this collection, and while I mightily enjoyed a handful of the stories, others left me feeling cold, confused or just plain ol' meh-disappointed. Most of that meh is not Matheson's fault - I fully recognize him as a master of his craft. Stephen King (my favorite author) admits Matheson is the writer who has influenced him most (and the more I read of Matheson's work the more I believe that). The meh is my fault; short stories are not usually my bag and it takes a lot for one to I expected to LOVE this collection, and while I mightily enjoyed a handful of the stories, others left me feeling cold, confused or just plain ol' meh-disappointed. Most of that meh is not Matheson's fault - I fully recognize him as a master of his craft. Stephen King (my favorite author) admits Matheson is the writer who has influenced him most (and the more I read of Matheson's work the more I believe that). The meh is my fault; short stories are not usually my bag and it takes a lot for one to really grip and engross me. Several did inspire pure love however (blinding, passionate, irrational love). I consider these to be absolute must reads for anyone. The following are some of the best crafted short pieces of fiction you will find anywhere. Not to mention creepy as all hell!!! Nightmare at 20,000 Feet: I loved this as a Twilight Zone episode, but as a short story it totally kicks ass and takes names. The set-up is so simple but the terror of it draws you in and does not let go. I have a pretty sick fear of flying – flying at night is even worse. I WILL NOT, CANNOT look out the plane window at the darkness while I’m mid-air. I just cannot physically make myself do it. This is a primordial fear buried deep in the lizard part of my brain. It’s almost a psychosis (!) and it’s all thanks to Mr. Matheson. I mean, for real, what if you did look out there and there was some goddamn “thing” looking right back at you? ::shiver:: Dress of White Silk: Maladjusted, “weird” children just petrify me. I don’t want to help them come out of their shell, I don’t want to make friends with them, I don’t care if they are misunderstood I just want to run screaming in the opposite direction. The little gal in this gem of a story is weird personified. She is obsessed with her dead mother’s things, especially that white dress made of silk. The ending here blew my doors off. I was like “whoah”, did I just read that? Moses on a crutch. Best last line ever. Through Channels: There is so much creeping malevolence packed into this tightly wound very short story I can scarcely believe it. It is THICK with atmosphere and dread. Set in that cramped interview room, the story chokes you with its claustrophobic feel. And that ending!!! Oh how I love that ending! The Children of Noah: The feel of this one reminded me of Stephen King’s “Children of the Corn” (and not just because it has children in the title!). That sucker punch ending, POW! right to the solar plexus, also reminded me of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”. This story is not as good as either of these, but it is still pretty freakin’ awesome. The Distributor: Delectably evil. Reminded me a lot of Stephen King’s Needful Things. The havoc that can be wrought with just a few well-placed acts of sinister mischief! October Country 2011 #5

  17. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    More chilling works by a 20th-century master of the genre. Matheson is a primary influence on modern horror--not just literary, but in cinema and television (Matheson wrote prolifically for "The Twilight Zone" and the title story of this collection was adapted for that show). If your only Matheson experience so far has been Will Smith in "I Am Legend," you owe it to yourself to expand your horizons. This collection is a great introduction to typical Matheson themes: ordinary folks in horrifying More chilling works by a 20th-century master of the genre. Matheson is a primary influence on modern horror--not just literary, but in cinema and television (Matheson wrote prolifically for "The Twilight Zone" and the title story of this collection was adapted for that show). If your only Matheson experience so far has been Will Smith in "I Am Legend," you owe it to yourself to expand your horizons. This collection is a great introduction to typical Matheson themes: ordinary folks in horrifying situations, bewilderingly strange children, the dire consequences of misplaced trust, self-identity, anger and existential crisis. From "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" to "Prey," Matheson's incisively drawn characters and tautly paced tales will hold you and haunt you long after you've closed the book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Finished it on Halloween - that was nice timing. Great collection of Matheson scary stories. I enjoyed most of them, as I always seem to like his stuff. A few were stories I'd read before, but it was nice to revisit those too. Favorites: "Witch War", "The Distributor", "Mad House", and the title story. Most of these would be great as Twilight Zone episodes, and some of them were...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Oscar

    Todavía recuerdo aquella película de los 80 que vi siendo un niño, ‘En los límites de la realidad’, dividida en cuatro episodios, el último de los cuáles estaba basado en un relato de Richard Matheson. Esa escena en la que el pasajero protagonista descubre a un extraño ser sobre el ala del avión en el que viaja, me dejó realmente impactado. Pero también me vienen a la mente otras películas en las que el talento de Matheson estaba muy presente, como el primer film de Steven Spielberg, ‘El diablo Todavía recuerdo aquella película de los 80 que vi siendo un niño, ‘En los límites de la realidad’, dividida en cuatro episodios, el último de los cuáles estaba basado en un relato de Richard Matheson. Esa escena en la que el pasajero protagonista descubre a un extraño ser sobre el ala del avión en el que viaja, me dejó realmente impactado. Pero también me vienen a la mente otras películas en las que el talento de Matheson estaba muy presente, como el primer film de Steven Spielberg, ‘El diablo sobre ruedas’, y ese terrorífico camión que no dejaba de perseguir a otro coche. O aquellas viejas películas dirigidas por Roger Corman basadas en los relatos de Edgar Allan Poe, con un enorme Vincent Price como malvado, que fueron adaptados para la pantalla por Matheson. O esa otra película, ‘El increíble hombre menguante’, basada en su novela, con esa escena en la que el protagonista luchaba contra una araña “gigante” con una aguja como única arma. Y es que Matheson fue una gran influencia para un buen puñado de autores, tanto en el género fantástico, como, sobre todo, en el de terror. En palabras de Stephen King: ”El género de horror, es el equivalente literario del rock and roll, un porrazo rápido en la cabeza que te altera los nervios y hace que se queden agradablemente doloridos”. Y esto es lo que nos ofrece la antología ’Pesadilla a 20.000 pies y otros relatos insólitos y terroríficos’, un buen montón de relatos donde la maestría de Matheson queda muy patente. Matheson no nos abruma, y va al grano en sus cuentos, perfectamente hilvanados para provocar estupor y desasosiego, las más de las veces en un golpe de efecto final que te deja impactado, y otras veces por el desarrollo propio de la historia, que te va envolviendo. En los cuentos de Matheson encontramos fantasmas, brujas, seres sobrenaturales, vampiros y otras historias más atípicas y misteriosas, a veces cotidianas. En ‘Llamada a larga distancia’ y ‘La casa Slaughter’ nos encontramos con espíritus, siendo historias de corte más clásico. Relatos como ‘Una casa enloquecida’ o ‘Viejos territorios’, nos acercan más la parte psicológica e introspectiva de los protagonistas. Otros cuentos, como ‘Legión de conspiradores’ y ‘El número de la desaparición’, con una construcción y desarrollo geniales, reflejan los miedos interiores y las obsesiones, mostrándonos que lo cotidiano puede verse invadido por lo sobrenatural en cualquier momento. Estos son los 20 relatos incluidos en ’Pesadilla a 20.000 pies y otros relatos insólitos y terroríficos’: - Pesadilla a 20.000 pies - Vestido de seda blanca - Hijo de sangre - A través de los canales - Guerra de brujas - Una casa enloquecida - El número de la desaparición - Legión de conspiradores - Llamada a larga distancia - La casa Slaughter - Paja húmeda - El baile de los muertos - Los hijos de Noah - El hombre de las fiestas - Viejos territorios - El distribuidor - Grillos - Primer aniversario - El semblante de Julie - Presa En fin, nos encontramos ante una recopilación excelente, que hará las delicias de cualquier aficionado al género.

  20. 4 out of 5

    T.E. Grau

    Not a perfect book (what book is?), but shows the range and huge chops of Richard Matheson in the short form, as he blend genres but keeps it dark and probing. One of my favorite writers, whom I feel is undervalued a bit in discussions of either our best horror authors, or best American authors in general. Stephen King's introduction is wonderful, and succinctly reminds the reader just how important Matheson was as a bridge between the decline of the Great Pulpists (Lovecraft, REH, CAS, etc.) an Not a perfect book (what book is?), but shows the range and huge chops of Richard Matheson in the short form, as he blend genres but keeps it dark and probing. One of my favorite writers, whom I feel is undervalued a bit in discussions of either our best horror authors, or best American authors in general. Stephen King's introduction is wonderful, and succinctly reminds the reader just how important Matheson was as a bridge between the decline of the Great Pulpists (Lovecraft, REH, CAS, etc.) and the rise of post-war horror, sci-fi, and weird fiction authors (Bradbury, Jackson, Orwell, Bloch, Dahl, Serling, Beaumont, Nolan, Clayton Johnson, etc.), who also had such a profound impact on television, and also on film. Stand-out stories in this collection include the titular tales (which is much more terrifying than the entertaining, near camp of the Shatner "Twilight Zone" adaptation), "Prey," "Witch War," "Disappearing Act," "The Children of Noah," "The Distributor," "Likeness of Julie," and "Dress of White Silk." Highly recommended.

  21. 5 out of 5

    hidefan

    Es curioso que siendo fan del cine de terror, en lo que respecta a la literatura no es de los géneros que más frecuento. Sí, leo mucho a Stephen King, Poe es uno de mis escritores favoritos y he disfrutado como una enana con novelas como Déjame Entrar o Guerra Mundial Z, pero no es lo primero que miro ni mucho menos cuando entro en una librería o en la biblioteca. Uno de los autores más identificativos del género, del que beben muchos autores de terror modernos como el propio Stephen King que esc Es curioso que siendo fan del cine de terror, en lo que respecta a la literatura no es de los géneros que más frecuento. Sí, leo mucho a Stephen King, Poe es uno de mis escritores favoritos y he disfrutado como una enana con novelas como Déjame Entrar o Guerra Mundial Z, pero no es lo primero que miro ni mucho menos cuando entro en una librería o en la biblioteca. Uno de los autores más identificativos del género, del que beben muchos autores de terror modernos como el propio Stephen King que escribe la introducción del libro, es Richard Matheson. Autor de obras como El Hombre Menguante, Soy Leyenda o Más Allá de los Sueños, tiene en su haber un buen número de historias cortas que exploran todo tipo de fenómenos sobrenaturales y miedos varios. Pesadilla a 20.000 pies es una recopilación de algunos de sus relatos más destacables, y una introducción ideal a un autor al que había estado dejando de lado hasta ahora. El libro se compone de un total de veinte historias cortas, que oscilan entre las diez y las cuarenta páginas y que fueron escritas en las décadas de los cincuenta y sesenta. -Pesadilla a 20.000 pies: Un hombre toma un vuelo nocturno y ve algo por la ventanilla que le deja helado: un hombrecillo, en el ala del avión, tratando de sabotear el aparato. El problema es que cada vez que intenta avisar a alguien, el hombrecillo desaparece. La primera historia, que da título al libro, es genial. El momento en el que el protagonista avista a la cosa por primera vez te pone los pelos de punta, y está muy lograda la tensión y la impotencia de no poder avisar a nadie porque todo el mundo le toma por loco. Además me hace gracia leer historias en aviones de estas eras porque los personajes fuman y viajan con pistolas sin ningún problema, qué tiempos, ¿no? -Vestido de seda blanca: Una niña no puede dejar de entrar en la habitación de su difunta madre, pese a la prohibición de su abuela. Especialmente, se siente atraído por un vestido blanco muy bonito, y quiere enseñárselo a su mejor amiga. De este relato mola el que esté escrito con la voz infantil de la protagonista, y que no sepas bien bien qué esperar de él. De hecho el final es más o menos ambiguo, y creo que eso le beneficia un montón porque es más inquietante imaginarse lo que de verdad ha pasado en esa habitación y el destino que ha sufrido la pobre de su amiga. -Hijo de sangre: Jules es un niño muy particular. No tiene amigos, se inventa palabras y ha encontrado una nueva y extraña afición: releer compulsivamente el libro de Drácula y afirmar que de mayor quiere ser un vampiro. De las mejores historias del libro, Jules provoca una mezcla de compasión y rechazo, y el autor refleja muy bien esa espiral de locura en la que se mete y de la que sabes que muy probablemente no va a salir. El final es la bomba. -A través de los canales: Un niño explica lo que ha sucedido en su casa, propiciado por un extraño contenido que se transmitía a través de su televisor. También de las mejores, el formato de diálogo y cómo te cuentan lo sucedido te pone el vello de punta. En el libro pone que muchas de estas historias fueron adaptadas a episodios de The Twilight Zone y este sin duda es perfecto para ello, podría ser el fundador de creepypasta de hecho. -Guerra de brujas: Siete chicas adolescentes utilizan sus poderes para abatir al ejército enemigo durante la guerra. Bastante insípida, visualmente seguro que sería más chula que no en papel porque no da tiempo a desarrollar nada. Curiosa y ya. -Una casa enloquecida: Un escritor frustrado cada día está más enfadado porque toda su casa parece haberse vuelto en su contra. Tampoco es de las más destacables, aunque el concepto es original: el protagonista cada vez acumula más ira, y cuanto más lo hace, más le sale todo al revés: se le rompen las puntas de los lápices, el hilo dental, los cuchillos no cortan, las alfombras le resbalan cuando camina sobre ellas... Una alegoría sobre el círculo vicioso de la violencia y cómo acabamos afectando a nuestro entorno con nuestro carácter más que al revés. -El número de la desaparición: Un hombre adúltero empieza a darse cuenta de que la gente que conoce está desapareciendo, empezando por su amante. Pero no es solo que se esfumen, es que es como si nunca hubieran existido en primer lugar. Seguramente mi historia favorita, está muy bien hilado cómo empieza a desaparecer la gente y cómo sus allegados le toman por loco porque ellos no recuerdan a la gente que supuestamente existía y ya no lo hace. Perturbadora hasta decir basta y con un grandísimo final, aunque no puedo evitar escamarme un poco porque ya son dos historias seguidas de escritores frustrados que guardan rencor a sus esposas porque las consideran culpables de no haber alcanzado el éxito, hm. -Legión de conspiradores: Un hombre está convencido de que hay una legión que conspira para hacerle la vida imposible. Creo que muchos nos sentiríamos identificados con el protagonista, especialmente esos malos días en los que nos levantamos con el pie izquierdo y parece que todo el mundo se ha puesto de acuerdo para sacarnos de quicio, desde el bebé que llora a altas horas de la madrugada en el piso de al lado, el vecino que pone la música a toda pastilla o el pesado en el metro que no para de hacer ruido a nuestro lado. Aunque mejor no llegar a los extremos del protagonista, jajaja. -Llamada a larga distancia: Una anciana que no puede moverse de la cama empieza a recibir inquietantes llamadas en las que no se oye nada al otro lado, ni siquiera el tono de la línea... También muy buena, especialmente hacia el final. Nada da más miedo que llamadas en plena noche en las que no se oye nada, creo que Stephen King se inspiró muy mucho en ella para uno de sus propios relatos cortos. -La casa Slaughter: Dos hermanos compran una casa que lleva años abandonada, sin hacer caso a los rumores que dicen que está encantada. Al poco de mudarse allí, empiezan a presenciar fenómenos extraños. Historia de terror gótico bastante estándar, se hace un pelín larga. Me recordó un poco al cuento de los hermanos Grimm de las zapatillas rotas de las tres princesas. -Paja húmeda: Un hombre empieza a tener sueños muy vívidos sobre una granja, oliendo la paja húmeda sobre la que está tumbado y sintiendo la lluvia golpear el cristal de la ventana. ¿Son solo sueños o algo más? No llega a ocho páginas pero aun así te deja impresionado con ese final tan espectacular. Muy buena también. -El baile de los muertos: Un grupo de universitarios presencian un baile que está muy de moda entre los jóvenes y que no es apto para corazones sensibles. Escrita en 1954, me gustan este tipo de historias por la forma en la que los escritores utilizan su imaginación para dibujar un futuro, ya que esta historia está ubicada a finales de los noventa, después de una hipotética Tercera Guerra Mundial. Tiene una estética cyber-punk muy chula y el baile de EVA realmente da miedito, aunque no logré meterme mucho en su atmósfera. -Los Hijos de Noah: Un hombre sobrepasa el límite de velocidad mientras cruza de madrugada un pueblo diminuto en Maine. Tiene la mala suerte de que es detenido por la policía, pero para su sorpresa no se limitan a ponerle una multa sino que lo encierran en espera de recibir un castigo afín a su crimen. La historia es genial hasta ese final, que hoy en día no pasaría. Pero se publicó en 1957, así que las connotaciones racistas en aquella época no hubieran hecho pestañear a nadie. Aun así, esa sensación de que algo terrible está por llegar está muy lograda. -El Hombre de las Fiestas: Un hombre tiene un poder tan extraordinario como terrorífico: es capaz de ver el futuro con asombrosa claridad. La idea de base es buena, pero en poco más de cinco páginas no da tiempo a desarrollar nada decente, así que de las más flojas del libro. -Viejos Territorios: Un hombre decide volver a su antiguo apartamento de estudiante y hacer un tour por los recuerdos de su juventud. Esta me gustó mucho porque también es fácil sentirse identificado con el protagonista. La nostalgia es un arma de doble filo, porque es maravilloso poder recordar aquellos buenos momentos junto a nuestros amigos, amores pasados, locuras adolescentes que una vez vivimos, pero también es doloroso saber que nunca podremos volver a aquellos tiempos y que esa poderosa sensación de saber que tenemos todo el futuro por delante y de que hay millones de posibilidades frente a nosotros se ha convertido en un "mira lo que he hecho con mi vida". Tiene un poco de terror pero es más una historia psicológica sobre remordimientos y tristeza por la juventud perdida. -El distribuidor: Un hombre se muda a un nuevo barrio. Al poco, empiezan a sucederse todo tipo de conflictos entre los vecinos. Me hubiera gustado más si tuviera menos personajes, porque para un relato tan corto aprenderse los nombres de todos es muy farragoso y llega un momento que no sabes quién es quién, por lo que se me atragantó bastante. -Grillos: Un joven matrimonio disfruta de unas agradables vacaciones hasta que un extraño hombre les asegura que es capaz de descifrar el lenguaje de los grillos y que estos hablan de hombres y mujeres muertos que están preparando algo terrible. También está bastante lograda pese a su corta duración, aunque no me hubiera importado que durara un poco más. Un pelín previsible, pero chula. -Primer anivesario: Después de su primer aniversario, un hombre empieza a notar cosas extrañas en su mujer. Sabe diferente, huele diferente, el tacto es diferente. La idea está bien mientras cabe la posibilidad de que sea un problema psicológico del marido, luego el final es bastante meh. -El semblante de Julie: Un chico nunca se había fijado en su compañera de clase Julie hasta que un día se da cuenta de que no puede parar de pensar en ella. Ahora, está dispuesto a cualquier cosa con tal de tenerla. Muy desagradable, aun con el giro. No están las cosas hoy día como para leer algo así. -Presa: Amelia tiene el regalo perfecto para su novio, aficionado a la antropología: una figurita en la que supuestamente habita el espíritu de un temible cazador. Antes de darse cuenta, Julie se ha convertido en la presa del muñeco. Otra historia que seguramente ha inspirado a películas de terror posteriores, un muñeco corriendo por toda la casa tratando de cazar a la aterrorizada mujer. Se las arregla para ser trepidante y divertida, un buen cierre para la novela. Juzgar este tipo de libros es difícil porque al ser tantas historias es inevitable que unas sean mejores que otras, pero sí puedo decir que me lo he pasado muy bien leyéndolo y me alegro de haber probado por fin a Matheson, del que espero poder leer algo más en el futuro, algo más largo a ver si se le da tan bien como los relatos cortos.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bandit

    The one novel I read by Matheson before this has left enough of an impression to warrant checking out this collection and I'm so glad I did. These stories really showcase Matheson's most impressive talent and it's not so much for supernatural spookiness, though there is plenty of that, the author really shines when it comes to writing the dark deep secrets, the hidden sides of human nature. There were some genuinely terrifying stories in this collection about various ways to go mad, about losing The one novel I read by Matheson before this has left enough of an impression to warrant checking out this collection and I'm so glad I did. These stories really showcase Matheson's most impressive talent and it's not so much for supernatural spookiness, though there is plenty of that, the author really shines when it comes to writing the dark deep secrets, the hidden sides of human nature. There were some genuinely terrifying stories in this collection about various ways to go mad, about losing your hold on the tenuous reality of things and slipping through. In simple and sparse, yet all the more effective for it, prose, Matheson creates really moving and disturbing tales, he excels at dread, exceeds at unsettling. This is a really great collection, highly recommended for any horror fan.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carol Storm

    A hero from my childhood -- Richard Matheson wrote "Steel," my favorite Twilight Zone episode, plus he wrote the book that inspired the classic movie "The Omega Man" with Charlton Heston and Anthony Zerbe! I just had to read "Prey" because I remember screaming along with Karen Black in "Trilogy of Terror" as the Zuni doll chased her all around her apartment. My favorite stories were "Blood Son" and "Dress of White Silk." Great American horror!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    There are some great Matheson classics in this volume! The man is one of the best, in my opinion. My favorites, though it's hard to pick just a few, are Blood Son, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, and Prey. This is more of a 4.5 stars, but I guess I'll go with 4. I highly recommend this book!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Itziar

    Hay alguna historia que es un poco mediocre, pero por lo general son geniales.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emilia

    Charles Beaumont is still #1 for me, but enjoyable nonetheless.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rab Araujo

    Será por que en realidad me considero un lector casual a la hora de los cuentos o relatos cortos (situación que estoy intentando cambiar) que las historias cortas de Matheson me han dejado genuinamente embelesado. Conocía su trabajo previo en novela (Soy leyenda) pero se muy bien que su obra de mayor reconocimiento de encuentra en los relatos cortos. Inspirando a cientos, entre ellos el propio King, quien de hecho da la introducción de esta joya, por fin entiendo el alcance y tamaño de su peculia Será por que en realidad me considero un lector casual a la hora de los cuentos o relatos cortos (situación que estoy intentando cambiar) que las historias cortas de Matheson me han dejado genuinamente embelesado. Conocía su trabajo previo en novela (Soy leyenda) pero se muy bien que su obra de mayor reconocimiento de encuentra en los relatos cortos. Inspirando a cientos, entre ellos el propio King, quien de hecho da la introducción de esta joya, por fin entiendo el alcance y tamaño de su peculiar imaginación. Son historias orquestadas con sutileza y brillantez, originales y con todos los toques modernos que lo hacen de fácil lectura y entendimiento. Algunos son extremadamente cortos pero sublimes a la hora de entregar y generar el miedo. Su trabajo es lúgubre y raya ciertamente en lo maldito. Si quieren leer algo refrescante puede que Richard Matheson sea para ustedes. Sin mencionar que esta edición de editorial Valdemar en formato Club diógenes es ideal para leer en cualquier lado mientras te das vuelta te tapas y te destapas en la noche por no poder detener tu lectura a pesar de que pasen de las 3 am (true story). Very Very good.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Иван Величков

    Направо не мога да повярвам, че чак сега попадам на нещо написано от Ричард Матисън. Половината от двадесетте истории в книгата са филмирани в „Зоната на здрача”, „Властелините на ужаса” и „Трилогия на ужаса”. Писателят не един път е вдъхновявал самия Стивън Кинг, както става ясно от прекрасния предговор написан от Краля. Ричард Матисън е наричан от феновете бащата на модерния хорър (майката на модерния хорър трябва да е била голяма разпоретина, щом толкова години не може да се установи бащата). Направо не мога да повярвам, че чак сега попадам на нещо написано от Ричард Матисън. Половината от двадесетте истории в книгата са филмирани в „Зоната на здрача”, „Властелините на ужаса” и „Трилогия на ужаса”. Писателят не един път е вдъхновявал самия Стивън Кинг, както става ясно от прекрасния предговор написан от Краля. Ричард Матисън е наричан от феновете бащата на модерния хорър (майката на модерния хорър трябва да е била голяма разпоретина, щом толкова години не може да се установи бащата). Краткият, точен и непретенциозен изказ на Матисън откъсва читателя от персоната на разказвача и го потапя директно в взривяващото действие на историите. Ужасът не се натрупва, както при други класически автори, а те удря като ток и заминава. Ричард нестабилно балансира на линията между психически ненормалното и паранормалното, като лашка читателя изненадващо и в двете крайности, а финалите винаги изненадват. Nightmare at 20,000 Feet: История, която всеки любител на жанра е гледал в пълнометражния филм „Зоната на здрача” от 80 години. В разказа, обаче до края не става ясно има ли гремлин на крилото или пасажера е луднал. Финала също е различен и доста болен. Dress of White Silk: Мама е най-красивата и има най-бялата рокля, само посмейте да не се съгласите. Blood Son: Едно отхвърлено хлапе което много, ама много иска да е вампир. Дали ще му се получи? Through Channels: Полицейски разпит на едно хлапе станало свидетел на чудовищното избиване на семейството му. А обръщате ли внимание на рекламите по телевизията? Witch War: Болна паранормална история, за един нетипичен метод на водене на война. Mad House: Разкошен! Един вечно недоволен нереализирал се писател, чийто гняв се натрупва в къщата му, докато един ден... Disappearing Act: Това си го спомням от „Зоната на здрача.” Един по един хората от живота на главния герой започват да изчезват, все едно никога не са съществували, докато осъзнава, че накрая ще изчезне и той. Legion of Plotters: Един обикновен човечец вярва, че има заговор срещу него. Всички искат да му вдигат нервите, докато една сутрин не изплясква тотално. Long Distance Call: Също от „Зоната на здрача.” Една повредена телефонна линия не престава да звъни. Техниците казаха, че жицата е паднала в гобищата. ИДВАМ! Slaughter House: Класическа история с обитавана къща. Ще успеят ли двамата братя с помощта на взаимната си обич, да се измъкнат от лапите на призраците? Wet Straw: Кратък, велик и с ебахти финала. На някой да му мирише на мокра слама? Dance of the Dead: Брутална пост-апокалиптична гротеска. След вирусна война, един от щамовете предизвиква пост-мортални конвулсии в труповете. Хората използват телата на заразените за забавление по баровете. The Children of Noah: Един мъж е спрян за превишена скорост в малко градче. Полицията се държи странно и няма никой по улиците. Да ви звучи познато? The Holiday Man: Разкошна миниатюра, толкова е добра, че все едно я е писал Явор Цанев. Местния вестник винаги познава колко хора ще загинат по празниците. Как го правят? Old Haunts: Носталгична история за завръщането на един мъж на средна възраст в колежанско градче. Някой го следи, някой който не го иска обратно. The Distributor: Ако Кинг не е взел идеята за „Неизживени спомени” от тук, аз ще си сменя името на Густав. На една тиха и задружна улица се заселва нов съсед. С малки и добре премислени действия, за по-малко от месец, успява да отприщи ада върху съседите си. Всичко свършва с убийства, самоубийства, изселваня и кръвни вражди. Време е да ссе премести. Crickets: Настръхваща история. Младо семейство среща странен чешит по време на почивката си. Той твърди, че щурците имат код, в който казват имената на хора, които ще загинат скоро. След този разказ щурците, никога вече няма да са същите. First Anniversary: Е няма такъв финал. Не мога да вкусвам и помирисвам жена си, само нея. В мен ли е проблема? The Likeness of Julie: Брутален, социопатичен и също филмиран. Едно хлапе започва да харесва съоченичка, нездравото привличане се изражда в среща с изнасилване, но... Prey: Внимавайте с африканските ловни кукли фетиши, имат навика да оживяват. Също силен и неочакван финал, също филмирано.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Xavi Reixach

    Cada vez que leo algo de este autor más fascinado me deja. No solo por la calidad de sus relatos o novelas, sino por el hecho de tratarse de un autor que escribió lo relatos que tengo entre manos hace más de 50 años! En este caso, se trata de una recopilación de 20 relatos escritos en la década de 1950-1960, y son una gran muestra de lo que Matheson era capaz de hacer. La mayoría me han parecido buenos, otros muy buenos, y algunos una auténtica obra de arte del terror. Si tuviera que escoger, me q Cada vez que leo algo de este autor más fascinado me deja. No solo por la calidad de sus relatos o novelas, sino por el hecho de tratarse de un autor que escribió lo relatos que tengo entre manos hace más de 50 años! En este caso, se trata de una recopilación de 20 relatos escritos en la década de 1950-1960, y son una gran muestra de lo que Matheson era capaz de hacer. La mayoría me han parecido buenos, otros muy buenos, y algunos una auténtica obra de arte del terror. Si tuviera que escoger, me quedaría con el número de la desaparición, un relato in crescendo con un final que te deja con la sensación de estar en manos de un autor que es capaz de hacer contigo lo que quiera. Pero no podría dejar de destacar Pesadilla a 20.000 pies, relato que da título a la novela y con la que se abre el libro, que me trae gratos recuerdos de infancia/adolescencia cuando empezaba a hacer mis primeros pinitos con las películas de terror....O La Casa Slaughter, Grillos, el Distribuidor, Paja húmeda, Legión de Conspiradores, etc... No soy muy fan de los libros que recopilan relatos, pero guardo este como un imprescindible y a Matheson le reservo un lugar en mi podio personal de autores de terror.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brian Fagan

    Yet another example of what's wrong with the literary academic community in this world. While everyone gets wet in the pants at the mention of Faulkner, Hemingway, Fitzgerald and their great contribution to the world of letters, they bypass people like Matheson who wrote some of the most perfect short stories ever written. If you want to learn how to write a short story, read this book.

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