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The Haunt of Fear, Vol. 1

The EC Archives: The Haunt of Fear Volume 1The EC Archives: The Haunt of Fear Volume 1 by Al Feldstein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The stories in this collected volume of one of EC’s famous horror comics may be cheesy and trite by today’s standards, but I loved them. They’re short and to the point, often running 5-7 pages and never outstaying their welcome. Interestingly, each issue also includes a short, two-page tale in prose as well. Most of the stories center on bad people getting their supernatural comeuppance, often from beyond the grave. A few delve into something deeper, like the surreal inevitability of “Nightmare,” in which a man keeps dreaming he’s being buried alive until he can no longer tell what’s real and what’s not, to tragic ends; the terror of the unexplained in “House of Horror,” in which college pranksters disappear without a trace in a supposedly haunted house until one is found having aged fifty years; and the strangely poetic in “Seeds of Death,” in which a murder victim’s pocketful of gardenia seeds blossoms to mark where his body has been secretly buried.

Roughly halfway through the collection, the Vault-Keeper from EC’s THE VAULT OF HORROR and the Crypt-Keeper from TALES FROM THE CRYPT join THE HAUNT OF FEAR’S Old Witch to guest-host some of the stories, which gives the book a fun, family-reunion feeling. All in all, this volume is a great time for anyone interested in EC’s classic and highly influential horror comics.

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