After a bizarre and disturbing incident at the funeral of matriarch Marian Savage, the McCray and Savage families look forward to a restful and relaxing summer at Beldame, on Alabama's Gulf Coast, where three Victorian houses loom over the shimmering beach. Two of the houses are habitable, while the third is slowly and mysteriously being buried beneath an enormous dune of blindingly white sand. But though long uninhabited, the third house is not empty. Inside, something deadly lies in wait. Something that has terrified Dauphin Savage and Luker McCray since they were boys and which still haunts their nightmares. Something horrific that may be responsible for several terrible and unexplained deaths years earlier - and is now ready to kill again....
A haunted house story unlike any other, Michael McDowell's The Elementals (1981) was one of the finest novels to come out of the horror publishing explosion of the 1970s and '80s. Though best known for his screenplays for Tim Burton's Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas, McDowell is now being rediscovered as one of the best modern horror writers and a master of Southern Gothic literature. This edition of McDowell's masterpiece of terror features a new introduction by award-winning horror author Michael Rowe. McDowell's first novel, the grisly and darkly comic The Amulet (1979), is also available from Valancourt Books.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Sophie on 29-11-16
Fantastic Characters, Chilling Story, Excellent Narrator
If you love suspense, horror and the supernatural but can't stand a slow build up, this book is for you. By making you love the characters, it moves the story along without you noticing and makes you feel like something is about to happen at any moment.
Some genuinely funny moments as well, enhanced by the performers excellent southern drawl. Please listen to this- it's a superb piece of writing.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
By Kaggy on 17-11-16
Superbly creepy listen - highly recommended
I had never heard of this author but when I read that he was highly rated by Stephen King I really had to give this a listen. I was certainly not disappointed. This is like a Roger Corman film, scripted by Tennessee Williams and with elements of The Shining thrown in. From the very beginning, which opens with a very peculiar funeral, you know you are in store for something strange and genuinely disturbing, but what makes this exceptional are the vivid characters in the two families and their beguiling history.
I loved R C Bray reading The Martian and he gives another excellent performance here. Overall this is a real treat for fans of horror, American Gothic and almost anybody who likes a thumping good story.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Uber Femme on 28-06-18
Solid Haunted House Book - and that's rare!
It seems such a difficult thing to find a good haunted house book. They must be very difficult to write - there are more POS haunted house books on the market than any other genre I've found.
This is what I think it takes (authors please take note) to write a good haunted house book:
- A decent backstory (probably the least amount of creativity required for this - really, 'an eccentric aunt leaves you a house' works just fine)
- Interesting, well-developed characters (who say and do at least *a few* original things. The Dead Aunt can be one-dimensional, but the new hauntee needs to be well-developed)
- Pacing (steady build-up of tension and supernatural events); and a solid ending (so many fail here).
The Elementals does all of this very well. It's among the best haunted house books I know - not as scary as I'm searching for (still haven't found a legitimately scary one), but it stands head and shoulders above its fellows.
I'll be looking for more books by the same author.
PS, Check out The Good House by Tananarive Due. It meets the above criteria as well.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
By Dana Minyard on 10-07-16
Amazing novel by an all but forgotten author.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Just a small warning: there is a prologue in the original novel missing in this supposed unabridged audio version, which - in my opinion - is essential to the story.
Nevertheless, this is without a doubt one of the finest novels of the supernatural I have ever read. I recommend this highly. I read my own somewhat tattered paperback original every year, and will likely continue to do so.
63 of 71 people found this review helpful