Selected by: Herbert van Thal

First published by Pan Books in 1959 / Reprinted: 2017

296 pages


Pan Book of Horror StoriesHaving released their first mass-market paperback in 1947 (Ten Stories by Rudyard Kipling), publishing giants Pan are this year celebrating their 70th anniversary with a series of reissues of their most popular and iconic titles. Piquing my interest among the twenty classics receiving a new lease of life was a reprint of the first ever volume of collected horror stories; 22 macabre tales from authors renowned (Bram Stoker, Peter Fleming, C.S. Forester) and unheard of.

… Keep Scuttling!

Critters (Amazon Prime Review)

15 – 85mins – 1986



The Brown family’s rural Kansas farmhouse is about to become the chomping ground of a horde of hungry, malevolent alien vermin in this quintessentially 80s sci-fi/horror comedy, which plays out like Gremlins meets Ghoulies – with a multitude of iconic pop culture references thrown in for good measure!

… Keep Scuttling!

Zombeavers (DVD Review)

15 – 78mins – 2014



Much like schlocky Syfy fare such as Sharknado, Lavalantula and Megashark vs Crocosaurus, the title of co-writer/director Jordan Rubin’s film debut leaves you in no doubt as to the preposterous nonsense in store for horror-comedy fans who lodge Zombeavers in their DVD players. Sadly, even alert to the absurdities that awaited me and open to taking nothing seriously, I was still enormously dissatisfied with the moronic mutant madness which played out over a mercifully meagre runtime.

… Keep Scuttling!

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (Film Review)

Image result for the autopsy of jane doe

18 – 86mins – 2016



Troll Hunter director André Øvredal breaks out with this sickening-but-slick and stylish supernatural shocker, his first English-language feature.

… Keep Scuttling!

CARNIVORE Release Day!


Can a ride on THE ROAD TO HELL turn the principles of a strict vegetarian upside down?

On the first day of advent your good CR@B gave to thee… news of a festive short story you can download for FREE!

That’s right folks, December 1st 2016 marks not only the first door you get to open on your advent calendar but also the Book Birthday of my first ever officially published eBook!

img_2090Carnivore is a Christmas horror story with added BITE and it is available to download and loan from Suffolk Libraries’ Overdrive website for all who own a library card. A direct link to the book’s page is HERE and a list of installation instructions for the app and all compatible tablets, smartphones, eReaders and PCs is HERE.

I realise this method is a little restrictive to those who live further afield, but as a first step towards publication I am majorly chuffed that an example of my fiction is out there to be DEVOURED by the hungry masses…

Happy Horror-days!

Cooties (DVD Review)

Image result for cooties movie

15 – 84mins – 2015



“Circle, circle, dot, dot: now you have a cooties shot.”

After graduating from The Faculty in 1998, Elijah Wood now finds himself battling another supernatural threat on American academia, albeit from the opposite side of the staff room door. A batch of contaminated chicken nuggets turn the prepubescent summer schoolers attending Illinois’ Fort Chicken Elementary into flesh-craving ghouls. Seems Jamie Oliver was right to crack down on school dinners all along!

… Keep Scuttling!

Ratman (DVD Review)

18 – 82mins – 1988


I was compelled to sniff out this trashy 80’s Italian slasher after listening to uproarious podcast The 80s PictureHouse savagely maul it to death on day four of their recent “12 Days of Crapmas” series. How could a gore-fest about an escaped rat-monkey hybrid – played by the smallest actor in the world, The Island of Dr. Moreau’s Nelson de la Rosa – not be an insanely entertaining, if tasteless, guilty pleasure?!

Sadly, not even gratuitous nudity and genre stalwarts David Warbeck (The Beyond), Eva Grimaldi and Janet Agren (City of the Living Dead) can save director Giuliano Carnimeo’s exploitation abomination from single-star shame. I’m sure a combination of booze and buddies would lead to a riotous viewing experience (at the film, rather than with it), but sober and alone I was all too aware of the dubious effects, lame production values, logic-void script and atrocious dubbing!

But Ratman’s biggest crime is its scandalous underuse of its trump card. Pint-sized de la Rosa surely is the film, yet for the entire first half of this diminutive sub-90minute creature feature, he is granted less than a minute’s screen time!! And when he eventually is seen in all his 72cm glory (emerging from a toilet bowl, no less), the shoddy make-up job presents him as a joke (abnormally giant rodent gnashes being the worst offenders) rather than the uncanny, scurrying murderous mutant maniac “Mousey” is.

So it’s a parody, then, fully embracing its grotesque wackiness? Well… no. Because despite seemingly basking in the ludicrousness of it all – and employing an ingeniously revolting tagline: “He’s the Critter from the Shitter” – Ratman is played straight, preferring to gross us out with profuse video nasty-grade slaughter rather than hamming up the surreal angle. Therefore any ham is unintentional and clearly a fault of the lacklustre budget and *ahem* talents of those behind the lens.

The fact the long-unreleased region 2 DVD is distributed by a company called Shameless Screen Entertainment should have been a big enough hint (even they gamely rip it to shreds on the blurb). Podcast presenters and cheesy film aficionados Dave and Thom also did their utmost to warn listeners away from this forgotten stinker. But like a rodent to cheese I was drawn in like a salivating patsy… and sadly struck by the trap.

D-rat, man!

CR@B Verdict: 1 star