Dark Mirages Edited by Paul Kane. Book review

Dark Mirages Edited by Paul Kane, PS Publishing,h/b £20, Signed h/b £40, Website

Reviewed by Matthew Johns

Dark Mirages is a collection of mostly unmade horror film or TV treatments and scripts from a selection of luminaries including Stephen Gallagher, Stephen Laws and Muriel Gray.

The collection opens with a treatment for Hellraiser HRXX End of the World written by Smith and Jones, which brings Pinhead and the Cenobites into the 21st century and pays great tribute to Clive Barker’s creations. A cult run by a successful businessman stalks the streets of London, taking people to use in their ritual magick. A strange book that appears to be bound in human skin turns up, and then someone in the cult is given a strange puzzle box and the Cenobites are unleashed once again.

Stephen Gallagher’s BBC Dracula script introduces us to a slightly different Dracula – still vicious and cold, but while he still has an aversion to sunlight, it doesn’t immediately turn him to dust. He still drinks blood, mesmerises mortals and moves to London to build a new vampiric empire.

Axelle Carolyn’s The Last Post is the only entry that actually made it onto celluloid (a short film, starring Jean Marsh). A beautiful, haunting tale of lovers from the First World War who never met but are reunited in death.

My favourite in the collection has to be Dead Man’s Hand, by Stephen Laws, a TV movie that was sadly never made. A family are renovating a house in a coastal town, and after a mysterious pair of ivory dice are found on a nearby beach, a presence awakens in the house. Laws builds the tension fantastically, keeping the reader on the edge of the seat as strange occurrences happen. Builders have accidents, an unseen presence prowls the house, bad dreams haunt the wife, and the family dog goes missing.

Whether you’re an avid fan of horror movies, or just enjoy the occasional bit of terrifying cinematic blood-letting, this excellent and eclectic collection won’t disappoint. It’ll thrill, it’ll chill and you’ll want to read it with the lights on.

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