The Satyr’s Head – Tales Of Terror Selected by David A. Sutton. Book review

THE SATYR’S HEAD – TALES OF TERROR, Selected by David A. Sutton, Shadow Publishing, s/b, no price stated, www.davidasutton.co.uk

Reviewed by Matthew Johns

A selection of chilling tales almost 40 years old, this reprint of a 1975 Corgi Books anthology is a relic of times gone by.  The ten tales owe a lot to the likes of Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected – the horror is left to the reader’s imagination, rather than explicitly portrayed in print as has proven to be so popular of recent times.

While the overall themes haven’t changed in almost 40 years, the way that they are depicted has – dramatically in some of the stories.  The titular ‘The Satyr’s Head’ is one such tale – it merely hints at homosexuality and that a character may be that way inclined, but 37 years ago, homosexuality was not something openly discussed.  A young man on his way to catch a bus meets a tramp afflicted with terrible sores, who sells him a stone satyr’s head that he claims to have found on the moors.  The young man is strangely attracted to it, and soon begins having strange dreams in which he is raped and sexually abused by the satyr.  Not long after, he starts to find himself feeling sick with strange aches, rashes and sores appearing on his face and body.

In another, cannibal brothers prey on unwary travellers in an unnamed American town until one of them meets a sticky end.  Another tells about Fred – a lonely man in a bar somewhere, who seems to be all but invisible to his fellow drinkers until he disappears in front of one of them.

If you’re tired of the torture porn and horror that leaves nothing to the imagination, then check out The Satyr’s Head – it’s likely that you’ll find solace in these tales from yesteryear.