THE CULT OF THE HEADLESS MEN by Orrin Grey (Dunhams Manor Press)
THE CULT OF THE HEADLESS MEN (or THE CULT OF HEADLESS MEN, depending) is a limited (to 150) horror novelette in the olden tradition of the weird; and it’s a fucking blast. Taking place in the ‘60s, Kirby Marsh is a film producer determined to ride the cusp of the British Horror boom (think Hammer Horror). He’s pretty much Roger Corman, which should make several of you excited immediately. We follow him to a friend’s family Manor in England, where Kirby has hopes to film several films. What begins as a short history of the place ends with some incredibly awesome cult action, ancient science and the dark arts, noises in the distance on cold, damn nights, and a terrible secret in the old family crypt.
This book is short, but what it lacks in length it makes up for in atmosphere, chills, and sharp imagery. Orrin is a master wordsmith in top form, conjuring vibes and creating scenes that recollect the weird horror writers of the 1920’s and 30’s. It’s dripping with a classic horror tension and mood that is rarely played with anymore. But he blends that with this 60’s vibe. Many awesome references to 60’s B films and all the Roger Corman-isms you could want. I loved this book. I will be seeking out more Orrin Grey and devouring it as quickly as I can, because this shit is gold.
The title is actually THE CULT OF HEADLESS MEN, but due to a typo the cover says THE CULT OF THE HEADLESS MEN, which the author is quick to explain in the Author’s Note. When they discovered that this had happened, it seems almost too perfect, given all the films produced in that era with names on posters and promotional material that are just slightly off from what the film says. It’s amazing that they kept that in, as a nod to the spirit of the B movie. The cover art is actually what prompted me to check this book out. Michael Bukowski worked some serious magic on this cover, and it so perfectly captures the delightfully fun horrors within. As far as I know, there are still copies available, so please do yourself a favor and check this out before they are all gone! You’ll be happy you did. (Sam Richard)