Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Considerate Hosts

December issue 1939.
Thorp McClusky wrote The Considerate Hosts. It first appeared in 1939 in the December issue of the pulps’ “Weird Tales.” McClusky was a free-lance writer who published 40 short stories in the 1930s and 40s.

His stories were often published in The Pulps, which I write about here.

McClusky wrote in the horror genre and most of his stories were about zombies, vampires, and ghosts. He also occasionally wrote westerns and mysteries.

His most well-known titles include: Loot of Vampires--published in book form in 1975, The Crawling Horror, 1936, The Considerate Hosts, 1936, and White Zombies Walked, 1939, which the film Revenge of the Zombies, 1943 starring John Carradine was based upon.

I first read The Considerate Hosts in Bennett Cerf’s The Modern Library collection of ghost stories entitled, Famous Ghost Stories. I share some of Cerf’s quotes from this book, here.

McClusky avoids the flowery language that many of The Pulps writers indulged in.

The Considerate Hosts is a story that the reader remembers. McClusky’s writing is effortless which reflects a writer who mastered his craft.

Stranded in a Storm

Marvin, the main character in this story is driving home at midnight in torrential rain. A patrolman stops him and tells him the bridge up ahead is washed out.

He then takes a detour on an unknown dirt road that has turned to mud. His car engine dies and he is forced to seek shelter.

He spots an old house with its lights on and knocks on the door.

There is something odd about the couple that answers, their cold rudeness, their antiquated phone, and then their confession...

What ensues next is a story with many plot twists, which includes: ghosts seeking revenge, redemption and a surprise ending that provides justice for all.

This story has been published numerous times. It can be found in the following two collections:

The Big Book of Ghost Stories, By Otto Penzler, here.

Short & Scary Thrillers, by Rebecca Rizzo, here.

The Bennett Cerf collection Famous Ghost Stories published in 1944 is still available for purchase but it is expensive. 

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