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Ancient Images Hardcover – May 1989


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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1 St UK edition (May 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684190818
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684190815
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.5 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,360,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cavaliers4Ever on 7 Aug 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is one of Ramsey Campbell's earlier novels and, therefore, in my opinion, almost bound to be better than his newer work, in which he rather seems to have lost his way. I tend to the view that his style is better suited to short horror stories anyway - see, e.g. "Alone With The Horrors" for some really scary stuff - his full length novels do tend to run out of steam and he doesn't build characters/backgrounds as well as, e.g. Stephen King. That said, this book is a satisfying read with a real set of horror villains and everything is well tied together. There are also some genuinely claustrophobic scenes of the sort Ramsey Campbell writes particularly well.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jane Aland VINE VOICE on 2 April 2004
Format: Hardcover
Ancient Images starts with an investigation into a 'lost' British horror film, which has left all who've come into contact with it either dead or living in fear. The film itself isn't supernatural however, but acts as a hook to lead the heroine to the cursed village of Redfield...
This novel starts excellently, as one of the heroine's friends dies before her eyes, with her subsequent investigation into the film uncovering disturbing clues pointing towards an isolated village. The Wicker Man seems to be a (perhaps too) strong influence during the novels latter half, with an isolated farming community relying on regular blood sacrifices to appease the land, and a charismatic and seemingly helpful Lord of the Manor who in reality hides a dreadful secret.
After a strong start however, the novel begins to get a little repetitive, and while the initial moments of the heroine catching glimpses of menacing scarecrow-like figures out of the corner of her eye are disturbing, after a couple of hundred pages of it you get impatient for the novel's 'bogey-men' to do more than just loom menacingly off-stage. The climax is also rather unspectacular, with the decision to have the demise of what is ostensibly the lead villain occur 'off-screen' a particular letdown.
This is still a reasonably enjoyable and effective horror novel, but Ancient Images fails to build to the satisfying climax it should. Reasonable, but not in the same league as Campbell's best work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JK TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Sep 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A book of two halves and the first half is by far the best.

The plot follows Sandy Allan to a screening of a lost horror film, starring no less than Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, she's going to watch the only remaining copy of the film. First question; why wasn't the film shown to the public when completed? Second question; what happened to the other copies? Unfortunately, for Sandy Allan, the surviving copy of the movie also disappears which leads her on a journey to discover just exactly what's going on.

Ramsay Campbell leads Sandy Allan from the comfort of a film screening to the weird and wonderful town of Redfield which legend states has been drenched in blood from an ancient massacre. Was it? Is the soil so fertile because of long buried and forgotten bodies or is there something else?

Plenty of secrets, lies, smoke and mirrors to keep you hooked but; Campbell seems to lose sight of the horror elements and the plot changes into a type of 'Children of the Corn/The Ring' scenario (I'm not giving anything away by telling you that) and it's all a bit predictable and loses much it it's tension. I'd guessed the 'secret' behind the missing film and it's connection with the town of Redfield long before Campbell's big reveal.

Problem is; this isn't a new book and was previously published in hardback in 1989. Our expectations of the horror genre have changed so much in the past 20+ years and these themes have been done to death since that time. I'm a fan of Campbell and it's disappointing to read one of his novels that's now so dated however; the first half of the novel has stood the test of time better than the second. There are glimpses of that real Campbell 'creepy nastiness' poking through from time to time but this isn't his best novel and the years haven't been kind to Ancient Images.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 Jan 2003
Format: Hardcover
Ancient Images is a wonderful horror novel, more than making up for a few plot flaws with an incredible atmosphere which slowly pulls you further and further into the story. The novel offers a terrific "hook" that many horror aficionados such as myself are almost powerless to resist: the search for a lost, almost mythical horror movie starring both Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. The film, Tower of Fear, has never been seen, and the rumors surrounding its filming speak of strange happenings and almost ghostly events which supposedly frightened many of the crew and cast so badly that no one even cared that the final product essentially disappeared from the face of the earth before anyone could see it. Now, however, one professional movie buff (Graham) has found a copy after years of searching for it. He invites his friend, film editor Sandy Allan, to see its unveiling at his apartment, but when Sandy arrives, the film is gone. She is then horrified to see her friend jump from the roof of the adjacent building and plunge to his death. When a pompous film critic derides her late friend's quest for a movie that he says never existed, Sandy sets herself the task of finding the movie and vindicating her friend's claims. All she has to go on is a list of contacts Graham made in his search, consisting mainly of men who worked on the film in some capacity. She travels all over the countryside trying to speak to these contacts, finding herself rebuffed by some but increasingly finding more and more evidence of the fear that still haunts the minds of the cast and crew 50 years after the film was made.Read more ›
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