Ginger Nuts of Horror
Hospitals are scary enough, what with super bugs, hiding in every nook and cranny, sick people letting their nasty germs run rampant to mate with the super bugs hiding in the nooks and crannies to create an even stronger version of a superbug, to the nasty Matron, ever ready with a cold thermometer, for your own personal nook and cranny. It's no wonder that these disinfectant smelling buildings of death fill most wise people with dread.
Which is probably why horror maestro John LLewellyn Probert decided to set his Lovecraftian themed adventure horror novella in such a place. The only thing that could make a many tentacled monstrosity from another dimension is the threat of visit from the matron in the middle of the night......
Arthur Lipscomb is a bit a of dick, yes he is homeless destitute, riddled with cancer, really wanting to bring otherworldly destruction on planet earth is a bit extreme, surely a strong worded letter to The Daily Mail would have been enough? But no he wants the world to burn at the hands of pan-dimensional beings. A chance encounter with a dying priest and a book so nasty that it gives the Necronomicon a run for its money. All is going well for Arthur, he has found the right place at the right astronomical time, and has just enough blood left in him to paint the esoterical symbols required for the ritual, but when he is discovered just before he can finish it, and rushed to hospital, it seems that we are all saved from a nasty death.
Rushed to hospital that is so run down it surely must feature in the top 5 places you don’t want to be taken to when ill, it looks as though we are all saved from a fate worse than death. But that wouldn’t be any fun, now would it? So thanks to an overworked set of medical staff, and a rather lacklustre security protocol it isn’t long before Arthur is up to his mischievous ways and finally manages to bring hell onto earth. And as is the tradition in such great horror stories the hospital is soon cut of from the rest of the planet and is slowly but surely being transformed into some Lovecraftian / Clark Ashton Smith version of Dante’’s circles of Hell.
Its up to our three heroes to save the day, overworked, out of their depth and completely unaware at what they really face can they save us, or will they die trying to converse the alien landscape that is now their hospital and the monstrous denizens that now inhabit the corridors.
Dead Shift is above all a brilliant fun filled read. John Llewellyn Probert’s novella is a joy to read, mischievous, and filled with tongue in cheek references to many of horror’s most clichéd tropes. The sense of fun undercuts the fantastic descriptions of alien terror and death perfectly, which allows the story to remain light-hearted despite some of the horrific images that Probert paints within the pages.
John’s description of the encroaching alien world and the multitude of monsters that reside there are crafted with wilful glee, from alien fungi, to giant insects and even nastier tiny insects you will love twisted and terrifying nature of the this world.
The playfulness is carried on through to the three heroes and their interaction with each other and the horrors that they encounter. With clever dialogue and some perfect world weary characterisation Probert gives us an honest insight into the mind-set of an overworked NHS worker.
Dead Shift is almost cinematic in it’s execution, with the narrative structure, plot developments and amazing descriptive passages all written in Technicolor glory you Dead Shift is screaming out for a film adaptation. In fact you can picture Caroline Munro Doug McClure and Shane Briant wondering the halls of Northcote Hospital.
And yet depsite the playfulness of the story Probert still manages to give the story a heart and soul, even though Lipscomb is tryiung to destroy the earth you can’t help but feel for him. A sort of Aqualung for the horror crowd, “feeling like a dead duck, spitting out pieces of his broken luck.|
Inventive, fun and highy entertaining Dead Shift has set the bar extremly high for all future novellas from Horrific Tales
Nobody Likes Going to Hospital
They thought the old man was harmless. Just another tramp found collapsed in an abandoned housing estate. At Northcote Hospital they put him in a bed and let him keep the strange old book he insisted on clutching.
Nobody Likes Having to Stay In
Three friends worring through the night at Northcote Hospital are about to experience the worst shift of their lives, trapped inside the building as creatures undreamed of in their worst nightmares begin to crawl from the walls in a bid to make the place their own.
And Nobody Wants to Die There
Soon everyone and everything in Northcote Hospital will be changed. Will anyone be able to stop the evil worming its way through the building? Or will the horror escape to infect the planet?
Where the worst thing in this world is nothing compared to what’s lurking just outside it