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The Face That Must Die [Paperback]

By Ramsey Campbell, J. K. Potter (Illustrator) & Poppy Z. Brite (Introduction by)
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Item description for The Face That Must Die by Ramsey Campbell, J. K. Potter & Poppy Z. Brite...

Ramsey Campbell's daring look into the mind of a psychotic killer was published in truncated form in 1979; an expanded edition was later published in 1982. The paranoid outlook of the book's main character, Horridge, is a grim commentary on a bleak Liverpool suburb and Thatcher-era England. Millipede Press is proud to present this masterpiece of paranoia literature in a brand new edition, with the corrected text by Campbell and the compelling photographs of J.K. Potter.

Ramsey Campbell is Britain's most respected living horror writer. He has been given more awards than any other writer in the field, including the Grand Master Award of the World Horror Convention and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Horror Writers Asssociation, as well as numerous World Fantasy Awards.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   301
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 2006
Publisher   Millipede Press
ISBN  1933618027  
ISBN13  9781933618029  

Availability  0 units.

More About Ramsey Campbell, J. K. Potter & Poppy Z. Brite

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ramsey Campbell has won more awards than any other living author of horror or dark fantasy, including four World Fantasy Awards, nine British Fantasy Awards, three Bram Stoker Awards, and two International Horror Guild Awards. Critically acclaimed both in the US and in England, Campbell is widely regarded as one of the genre's literary lights for both his short fiction and his novels. His classic novels, such as "The Face that Must Die, The Doll Who Ate His Mother," and" The Influence," set new standards for horror as literature. His collection, "Scared Stiff," virtually established the subgenre of erotic horror.
Ramsey Campbell's works have been published in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, and several other languages. He has been President of the British Fantasy Society and has edited critically acclaimed anthologies, including "Fine Frights," Campbell's best known works in the US are "Obsession, Incarnate, Midnight Sun, "and" Nazareth Hill,"

Ramsey Campbell was born in 1946.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Horror Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( B ) > Brite, Poppy Z.
2Books > Subjects > Horror Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( C ) > Campbell, J. Ramsey
3Books > Subjects > Horror Fiction > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Face That Must Die?

Classic...  Aug 17, 2007
Ramsey Campbell has one of the most distinct voices in modern horror. He transcends the membrane between literary fiction and genre fiction. Many horror authors consider The Face That Must Die one of the best horror novels of all time, and that alone makes it worth reading.

It's not quite what you expect. The thing that most people find so disquieting is that it is told largely from the killer's point of view. Poppy Z. Brite likens it to Graham Greene's Brighton Rock. Campbell points out that (because of this) the novel is as much crime fiction as it is horror.

The thing about the killer is that he's not Hannibal Lecter. He's not brilliant or charming. He's not even strong (he has a bad leg). He's just a loser - close-minded, bigoted, and quite insane.

The new edition by Millipede Press is the one to get. It are a great small press that is dedicated to publishing classic works of horror (many of which would be headed for oblivion) in quality paperback editions. This one has an introduction by Poppy Z. Brite, a new afterward by Campbell, and the photographic art from the original version throughout the book.
psychological horror  Mar 2, 2005
This one was good. I really got into the villian. The only problem was that the guy became kind of preditable, so I didn't feel a constant tension.
Paranoia, violence, and realistic characterization  Jul 17, 2003
"The Face That Must Die" was a great read. This is my first experience with Ramsey Campbell, and it won't be the last.

The book starts off with two short stories, one semi-autobiographical and another brief story unrelated to "The Face That Must Die". The opening tale has Campbell speaking about his childhood and the paranoia he lived with under the roof of his mentally unbalanced mother. Campbell's descriptions of the increasing insanity of his mother are very well done, and he paints a sobering picture of how an ordinary person can become swallowed by their own personal demons. How does one cope with a loved one losing their mind? Read this great little tale and find out.

The second story is very short, and somewhat disturbing in its own right. Not a bad story, but it is forgettable compared to the introduction and the main course.

When the main event begins, the reader is treated to another fine examination of paranoid thinking and the consequences thereof. Our "heroes" all live in a small apartment complex, however none are anything more than average people living average lives. One married couple in particular elicit little sympathy from me, as they live their lives stuck in a rut of arguments and drug abuse, making little effort to improve their circumstances. I didn't like any of our protagonists, mostly because Campbell paints them so realistically that they could be real people; people I happen to dislike.

Our antagonist is a bit of an enigma, as his portions of the story are written from his own mad perspective. You never get a clear picture of him, even though the character makes a strong effort to apply reason and logic to his insane internal ravings. Campbell is masterful in his handling of this character and different readers gain different effects from the writing style. Example: darkgenius wrote an excellent review for this novel on this site, and he explains that Horridge lives in a cheap tenement. The impression I got, however, was that Horridge only THOUGHT he lived in the tenement, yet in reality lived as a homeless man on or near the grounds of said tenement. A small bone to pick, but very telling; Campbell expresses the mind of a person disassociated from reality so well that it creeps into each and every line of thought he has.

The plot revolves around Horridge thinking he knows who has been killing gay men in the area. He is convinced that this person lives in the same apartment complex as the other players in the novel, and wishes to intimidate the killer into a confession. Of course, things are not what they seem to be, and as the story develops it is the paranoid delusions of a madman that makes "The Face That Must die" so disturbing and fun.

My only complaint is that this novel lacks the depth necessary to make it a classic. The book is not shallow by any means, but the protagonists are, and the novel suffers a bit as a result. Still, I recommend it wholeheartedly to horror fans. Campbell deserves to have his stories back in print; he is every bit as good as other horror authors (Laymon, Little, Clegg) with large paperback distribution deals.

Quite a uniquely disturbing book of horror  Jan 5, 2003
The Face That Must Die is rather a disturbing read. Ramsey Campbell gives us a look inside the tortured mind of a killer, one who evoked a number of different emotions from me as the story progressed. The man Horridge is a sad, unhappy soul who has pretty much lost everything he once had, including his old home. He now lives in a section of cheap tenements which he regards as a concrete prison. His memories are full of tragic experiences, but the unpleasantness of what has already happened pales in comparison to the increasingly paranoid thoughts running through his disturbed mind. He believes that everyone is out to get him, and he is particularly suspicious of foreigners and gay men. The story begins with the backdrop of a couple of ghastly murders of gay men, and Horridge is convinced he has seen the killer. After a close encounter with the supposed murderer, he sets out to harass the man and thereby protect his own safety by letting him know that he is on to him. As his fears increase, he takes increasingly bold actions that his poor mind tells him are right and just. Simultaneous to his story we have a running commentary on the dysfunctional life of a husband and wife living in the same building as the man Horridge believes is the murderer. As is so often the case with Ramsey Campbell's characters, it is almost impossible to like them, especially the drug addict husband. Naturally, the paths of these main characters cross in the end to present the reader with a pretty effective conclusion to the novel.

The novel is not half as disturbing as Campbell's very personal introduction. In "At the Back of My Mind: A Guided Tour," he offers up an autobiographical account of his unusual childhood and the mental derangement of his mother. He basically never saw his father growing up, although he still lived in the same house with him. On her own, his mother basically lost her mind. Campbell describes her overwhelming fears: strangers would appear in her home and stare at her, she would never change clothes because she claimed someone stole her good clothes and replaced them with rags, her neighbors were trying to poison her, she became convinced that her home was not her own but another one that looked just like it, etc. Campbell acknowledges that his account sounds rather cold-hearted, but he felt it was important to say all these things; it is an attempt on his part to somehow describe why he writes the things he writes. It certainly does make the character of Horridge have much more of an impact on the reader, for he exhibits the same kinds of paranoia that Campbell's mother did.

The book also contains a strange little short story called "I Am It and It is I," which is a little disturbing in itself, but the meat of this literary meal of horror is to be found in the foreword and in the novel itself. The Face That Must Die is a fascinating read that, despite the typically bleak setting and troubled characters that seem to always fill Campbell's novels, is sure to set up permanent housekeeping in one of the darker corners of your mind. I can't say I've ever read another horror novel quite like this one.

A MUST for fans of Ramsey Campbell. Campbell takes his readers into the mind of an insane killer, a paranoid maniac and reveals how his fears drive him to murder.Not only a truly frightening tale but a book that should be considered a classic of the horror genre.

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