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The Ghoul

Novelisation by Guy N Smith (England) 1976.

Constrained by the limits of the film script (the screenplay was by John Elder), Guy Smith doesn't have too much plot to work with here. Half drunk, Daphne leaves a party on a two hundred mile road race to Land's End - Daphne and Billy versus Geoffrey and Billy's sister Angela. But when her car runs out of petrol, she ends up in a mysterious mansion in the mist: a mansion complete with an old clergyman, an Indian nurse, a mad gardener and the usual nasty secret.

There's no depth of character (none of the four partygoers even have surnames); we find out who the ghoul of the title is, but there's no explanation as to how or why it became such a thing; and the few potentially interesting side details, such as the clergyman's weird background in India or the various religious rituals, aren't allowed to develop. In fact the only redeeming feature of the book is the energy that Smith manages to bestow on it. This was his fourth horror novel, the last before his big one, Night of the Crabs, and is better written than any of his previous books. But even that isn't much of a recommendation: read it if you're a Smith fan or if you liked the film, but otherwise the best thing about it is the Les Edwards cover showing Boon's Don Henderson as the title creature.
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