Page 45 Review by Stephen
Emily Carroll has a thing for teeth. I wish she didnt. Its very upsetting.
And I dont mean just jagged teeth, but teeth where there ought not to be, doing things which they shouldnt. Wobbling teeth are most worrisome of all: imagine what lies behind.
Also present and most incorrect: woods, caves, families and intruders infesting your house, inhabiting your body and eating away at your soul.
Its the not-quite-right taking a turn for the oh-my-god-no!
Eerie and chilling, this Victorian brand of horror owes less to the likes of RACHEL RISING or FATALE and much, much more both in tone and style to THE HIDDENs Richard Sala and especially MEATCAKEs Dame Darcy. The protagonists are called Janna, Yvonne, Mary and Mabel, and they all have pert, pointy noses and long, slender fingers. There is the same sense that anything can happen on the page: the countryside may suddenly loom at a tilted angle, the path snaking through it becoming representational (of both space and the time taken to travel it); colouring may bleed outside its boundaries; the wail of a tortured soul may curl across the glossy paper forming the very gutter between its pitch-black panels haunted by past deeds in bright white and electric blue. As with Dame Darcy, lettering plays an integral part in the art and storytelling.
In A Ladys Hands Are Cold the not-quite-right is signalled early on by the intense flush on a young girls face as she sits in nervous trepidation at the other end of a vast, opulently laid dining table to the man her father has told her to marry. He, we never see but for the back of his head and a mouth into which he slides slabs of rare, juice-dribbling meat he has stabbed and cut with a two-pronged fork and carving knife. The oh-my-god-no is not far behind.
Another features a brother taking credit where far from due. Jealousy often goes unnoticed.
Then there are three sisters left to fend for themselves when their father goes hunting. In the woods, of course, but for what is uncertain. He says hell be gone for three days but warns them to leave the house and seek their neighbours if he fails to return on schedule. He fails to return on schedule. Things fall apart.
A Victorian parlour prank becomes more successful than anyone ever wanted it to. Two life-long friends find themselves at odds, and one starts seeing the most terrifying spectre I have ever laid eyes on because of what I laid eyes on. This ones not as transparent as most.
A stylish soon-to-be-sister-in-law plays host to
No, there we will not go.
Nor will we go through the woods now that we are safely back home.
Oh, but you must travel through those woods again and again, said a shadow at the window.
And you must be lucky to avoid the wolf every time
But the wolf
the wolf only needs enough luck to find you once.