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Benighted by J. B. Priestley

Benighted (1927)

by J. B. Priestley

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I bought this book because I enjoyed the James Whale film adaptation, The Old Dark House. Atmospheric and amusing as the film is, the book (naturally) is better.

There are no gruesome shocks in the way of modern horror but, if you let your imagination put you in the shoes of the lonely travellers who find themselves stranded in the strange old Femm house, it is really creepy and horripilating.

Priestley is able to go inside his characters thoughts and history in much more depth than Whale was able to do, and this is where it steps ahead of the film. Also, the ending is much darker than the Hollywood version (though the introduction to my edition says that Whale shot Priestley's ending, but the studio made him change it).

I read Benighted during a week of Autumnal rains and storms: a perfect read, providing you're safely indoors with a hot cup of tea and a biscuit. ( )
1 vote Michael.Rimmer | Nov 9, 2013 |
A charming, weird little book. The plot follows the movie version (The Old Dark House) fairly closely, but there are differences that make the book more compelling. For example, the scene where Margaret and Phillip enter the elder Femm’s bedroom, all massive dark furniture, the high polish reflecting the warm glow of dozens of candles, is really enchanting. Priestley’s depiction of a rampaging psychopath must have been extremely unnerving when the book was first published in 1927.

The book seems to be about the upheavals of peoples’ lives in the aftermath of WWI, as well as the changes it brought to England. It reads as a mystery, but its subtle gay touches gave it added life in the underground. After all, James Whale directed the filmed version. It’s the perfect book to leave on the nightstand in the guest bedroom, especially if you don’t want your visitors to dither for more than a few days.
2 vote SomeGuyInVirginia | Aug 18, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
J. B. Priestleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Grey, OrrinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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. . . . . the bright day is done,
And we are for the dark. . . . .
First words
Margaret was saying something, but he couldn't hear a word.
We ought to go back to hour-glasses and sun-dials, things that deal with time quietly and don't forever pester you with their sixty seconds to the minute.
(Chapter VI)
I detest these death's head and crossbones women you see everywhere now.
(Chapter X)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Valancourt Books

An edition of this book was published by Valancourt Books.

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