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All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By (1977)

by John Farris

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2341390,515 (3.22)11
One of the most influential horror novels of the 1970s, this novel is a stunning southern gothic encompassing the occult and ancient family curses. It opens with one of the most notorious chapters in horror history: a brutal bloodbath at a military wedding. It is an intricately weaved work of plot and subplot.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)

I tried. I really tried on this one. I'm not sure what's stopping me from going any farther than 146 pages. The writing is above-grade, if a little overly wordy and descriptive. The characters and dialogue are done well.

But to me, it just feels like an author that's done with horror, and trying to stick a bit of it in, enough that the publisher can sell it as a horror novel, when it's really much more of a historical drama.

Even then, normally I could deal with that and carry on. But I just don't care about the central mystery at all.

So, I'm out. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
I read this e-book with my horror group at Shelfari.

This book is widely considered a classic by many hard-core horror fans. It features African voodoo, slavery, southern plantations, snakes, curses and a unique cast of characters. It is well written and the story is beautifully told. I recommend the STORY highly for any fan of old-school horror.

However, the formatting problems in this book seriously interfered with my enjoyment of the story. There were commas and periods out of place, character names being misspelled or changed throughout the story, and weird issues like the word HALL being misprinted as HAIL throughout the entire book.

I am interested in reading more works by Mr. Farris, but at this point I may seek them out in paper form at the library because I fear another ordeal of being tossed out of the story by improper punctuation, misspelled words, question marks appearing out of nowhere, etc. I have reported these issues to the publisher.

Again, I highly recommend this story-for its beautiful prose and fascinating subject matter. However, I suggest you seek it out in paper form until the publisher corrects these formatting issues. ( )
1 vote Charrlygirl | Mar 22, 2020 |
John Farris is one of my favorite horror writers--he is one of the few horror writers who can still scare me. This Southern Gothic novel about a family curse that leads to violence is a book that involves plantations, dark secrets about a person even those most intimate to him do not know, and dark family secrets that have continuing horrific effects generation to generation. It is set in the World War II era in the southern U. S., and it is obvious that Farris knows his characters, having grown up in the Memphis area himself. There were a few times I did not follow the plotting well, but that may have been due to reading while tired and no fault of the book. The climax is frightening and satisfying to the reader. I highly recommend this book by a fine Southern horror writer. ( )
1 vote mpotts | Sep 20, 2018 |
This was a variable one for me ... I'd be confused, then excited, then bored, then intrigued, etc., etc., hence can't quite push it to a 4 rating. There were some lovely individual sentences, so Farris can certainly write. Overall, though, it never quite came together in a compelling way for me (i.e. it didn't make sense--to the extent that a horror novel about voodoo, snake goddesses, mysterious compulsions, and so on, can make sense).

(Note: 5 stars = rare and amazing, 4 = quite good book, 3 = a decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. There are a lot of 4s and 3s in the world!) ( )
  ashleytylerjohn | Sep 19, 2018 |
Generally considered one of the top contenders for Scariest Novel Ever Written, All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By is a difficult book to review. A synopsis of the plot doesn't even begin to do justice to the atmosphere of profound unease conjured by John Farris: in fact, noting that it's about a prominent Southern family beleaguered by a voodoo curse makes All Heads Turn sound much less interesting than it is. The particulars of the story aren't nearly as significant as the cumulative spell that Farris casts. Yes, his writing gets a little highfalutin in places, and if you're of the belief that horror ought to stick to its meat-and-potatoes conventions rather than aspire to anything more ambitious, this book will grate on your last nerve...but I would urge everyone else to bear with the author's occasional lapses into grandiloquence. Farris will frighten the daylights out of you here; he just demands a bit more of his readers than does the average horror hack. ( )
1 vote Jonathan_M | Dec 19, 2017 |
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"Take what you want,"
God said.  "And pay for it."

--Spanish Proverb
For Maryann

In your eye
was the sea,
in the sea
a fish,
in the fish
a dream,
in the dream
a stone,
in the stone
the seed
of the flower
that breaks

the stone.

January 4, 1978
First words
The horrors have ended: or at least I have them at a distance.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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One of the most influential horror novels of the 1970s, this novel is a stunning southern gothic encompassing the occult and ancient family curses. It opens with one of the most notorious chapters in horror history: a brutal bloodbath at a military wedding. It is an intricately weaved work of plot and subplot.

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Book description
The affair is a military wedding. The groom's parents are the Bradwins, one of the oldest and most distinguished families in Virginia. The family head, General "Boss" Bradwin, is a famous army officer. Of all his prized sons, his youngest, "Clipper" Bradwin, is the most promising. First in his class at Blue Ridge Military Academy, graduate with all honors, he is now entering into holy matrimony and then into wartime service of his country. What will begin, however, with the solemnity of his marriage vows will end in the echoing screams of the damned-an ungodly spectacle of spilled blood and sobbing, throat-aching terror. For this distinguished family is like no other on earth. There is a curse on their blood. Their family history is rooted not in magnolia and honeysuckle, but in darkness and demonism, in frightening forces beyond their knowledge and control. Their august history begins not in antebellum mansions, but with supernatural sorcery in the ancient rites and rituals of dark African jungles. There is a curse that grips the Bradwins from generation to generation, from horror to bloody horror, and that climaxes in a spine-chilling nightmare of black occultism and blood vengeance.
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Average: (3.22)
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