Haunted Love, Vol. 1: Tales of Gothic Romance, by assorted authors

When I ran across a copy of Haunted Love #1 (first published in 1973) at a local antique store, I was hoping for something enjoyably terrible. In my head, I was picturing an illustrated vintage Harlequin novel, but with, like, vampires or whatever. Sadly, the contents were neither as trashy nor as entertaining as I expected, and never came close to living up to the cheeseball promise of that cover.

There are three stories in this collection, only two of which are illustrated. The best (and I'm judging on a hell of a curve, here) is the story “Eternal Teacher”, which reads like a vintage goth version of the film 50 First Dates. Then there is the non-illustrated story “A Quiet Place”, which is at least coherent, even if it isn't remotely scary. The weakest installment is the cover story “A Kiss to Save Him From the Grave”, which fails on every front—in addition to making very little sense, it is horror-, suspense-, and sex-appeal-free.

Really, the only legitimately creepy thing about this book is the advertisement for a “Trimsometric Spa Suit” for weight loss—“Get the fast results you've always wanted, the space-age way!” Otherwise you're best off thinking of this comic as pure kitsch, and ignoring the contents entirely. (Actually, framing it would make a great seasonal decoration!) That cover art might suggest a sexy, campy, Hammer Films-y good time, but trust me: you'd hear something racier and scarier around the fire during a well-chaperoned Girl Scouts camping trip.
Posted by: Julianka


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