CURSE OF THE BLOOD FIENDS
By P.J. Thorndyke
Celluloid Terrors
298 pages

Receiving books from authors we are unfamiliar with is always an exciting event. It leads us to a new door wherein we wonder what awaits on the other side; something fantastically good, something mediocre or, heaven forbid, something gawd awful. We are delighted to report that P.J. Thorndyke’s “Curse of the Blood Fiends” lands solidly in that first grouping and with a tremendous splash. Enough so that we really hope you’ll take this review to heart and run and get your own copy. Really, it is that much fun.

The time is World War II and the military is looking for any advantage it can muster to help us win our campaigns in both Europe and the South Pacific. To that end they sponsor a mad scientist’s expedition to the Rain Forest of the Amazon. It is led by a well known big-game warden named Henry Gross. The scientist is looking for a leaf based chemical that can revive the dead with the intent on using it to bring back fallen GIs and sending them back into combat as unyielding zombies.

No sooner is the compound discovered, then Gross is bitten by jungle werewolf and is then himself infected with the curse. He flees the base and returns to his home in Los Angeles in hopes of finding a cure him of his beastly condition. Instead, after a series of depressing encounters, Gross turns into his new hairy persona and begins biting others. Here the entire plot does a wild detour. It seems Gross’ bite not only changes humans into werewolves, but it also transforms others in to vampires. All too soon Tinsel Town is being overrun with these nocturnal monsters. The city police find themselves overwhelmed with creatures far beyond their understanding and abilities to deal with.

Amidst all this action, we find Rosa Bridger, a lady P.I. engaged to a Hollowood leading man. Bridger, in trying to locate a lost starlet, uncovers a vampire nest in Beverly Hills where captive humans are being held as living blood banks to feed to undead. Oh, and did we mention that her fiancee’s younger brother is attempting to revive a thousand year old mummy in the family’s mansion?

What P.J. Thorndyke has done is given us all the classic Universal Monsters and brought them together albeit in new and original ways culminating in several over-the-top clashes that had this reviewer cheering wildly. Filled with panache, his prose is controlled and creates a steady pace that never once lets up leading the reader to one of the most satisfying climaxes this side of a Saturday Afternoon Monster Matinee. “Curse of the Blood Fiends” is old-fashion thrills, spills and fun. The kind you thought lost forever. Well, you were wrong. This book has it all. Now go buy a copy!