House on Hangman’s Hill (1981)

For every Dark Tower that Judges Guild published, they put out like 25 books of dubious quality. Seriously — the full JG product listing is eye-wateringly long for a company that was in business for five or so years. There are eBay sellers out there who must have palettes full of the crappy new-old-stock, still wrapped in the crummy JG plastic wrap. I know, I’ve bought some of them.

House on Hangman’s Hill (1981) is trash. It isn’t priced like trash because that cover is so good, even if it is a clear trace of a still from the Hammer film Curse of the Werewolf (1961, and Oliver Reed’s first starring role, though itself not among the greatest of Hammer’s output). It features a smallish haunted mansion in the funhouse style, haunted primarily by one ghost that needs to be laid to rest. A forerunner to Ravenloft? Not likely. You can feel the minimal effort that was put in on almost every page, though, again, there are some nice illustrations. I like that wizard’s skull room. Nice to see someone taking Danzig to heart.

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