Tuesday Terror! Doom of the House of Duryea by Earl Peirce Jr

Get out the garlic…

weird-tales-october-1936

Vampires have been done to death in recent years – it turns out it’s not a stake that kills them after all, it’s over-exposure. However they have been a mainstay of horror more or less since the genre began, so time to don a thick scarf and go off to meet some, in this week’s…

Tuesday Terror 2

Doom of the House of Duryea
by Earl Peirce Jr

Can't find an author pic this week, so this'll have to do...
Can’t find an author pic this week, so this’ll have to do…

Young Arthur Duryea has come to a hotel to meet his father for the first time in twenty years. He has been living with his Aunt Cecilia, who has filled his head with tales of horror concerning his father, but now Cecilia is dead, and Arthur has come to believe her stories weren’t true.

“Ever since I was twelve years old I have disbelieved Cecilia’s stories. I have known that those horrible things were impossible, that they belonged to the ancient category of mythology and tradition. How, then, can I be indignant, and how can I hate you? How can I do anything but recognize Cecilia for what she was—a mean, frustrated woman, cursed with an insane grudge against you and your family? I tell you, Dad, that nothing she has ever said can possibly come between us again.”

His father Henry wants them to spend some time together in an isolated lodge in Maine to get to know each other again. But first he wants to be sure Arthur truly understands the events of twenty years earlier, and still trusts his father, so he tells him what happened…

“You must know that true basis to your aunt’s hatred. You must know of that curse—that curse of vampirism which is supposed to have followed the Duryeas through five centuries of French history, but which we can dispel as pure superstition, so often connected with ancient families. But I must tell you that this part of the legend is true:

“Your two young brothers actually died in their cradles, bloodless. And I stood trial in France for their murder, and my name was smirched throughout all of Europe with such an inhuman damnation that it drove your aunt and you to America, and has left me childless, hated, and ostracized from society the world over.”

No other explanation was ever found for the death of the two boys. Arthur had also been in the house that night, but in a locked room (hmm) so he survived. Despite this tale of horror, Arthur feels his father could not have done such a thing, so agrees to the trip.

Nothing to do with this story but... well... who cares?!
Nothing to do with this story but… well… who cares?!

However, once in their lodge far from other humans, when the night is dark and a storm is raging outside, things look rather different. Arthur is feeling tense and headachy and his throat hurts, all symptoms he puts down to his father’s stew (hmm) until he comes across a book in his father’s belongings which tells the legend of the curse of the Duryeas…

But this vrykolakas cannot act according to its demoniacal possession unless it is in the presence of a second member of the same family, who acts as a medium between the man and its demon. This medium has none of the traits of the vampire, but it senses the being of this creature (when the metamorphosis is about to occur) by reason of intense pains in the head and throat. Both the vampire and the medium undergo similar reactions, involving nausea, nocturnal visions, and physical disquietude.

Oh-oh!

* * * * * * *

Well, this is quite fun! It was originally published in the Weird Tales magazine in October 1936. In truth, it’s not the best written story in the world, with quite a lot of unexplained things stuck in to make the story work – like why one baby would have been sleeping in a room barred from the inside, for example, while the other two were in a different nursery, nicely accessible to any hungry bloodsucker who might be passing. The twist is fairly obvious from early on too. It’s important not to overthink it, really… 😉

Original spoilerish illustration from Weird Tales
Original spoilerish illustration from Weird Tales

But nonetheless it’s quite an enjoyable read, with an original feature (to me, at least) of the vampire only succumbing to his worst nature when a “medium” is present, who must be another member of his family, and only feeding on members of his own family too. (One tries hard not to feel it’s miraculous the family has managed to survive this long…) And the climax is quite well done, using the storm and Arthur’s growing fear to get a nice bit of horror going.

If you’d like to read it, here’s a link.

* * * * * * *

Fretful Porpentine rating:  😯 😯 😯

Overall story rating:            😀 😀 😀

The porpentine is fairly relaxed about his one...
The porpentine is fairly relaxed about this one…

44 thoughts on “Tuesday Terror! Doom of the House of Duryea by Earl Peirce Jr

  1. Ha! This does sound like quite fun, I’m certainly going to have a read of it later. I shall not take it too seriously but, like the porpentine, just take a laid back approach. I like that it has at least a new element to the vampire nature about a member of the family having to be present. Although, that rather strikes me as a plot device to justify the story, really. Even so – it has piqued my interest!
    (The photos really are most appropriate and pleasing, by the way 😉 )

  2. This does sound like a fun read, FictionFan, even if it doesn’t exactly inspire dread. As you say, sometimes it’s best to just go with the flow, so to speak. And you know? I think you were perfectly justified in choosing the ‘photos you did for this time. What’s one to do when one can’t find an author pic? 😉

    • Yes, not every story needs to be a work of art – they can be fun even if they don’t make you cower behind the sofa! Haha! Always an excuse for a pic of my Darcy… 😉

  3. Definitely not something I’d want to read on a stormy night alone in a creaking house, FF! I love the way you’ve interspersed interesting photos to break up your copy here. What? No Rafa?? Ah, well, I suppose if one still hasn’t been over saturated with vampire tales, this might be a good one to try.

  4. Another one for the not too scary scary story pile. Did you know that Disney has a scary Hallowe’en party and a not so scary one – no me neither, but Lauren and co. have just been to both of them. 🙂

  5. If I wasn’t on a strict no-vampires-ever diet, I’d possibly consider, but I’m afraid I’d “undergo similar reactions, involving nausea, nocturnal visions, and physical disquietude.” Hahhaha! Your first line killed me. Hey… if over-exposure can kill vampires, it’s possible it can kill off a certain presidential candidacy!! I think that’s being proven! Hot mic and all! *fingers crossed for two more weeks*

    • Haha! Poor old vampires – used to be scary, now they’re yawnworthy. The price of fame!

      I’ve decided I’m supporting the paranoid narcissist! Don’t throw a fit now! See, it occurred to me I’ve been on the losing side in every election or referendum for about the last twenty years, so I’m clearly a major jinx. Therefore, I reckon with my support he’s bound to get tanked. Go Trump!! Yay!!! 😉 Got the popcorn in for tomorrow night…

      • You scared me there for a second, FF! But your logic is undeniable and I must say, with your risky track record, I will allow it! Don’t take offense though when I throw popcorn at you! 😉

        • I just wish I could convince myself the polls were right – but after Brexit I’ve lost all faith in them. If boasting that he sexually assaults women doesn’t put people off him, I despair…

    • Aha! If only the zombies had realised Darcy was a vampire they’d have been too scared to attack Lizzie – that is, if zombies have blood… these monsters confuse me…

  6. I also laughed out loud at that Colin Firth-as-Darcy photo. 🙂
    And some aspects of this story also make me chuckle. Gotta love the isolated-lodge trope. 🙂 A perfect breeding ground for vampires, cannibals, and mass murderers.

    • It’s amazing how that man manages to sneak in when I’m not looking! 😉

      I know – I can’t understand why people will insist on going off to these lonely houses in woods – it never ends well!

  7. Darcy is a great default photo! 😀

    This story sounds interesting– I’m bookmarking it for sure! I need some less-scary stuff to read before bed. 🙂 The picture of the relaxed porpentine cheered me right up. It’s so adorable!

    • Since I’ve run out of reviews I may just run a series of posts filled with Darcy pics… 😉

      I do like to have my spine tingled, but sometimes a less scary story can be fun. This isn’t the best written in the world, but I enjoyed it anyway – and it’s always nice to see the porpentine get a break from quivering…

  8. This sounds like a unique trust on vampires for sure! Vampires were largely ignored between Dracula and Interview With The Vampire. I think it’s Anne Rice’s deep, moving story that makes Twilight seem so pathetic to me. Then again, I grew up with Louis and Lestat, so of course I’m biased 😊

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