Cover image for Fiends
Farris, John.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Arlington Hts., IL : Dark Harvest, 1990.
Physical Description:
314 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Added Author:
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Author Notes

John Farris was born in Jefferson City, Missouri in 1936. He attended Southwestern College in Memphis. He sold his first novel the summer after he graduated from high school, in 1955. His other books include King Windom, The Long Light of Dawn, The Captors, Nightfall, Dragonfly, Elvisland, Phantom Nights, and Before the Night Ends.

Many of his books were adapted into movies. Harrison High was adapted into the film Because They're Young in 1960 and When Michael Calls was adapted in 1969. The Fury was the basis for the 1978 film, which Farris wrote the screenplay. He wrote and directed the film Dear Dead Delilah in 1972.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The fiends in question are the Huldufolk, some of Eve's children who, according to legend, were cursed in Eden by the wrathful Old Testament God. Strictly nocturnal (like that other horrific race oft associated with Transylvania), they live forever and fly with wings made of human skin flayed from living victims. They also "turn" or recruit humans to their ranks. In Grand Guignol maestro Farris' newest, these monsters turn up in the east Tennessee town of Dante's Mill in 1906, are successfully put down, only to rise again in 1970, when they bedevil a set of mostly teenaged protagonists, whom Farris brings vividly to life. With his characteristic inventiveness and gift for small-town local color as well as his flair for characterization, Farris forges another expertly entertaining horror thriller. What's more--and very welcome given the current fad for mixing sex and horror--he portrays sex, long a leitmotiv in his work, as a positive, healthy force that is part of what makes humans good and of which the evil Huldufolk are incapable. ~--Ray Olson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Farris's ( The Fury ; Wildwood ) latest novel is eerie, fast-paced and original. As a child in 1906, Arne Horsfall finds a sealed crate, addressed to a professor at a local college, that has fallen off a train. His father stores the object in the barn until the wayward professor can pick it up. But the crate operates like a Pandora's box on Arne and his mother; overcome with curiosity, they pry it open and unleash an evil spirit. Physically, the spirit looks like a mummified dark-skinned man--not, however, like a black man--and his mother recognizes it from the stories of her childhood as one of the huldufolk , the ``unwashed children of Cain,'' evil and immortal. When the spirit awakens and escapes, the Horsfall farm becomes blighted; Arne's father dies of gangrene at its touch, and his mother becomes its slave. At this point the novel flashes forward to 1970: Arne is a deaf-mute in a mental institution, where he has lived for untold years. His art therapist, Enid Waller, takes pity on him and invites him to her home for dinner. Out of the hospital for the first time in decades, Arne senses the dark spirit, who has multiplied and stirs now in response to Arne's freedom. The lives of the Waller sisters will never be the same. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The mummified, human-like figures hidden in caves beneath a Tennessee burg--where years before 74 people had suddenly disappeared--hold the key to an ancient curse threatening to reemerge. Don't be mislead by the ludicrous title; Farris, Scare Tactics ( LJ 7/88) and The Fury ( LJ 8/76), has written one of the best horror novels of the year, striking the perfect balance between rich Southern gothic and outright hideous graphic narrative. In turns both beautiful and grotesque, Farris's work is on a par with the best of Manly Wade Wellman's ( The Voice of the Mountain, LJ 12/84; What Dreams May Come, LJ 12/15/83). Sure to be a big hit among genre fans.--Mark Annichiarico, ``Library Journal'' (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.