‘The Judge’s House’ by Bram Stoker

The first horror short story I ever read, at primary school when I was ten. It was in a small red leather book, almost bible-sized, and I read it in a deserted classroom one lunchtime. I never forgot it and became rather obsessed with the story over the years. I turned it into a screenplay and tried to film it as my entry to a film school in Edinburgh (sadly, I never got in) and in 2010 wrote a sequel to the story called ‘Reconvened: The Judge’s House.’

Malcolm Malcolmson is a maths student who wants a bit of peace and quiet and hires the ‘Judge’s House’. A kindly cleaner does the exact same thing that is done to Jonathan Harker in Dracula and warns him away from the Judge’s House as clearly BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN. Malcolm happily ignores her warnings and soon takes a long drop from a short rope.  This story is still terrifying and takes me right back to that classroom thirty-two years ago.

First published in Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, December 1891. Collected in Dracula’s Guest and Other Weird Stories, Routledge, 1914. Available to read online here.)