The Elementals

  • by Michael McDowell
  • Narrated by R.C. Bray
  • 8 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

After a bizarre and disturbing incident at the funeral of matriarch Marian Savage, the McCray and Savage families look forward to a restful and relaxing summer at Beldame, on Alabama's Gulf Coast, where three Victorian houses loom over the shimmering beach. Two of the houses are habitable, while the third is slowly and mysteriously being buried beneath an enormous dune of blindingly white sand. But though long uninhabited, the third house is not empty. Inside, something deadly lies in wait. Something that has terrified Dauphin Savage and Luker McCray since they were boys and which still haunts their nightmares. Something horrific that may be responsible for several terrible and unexplained deaths years earlier - and is now ready to kill again....
A haunted house story unlike any other, Michael McDowell's The Elementals (1981) was one of the finest novels to come out of the horror publishing explosion of the 1970s and '80s. Though best known for his screenplays for Tim Burton's Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas, McDowell is now being rediscovered as one of the best modern horror writers and a master of Southern Gothic literature. This edition of McDowell's masterpiece of terror features a new introduction by award-winning horror author Michael Rowe. McDowell's first novel, the grisly and darkly comic The Amulet (1979), is also available from Valancourt Books.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

"Savage Mothers Eat Their Children"


I had not experienced the horror writing of Michael McDowell, and readily admit I didn't recognize him by name. But that was yesterday.

"The Elementals" is among the finest horror novels I have ever read. Although written decades ago, this story can compete with today's bestsellers in the same genre.

McDowell captivates by opening with several generations of a southern family sitting in their living room and are told a horrific story regarding their ancestors. I will never, ever, forget it. I felt like McDowell had picked me up and dropped me onto their sofa.

There is a father/daughter relationship that brings witty humor into the story. Both of these characters are fleshed out and consistently captivating.

This book is raw, it's original, and it is frightening to the core. You would shelve this author between Stephen King and Clive Barker in the library of your mind.

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- Jan

Amazing novel by an all but forgotten author.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Just a small warning: there is a prologue in the original novel missing in this supposed unabridged audio version, which - in my opinion - is essential to the story.

Nevertheless, this is without a doubt one of the finest novels of the supernatural I have ever read. I recommend this highly. I read my own somewhat tattered paperback original every year, and will likely continue to do so.


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- Dana Minyard "dcminyard"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-24-2016
  • Publisher: Valancourt Books