The First Story, “A Terribly Strange Bed” was written in 1956 and the other story, “The Landlady” was written in 1960. They were written in very different times so you would expect them to be very different.
The opening of “A Terribly Strange Bed” tells you the story is going to be tense and scary by saying they are wondering away from what they are used to and they go to a strange place, which suggests danger.
The narrator in “A Terribly Strange Bed” is the first person so you and see what kind of person the boy is and you can see exactly how he feels. It also adds tension because you and see how he thinks and how he is scared or excited.
The opening of “The Landlady”, tells you it is going to be tense or scary, by saying it is nine o’clock at night and he is in a place he hasn’t been before, similar to “The Terribly Strange Bed”. Also it says he was recommended a hotel, but he went to another one which, “looks too good to be true” which brings tension and fear.
The narrator in “The Landlady” has written n the first person. The boy doesn’t realise he is in danger, which creates tension by the reader wanting him to get out.
In “The Terribly Strange Bed”, the writer is using an old style of writing, which is more difficult to read that “The Landlady” and it also has a lot of description and long sections to it. In “The Landlady”, the writing is more recent, and much easier to understand. It is also much shorter and with much less descriptive writing in it.
The victim in “The Terribly Strange Bed” and “The Landlady” are roughly the same age, but they come from very different backgrounds and their appearance is also different.
In “The Terribly Strange Bed”, the boy is a young man who has just finished his education at college and has been brought up well, but he is not street wise. He has a “wild life” and when he goes to the “back alley” gambling area he says,” I felt what the passion for play really was”, which says, he is hooked on gambling and e is adventurous.
In “The Landlady”, the boy, Billy Weaver, is seventeen years old. He is ambitious, he comes from a good background, and he is quite well off. He presents himself well by wearing “a new brown suit”, and he also wants to be a successful businessman.
In “The Terribly Strange Bed”, the boy is “wild” and he risks going to an unusual, and dodgy place, which puts him in danger. He knows going there but doesn’t sense any danger while he is there.
In “The Landlady”, the boy contemplates with himself the other alternatives of accommodation, and clearly talks himself into going to the Bell and Dragon, as “he was a tiny bit frightened” of board houses.
This notice seems to be ‘alive’. It is as if the sign is hypnotising him, in making him not leave. It is drawing him back to the house. This is very strange, how a notice can all of a sudden seem so powerful. The boy in “The Terribly Strange Bed”, realises he is in danger at a late point, just when the bed is lowering down to kill him. His reactions were that he froze with fear. It says, “he was panic stricken” and “breathless”, which say he was so scare he couldn’t breath or move.
In “The Landlady”, the boy doesn’t realise he is in danger at all, even at the end, mainly because he was drugged, but also because the lady was so nice, that he wouldn’t expect her to do anything to him. As of this he has no reactions towards danger and suspects nothing.
I consider the boy in “The Terribly Strange Bed” to be the better victim because he finds out what is happening and there is more tension and excitement when his feelings are shown, when he is almost, about to die, when in “The Landlady”, the boy doesn’t suspect anything.
In both stories, both main villains appear to be pleasant and nice but they are not really as they seem.
In “The Terribly Strange Bed”, the villain is the old soldier. At the start, he is very nice to the boy. When the boy is gambling he keeps saying, “Break the bank, you can do it!” persuading the boy to win the money and it gives him more confidence to win. The boy thinks he wants him to win for himself, but really he wants him to win so he can steel it off him later on.
When the boy wins, he keeps saying, “Look after it!” and “be careful with it!” making the boy think he cares for him. Also when they are in the pub, the old soldier says, “have a drink to celebrate”, making him drunk, so he can take advantage of him. “You are in no state to go home, stay here”, is an example of him taking advantage of him, making him stay there the pub where he is now vulnerable to the villains plans.
In “The Landlady”, the old lady is the main villain. She appears to be nice all the way through the story, but she isn’t all as she seems. At the start the boy, Billy Weaver, looks into the window of the house, so he assumes the lady is nice as well. When she answered the door, she gave him “A warm welcoming smile” so you assume she is pleasant and nice. Also she says, “my dear” a lot, which makes you think she likes him. In “The Terribly Strange Bed”, there are gradual clues to make you think the old soldier is not to be trusted. When he says, “come and have a drink”, you think he might be trying to get him drunk, also when he says, “you are in no state to go out”, you might think it is a bit suspicious. When the boy tastes the coffee, he and taste something so you would think he has drugged it.
In “The Landlady”, there are also gradual clues to make you think the lady isn’t to be trusted. When she says she saw him and thought he was “exactly right”, you think she was planning something. Also “We wouldn’t want to go and break the law at this stage of the proceedings”, says something strange is going to happen concerning her. Then when he looks at the guest book, and there are only two names you might think people don’t go there for a reason. Another clue is when she says, “the boys are still here, upstairs on floor two” which sounds strange and makes you think she might have murdered them.
In “The Terribly Strange Bed”, the reader is sure the villain is to do harm when the boy saw the bed moving down. Then, you know there was a plot to kill the boy.
In “The Landlady”, you realise near the end, that the lady is going to do the boy harm, when it says the tea tasted different, because it was drugged. Also at the end it says,”no one has been here for three years”, saying there is a reason why knowone has been there.
In “The Terribly Strange Bed”, the highest point of tension is where the bed is lowering down and the boy is in danger, half the way through the story then everything is pieced together. At the start the tension builds up when the boy is gambling, by one man dropping out at a time, then when he wins the tension drops. In the bedroom as the bed is lowering, it says the boy was, “panic stricken” and “breathless”, which creates high tension. Slowly as the bed lowers, the tension builds up and gets higher and higher. When he escapes danger from the bed, the tension drops because you know he is now safer from danger, and h doesn’t die. When he comes out of the bed, the tension is low, but when you realise h has to escape from the building, the tension rises again.
In “The Landlady”, the tension is rising all the time and it doesn’t fall. It gradually rises as you get more clues and find out more about the lady and what she is up to. It is at its peak right at the end when we are left top imagine what is going to happen.
I consider “The Landlady”, to be the better horror story, because you are left to imagine what is going to happen to the boy and it scares you a bit, but in “The Terribly Strange Bed”, everything is revealed at the end, and it is more of a detective story than a horror story. Also in “The Landlady”, it says the lad stuffs animals when they die, so you could think she will murder the boy and stuff him.
I think “The Landlady”, is the most enjoyable to read, because it is more interesting, and in “The Terribly Strange Bed”, there are too many long, descriptive parts which drags it out and makes it boring. Also “The Landlady”, is written in a newer style of writing so it is much easier to read.