I refuse to watch scary movies, because they ALWAYS give me nightmares (I’m a wimp, I know) but I really enjoyed creepy books. I guess because nothing can JUMP me, I don’t feel as scared. Long Lankin was the perfect combo of creep factor meets the real world. Set in the 1950’s, two small girls, Cora and Mimi, go to live with their Auntie Ida after their carefree father decides he can’t take care of them on his own. Their mother has been admitted to what we assume is a sanitarium.
But the girls’ presence in Aunt Ida’s creepy old house awakens an evil presence that has been lurking for years.
“Beware of Long Lankin that lives in the hay.” “
Let the doors be all bolted and the windows all pinned,
And leave not a hole for a mouse to creep in.”
So he kissed his fair lady and he rode away,
And he was in fair London before the break of day.
The doors were all bolted and the windows all pinned,
Except one little window where Long Lankin crept in.
Based on a freaky folk song originating in Europe, Long Lankin is some sort of unholy monster that preys specifically on young children 2-4 years of age. Mimi’s presence is enough to attract the villan and it’s up to Cora and her new friend Robert to stop him. But how will they be able to break an age old curse? Dozens have children have been stolen and consumed by Long Lankin, what makes Mimi’s fate any different? Cora finds out some hard truths about her family history along the way.
Long Lankin didn’t really begin to pick up until about a hundred and fifty pages in, but then I could NOT put it down. It’s not scary at all until page 219–the imagery illustrated there seriously made me sleep with the light on. The creepy-crawly inhumanness of him is what really makes it so terrifying. He is a man, yet not a man. A monster. A baby-eating, roof-climbing, scritchy-scratchy, get-in-your-house-if-you-ever-dare-open-a-window thing.
Good stuff. I highly recommend. Stick it out, it’s well worth the read.
If you’d like to hear the song Long Lankin performed, click here.
4 long dirty nails of 5