Collective persecution against a simple rural background: the monstrum horrendum here is Richard Atlee, an awkward, ferral and uncommunicative young man first found living in the crawlspace of the cellar of a gentle elderly couple, Alice and Albert Graves. Alice has never had a child and is anxious to make Richard her surrogate son, and Albert permits him to stay even after having found some new bones along the side of old curios (his) in the hideout. In time Richard seems slightly more manageable and even helps around the place although it doesn't take long for the villagers to isolate and pillory them and prompt the infernal havoc to follow. . . . Unequal to the comparisons (The Collector, The Lottery) it invites, this still works as a story of no-exit horror.