I’ll start this review by comparing one of my favorite slashers to it.
Don’t Fear The Reaper is Friday the 13th: Part 2 of this series.
I don’t do normal reviews. I’ll cover as much as possible without spoilers, but as this book was released a couple of weeks ago, we should all have read it, right? Right?
This one does a recap throughout the novel for those who didn’t read My Heart Is A Chainsaw. While MHIAC is the setup for a horror trilogy, or if Stephen is willing, longer, Reaper tries to do what all good slashers attempt. A higher body count, a better story, and maybe a bit of comedy was thrown in as well.
It does all of these easily and with great call-back kills from some of the best slashers. It’s more in line with Friday Part 2 than Nightmare Part 2, which I actually enjoyed when I watched it. I didn’t catch everything about it until I was older. It also explains me well.
We see the new killer immediately. They’re hidden as much as they can be. It leaves a lot to the imagination. The descriptions are on point. The bodies, torture, and gore are at a higher level than in Chainsaw, which is as I said, a characteristic of slasher sequels.
Here’s where I’ll divert:
Jade’s struggle with herself, what she went through in the first book, and what she’s gone through in-between Chainsaw and Reaper are there for all of us to witness. At first, she doesn’t want to be called Jade. She’s shirked that name and wants to be Jennifer. She doesn’t want to be known as that girl. When the bodies hit the floor, she comes out.
It’s great to watch…err read. I will skip ahead since I don’t want to make this too long, I definitely could.
Jade finds herself mired in circumstances beyond her control and must pull from the person she was, and maybe she’s stronger. Like Nancy in Dream Warriors. I’ll leave it at that.
My hope is book three is more like Dream Warriors and less like Friday part 3, my least favorite.
As always, Stephen captures the genre so well in this book. If you haven’t read, The Last Final Girl, you should. It’s a great one.
I’ve always had trouble reading anthologies. I don’t know why, but I read this one in a few days.
Let’s get into it.
Ellen Datlow has put out a lot of anthologies, which is putting it mildly. I have a couple of the others she’s done, but this one is my favorite. The variety of stories, the depravity of a couple of them, and how I felt after I read them are something I haven’t felt with an anthology in a while.
I had fully intended to cover each story in this anthology, but with the twenty-four stories, novelettes, and one poem, I felt it would be too long of a post and while I enjoyed every story in this anthology, there were some standouts, at least to me and what I look for in horror.
While it is an anthology of horror, some of the stories are noir and crime, but they all have that horror element.
I wanted to cover all the stories I enjoyed from this anthology, but as this is the third attempt at writing this review, eliminating the story by story analysis, I hope this works better.
Each one of these stories stuck with me but there are five that stood out to me. This doesn’t mean I didn’t love the rest, only that with how I approach horror, these five stood out.
Story five, “Cleaver, Meat, And Block”, by Maria Haskins. I wasn’t sure about this story as it was relatable to our current pandemic and all that goes with it, but it ended up being my favorite in the anthology.
The story, of which I won’t spoil as you’d hate me if I did, was devilish, and I caught myself laughing at times I probably shouldn’t have. The ending of this story gave me a bit of peace, as I thought of numerous things while I read it.
There is a frostiness to this anthology, and with that, I mean there are a few settings in the cold. My favorite of these “Mine Seven”, by Elana Gomel, was creepy and the descriptions of the cold left me feeling chilled. It had the feeling of being hunted, which is somewhat prevalent in this anthology as well. There were many times when I’d finish a story and think, wow, but “Mine Seven” and the coldness throughout the story, made me feel like I was there.
“Scream Queen” by Nathan Ballingrud gave me so many feelings. There were times it reminded me of Adam Neville’s “The Reddening” and that detachment from civilization thing that Neville does in that book. I love the idea of this story so much. I love old horror movies and the premise of this story made me think of some of those movies.
“Trick of the Light”, by Andrew Humphrey reminds me of Gemma Amor’s “White Pines”. Driving to the coast to look at some small town, take pictures and discover things that aren’t what you believed them to always elicit fear in me.
Growing up in Utah where the mountains, lakes, and rivers are within driving distance, I could relate to being away from society aspect and wondering what’s going on in that small town you just drove through but didn’t stop because it gave off a weird vibe. That’s what this story was.
“Two Truths And A Lie”, by Sarah Pinsker, gave me all the feelings of Channel Zero’s first season. The old TV show, and all that happened on that show, not to mention the mental decline of Denny in the story, which we see only through the eyes of his brother, was a story that made me think about if Mr. Rogers was a sinister person, similar to the character in Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang, but I honestly thought more about the Bowler Hat Guy in “Meet the Robinson’s”, which I know is weird.
Those were my favorites of this anthology and while I wanted to dive into each story, it would make this post a lot longer and I’m fighting off a cold.
This is the first anthology I’ve ever read cover to cover, and I think that says a lot about the stories on the pages. I loved every one of them, but as I said, the post would have to be so long to accommodate that.
Please pick up this anthology. There are so many stories that I loved but didn’t list because of the sheer volume of greatness on the pages.
While I linked to either the author’s website or their author page, I was not able to find one for Andrew Humphrey, so my apologies Andrew.
I’m linking to Amazon, but you can get it at an indie bookstore as well.
As with everything, this space is something I never understood. I don’t know how to write a review for a movie, game, or book, and I’m not sure about doing those things.
But here is what’s going to happen: I will write the articles about horror, whether they’re reviews or not, because I love horror. It’s honestly my favorite thing. My wife and kids don’t get it, hell, sometimes I don’t, but I love it.
I have a big list of books to get through in the coming year and this is one of two blogs I write, so I’ll keep going if you keep reading.
Im currently making y way through, “The Best Horror of the Year”, by Ellen Datlow and The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig. I’m also learning about Norse Paganism for my own purposes.
I’ll post on Tuesday and Thursday something horror related.
This is the first post on this blog, but it’s not my first blog, and I’m looking at it as a reboot, or more appropriately, a regeneration.
I grew up in the ’80’s watching Doctor Who on PBS late night. When my father wasn’t home, which was often, I’d stay up and watch movies on HBO or Cinemax. Those late nights got me through a lot of my early teenage years.
But let’s start earlier.
For years as a kid I was either a vampire or a werewolf for Halloween. My mom would do my makeup and I’d go out with my sisters from house to house in our neighborhood. These nights were my favorite. There was no fighting in the house, at least I didn’t see it and everyone got along.
After my parents divorced in ’85, I watched a lot more horror, then as if my providence, my mom rented Halloween and Children of the Corn. Those movies are my foundation for horror, especially Halloween. That movie did something to my brain. I haven’t been the same since.
In ’87 or ’88, I’m not sure which, my big sister and I watched Hellraiser. She said that it would change the way I looked at movies, or something like that. I always looked up to her, and still do. She was right, it did change the way I looked at movies.
I’d never seen such brutality as within the Cenobites, which is why it’s my favorite horror movie and why it will be the first review on this blog. I will review the movie as well as the book, ‘The Hellbound Heart.’
Let’s move forward to today. I read a lot of books which is evident by my Goodreads.
Most of the books I read are horror, with a little of everything else thrown in, for flavor.
Now as I contemplate where I’m headed and the direction I wish to take, this blog falls in my lap.
I love horror in all its forms, as is evident by my Goodreads account.
As a writer of horror, I will be faithful to all aspects of it.
If you wish to suggest a book or movie that I should read, than do so in the comments.