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review 2017-07-18 14:10
Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories
Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories - Gary Gianni,Gary Gianni

Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories was a real treat! I knew nothing about what to expect from this volume, (knowing nothing about the Hellboy series, in which these comics were originally released), so I went in with no preconceptions. I was seriously impressed. Here's why:

 

First, I LOVED the stories! The first 2/3 of this are different comics featuring a movie director named St. Lawrence, (who looks a lot like Vincent Price, BTW, and who you would think belonged in the 30's expect for the occasional glimpse of technology), and his friend Benedict a member of the Corpus Monstrum guild. Benedict is an immortal knight and always wears his knight helmet and a tuxedo. (I need to learn more about the background of this character because he was a blast to read about.) Together they fend off plagues of falling skulls, and other monstrous creatures.

 

 

 

 

Second, the last third of the book contains illustrated classic stories by the likes of Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, and William Hope Hodgson. I LOVED these! When reading these short stories, I couldn't help but notice how the first 2/3 of the book carried the exact same pulpy, adventure feel that these classic stories originally created. I think Gianni did a beautiful job of carrying on that feel in his comics and in his illustrations of these pulp shorts. In a way, I feel like these were his way of paying tribute to what came before, while also making them his own.

 

Again, I went into this with no preconceptions. I came away with much admiration and respect. I'm going to eventually read the Hellboy comics and I'm definitely going to search out Mr. Gianni and see what else he has on offer, because whatever it is, I'm in!

 

Highly recommended, especially to fans of the classic pulp short stories and to fans of incredible artwork.

 

You can get your copy here: Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories

 

*Thank you to Edelweiss and to Dark Horse Comics for the e-ARC of this volume in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2016-11-28 22:47
Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz
Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones - Alvin Schwartz,Stephen Gammell
 Genre: Horror / Short Story / Monsters


Year Published: 1991


Year Read: 2016


Series: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark #3
 
 

Publisher: HarperCollins  

 

Scary



YES! YES! YES!

Finally, I got the chance to read the final set of stories from Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell’s controversial yet popular series, “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” called “Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones!” In celebration of Halloween, I have decided to revisit this little gem of a series again and I was seriously not disappointed!

This book mostly has a set of scary stories that will haunt you in your sleep, so here are a couple of stories out of this collection:

Harold


The story starts off with two guys named Thomas and Alfred who decided to make a man sized doll that looked exactly like the farmer they hated named Harold and they decided to put the doll outside the pasture to scare off the birds. Occasionally, Thomas and Alfred would make fun of the Harold doll and sometimes violently hit the doll for no reason at all. One night however, Thomas and Alfred start to notice strange things about the Harold doll as the doll began to make grunting noises and started moving around by itself. This starts to creep out both Alfred and Thomas and they decided to leave the pasture to get away from Harold. But when Thomas decided to go back to the pasture to get the milking stools…

The Red Spot

Scary

One night when Ruth was sleeping, she noticed a spider crawling on her face and afterwards, she discovered that she had a big red spot on her left cheek. She showed the red spot to her mother and her mother kept telling her that the red spot will go away soon enough. But later on, the red spot got bigger and bigger and soon it began to burst and….

Is Something Wrong?

Scary

The story started off with a man spending the night at an empty house due to his car breaking down. As soon as the man tried to go to sleep, he heard a loud crash and something large and heavy fell through the chimney and went after the man. The man then started running away from the strange creature, but when he came to the road, the creature tapped him on the shoulder and…

Just like the previous two books in the “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” series, Alvin Schwartz has done an excellent job at narrating these spooky tales that range from being deeply disturbing (“Harold” and “Just Delicious”) to being slightly scary but having a somewhat humorous twist towards the end (“Is Something Wrong)? I like the fact that Alvin Schwartz is able to juggle between horror and humor in this collection as it made the stories interesting to read through (even though I have always preferred the more straight-forward horror themed stories since I love reading genuinely terrifying tales, especially in October)! But, probably the best part about this book was the illustrations done by none other than Stephen Gammell! Now, while I understand that Stephen Gammell’s artwork was highly controversial when this series first came out, I honestly love how horrifying these illustrations are as they make the horror aspects in each of the stories even more effective to read through and I was seriously creeped out by some of the illustrations! Some of my favorite images in this book were from “Is Something Wrong?” “The Dead Hand,” “Sam’s New Pet,” and “The Red Spot!”

The reason why I took off half a star from the rating was because the pacing in some of the stories were a bit too slow, especially in the story “The Trouble,” where I wished that the story would have gotten to the main point much quicker. Also, the reason why this book series was so controversial was due to Stephen Gammell’s frightening artwork. There are some genuinely horrifying artworks in this book, most notably in stories like “Sam’s New Pet,” “The Dead Hand” and “Is Something Wrong?” and some of the artwork would feature grotesque and creepy characters and characters that are covered in blood. Parents might want to read this book first before showing it to their children to see if their children can handle the scary content of this book series.

Overall, “Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones” is a truly great finale to Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell’s legendary “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” series and even though this series has come to an end, I will probably still re read this series down the line once more! I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since the frightening imagery and scary stories might terrify younger children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2016-09-01 00:00
Six Scary Stories
Six Scary Stories - Stephen King Well two stories out of six is not real good odds. These stories are a result of a contest that Stephen King's British publisher did in line with "The Bazaar of Bad Dreams" publication. We have the winning story and then five other stories that were part of the final six finalists. I really only liked two stories, "Wild Swimming" and "The Unpicking". I did think that two stories had promise, "Eau-de-Eric" and "La Mort De L'amant" and the last two stories I did not get or care for that much "Spots" and "The Bear Trap."

WILD SWIMMING by Elodie Harper (5 stars)- I really enjoyed this story of a young woman who is into wild swimming (yes I actually know what this is because of a Vera BBC episode I saw) who goes to a very odd town where something seems to be beneath a lake. I have to say though, I don't get why people mess around with lakes. This coming from a person who runs around the woods with total abandon though in the fall isn't saying much though.

EAU-DE-ERIC by Manuela Saragosa (3 stars)- This started off so well and then it just fell apart at the end. Having a story involving a widowed mother who buys her daughter a toy bear (I hate anything with glass eyes...they are not welcome in my house) after the death of her father in order to cheer her up. The daughter names the bear after her father, and the mother starts to notice it smells like her now dead husband. This brings up all kinds of memories that are dragging the women back to her past. I really wish it could have stuck the landing more.

THE SPOTS by Paul Bassett Davies (1 star). This story did not scare me at all. I honestly got to the end and went huh too. So I don't know what I was supposed to take away from it. This is one of the stories that I said would definitely have helped if it were a bit longer.

THE UNPICKING by Michael Button (5 stars)- Super messed up. That's all I am going to say here to not spoil any potential readers. I think at one point I noticed my cat watching me and her tail got all ruffly and she fled the room. I seriously looked under the bed to make sure nothing was lurking there. So high five for this story giving me the willies.

LA MORT DE L'AMANT by Stuart Johnstone (2.5 stars). This was way too short. I mean to the point I think this was maybe 10 pages (maybe) and there was not a real feeling of horror about it. In fact I think I just went well that was kind of a letdown. I also had more questions than answers since a lot of focus was on the guys pockets and there didn't seem to be anything in them. Maybe I missed something.

THE BEAR TRAP by Neil Hudson (2 stars). Ehhhh. I just didn't feel this. Especially since it didn't make a lot of sense to me in the end because we know there has been some type of incident and I have to wonder about how the (redacted) was alive through all of that. Anyway I am sad this ended up being the last story in the collection.

Overall I wish that this had been longer. This took me less than 2 hours to finish. In fact I think it took me an hour and ten minutes. If I hadn't been focused on posting updates it would have been even quicker.
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review 2015-11-12 18:45
Traditional tales for a younger audience
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Alvin Schwartz,Stephen Gammell

For my full-length review, please visit Casual Debris.

 

Given its oral tradition and its transcendence of culture which contribute to its widespread popularity, the folk tale often lacks its intended wallop of surprise. Unless, of course you, are a youngster first encountering these tales. In my youth I was introduced to many such tales through reading young adult fiction (or as we called it back in the 80s, kids' books), including re-tellings of classic tales. I don't believe I've before encountered Alvin Schwartz's popular volumes, and reading them for the first time now evokes mixed responses. The book is certainly fun and the illustrations by Stephen Gammell are downright brilliant--unfortunately Schwartz's writing is at times indolent. His notes on these tales and their origins, however, are interesting, and it is great that he made the effort to share these stories with a younger contemporary audience, helping not only to spread them but to conserve them.

 

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is divided into four distinct sections...

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text 2015-10-31 22:43

In honor of Halloween here is my small homage to Edgar Allen Poe.

 

As a child I was scared by physical things: violence, blood, disfigurement.  I grew up and learned that a damaged mind can be just as chilling. Edgar Allan Poe writes about both. He has always focused more on the monsters in our mind than the ones already unleashed.

 

I like to think the ‘Cask of the Amontillado’ is Poe’s finest (and scariest). Each time I read it I have to supress a smile at the description of Fortunado. Poe mocks him right down to his name. The irony he employs is so scathing I'm convinced Poe should have wrote comedy.

 

But even if this story reads like poetry, Poe writes an ending so brutal it is hard not to shudder at Fortunado’s pleas for mercy. The efficiency in which Montresor calculates the death of his nemisis still terrifies me. Long after the story ends the cries of the jester seem to echo from somewhere far away..

 

 

 

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