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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 2017-07-11 01:48
Halloween Carnival Volume 1
Halloween Carnival Volume 1 - Lisa Morton,Kevin Lucia,John Little,Brian James Freeman,Robert R. McCammon

 

Halloween Carnival Volume 1 is a tasty treat for horror lovers everywhere!

 

First off, I have to mention the opening story, Robert McCammon's Strange Candy. I'm a huge McCammon fan and this story was originally found in the FANTASTIC collection Blue World. Poignant and sweet this tale will always remain one of my favorites.

 

With that out of the way, the story that impressed me the most here was Kevin Lucia's The Rage of Achilles, or When Mockingbirds Sing. What started out to be a story of the difficulties of parenting a special needs child turned into a story of such bittersweet pain and love, I thought I heard my heart crack. Beautifully written with prose that cuts straight through your chest, this was the star of Volume 1.

 

La Hacienda de los Muertos by Lisa Morton was a neatly wrapped up tale about shooting a movie in Mexico. And maybe a ghost?

 

John Little can always be counted on to deliver and that he does with Demon Air. 

 

 Lastly, Mark Allen Gunnells' #Makehalloweenscaryagain was my first read of this author's work. While I generally don't care for hashtag anything, and even though I partially guessed how this story would end, I still enjoyed the journey and I look forward to reading more from Gunnells in the future.

 

Other than Strange Candy, I am not sure if these other stories have been published elsewhere previously. If so, I haven't come across them. I enjoyed the fact that these tales were mostly gore free, quiet horror since that's the type I prefer these days.

 

If quiet but powerful horror is your thing, I highly recommend this collection-especially for your Halloween reading pleasure!

 

You can pre-order your copy here: Halloween Carnival Volume 1

 

*Thanks so much to Hydra and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. This is it!*

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review 2017-07-04 16:19
Dark Screams: Volume Seven
Dark Screams: Volume Seven - Brian Hodge,Bill Schweigart,Richard Chizmar,Brian James Freeman,Robert R. McCammon

The Dark Screams series comes along with this, Volume Seven, and continues to be one of the most solid anthology series' out there. 

 

Going into this, I fully expected the Robert McCammon story to be my favorite, as he's one of my favorite authors and never fails to satisfy my story urge. However, I have to hand it to James Renner because his story A MONSTER COMES TO ASHDOWN FOREST (IN WHICH CHRISTOPHER ROBIN SAYS GOODBYE) not only knocked the ball out of the park, it knocked it out of town! To see the Pooh stories turned into dark fiction pleased me to no end! Five FAT stars!

 

That said, I did love McCammon's Lizardman. In a way this story reminded me of that TV show I've seen previews of-The Swamp People? But then the tale took a strange twist and landed somewhere totally different. 4 stars!

 

 

WEST OF MATAMOROS, NORTH OF HELL by Brian Hodge was a strange tale where mythology and real life blended into a torture chamber of sorts. Never pray to the skeleton saint. 4*

 

I enjoyed the rest of the stories as well, just as not as much as these 3-and these 3 alone are well worth the price of admission! Highly recommended!

 

You can pre-order your copy here: Dark Screams: Volume Seven

 

 

*Thanks to Hydra and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-06-30 14:41
Double Barrel Horror: Punk Rock Re-Animator/Holes by Chad Lutzke
Double Barrel Horror: Punk Rock Reanimator/Holes - Chad Lutzke

 

Double Barrel Horror is back with the latest entry in the series, this time by Chad Lutzke.

 

I'm already a fan of Chad's, (since reading "Of Foster Homes and Flies"), so when he contacted me to ask if I would be interested in reading these 2 super-short stories, I jumped on the chance.

 

Punk Ruck Re-Animator: A young man checks out his first punk rock show. His friend promises that it will be an experience that will change his life forever. Little did he know how true that would be!

 

Holes: This story reminded me a little of Hitchcock's "Rear Window", but as far as endings are concerned? I think I like Holes better. I'm a sucker for revenge stories and this one kicks all kinds of ass.

 

Once again, Chad Lutzke charms and impresses with his writing. Even in extra short stories like this, he is able to infuse them with heart, humor and most importantly HORROR!

 

My highest recommendation!

 

You can get your copy here for less than a buck:

Double Barrel Horror: Punk Rock Re-animator / Holes

 

 

*Thanks to Chad for the free copy in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-06-25 15:04
Fountain of Drowned Memories by Erik Hofstatter
Fountain of Drowned Memories - Erik Hofstatter

 

Fountain of Drowned Memories is a short story that touched my heart.

 

Lorcan is a man obsessed with the stains in the ceiling and someone, (or something?), trying to steal from him. Is this real or is there something else going on? For a story that is only 18 pages long, this one packs a powerful punch and I highly recommend it.

 

Oh, and did I mention it's free? (Or you can donate $1.00 if you like it!) Here's a link, (what do you have to lose?):Fountain of Drowned Memories

 

*I received this short story free, in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

 

 

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