Halloween Carnival Roundup

I planned on having these read and reviewed for the first to kickoff October, but life (and the inclusion of on page rape) fucked with my deadline. So instead, let me post it today…

Since, again, I’m behind on everything and I haven’t even cracked the book I was originally planning on reviewing today.

I’m gonna have to rework my entire calendar… you know, after I finish stalling in new and interesting ways because I’m avoiding anything resembling adulting

Whatever, here’s a roundup/review of a creepy story anthology.

Actually, real quick, this was published by Hydra and I’m too deep in MCU fandom to not read into that.

Okay, now onto the review:

Halloween Carnival Volume 2 by Glen Hirshberg, Lee Thomas, Holly Newstein, Del James

Mr. Dark’s Carnival – possibly not the best start, as far as these things go. I was instantly put off by the professor and his adoration of his married grad student. Looking past that, the story was mildly amusing and not overtly scary or even thrilling.

As I said, not an auspicious start.

The Facts in the Case of My Sister – Well, this was one hundred and fifty percent fucked up and will haunt me for a good long time. My heart races as I think back enough to write these few lines.

Mischief Night – *deep sigh* not impressed

The Ghost Maker – actively offensive in many ways

The Pumpkin Boy – Time worked in this story’s favor. I remember thinking it was good when I read it. Not great, but good. Now that I’m working on the review, though, I feel deeply unsettled by the story. Thrown off by lingering dread caused by good horror stories.

Halloween Carnival Volume 3 by Kelley Armstrong, Kate Maruyama, Michael McBride, Taylor Grant

The Way Lost – Holy fuck. This story ties for the best of the bunch. It was everything you want in a good horror story. I just. PHEW! Holy fuck this will stick with me forever.

La Calavera – The other story tied for best of the bunch. It was with dawning horror that I realized what happened and actually started to cry a bit. There was a choked out sob and everything.

The Devil’s Due – my tolerance with this story: a story

  • “the devil takes the prettiest girls in town” right.
  • “and traps them in a cave” we get it
  • “and they write messages in their blood on the walls” we know

A Thousand Rooms of Darkness – would’ve rated higher without the deus ex machina ending

The Last Night of October – Well that was unexpectedly chilling and has already given me nightmares. Not a complaint. Since, you know, it’s a horror anthology.

Halloween Carnival Volume 4 by Kealan Patrick Burke, Ray Garton, Bev Vincent, C.A. Suleiman

The Mannequin Challenge – *another deep sigh* this was a waste of my time

Across the Tracks – thanks for the on page rape of a little boy. While that is horrifying, if I wanted that kind of horror I’d read the fucking newspaper. (Also, the rapist doesn’t get his just desserts, he instead gets more powerful.)

At this point, the only way to recover would be if there was a story that was better than The Lost Way or La Calavera.

Spoiler Alert: There was not

The Halloween Tree – meh

Pumpkin Eater – vaguely scary. more like “fuck, yeah. get him, gurl.”

When the Leaves Fall – another meh

Halloween Carnival Volume 5 by Richard Chizmar, Lisa Tuttle, Norman Prentiss, Kevin Quigley, Ph.D.

Devil’s Night – Pretty good, though I kept yelling at the teacher. Basically like you do at horror movies. Not overly scary, but sort of thrilling.

The Last Dare – Creepy, but with unnecessary build up that detracted from the horror factor.

The Halloween Bleed – Honestly was not expecting the ending and found myself wanting more. A long-term war of horror.

Swing – a mind fuck where you don’t fully understand what’s happening and I would’ve enjoyed it far more if not for two scenes. Cheek needles and dead seeds. I’m sure they were meant to shake things up and make me fidget, but they actually just made me roll my eyes.

Well, the dead seed did.

The cheek needle made me gag…

Pork Pie Hat – just meh. Sort of an anticlimactic end to the whole shebang.

In summary: Volume Three has two really great stories, enough to warrant purchasing a copy. The inclusion of on page rape in Volume Four, however, sours the whole deal and has me just…

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