cemetery gates

At The Cemetery Gates: Year One by John Brhel & Joseph Sullivan

At The Cemetery Gates is a collection of 14 short stories. As the title suggests, the stories are all linked by the theme of death, dying, or being recently deceased. Cemetery Gates is also the name of the publisher (see what they did there?). A major strength of the book is the variety of the tales, including everything from ghosts to urban legends, and from time travel to murderous clowns. Most of the stories are subtle in their dread, while others are a bit more visceral. Some involve the supernatural but mostly it is the human condition that brings about death. There’s a definite craft to writing these kinds of short stories – bringing the unexpected in and making it flow with the rest of the tale. One of my favorite stories is actually the opener about a couple trapped on a snowy road. Another favorite involved two boys witnessing […]

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Hellraiser: Anthology-Volume One

The world and mythology of Hellraiser is back. Although we have seen recent Hellraiser comics and graphic novels, this is the first publication to come direct from Clive Barker’s own company, Seraphim. The reason they’ve gone the in-house publishing route is censorship. Barker and his team’s experience with other publishers was a frustrating one. The original vision for stories was diluted and toned down, or certain panels were removed. This anthology promises a new beginning for a more extreme and visceral Hellraiser, as god (?) intended. The anthology contains eleven stories, one of which is text with a few Clive Barker illustrations, written by Mark Alan Miller. Other authors include Ben Mears, Matt Murray, and Blumhouse’s David and Rebekah McKendry.  We’re brought to Hell, sex clubs, suburbia, and even the Old West with these tales. The book ends with a vibrant gallery of Hellraiser inspired art in different forms. The […]

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Final Masquerade (Anthology-Various Authors)

The Final Masquerade anthology starts with a bang with a story about professional killers who take out the terminally ill. It has a great slasher vibe and focuses on the artistry of the kill. Other stories of note include an unexpectedly sexy tree, a very unusual washing machine repairman, and a suicide prevention hotline worker who has a gift for convincing people to do it. With so many authors there is a huge variety in the stories and styles, from the supernatural to the more mundane. Most of them end in death. There are twenty tales in this collection. All, as the title suggests, are a masquerade in some form – people and things not as they initially appear. Sometimes even the protagonist is not who we would think and expectations are flipped. The authors do some unique things with characters and take some refreshing approaches. One story is even […]

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Bad Neighborhood Edited by Fox Emm

Bad Neighborhood is a short story and poetry horror anthology, themed around the idea of “home.” Interestingly, the book came into being as the result of a Kickstarter campaign started by editor Fox Emm. The premise was to fund an extreme horror anthology inspired by the splatterpunk sub-genre. As a depraved gore hound, I’m definitely a fan of splatterpunk. For those who don’t know, I’d describe splatterpunk as extremely violent and limit pushing in both intensity and gore. Sounds fun, right? I’ll give some highlights and tell you about the stories I enjoyed the most. These are really short stories that pack a punch so I won’t go into much detail or spoil anything. There were 29 poets and authors who contributed to this anthology, so that’s a lot of stories! The collection starts off with a bang with Hugh Warren’s Intruder, which is fast paced, violent and ends with […]

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