Mick Garris, J. Kenner, Kealan Patrick Burke, Del James, and Bentley Little pry open a sarcophagus of horror and dread in Dark Screams: Volume Five, from Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the esteemed Cemetery Dance Publications.
EVERYTHING YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED by Mick Garris
It was supposed to be the night of his life: a celebration of his one hit slasher flick. But the price of admission is higher than this has-been filmmaker ever could have imagined.
THE ONE AND ONLY by J. Kenner
When he was seven, Will Underwood’s nanny told him she had the Sight. Years later, a broken heart sends him to New Orleans . . . but it’s fate that leads him to Madame Darkling’s Voodoo Emporium.
THE LAND OF SUNSHINE by Kealan Patrick Burke
Although she was mute long before the affair that nearly wrecked their marriage, her silence has tortured her husband ever since. Now he will seek out what he has lost—or be driven mad by remorse.
MECHANICAL GRATITUDE by Del James
Arnold loves his ’68 Camaro almost as much as he loves his wife, and he’s willing to do anything to protect them both—especially after hearing strange noises coming from his garage.
THE PLAYHOUSE by Bentley Little
A real-estate agent is drawn into a children’s playhouse behind an abandoned property she’s trying to sell—and finds herself strangely reluctant to leave.
Praise for Dark Screams: Volume Five
“Freeman and Chizmar’s fifth horror anthology runs the gamut from throwback horror to lyrical and heartbreaking tales. . . . This collection will satisfy.”—Publishers Weekly
“A horror fan’s dream . . . As with the rest of the series, fans of the genre should not hesitate to pick this one up.”—Examiner
“You can discover new authors and rediscover old ones, and that’s always a good thing in my book. Recommended for fans of short story collections!”—Char’s Horror Corner
“Dark Screams: Volume Five builds on the success of previous volumes, with the editors picking top-notch horror stories from old pros and new stars alike.”—Battered, Tattered, Yellowed & Creased
Freeman and Chizmar's fifth horror anthology runs the gamut from throwback horror to lyrical and heartbreaking tales, with a few duds. The crown jewel is Kealan Patrick Burke's luminous "The Land of Sunshine," about a husband guilty of infidelity who gives the ultimate gift to win his wife's forgiveness. Another standout is Mick Garris's gonzo "Everything You've Always Wanted," a gory, darkly funny tale about a has-been movie director who meets the woman of his dreams at a horror convention, with disastrous results. Less successful are J. Kenner's New Orleans ghost story, "The One and Only," in which a man's broken heart leads him into darkness; Del James's "Mechanical Gratitude," about a classic Camaro and the man who loves the vehicle to death; and "The Playhouse" by Bentley Little, about a woman who enters a child's playhouse, finding it preferable to the real world and her cold husband. Loosely tied together with themes of broken hearts and wayward love, this collection will satisfy most horror fans.
Some good tales but inconsistent
Dark Screams: Volume Five
I’ve read the initial volumes and of them all, this one was a little disappointing. I like the format: a handful of tales by authors you may or may not know, and all of them raising the hairs on the back of your neck. Usually.
I like Mick Garris’ work but Everything You’ve Always Wanted ran on too long for me. I got the set up quick and the long wait for the denouement was more a chore than I expected. I didn’t even like the payoff. A rare miss.
Kealan Burke’s The Land of Sunshine was all atmosphere, a moody story of love gone wrong and a man’s search for the path home, where home in this case, is the way things used to be. Liked the atmosphere but wanted a stronger close.
Mechanical Gratitude by Del James was the one story that I loved, even though I’ve been on that roller coaster many times before. I didn’t know every dip and turn, but I enjoyed the ride and would hop on again in a heartbeat. I don’t know the author but I’ll be searching for other work.
The One and Only by J. Kenner was an almost stock tale with a familiar feel. I’ve been to New Orleans a bunch of times so that helped me enjoy the walk, but there was no real surprise here, despite the well drawn scenes.
Bentley Little is always fun, and The Playhouse did not disappoint. I’ve read many tales of haunted things and places but this was definitely unique. I didn’t buy the whole premise (her husband’s response), but it was creepy enough in places to raise gooseflesh. Which is all I ever ask.
Don’t know if there will be a sixth volume, but I’ll be looking for it.
Some Great, Some Good
A couple of great stories, but some not so great. The stories show good imagination, but one is written so pretentiously it is hard to figure out what it is about. The first and last stories were the best of the bunch.