An anthology of short stories inspired by ’80s horror? Yes, please!
For fans of the genre, the ’80s were ripe—make that festering—with horror, and the 22 authors included here enthusiastically embrace the decade. This book is a rich, bloody stew of pop culture references, not just horror of the time but literally all of popular culture. The authors clearly looked at the subject as a challenge, and they pull out all the stops. There’s an unbridled, anarchic joy in the way they attack and subvert various tropes, finding new ways to go for the jugular. Editor Eugene Johnson has a great eye—this is a unified, cohesive collection.
Some of these stories are chilling, some downright scary, and a few funny in an I can’t believe they went there way. Nearly all of them are over the top, in the best way.
Some of my favorites:
Snapshot by Joe R. Lansdale and Kasey Lansdale. Seeing Lansdale in any TOC is always cause for celebration, and working with his daughter here, they deliver.
Ten Miles of Bad Road by Stephen Graham Jones. Typical Jones, which means this story kicks ass.
Stranger Danger by Grady Hendrix. Hendrix is always fun and inventive, and I loved this one.
Your Picture Here by John Skipp. One question for Skipp—Are you okay? This story is all kinds of WTF.
Mother Knows Best by Stephanie M. Wytovich. I wasn’t familiar with Wytovich, but wow, this burrowed beneath my skin like rusty fishhooks.
Perspective: Journal of a 1980s Mad Man by Mort Castle. Possibly the most ’80s of all these ’80s inspired stories, and it’s a rollercoaster ride with half the track collapsed.
Those are my favorites, but every story (and a couple of poems) here hit their mark. I also want to mention that the introduction by author Mick Garris, himself no stranger to horror and popular culture, is an excellent overview of what’s to come.
Thank you, Mr. Johnson, for bringing me back to the ’80s in such a fun, if blood-drenched, way.