If like me you enjoy having the crap scared out of you, especially around this time of year, then look no further. Who does it better than this stellar cast of horror writers who’ve assembled to bring you Phantoms an old school compilation of short stories, that are just long enough to read before you doze off at night. Complied and edited by Marie O’ Regan whose love of a good ghost story goes back to her childhood and which has seen her compile numerous anthologies over the years, Phantoms is another success for the British Fantasy Award nominated writer.
The marquee name here is Joe Hill, son of Stephen King, who once again shows that the apple hasn’t fallen far from that particular tree with the deliciously haunting 20th Century Ghost. Hill tells the tale of a cinema usher who runs an old fashioned run down cinema, with one patron that never got to see Dorothy say “There’s no place like home.” Like his father there’s a beauty in amongst the horror of Hill’s work and his descriptions of the phantom film buff will have you shivering for weeks.
Paul Tremblay wins the best title award with A Haunted House Is A Wheel Upon Which Some Are Broken, a choose your own adventure style story where you get to navigate the character through the story, which in turn brings you into the plot in a way I’ve not felt since the eighties.
The Restoration by George Mann, tells the tale of a man obsessed with returning a sinister painting to its original form, with hideous consequences. There’s also a spattering of Gothic Horror included, if that’s your bag, with Laura Purcell’s Cameo, which as you would expect from this genre contains a tale of heartbreak, betrayal and, of course, blood.
There’s something here for every type of horror fan. Perfect for taking up to bed with you on these autumn nights and just enough to make you question if that is indeed the squeaky floorboard on the landing that just made that noise. Terrifying stuff… Chris Andrews