Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dark Things II: A Horror Anthology

Edited by Ty Schwamberger
Published by Pill Hill Press

Dark Things II is a fun, lightly horrorific collection of short stories meant not only to disturb and haunt their readers, but also to entertain, often provoking a chuckle of laughter as much as a sense of dread. While many readers will find this anthology to be hit or miss, there are enough solid stories in this collection to keep an avid reader awake at night:

The pinnacle of the collection has to be C. J. Sully’s “The Chevalier Sisters: A Tale of Voodoo” which weaves a southern gothic narrative about Thena Chevalier, and her constant struggle in life with her physical disabilities, the emotionally heavy loss of her mother, and the antagonistic torments of her sister, Dusa. With a revelatory ending reminiscent of Poe, Sully’s story is sure to capture the attention of any horror fans.

“Bug Boy” by Matt Kurtz is the story of social outcast Stanley, who has an affinity for collecting bugs. Living close to a cemetery in an area that has been experiencing a lot of rain, Stanley is certain he’ll be able to see a dead body soon, and be able to collect some great bugs to terrify the students in his classroom. He pursues his hunt into the cemetery itself, to a gruesome discovery.

“Polarity” by David W. Landrum is the introspective tale of a prostitute who is hired for participation a demonic ritual. Once she realizes that all is not as it seems with the daughter of the house, the two of them make plans to end things once and for all, but not without a sacrifice.

Overall, Dark Things II is a decent anthology of horror stories, some aiming to be terrifying, some aiming to be disgusting, and some aiming simply to be silly with elements of horror. In spite of some iffy production values, the anthology is well put together and the stories make for a quick read, with something included for every horror fan to enjoy.

Buy it here.

Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Joshua Gage is an ornery curmudgeon from Cleveland. His first full-length collection, "breaths", is available from VanZeno Press. Intrinsic Night, a collaborative project he wrote with J. E. Stanley, was recently published by Sam’s Dot Publishing. He is a graduate of the Low Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Naropa University. He has a penchant for Pendleton shirts, rye whiskey and any poem strong enough to yank the breath out of his lungs. He stomps around Cleveland in a purple bathrobe where he hosts the monthly Deep Cleveland Poetry hour and enjoys the beer at Brew Kettle.

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