Johnny Halloween: Tales of the Dark Season
Accessed as an Ebook, $2.99 on Amazon at time of review
If I’m going to be honest with this review my favorite part of this anthology isn’t the fiction.
My favorite entry in this anthology is a short essay entitled “The Man Who Killed Halloween”, which is a retrospect as much as it is anything. The essay examines what it was like to have lived through the Zodiac murders as a child, beginning to sense that life is shaped by forces larger than we can really grasp and completely out of our control-either as a child or as an adult.
This is the kind of stuff that I wish that horror writers would go into more often- the events that they have lived through that has shaped their writing. I think that it’s silly to try to separate out our past from our writing because it’s there whether we admit it or not. And to have lived through one of the great unsolved American crime waves of the 20th century is surely going to influence your views on the macabre.
If I’m going to be honest, the rest of the book is slightly uneven with the overall impression being ‘good’, but several of the stories feel rushed at the end, and a handful feel like they simply stopped the way that short fiction sometimes seems to. I think that’s more of a genre specific stylistic choice that I simply don’t favor because there are multiple writers working with short horror or macabre fiction that seem to use this technique. In a few of the stories I wish there was just slightly more of a wrap-up than there was; I don’t need clean, happy endings for my fiction but I do need to feel like I didn’t walk out halfway through a retelling.
So, overall, definitely worth the price of admission, but the endings tend to run to the abrupt.