Bad Apples 3: Seven Slices of Halloween Horror by Various
Corpus Press (August 2016)
242 pages; $14.99 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington
Halloween is fast approaching. Don’t believe me? Just stop by your local big box store or visit any super drug store. Candy and costumes and decorations are popping up everywhere. Good news is, it’s also time for Halloween anthologies and scary stories to appear on bookshelves and in your news feeds. One such collection is from Evans and Adam Light, co-creators of the Bad Apples anthology series.
Bad Apples 3: Seven Slices of Halloween Horror is a delicious concoction of tales which are much more fun than bobbing for apples. Plus, you’re much less likely to suffer accidental drowning reading this book, unless you like to read in the tub. Then you’re on your own.
“Belle Souffrance” by Adam & Evans Light—The authors combine their talents to produce one of the most visceral stories of betrayal and revenge I’ve ever read. “…now as he stood on the dark hillside, Halloween’s arrival imminent, he imagined all that he could create with flesh as his canvas and fresh blood as his paint.” Set against the backdrop of an old amusement park (one of my favorite tropes), the story was horrifyingly original.
“Chocolate Covered Eyeball” by John McNee—One of the wildest, most imaginative short stories I’ve read this year. Old man Koolter doesn’t take kindly to those who shoplift from his candy store. The scene where the lead character vomits his ill-gotten candy into a toilet is disturbingly brilliant.
“October’s End” by Craig Saunders—A suitably creepy tale about the house at October’s End. “There might be a reason the house was called October’s End, but Harvey knew October never ended. It never had, and never would, and names and houses and old ladies all lied.”
“The Uncle Taffy’s Girl” by Gregor Xane—This is the first time I’ve read anything by Gregor Xane and it’s a doozy. A Halloween party for the ages. Proof once again that if something seems too good to be true, it is. Gregory’s story had me cringing more than once, each time with something even more terrifying than before.
“Last Stop” by Edward Lorn—A very disturbing bus ride with a Brit who plans to kill three people on Halloween night. First time reading Edward Lorn, too, and it won’t be the last. By far the darkest story in the book, but it’s also one of the best.
“Body of Christ” by Mark Matthews—Another dark tale of a Christian mother’s resistance to Halloween. Admittedly the oddest story in the anthology and gruesome at times, yet I found it completely satisfying.
“Pulp” by Jason Parent—An inventive tale of another Halloween party gone awry. Most of the party-goers were members of a high school film club and “had drawn from a fishbowl a folded piece of paper with the name of an iconic horror-movie villain on it.” These were their costumes. Sounds like a fun party, right. Wrong. Probably my favorite story in an anthology loaded with great tales.
Bad Apples 3: Seven Slices of Halloween Horror is a remarkably diverse collection of stories. If Halloween is your thing and you like good horror, what are you waiting for?