Review: 'Christmas Horror Volume 1' edited by Chris Morey

ChristmasChristmas Horror Volume 1 edited by Chris Morey
Dark Regions Press (November 2015)
134 pages; $15.00 paperback/$5.00 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

‘Tis the season…for horror? You betcha. Why should Halloween have all the fun? Editor Chris Morey and the team at Dark Regions Press put together an Indiegogo campaign earlier this year and the result is Christmas Horror Volume 1, a wonderfully enjoyable collection of horror stories for this horror fan’s second favorite holiday, right behind Halloween.

Before we get to the stories, I need to mention the interior color art accompanying each story. Kudos to artist Zach Mccain for his fitting illustrations.

“Santa Explains” by Joe R Lansdale. Champion Mojo Storyteller Joe R. Lansdale is the author of over forty novels and numerous short stories. A delightfully wicked way to kick off the anthology as a down-on-his-luck husband finds a Santa suit and pays a visit to his estranged wife…and then the twist.

“The Endless Black of Friday” by Nate Southard. Nate writes prose and comics, lives in Austin, Texas, and has a cat. This is a story which gives Black Friday a whole new meaning. A tale like the best episodes of the original Twilight Zone TV series. Perfectly executed.

“Red Rage” by Stephen Mark Rainey. Stephen is the author of a number of novels, five short story collections, and over 90 published works of short fiction. After reading this bloody short, I found myself taking a closer look at the ornaments on my Christmas tree, and checking then twice and then again.

“Pointy Canes” by Jeff Strand. Growing up, Jeff desperately wanted to be a cartoonist. Then he wanted to make video games. Then he wanted to write movies. Actually, he still wants to do all of those things, but for now he’s quite happy writing lots of demented novels. Jeff Strand never disappoints as he delivers horror with his wry sense of humor. By the way, who among us has NOT sucked a candy cane until it has a pointy end?

“Naughty” by Shane McKenzie. Shane is the author of many books and he’s written comics, as well.  Shane lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and daughter. He’s staring at you right now. This is certainly the darkest and most violent of the stories in the anthology. Some may find its subject matter to be a bit off-putting, but if you can handle it, you’ll be rewarded with a fine tale of retribution.

“Krampusnacht In Cell Block J” by Cody Goodfellow. Cody has written five novels and co-wrote three more with John Skipp. His first two collections each received the Wonderland Book Award. Cody lives in Burbank, California, and is currently working on building a perfect bowling team. Christmas is certainly no time to be locked up in a juvenile detention center.

“The Shittiest Guy In the World” by John Skipp. John is a New York Times bestselling author, editor, film director, zombie godfather, compulsive collaborator, musical pornographer, black-humored optimist and all-around Renaissance mutant. John brings his brand of Bizarro storytelling to this wonderful tale about bring balance to Christmas. It truly warmed the cockles of my heart.

“Belsnickel” by J. F. Gonzalez.  Jesus was an American author, primarily of horror fiction. He has written many notable novels and has done collaborations with Bram Stoker Award winners Mike Oliveri and Brian Keene. His voice is sorely missed. What we have here is a nice little kick-ass story of a Pennsylvania Dutch legend to remember him by.

“The Color That Stole Christmas” by William Meikle. Willie is a Scottish writer, now living in Canada, with twenty novels published in the genre press and over 300 short story credits in thirteen countries.  A small town, a Christmas tradition complete with reindeer and a sleigh with Father Christmas at the helm.  Sounds pleasant enough, but in the hands of storyteller William Meikle, be prepared for the worst.

I know it may seem weird, but as a lover of horror and  Christmas, this anthology really hit the spot for me. The perfect gift for the horror reader in your life or for yourself to enjoy by the fire on those cold winter nights.

Christmas Horror Volume 1 was originally offered through an Indiegogo campaign, but is now available to the general public as well. There is a Deluxe edition signed by most of the authors, a paperback edition, and it’s also available in all of the popular e-reader formats. Visit Dark Regions Press for details.

Highly recommended.

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