What’s the coolest generation in the history of mankind? Those born from 1965 to 1980 know this by heart and feel for those peons who look up to us. The best horror movies? Same — what’s better than what we grew up with? A bit, but not much. As for the horror writers, the novel was king and those fortunate enough to be conceived during this amazing time have a dark streak in their DNA that casts a long shadow.
Rebecca Rowland knows this well and cast a stellar table of contents that features some of the most bitchin’, bodacious, and awesome tales from the gnarliest writers on the face of this badass planet. The twenty-two stories between the covers hail from all over and nary a one chucked in a clunker. From slashers to the Satanic Panic to creatures of all sorts, not much scared this generation who thankfully committed some heinous acts well before the advent of cellphones before running home to let themselves into empty houses.
We were born for this horror. However, some of these stories will bring more than a bite of nostalgia. Some are downright frightening.
Choosing the most radical entry here is a tough one and will likely fall to what the reader loved most about the era. With the latest reading, three stand out (these have changed with each run-through — they’re that entertaining).
Adrian Ludens opens the anthology with “In From The Cold,” a chilling (pun-intended) story about the reigning hide-and-seek champion told in a sleazy bar. Definitely a righteous choice to open the book.
Next in the revolving list of favorites is “Naming The Band” by Elain Pascale. How could we have a collection without a hairspray-armed band from the 1980s in it? The group faces their demons, literally, in this send up of B movies that’s 100% fun.
Finally, one of my favorite under-the-radar writers, Kristi Peterson Schoonover, sets up likely the strongest piece that is all Gen-X, all psyched out. “Nothing To See Here” harkens bark to Skeleton Crew-era Stephen King in the best way but with her own spin on it with a looming “thing” that’s approaching the town after a devastating disaster many of us watched in high school.
Generation X-Ed is worth the buy. For anyone who lived through it, has parents who still act weird because of it, or just love the movies and books from the heyday, thank Ms. Rowland for a tubular terror trip.