Originally posted at Fangoria.com on Sept. 26th, 2010
TWICE THE TERROR: THE HORROR ZINE Volume Two (from BearManor Media) contains a wide array of wicked short stories, stunning illustrations and lyrical poetry. This anthology, edited by Jeani Rector (pictured), is thick with great work from established authors like Graham Masterton, Bentley Little and Joe R. Lansdale, as well as up-and-comers.
Little’s disturbing contribution, “The Security System,” starts out with a married couple returning from a vacation to discover their home has been robbed. Disheartened by the police handling their case, the couple seek to install a home security system, and security consultant Ted Rollins uses creepy sales tactics to demonstrate his point. By following the couple everywhere they go, the menacing stalker aims to prove how vulnerable they really are without his alarm setup.
In Deborah LeBlanc’s “Bottom Feeder,” runaway teen Nina is working on a farm for money. Though she cannot bear the foul odors and cleaning up after pigs, Nina finds them better company than the owner, Lervette. When Nina discovers Lervette has been feeding dead bodies to the porkers, she jumps at the chance to flee from the maniac, and a cat-and-mouse game develops between Nina and Lervette during a stormy night.
Hopefully, readers will be hearing more about the collection’s lesser-known authors in the future. “I Hate Clowns” by Michael W. Garza sticks in your mind with its eerie atmosphere and building suspense. Abbey Manor is well-known for its twisted history, ranging from murders to bizarre rituals. With its moving shadows, the mansion’s walls appear to be alive, feeding off the fears of a 13-year-old boy trapped inside. “The Police Station” by Bruce Memblatt is absorbing in its structure and sense of anticipation. What starts out like a police procedural, as two detectives interrogate a murder suspect, unexpectedly takes a creative twist into the supernatural.
The expressive poetry in the anthology took this writer by surprise, especially the humorous verses from Lansdale. Readers are in for a special treat with the rhythmic vampire contributions by Bruce Whealton. Amongst the narratives and stanzas are numerous fantastical drawings; keep an eye out for the stylized portrait of Vincent Price by artist Jason Beam. The surrealistic front cover was designed by Dan Harding, who based his artwork on the Roger Corman classic MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH.
The last piece, and my favorite in the collection, comes from editor and Horror Zine founder Rector. Her “Under the House” is a dark tale about child abuse. Ten-year-old Kayla is on the run from her cruel father’s wrath; while her father continues to scream her name, Kayla dashes throughout their home, hoping to hide and find sanctuary.
TWICE THE TERROR: THE HORROR ZINE provides deliciously dark delights in fiction, poetry and art. Twice the terror actually means twice the fun this time. For more information, go here.