Undead & Unbound: Unexpected Tales From Beyond the Grave

Edited by Brian M. Sammons and David Conyers. Chaosium (www.chaosium.com), $17.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-56882-368-3
Few of the 19 short stories in this lackluster horror anthology are likely to lead readers to seek out their authors' other works. Despite the editors' stated aim in their introduction "to achieve a celebration of all things from beyond the grave," they offer little that engages or frightens. While parody and horror can coexist, both need to have some grounding in reality to be effective, but C.J. Henderson's "Undead Night of the Undeadest Undead" swings and misses with its notion that zombies could be conned into singing a Broadway tune on live TV; the image seems intended to elicit a brief chuckle, but the satire of popular culture is pretty thin. The two stories inspired by Frankenstein add nothing to appreciation of that classic. Lurid prose (e.g., entrails hang from a floating severed head "like a mass of giant blotted worms") sacrifices subtlety for gore. Cody Goodfellow does deliver a diverting variation on classic Lovecraftian themes in "Blind Item," but it stands out only in contrast to the other 18. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/17/2014
Release date: 05/01/2013
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