Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts

Orrin Grey. Word Horde (wordhorde.com), $14.99 trade paper (210p) ISBN 978-1-939905-15-4
Grey (Never Bet the Devil and Other Warnings) relies heavily on pastiche and extensive references to horror movies, both familiar and obscure, in this wildly varying collection. In "Night's Foul Bird," a creepy tenant is nicknamed Chaney; in "Walpurgisnacht," a rich eccentric is said to resemble Vincent Price. These nods to the classics work well. However, Grey overdoes it badly at times. "Persistence of Vision" repeatedly explains what would be happening "if this were a movie." "Painted Monsters" features a third-generation movie producer who tosses around genre film quotes like confetti at a parade, yet he still waltzes into a trap straight out of a Hammer horror film. The far more original "The Labyrinth of Sleep" is a highlight, drawing on a lesser-used part of Lovecraft without calling attention to it. "Lovecrafting" perfectly depicts the descent of a protagonist into madness, and "The Worm That Gnaws" blends Lovecraft's mythos with the work of James Whale. Despite the flaws, this would be a good fit for anyone who wants a modern take on venerable horror fiction and film. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/23/2015
Release date: 10/31/2015
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