There are great stories in this anthology, but first I have a confession to make: I'm not a b-movie fan. In fact, I hate b-movies. I find them silly to the point of ridiculousness. I just don't find appealing movies that you watch in a theater full of people yelling and laughing at the screen. My kind of horror is the sort that robs you of your breath and makes you jump out of the seat at the slightest provocation.
There it is, I've said it. Now, you might be wondering what could have possessed me to read a b-movie inspired anthology. Well, for one, I've been hearing a lot about this sub-genre as many small publishers are currently taking submissions for their own anthologies. That got me curious, of course; how do you write a campy b-movie story? But, above all, I'm a consummate professional (well, maybe not so much but you can't blame me for trying). When it was required of me to review the book, I wasn't about to say no, but to tackle it with professionalism. I know what makes a good story, even if I don't like it, I can see it is well constructed, edited, and thought off. So I jumped in hoping I would learn more about this about-to-bloom horror twist.
Guess what, it won me over. I still hate b-movies, but these stories had me yelling at the characters on the pages more than once and my heart skipped a few beats (fine, lots). So I guess this should be good enough a commendation, right? Still, being a consummate professional (see?), I will go through the details of what makes Midnight Movie Creature Feature so good and, as always, I will choose the three stories that I enjoyed the most to specifically review. Hope you enjoy.
And the Dark Growls Back by Aaron Dries: This was the first story that truly grabbed me. It starts with a bang, we know something bad happened and our heroes are, firstly not so much heroes, but most importantly, their on the run. The pace of the story never slows down and the characters are appealing and well fleshed out. I won't ruin it for you but this story is quite different from the rest of the pack, which truly works for the best because it becomes like a final twist that I thought was brilliant.
From Rebirth to Reburial by M. W. Williamson: This is one of those stories that got me yelling "hell, yeah!" by the end. I was so pumped up! It might just be my eagerness to see more of the main character, but I think there's hope for a series out of Williamson's tale. And I'd be the first one in line to get the whole lot. The story is scary, twisted, and very human at its core. The pace fluctuates between ups and downs that play havoc with our hearts, and the backstory hints at a very complex character that we understand, though we are just scratching at the surface. Kudos to Williamson for crafting a simple monster story that, in the end, is much more than the sum of its parts.
North by M. J. Wesolowski: Now, as far as crafted tales go, I'd say North is the one that outshines the rest because of how quiet it is. It could very well held its own among the likes of T. W. Wright and Charles L. Grant, and if you add to the mix the fact that there is a monster at the core of the story, it is quite an accomplishment. The story develops slowly, building suspense as it goes and leaving you unable to breath until the whole thing ends and you are horrified by the final realization. The images described are beautiful, Wesolowski does an amazing job at letting us experience the isolation of the environment and uses it to its maximum potential, digging for the deep rooted need for societal secureness and fear of darkness inside us all. My absolute favorite of the whole.
All in all Midnight Movie Creature Feature is a very interesting read that won't let you feeling cheated out of your money. I did find a couple of stories that didn't resonate with me, one that I actually hated, but I'd say the anthology as a whole was well worth the hours I took out of my family time to read it. Look out for more of the authors and TW Brown, the editor of this anthology, who does an amazing job at selecting the stories and editing them. While it might sound as a given, these days finding not one typo and a good editorial job is less common that it should be. And gratefully acknowledged.
If you love the genre, get your copy and stock on the popcorn; if you don't, give it a try. You might find yourself stuffing your mouth with candy out of pure joy.
For more information on the book click here.