Originally published in 1985, a reissue of volume 2 of the tale of horror and fantasy from the author who also writes, directs and produces for the screen.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I look at these pieces and I don't think the man who wrote them is alive in me anymore.... We are all our own graveyards I believe; we squat amongst the tombs of the people we were. If we're healthy, every day is a celebration, a Day of the Dead, in which we give thanks for the lives that we lived; and if we are neurotic we brood and mourn and wish that the past was still present.
Reading these stories over, I feel a little of both. Some of the simple energies that made these words flow through my pen--that made the phrases felicitous and the ideas sing--have gone. I lost their maker a long time ago.
These enthusiastic tales are not ashamed of visceral horror, of blood splashing freely across the page: "The Midnight Meat Train," a grisly subway tale that surprises you with one twist after another; "The Yattering and Jack," about a hilarious demon who possesses a Christmas turkey; "In the Hills, the Cities," an unusual example of an original horror premise; "Dread," a harrowing non-supernatural tale about being forced to realize your worst nightmare; "Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament," about a woman who kills men with her mind. Some of the tales are more successful than others, but all are distinguished by strikingly beautiful images of evil and destruction. No horror library is complete without them. --Fiona Webster --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
The Book of Blood: Just a little intro to the rest of the book. A detective in a haunted house gets all of the stories of the book carved into his flesh by spirits in a haunted house.
The Midnight Meat Train: A guy runs into a sereal killer on a subway station in London, and is led into a subteranean world where he discovers grusome secrets. This story has a reoccuring ending.
The Yattering and Jack: Didn't like this one. It's about a little Goblin bugging a family on Christmas. It's supposed to be funny.
Pig Blood Blues: THis is the first one i actually read. I liked this one a lot, because it reminded me of a nightmare I myself have had before, and i'm sure it's inspired by a nightmare of Barkers. It's about a kid who is admitted into a Juvenile dention facility, and hears rumors about a kid who committed suicide. Turns out, the kid is possessing a big sow outside. Very creepy.
Sex, Death, and Starshine: Didn't like this one. It's about a soap opera cast and their run in with the supernatural. The ending is just like Midnight Meat Train.
In the HIlls, The CIties: A gay couple travels through the hills of Europe to discover grusomely nightmarish giants. Very dreamlike.
Dread: This is a very Poesque story by Barker. It's about a group of guys that experiment with the human psyche and fear by locking people in dark rooms for days with nothing but a rotting plate of meat to eat. VERY grusome and gory ending.
Hells Event: Didn't really like this. Seemed like more of a witty satire than a nightmarish or entertaining story. It's about people running a race that determines the fate of their soul.
Jacqueline Ess-Her Will and Testament: Perhaps one of my favorite stories. THis is a Barker classic. IT's not meant to be scary, but it's more of a supernatural love story. The ending is CLASSIC-why didn't shakespear or somebody think of it before?--A man looking into a key hole to see his lover on a bed, whom he's been looking for for years; he can't break the door pounding in desperation, and her pimp won't give him the key.
The Skings of the Fathers: It's about giant prehistoric demons that terrorize a small town. Very disturbing ending that is beyond description and nightmare like.
New Muderers in the Rue Morgue: THis is a sequel to the classic Edger Allen Poe "Murders in the Rue Morgue" that was labeled as the very first detective story.
Son of Celluloid: Hated this one. I don't want to ruin the ending, as stupid as it is, but SOMETHING is haunting an old movie theater.
Rawhead Rex: Very grose monster story about a giant big-foot like creature that terrorizes a small town in England.
Confession's of a (pornographers) shroud: THis one was entertaining, but not the best. It's about a pornogropher who runs into some bad people and ends up getting killed. He comes back as a ghost veiled in cloth to get revenge on everyone.
Scape Goats: Barker tells a first person story from the viewpoint of a woman. I've read it twice now and don't understand the ending! I don't think it was meant to make a lot of sense though, just mean to disturb you with nightmarish imegary like Skins of the Fathers. It's about people on a boat who discover an island with a paranoid feeling of impending doom.
All in all, I'd say there's a few stories from each volume I really like, and other than that, it was just entertaining.