100 Hair-Raising Little Horror Stories Hardcover – Jun 1 1993
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Top Customer Reviews
There is a mix of well-known and relatively unknown authors. My favorites are from two very different well-known writers:
Mark Twain's "A Curious Dream" recount's the author's encounter with a procession of restless spirits with his customary tongue-in-the-cheek humor.
Mark Twain's "A Ghost Story" presents his encounter with the ghost of the Cardiff Giant.
H. P. Lovecraft's "The Evil Clergyman" tells a tale of a visitor who faces a departed practitioner of black magic.
H. P. Lovecraft's "The Hound" tells of two ghoulish thieves who steal an amulet and of the owner's dogged pursuit.
H. P. Lovecraft's "The Statement of Randolf Carter" tells of Harley Warren's underground explorations `beyond the radius of human imagination' related to his friend by telephone.
Most of the other stories are good, too. I don't recommend most of them as bedtime reading for children. Unless, of course, you are just the babysitter and someone else will have to stay up with them the rest of the night.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
As the editors and contributors, Al Sarrantino and Martin H. Greenberg point out in the preface; this form, the short short story, is the hardest of all literary forms to perfect. Every word and every mark of punctuation is critical and must be exact. Though they appear brief and simple, they are about as effortless as say---flying. Just about every decade in the 20th century and many from the 19th are represented in some of the greatest literary giants. Giants of brevity and brilliance. Savor it, but definitely get a copy.
"Berenice"- This is a very disturbing tale of a young man driven to misery by an experience with a young woman named Berenice. She passes away one night, and the narrator sees her in his room with grotesque features. He then learns the next morning that Berenice has risen from her grave. Written by Edgar Allen Poe.
"The Idea"- This is the story of a man in a suspicious business executive that drives his family away from him with a ghastly idea that will lead to the corruption of his business.
"The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar"- A horrifying tale of the narrator attempting to mesmerize a dying man afflicted with a terminal illness. The gruesome occurances that follow the mesmerization will haunt your dreams for weeks. Written by Edgar Allen Poe.
"No. 1 Branch Line, The Signalman"- This Charles Dickens story tells of an aging man at a branch line that continues to see mysterious spectres outside his post. The narrator meets up with the man and believes him to be in an incompetent state of mind. He changes his mind, however, when the signalman is killed by a ghostly train one evening.
"Nightshapes"- A frightening tale about a man driven to insanity when his wife transforms into a werewolf every midnight. He also thinks of himself as a madman.
"Night Deposits"- A riveting tale of an elderly man's co-worker who is put into heavy debt by a mill factory. He keeps seeing his friend at night putting money into the night deposit bank slot. He continues to see his friend do this even after the bank is torn down.
There are hundreds more stories that you will find both interesting and terrifying in this book. I personally enjoy sitting down and reading four stories at a time. My hands are always shaking by the time I close the book. Pick it up and enjoy!
Horror can be the ordinary or the possible, taken one step further. Sometimes it is allusive, so that the reader is told, more or less, what happened but not how. Fiction like that of Edgar Allen Poe finds its roots in common fears and foibles of the human psyche stretched to unimaginable ends (for example, guilt in "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Black Cat"). In other stories, the ending, or what happens next, is left to the reader's imagination. The author plants the seed and fertilizes it, but leaves the reader to reap it.
In 100 Hair-Raising Little Horror Stories, Sarrantonio and Greenberg have captured the essence of horror fiction at its best-its subtlety and its interactivity with the reader's mind and emotions. In some, supernatural or science fiction elements play a role, but not at the expense of the psychology. In many of these, the reader must decide how reliable the narrator is.
In stories like "Ants" by Chet Williamson, the commonplace becomes the unthinkable. "Examination Day" twists one of the worst fears a schoolchild has into a parent's nightmare, while making a political statement. In several stories, the abuses inflicted on children are turned back upon the parents, guardians, or peers-or are they? Examples include "Holly, Don't Tell" by Juleen Brantingham; "Moving Night" by Nancy Holder; "Making Friends" by Gary Raisor; and "Sredni Vashtar" by Saki. "In the Corn" by Robert Fox is memorable for its setting, the naïveté and vulnerability of its protagonist, and the situations that lie behind and ahead of him.
A story like "The Grab" by Richard Laymon deceives the reader by presenting several twists; the game is not what it appears to be at first, and that makes the players' attitude toward it as shown at the end even more horrifying.
In real life, sometimes there are crimes that seem inexplicable until the culprits are caught and their depravity shown. In "Down by the Sea near the Great Big Rock" by Joe R. Lansdale, another explanation is revealed-or is it?
A few stories combine horror and whimsy, including "The Adventures of My Grandfather" by Washington Irving, "The Kirk Spook" by E. G. Swain, and "The Disintegration of Alan" by Melissa Mia Hall. "Fish Night" by Joe R. Lansdale is beautiful and haunting, with an ending that should not surprise but does. In some cases, though, the horror lies in the tale's realism, for example, "The Upturned Face" by Stephen Crane and "Night Deposits" by Chet Williamson.
100 Hair-Raising Little Horror Stories is a marvelous anthology of the genre. In only a few words and a few pages, each gifted author establishes well-drawn settings, scenarios, and characters, and then sets the reader up for an experience that ranges from amusing but disquieting to disturbing and terrifying. Many of these stories reminded me of the best of 1950s and 1960s television, such as The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and The Outer Limits. If you appreciate the subtlety, the tautness, and the art of the well-written horror story, you must read this anthology.