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Review of Silver Scream

Review of Silver Scream

Published in 1988 by Tom Doherty Associates, Inc. through Tor.

Silver Scream is an anthology of horror stories with the theme of movies. The collection of stories runs the gambit of gross-out horror to sophisticated terror, written by authors ranging from Robert Bloch and Clive Barker to Richard Matheson and Ramsey Campbell.

This really is an awesome collection.

Some of the stories;

The Movie People by Robert Bloch; They tell actors to never look into the camera, but maybe they have a reason even if it is just to say hello.

Sinema by Ray Garton; Holy freakin' pugnukets! Don't want to state anything that would spoil the ending, I just say it's uber-creepy.

Night Calls the Green Falcon by Robert McCammon. Whatever happened to those serial heroes of yesteryear? Do you even know what a serial is? Did you know Gene Autry started out as a cowboy hero in a 1930s science fiction serial? Unrelated to the story, really, just a bit of trivia. Do you even know who Gene Autry is? Do you know what a cowboy is? The serial featured something about a Phantom Empire.* (Sound familiar? Phantom Menace/Lucas/Star Wars=Serials) Anyway, here is a tale of one of cinema's lost heroes on the road to redemption.

Splatter: A Cautionary Tale by Douglas Winter. I had to read this one twice before it sunk in. A metaphoric trip about censorship in the 80s using horror movies .

Bargain Cinema by Jay Sheckley. Another one of those "Yikes" stories like Sinema.

Son of Celluloid by Clive Barker. Fantastic why? Because it's Clive Freakin' Barker, that's why. All about a hideous monstrous tumor going around bothering people.

Night They Missed The Horror Show by Joe Lansdale. I bet this was written for Quinton Tarantino to read in case he was feeling a little blue. Sheesh. Or more like if Tarantino and Rob Zombie had a child, it would be this story.

Pilgrims to the Cathedral by Mark Arnold. A nice little story to end the book where everybody dies.

I could go on about this book. It is a wide selection of different approaches to horror through the movies. I didn't like all the stories, but that's the point of reading anthologies; discover new writers and perspectives. Some ya like, some ya won't.

As started before, my reviews are not in depth analysis of literary works; just if the book, in my opinion, is a good read. If you see Silver Scream in a used book store it will be worth picking it up.

* It was called the Phantom Empire. Gene Autry played himself fighting an advanced underground society ( complete with robots, ray guns, and other examples of super science ) that sent villainous cowboy riders out to kidnap people so they wouldn't discover their wonderful civilization . . . no, serious, that was it. You know it was a super advanced empire because their robots had built in hats. No, I don't know why the super secret empire guys rode horses instead of zooming around in super advanced scientific air ships, they just did. Maybe they were so busy inventing ray guns that they overshot the wheel.

      Wallace McDonald, the writer, said he came up with the story while under when having a tooth removed. I believe they used laughing gas a lot back then. ( Nitrious Oxcide, aka Sweet Air, aka Giggle Maker, Grin Wind, Hoo-Hah-Hoot, Giggle Gas, Laughter Taffy, Joy Vapor . . .) In the 1800s the British elite would have Laughing Gas parties. Research by Brooks Whalley reflects that exposure to N2O increases suggestibility and imagination, although how he measured imagination I don't know. Maybe Mr. McDonald had read a cowboy magazine then a Flash Gordon comic in the waiting room. Since Laughing Gas increases suggestibility, maybe the dentist whispered the idea into McDonald's ear while yanking out the tooth. "Doooo a stooooory abooo-ut singing coooowbooys and undergroooound emmmmmm-pires."


what hell
Eldon Litchfield

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