Thursday, September 22, 2016

Giallo Fantastique

Giallo Fantastique
edited by Ross E. Lockhart
2015 Word Horde

Themed horror anthologies have a hard time staying on topic, and here's one with a pretty ill-defined premise to begin with.  The idea is that these are Giallo mixed with Fantastique.

Giallo is better known as a genre of films: Dario Argento, Mario Bava, that lot.  They're named after yellow-covered paperbacks published in Italy, but instead of it being it's own distinct genre, these were just translations of relatively mundane English language detective novels: Agatha Christie, Edgar Wallace, etc.  Neither the books nor the movies tend towards the supernatural.

Fantastique is a broad French fantasy subgenre in which the supernatural intrudes on the real world and the characters react to it, similar to magic realism.

Let's see how far I get:

Minerva by Michael Kazepis: A woman goes through her dead brother's things.  There is an eccentric detective.  Structured like a giallo, maybe one of the 90s made for TV crappy gialli, up to a surreal, confusing, unsatisfying end.  I wouldn't mind seeing this one fleshed out, but as it is it comes across unfinished.

In the Flat Light by Adam Cesare: A retired giallo director is interviewed for TV.  He passes out and remembers an actress being set on fire on the set of one of his films.  He wakes up and the TV crew is gone.  A decent start, let's see ... oh, that's it.

Terror in the House of Broken Belles by Nikki Guerlain: Bizarro splatterpunk.  Men who did bad things to kids are sexually tortured in Hell.

The Strange Vice of ZLA-313 by MP Johnson: A Jetsons style satire with robots.  I'm guessing it's a satire - turns out I have little tolerance for reading "bot" as a suffix to every other noun.  I skipped ahead to:

Exit Strategies by Brian Keene: The only author I've heard of in this anthology.  The first person narrator gives a paranoid rant about how the US highway system is built on ley lines and spells out sigils and by the way I'm a serial killer and you die now.  Not bad, at least in comparison to the rest, but I get the feeling he had a library of unsold stories and he just pulled this one out to submit.

I really like the cover.

Available for Kindle.

Read a sample.

Look for more horror in the Trash Menace Bookstore.

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