SILVER SCREAM by David J.--Ed. Schow


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According to the afterword by editor Schow (The Kill Rift, p. 400), the idea for this slipshod anthology of 20 ""cinema horror"" stories was hatched amidst ""lots of alcohol"" at a publishing convent ion dinner--not a bad argument for the return of Prohibition. Not that all of these film-oriented tales--most original, the majority by lesser lights, and split about 50-50 between supernatural and psychological horror--lack finesse, A few of the reprints sting--e.g., two moody tales by high-profile British authors that evoke haunted theaters, Clive Barker's ""Son of Celluloid"" and Ramsey Campbell's ""The Show Goes On""; and Robert Bloch's ""The Movie People,"" a bright conceit about movie extras finding a flickering afterlife on celluloid. Among the original stories, however, the pickings thin out and the names dim, filler to stuff the collection's arbitrary premise. Only paperback maven Robert R. McCammon and Richard Christian Matheson offer sparklers: McCammon with the ""Night Calls the Green Falcon."" the longest story here, an energetic and charming tribute to an old serial hero's last stand; and Matheson with ""Sirens,"" another of his shocking stiletto fictions (""A mansion. Black. Curtains breathing slowly. A bed. Sheets twining in her young hands. . .""), about an actress lacerated by fans' lust. Also noteworthy, not for quality but as curiosa, are rare solo outings by usual partners John Skipp (chroncling an abused woman's letters to Oprah Winfrey) and Craig Spector (an obvious tale of voodoo vengeance); and F. Paul Wilson's ""Cuts,"" another voodoo story, echoing the crudity of his novels (The Keep, etc.). Then there's the slew of tales by relative unknowns--Ray Garton, Mick Garris, Mark Arnold, others--that go for the jugular but hit the stomach; and, last but not least, Schow's self-styled ""windy"" wrap-up, a gushy love letter to the authors who have made his first anthology a reality. Reel cheap.

Pub Date: May 17th, 1988
Publisher: Dark Harvest (P.O. Box 941, Arlington Heights, IL. 60006)