Conal Cochran's Reviews > Midnight Pleasures

Midnight Pleasures by Robert Bloch
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Meh. It's hard to see how this book got a Stoker nomination, and if it didn't have ol' Bob Bloch's name on the front, I doubt it would have.
Granted, the one-two punch of "The Rubber Room" (a truly horrific story that goes all the way, although Bloch bolloxes it up with an unnecessary double-ending) and "The Night Before Christmas" is formidable. Actually, the first third of the book is great--"Pumpkin" is spooky as shit and "The Spoiled Wife" is a nasty piece of Bloch sci-fi. No, it's when we hit "Oh Say Can You See--" and "But First These Words--" that it all goes downhill. There are three stories in the collection with dashes in their titles, and each is an odd, mildly amusing but pointless sci-fi rant.

As for the rest:
"Picture" is wickedly funny with a helluva ending. "The Undead" is a craptastic piece about vampires that reads as though written by a grade-schooler; "Comeback" is a gem (and a very touching story, as well). "Nocturne" is yet another Ed Gein inspired story with an ending you see coming from the first line; it's engagingly written, though. "Everybody Needs A Little Love" is so-so. "The Totem Pole" is a vintage piece, and hasn't aged well--predictable beyond belief, although it would have made a killer story for an EC Comic.

The best story, for my money, is "Pranks." It's a wickedly clever treat of a trick that is one of the best Halloween stories of all time, up there with "The October Game" and "The Folding Man."

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