Evans Light is author of Screamscapes: Tales of Terror, the upcoming I Am Halloween, and more. He is editor of Doorbells at Dusk and the ongoing In Darkness, Delight horror anthology series, and is co-creator of Bad Apples: Halloween Horrors and Dead Roses: Five Dark Tales of Twisted Love.
Evans lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, surrounded by thousands of vintage horror paperbacks.
I love Halloween. Everything to do with it. The smells, the candy and the scares. It's that perfect time of year. This little collection of stories just falls right into place with that magical holiday. You have first up-Gregor Zane's Riggle Twins. Creepy little twins that come out to play on Halloween. I'll make sure that I don't turn off my lights and hide from any trick or treaters this year.
Then comes Evan Light's Pumpkinhead Ted. Frigging awesome is what this one was. Poor little Ted.
Adam Light's Ghost light road..comes calling next up. When a group of young idiots want to go chasing down a local ghost story.
Jason Parent's Easy Pickens proves that someone you might think is easy to bully has friends that help out. Loved it.
Then Ed Lorn comes along..with The Scarerows. My mind was already warped enough Ed..thanks for enhancing that.
This group of authors are masters at what they do. They made me smile and they sent chills up my spine. Bravo guys.
I did receive a copy of this book from one of the authors in exchange for an honest review. In no way did that change my review. All these guys know I'm bitchy and still put up with me.
This collection was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it quite a bit! To provide full disclosure, I consider all of these authors to be my "friends" and I was provided a free copy of this book to review. Despite those things, I have written an honest review.
I read this collection as part of the Fall Fear Challenge over in the Horror Aficionados Group at Goodreads. There was a buddy read going on for this book and I had a great time participating. (The buddy read goes for the whole month, and welcomes everyone!)
My favorite story in this collection was The Riggle Twins by Gregor Xane. Wildly imaginative and creepy, I was sad when this story was over. I hope that Gregor builds on this story in the future, because I think there is a lot of room to grow in the world from which The Riggle Twins were born.
Pumpkin Head Ted was Evans Light's contribution to the collection. At first I thought this was going to be the usual revenge tale. It wasn't and now I no longer like fireflies. Thanks a lot, Evans.
Ghost Light Road was Adam Light's tale. I was a bit disappointed in this one. Not that it was bad, it just didn't work well for me.
Easy Pickings by Jason Parent was a blast! I love creature features and this was a good one.I liked that it was hard to spot the creature at first, and then it was hard not to see him.
The Scare Rows by Edward Lorn was just crazy. Flat. Out. Crazy. I have a picture in my mind of Mr. Lorn laughing his ass off as people read this effed up tale. This one was WAY over the top. I understand that being over the top was part of the author's intent, and I did think some of it was hilarious, (especially the part with the popcorn!), but at the same time I felt that its over-the-topness felt a little cheap. I did enjoy the fact that a few of my online friends were characters in this story and none of them fared well.
Overall, I enjoyed this collection quite a bit and gave it 3.5 stars. I thought it was an excellent idea for these authors to team up. I think each and every one of them has something to offer horror fans and I will be reading more from them all in the future.
He reached into plastic shopping bag where he kept his groceries and drew out a slice of bologna. A gelatinous coating had formed over the surface. As he passed a pickup truck, Trevor slapped the thin-sliced meat product against the vehicle's side panel where it held fast. A chuckle shook his belly at the thought of the truck's owner peeling off a circle of paint as he removed the bologna. Halloween was truly the greatest night of the year!
from Easy Pickings by Jason Parent
Though I've never bolognaed someone's car, I must agree with the sentiment - Halloween IS INDEED the greatest night of the year! There are only great Halloween goodies in this treat bucket - no boxes of raisins or those awful orange and black wrapped things.
*First up is The Riggle Twins by Gregor Xane. Though he's proven himself to be a Goodreads friend with a wicked sense of humor, Xane is a new author to me. Here he presents a tale of two kiddies who emerge only on Halloween. It's a delightful story, full of glee and childlike wonder...until the killings begin...
*Evans Light is next with the story of Pumpkinhead Ted. Poor Ted, so sick of being bullied, spends a year planning his revenge. I'll never eat Whoppers again.
*And leave it to Adam Light to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that watching horror movies is much, much better than acting them out.
They were growing, shedding their skin costumes and revealing their true nature. They were mutated beyond recognition, all of them now standing six to seven feet tall, their features had become like melted wax, dripping from their misshapen skulls over faces devoid of human characteristics.
Stay home. Lock your doors. Maybe even hide under the bed. Just stay far away from Ghost Light Road.
*In Jason Parent's scary tale, Easy Pickings, another bully (they're everywhere on Halloween!) learns that taking candy from an almost-baby is more difficult (and deadly!) than he had expected.
*And Ed Lorn rounds things up with The Scare Rows. This has a real Something Wicked This Way Comes vibe to it, although it's for adults only as a sinister traveling entertainer introduces the citizens of Bay's End to "corn" porn.
I'll probably never enjoy corn on the cob again...
This is a fun collection of Halloween tales that are both treats and tricks, though it's impossible to say which is which AND which you'll enjoy more.
Do not let the benign title fool you. These dark tales mean business. Five slices - rotten to the core, and oh, so tantalizing!
THE RIGGLE TWINS by Gregor Xane was a standout for me. Two strange little souls who live for Halloween and their benefactor, who wears a cape made of batwings. Keep the lights on and for the sake of all that is holy, give the little monsters all they can carry when they come knocking at your door.
PUMPKINHEAD TED by Evans Light is a sad story about a youngster with a deformed head. Bullies abound, of course, to make his life even more miserable. What are the odds that the biggest bully of all is named Carver?
GHOST LIGHT ROAD by Adam Light proves that first instincts are the best. Always stay in your house!
Jason Parent's EASY PICKINGS features a drink you do not want to order. It comes with a straw. The wings . . .
Edward Lorn's SCARE ROWS is one that will lurk just behind my shoulder for awhile. A lush cornfield that springs up overnight surrounding Church o' the Lantern, whose members consist of empty-eyed shambling scarecrows. Hardcore twist to end it up. Wop, wop, wop . . .
I have been anxious to get into the "Halloween spirit" already, and this book of 5 stories was the PERFECT choice! I have read stories from each of the individual authors in this collection previously, and simply can not emphasize enough how well they all go together! This is the absolute perfect-themed anthology to get you into that "festive" mood!
The first story up was "The Riggle Twins", by Gregor Xane. This one had me hanging on every single word! It is a unique, grotesque story embodying the full element of the Halloween spirit. With the legend of Samhain, child molesters, torture and sacrifice, as well as retribution, this story was nothing short of spellbinding from first to last page. This is certainly a seasonal story worth re-reading each and every year! 5+ stars.
Next up we have "Pumpkinhead Ted", by Evans Light. This was a horrific, emotional tale of a horribly disfigured boy just trying to fit in. The raw, visceral scenes will hit you from all angles. When Ted finally realizes that "fitting in" is just something that he is NEVER going to be able to do, the tale takes a turn of vengeance that may just have you mentally cheering. The only thing I wasn't particularly fond of was the ultimate ending, but that was more of a personal taste. 4.5 stars.
"Ghost Road Light" by Adam Light. What starts out as a typical ghost story told to kids about a dead soldier's fatal motorcycle accident on a rural road, morphs into anything BUT a cliched urban legend. Great twist that I didn't see coming! 5 stars.
"Easy Pickings" by Jason Parent. When two bullies are out terrorizing the neighborhood on Halloween, the elder one targets a young boy dubbed "Retard Ricky" and his imaginary friend. This story provided a fantastic twist of fate as the two troublemakers learn what lies "between the air". 5 stars.
"Scare Rows", by Edward Lorn. Ed takes us back to the town of Bay's End for this fantastic tale blending horror and off-beat humor. There are some familiar names in here that had me smiling throughout. When a "magical" carnival of corn rows springs up overnight, the scene is set for sacrifice, mutilation, and other "forgetful" events. The saving event had me literally laughing out loud at how well the author connected the events in this tale of the ultimate Halloween in a town that is no stranger to "odd" events. 5+ stars.
Overall, there isn't a story in this collection that isn't worthy of being re-read every year during that magical autumn season. These are ALL top-rate stories from some of the best names in the business!
Some absolutely wicked stories, a Halloween caked in dismembered body parts, macabre pumpkin heads and scare rows of corn, funny, creepy as fuck and each brilliant in its own way.
First up we have The Riggle Twins by Gregor Xane, a mischievous tale of horror for those who do their damnedest to avoid the Halloween frivolities, for those who sit in the dark and pretend they’re not in. You see the Riggle twins search for such people and take them as a tribute to their saviour the god of the dead, or Sam to his friends. The Riggle twins come out of the darkness on Halloween, with their sacks full of tricks and traps and treats, through the tunnel of severed hands, guided by the man with a batwing coat, to pray on those that don’t celebrate All Saints Eve.
Next up is Pumpkinhead Ted by Evans Light, the story of a boy who wishes every night was Halloween, just so he didn’t have to take off the mask, a boy ridiculed for his looks and bullied every day of his life. His life was all about the frowns, the stares, the hurting, present for it all because he had no happy place to retreat. Until his dreams of retribution come to pass on Halloween.
The third story is Ghost Light Road by Adam Light, some might say Halloween is not the best time to explore the supernatural occurrences out at ghost light road and fuelled by drugs and alcohol definitely doesn’t bode well for a happy ending. Especially when the car gets stuck and help turns out to be anything but.
The penultimate story is Easy Pickings by Jason Parent and that’s what two bullies, one of which deserves everything coming to him, are to a boy and his imaginary friend. Trevor rubs his hands together, excitement making them clammy, savouring the anticipation as he spies Ricky Retard playing on the field, talking to himself. Just settling into his usual tactics of psychological warfare as a prelude to violence, when he’s thrown as the boy introduces his invisible friend Jacob and he knows their name’s, most disconcerting. But not half as much as when his partner in crime Rascal floats into the air with blood flowing freely through his mask.
The final story is The Scare Rows by Ed Lorn, a creepy tale infused with the usual humour that could well lead to controversy but it’s light hearted and fucking funny. A man turns up at Bays End probate office looking to procure a permit to provide entertainment in the city. The Scare Rows is soon the place that everyone wants to be on Halloween and it’s chillingly like a spell has been placed on the inhabitants of Bays End. Pretty soon everyone’s clamouring for a ticket and people are acting mighty strange in the build up to the night of Halloween where the Scare Rows quake with anticipation for what’s coming. Save a chronic yeast infection. There’s some familiar names in this story, so whether you like or dislike your character in The Scare Rows, I’m sure you’ll laugh at some point and take it with a smile on your face.
Five cracking short stories, a little for everyone, imaginative, gory in a limbs torn apart fashion and full of supernatural entities waiting to cause you harm, a suitably distressing start to the Halloween period. My favourites, The Scare Rows, horror mixed with humour and the imaginative Riggle Twins, both of which were ingenious for different reasons.
Bad Apples was provided by Ed Lorn in return for an honest review (my thanks) and that’s what you’ve got.
From the minute I found out about that this book was in the process of being made, I knew I wanted it. The wait was insane, awful ... sooooooo long. Finally I saw the authors start posting the date of publish and I was excited. When Adam asked me if I'd be interested in reading it before it came out, I could not say yes fast enough. In fact, it was on my Kindle and waiting to be read within 5 minutes of it being sent to me - and I started it that night.
What do I think of it? Hmm...
Let's put it this way: If I were told I could only suggest five of the books I've read this year to my readers, this would, WITHOUT A DOUBT, be on that list. If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I would. It was THAT good. All five of these authors have impressed me time and time again ... and, yes, I am impressed once more.
The Riggle Twins: I love the way Gregor writes. It's like when you see something that you're not quite sure you saw, and you turn around to make sure, and all of a sudden it jumps out at you. Yeah, that's how Gregor does his thing. Lesson learned, buddy, lesson learned. I will always always ALWAYS give out candy on Halloween night ... and never ever ever EVER answer the door when the crazy neighbor is outside crying haha. Thanks for the heads up.
Pumpkinhead Ted: Last year, when I was ready to give up on horror short stories and novellas for good (having read SO many ones that didn't scare me at all), Evans stories convinced me otherwise. Since then, I have read EVERYTHING that this guy has produced and this story, this story is one of the best. A genre should be started for stories like his - psychological horror. You know, when you're not sure if you're scared or not until you get into bed, turn out that light ... and start to think. Those stories that stay with you and pop in your head when you're minding your own business, walking down a dark path, and all of the sudden are freaked the hell out. And the end ... THE END ... wow!
Ghost Light Road: I'll admit I was a little wary of this one after reading "ghost hunters" in the description, but it went off in a way that I never expected ... only to go off in another way I never expected ... and, just like with his brother, the endings are always my favorite and ALWAYS amazing.
Easy Pickings: Loved this story. LOVED it. I think this one creeped me out more than the rest. Jason, you gave me the heebedie-geebedies, especially since I know a kid named Jack with an invisible friend named Jacob. AND they like playing games. (I think it's time I move.)
Looking for something to read on Halloween night? I don't think you can go wrong with this one.
The Riggle Twins by Gregor Xane
I had so many questions when I stepped into this story because the characters and the setting were so unusual. What are they? Where did they come from? What is going on?! Soon enough I just went with it and followed the odd Riggle twins as they headed out for their Halloween adventure to find two tributes before midnight. And it’s imperative they do so because “they don't want to die again . . . The first time was bad enough.”
This was a bizarre, horrifying and completely unpredictable little tale. As much as I love having my questions answered, in this case, I enjoyed the fact that we weren’t spoon fed all of the answers. It made things much more ominous and mysterious.
Pumpkin Head Ted by Evans Light
Poor Ted lives a miserable existence. He is neglected and abused at home and ruthlessly tormented by his peers. Halloween is the one night Ted can blend in and almost feel like he belongs. He dons a mask and people don’t notice his deformities and treat him like any other kid. Feeling brave, he visits the home of his biggest tormentor and starts a terrible chain of events that children will be whispering about for decades to come.
This is a story filled with rage, hate, pain and revenge and it was a gut-wrenching read. Don’t let hate infect your soul kiddos, that’s all I have to say.
Ghost Light Road by Adam Light
Billy was planning on spending Halloween avoiding trick or treaters, watching horror movies and drinking beer but his little sis calls and screws with his plans. Now he and her two friends are off to Ghost Light Road so they can spy a ghost, despite the rumors that people often do not return from their little visit.
These four dummies decide to drink some concoction of booze which may or may not be laced with some magickal mushrooms and, as young drunkards will do, proceed to make some truly dumb ass moves that have them discovering the reason why some folks never return from their trip to Ghost Light Road.
The twist was surprising. The story takes a bunch of horror clichés and mashes them together into something new. It was fun and a little gory and left me pretty happy with the outcome.
Easy Pickings by Jason Parent
Trevor is a big bully and Halloween us his favorite time of year, a time when he can terrorize his younger, weaker neighbors and steal their candy while cowardly hiding behind a mask. When he and his side-kick happen upon a young boy, without a parent in sight, the two make their move assuming he’ll be easy pickings. They were oh so wrong.
The true monster in this story gets what he deserves and I loved the gruesomeness of it.
The Scare Rows by Edward Lorn
A seasonal attraction called "The Scare Rows" has popped up in a small town, seemingly overnight, and all of the townsfolk are abuzz with excitement for the big show.
The big show isn’t anything at all what they could’ve concocted in even the darkest, dirtiest of minds. This one is down and dirty and darkly humorous so of course I loved it. Most of the characters are revolting which makes the outcome that much sweeter.
“Her lips and tongue seemed intent on polishing every individual kernel of starchy goodness.”
Well, done gentlemen. There was a lot to love about this Halloween anthology. Each story was a memorable trip to autumn's past. Gregor, Evans, Adam, and Jason - I see an opportunity to revisit these stories and expand upon the universes that you each created. I would love to see more from each of them. Edward, I really enjoyed the story. I would love to see a sequel, (with all new characters.) You've created a piece unlike anything I've read by you... like a sexually charged Halloweentown.
Excuse me while I ice my Trans Am driving, vegetable invaded ass.
Great job, guys. This is a great anthology well worth the time of any horror reader. A solid 5 star read (with annual reread potential.)
This was the best anthology I've read in a long time! All five stories are very strong and very, VERY creepy, perfect for the Halloween season. Looking forward to seeing another anthology next year! "Bad Apples II: More Slices of Halloween Horror" - - how can this *not* happen?
I was chomping at the bit to get to this one as I have read and enjoyed all five of the authors in this anthology. (They are all active members and quality peeps in the Horror Aficionados group here on Goodreads) I did put it off for a bit because I was going to try and wait until closer to Halloween, but I couldn’t do it.
Short story anthologies are sometimes rough for me because inevitably there is a stinker in there somewhere. Not so with Bad Apples. Each story is very different with its own unique voice and I really enjoyed each and every story. I am going to resist the temptation to review these stories separately, because better reviewers than me have already done so. I will just say that this anthology exceeded my expectations and is a perfect Halloween read. As the weather turns dark and drizzly and October approaches, I will be picking this one up again. 5 Stars! Highly Recommended!
The young guns of horror offer up a fine bag of Halloween treats, from Gregor Xane's impressive tale that reaches back to the roots of the holiday and creates a new mythos, Evans Light's chilling cautionary concerning how cold vengence can be, Adam Light's spin on an urban legend that truly is a tale of the unexpected, Jason Parent's gruesome moonlit game involving an "imaginary friend" that is anything but imaginary, to Ed Lorn's return to Bay's End for a night of sheer insanity that goes over the line, giggling all the way.
The full disclaimer: I am either Goodreads friends with or a follower of all of the authors of this collection. It doesn't matter a whit, I still enjoyed each and every story, but if this kind of thing matters to someone, there they have it.
The premise: Five stories from five authors who write horror, all set on or about Halloween.
The individual skinny:
1. The Riggle Twins. The most abstract of the stories and probably the lightest in tone, The Riggle Twins contains some fantastic moments and a couple of "creatures" that are truly memorable. The idea of people who are essentially Halloween scrooges being targeted is also superb. Gregor Xane here provides just enough detail to allow the reader to draw some tentative conclusions about everything, but doesn't spoon feed answers before his tale is done. 4 stars
2. Pumpkinhead Ted. This one was a bit more traditional and the first of two stories featuring bullying as a major theme. Evans Light puts his titular character through the ringer, so that when he has finally had enough, it's hard not to root for him, regardless of the lengths he goes to. The final third of the story was somewhat unexpected to me, and effectively creepy for it. 4 stars for this Evans Light tale.
3. Ghost Light Road. Adam Light's contribution to the collection is told from the perspective of a fairly unlikeable ass who spends most of his time whining about this or that. When his sister convinces him to take her and two friends out to a supposedly haunted spot on Halloween, he gets to continue being an ass until things taken a turn for the worse. I loved the last half of this tale and how it ended. It was only at that point that I realised Light was aiming to make his POV character a dick, and besides which, what is out there on Ghost Light Road is way more interesting than a simple ghost ... 4 stars for this one.
4. Easy Pickings. This was my favourite story of the bunch featuring a bully who gets more than he bargained for, a jaw-droppingly awesome creature, and some great thrills as said creature and bully meet. Hats off to Jason Parent, as this probably surpasses some of Joe Hill's work as my favourite short story of the year. 5 stars.
5. The Scare Rows. My third ever Edward Lorn read and one that again features the town of Bay's End (I really need to read that novel). Not that any prior knowledge is required in appreciating the story of a supernaturally-infused traveling show that comes to town and starts picking off the townsfolk one by one. Though its clear Lorn intends to gross out the reader and seems to have a great deal of fun doing so, it's the effortless way he established his characters - reminiscent of early Stephen King novels - that I really enjoyed. 4.5 stars.
The bottom line: So there you have it. If someone who comes from a country where Halloween is not celebrated gets as much of a kick out of these stories as I did, every horror-loving fan from countries that do trick-or-treat owe it to themselves to check out this excellent collection of holiday-themed scares. There's not a weak tale among them and all are memorable in their own way.
The rating: 4.5 Ironically Non-Mentioned Apples for Bad Apples.
A solid collection of tales. All were well written and there were enough twists to convention that I didn't feel like I was reading retreads of familiar stories.
My favorite story was The Riggle Twins by Gregor Xane. I have read several of his stories and he continues to leave vivid pictures in my head long after reading.
His boots were covered in mud. His pinstriped pants were torn in places, patched with animal pelts and vellum scraps scrawled over with arcane text. His snakeskin belt was fastened around a slender waist with a buckle shaped like the head of a screaming infant. His shirt was neatly pressed, white and crisp, with the faintest teardrop patttern woven in. He wore a great coat of quilted batwing leather.
Pumpkinhead Ted by Evans Light-one of the stories that threw a nice twist into a familiar story.
Ghost Light Road by Adam Light-Uncle Jesse...Dukes of Hazzard WTH were you doing out behind the barn?
Easy Pickings by Jason Parent-A seemingly typical bully story, until Trevor meets Jack and his imaginary friend Jacob.
The Scare Rows by Edward Lorn-I liked the ensemble cast feel of this story and the mysterious show rolling into town has always been a favorite of mine....although this has a unusual twist.....um.....can you say corncob?
I guess I should mention that I am GR friends with three of the five authors and have run into the other two in several groups here. If you think that colors my review, well......tough.
P.S. Hey Adam and Jason, the GR author search for you guys sucks. I don't know how those things get listed but neither one of you came up under your name in the add book/author function.
This was an OK read, but not as good as the second one Bad Apples 2 imo. Perhaps it's the extremely summery weather that does not set the scene for Halloween horror. Maybe I'll save part 3 for a while longer.
The Riggle Twins: An irresistibly creepy and bizarre story which echoes a little of Clive Barker I thought. 4*
Pumpkinhead Ted: Not what you initially expect perhaps as this is not so straightforward as it seems. That's the good part, what's not so good is that instead of the explosive (and expected) ending, it kind of starts and twitches a few times before fizzling out... 3*
Ghost Light Road: Yes I know it's all in good fun, but this "Hills Have Eyes" (etc.) version asks for a bit much suspension of disbelief to be a pleasant read. 2*
Easy Pickings: Not one likeable character in this one made it a forgettable read for me. Some good horror parts, but nothing memorable here. 2*
The Scare Rows: Since this was my favorite out of Lorn's great collection Others & Oddities it was, not surprisingly, my favorite of this collection as well. Deliciously over the top Bay's End story. Tied in beautifully with my visit the other day to "The Milton Maize Maze"! Luckily, that was in broad daylight (not that there's always safety in that...). 4*
Bad Apples is a MUST read for anyone likes horror, dark fiction, or Halloween in general. A collection of 5 short (but not too short) stories these "Five Slices of Halloween Horror" are everything you need to set the mood for a haunting Halloween.
THE RIGGLE TWINS by Gregor Xane: Hands down 5 stars. If you think that you are safe by ignoring all of the Halloween hubbub by simply turning out your lights and holing up in your house - think again. The Riggle Twins will help ensure that all of your future Halloween's are filled with lights and candy. Lots of candy. When Sam digs up some double-trouble, the Riggle twins are all evil and ready to play. From the mechanical expressions to dressing their tributes up as a bride and groom, everything about this story was original and bursting with creepy Halloween goodness. I would love to see more from the Riggle Twins.
PUMPKINHEAD TED by Evans Light: 4.5 stars. Life can't get much worse than having a head shaped like a gourde, an agoraphobic mother, alcoholic father and no friends, right? Wrong. PUMPKINHEAD TED is the story of a kid who was made for Halloween, whether he likes it or not. Kind of sad, quite disturbing and very well written. This is a story for underdogs everywhere.
GHOST LIGHT ROAD by Adam Light: 3.5 stars. We all like urban legends. We all like to be scared. Except for when the urban legend turns out to not be some ghost lights out the road but rather a slice of unimaginable backwoods horror. This one was very much a case of you should watch what you wish for.
EASY PICKINGS by Jason Parent: 4.5 stars. Two bullies. One small defenseless boy. An imaginary friend? Trevor never met a kid he couldn't bully. With Rascal, his trusty (if slightly useless) sidekick, the scrawny boy in the ball field talking to himself is an easy target to score some candy on Halloween night. At least until they meet Jacob... This one reminds me of Tim Curran's Blackout and has forever changed the way I think of smoothies.
THE SCARE ROWS by Edward Lorn: 5 stars, only because I can't give it more. My personal favorite. An entire town flocks to the promise of the most amazing Halloween attraction that seems to have popped up overnight. When people start showing up, what they find is nothing like they have ever seen before and nothing they will want to remember. Sick and twisted? Absolutely. Will it give you nightmares? Maybe. What I do know is that I may never eat corn on the cob again.
The best Halloween horror collection I have read. Bad Apples is undoubtedly going to be my new Halloween ritual and should be yours too.
This is a refreshing anthology about Halloween. Bad Apples is everything you need to get you in the Halloween spirit. The stories got better and better as you read them. Without doubt, this is one of the best Halloween anthology's that I have read. The storytellers do an excellent job bring their stories to life. If you are looking for some new voices in the horror field, Bad Apples is just what the doctor order. I would like to see the author's do a sequel to this fantastic anthology.
The authors of the stories in 'Bad Apples: Five Slices of Halloween Horror' don't pull any punches. These are five intense, well-written, send a chill down your spine stories, all centred around Halloween. Often in an anthology, you get some good stories along with a couple of duds. Bad Apples is an exception, There isn't a weak story in the bushel. It's not easy to pick a favourite, but I'd have to give the nod to Adam Light's 'Ghost Light Road'. I love a good urban legend. Light takes this idea, but instead of going the familiar, predictable route, takes his tale in another direction totally, creating a very original story. This collection is perfect reading for a chilly fall night, or any night for that matter. If you need something to get you in the Halloween mood, look no further. I think I'm gonna take corn off the menu for awhile.
"If you decide to stay at home this Halloween and read some tales to put you in the mood, do not go past this book. It encapsulates everything about the season in words. It stinks of every horror film you have probably watched in the eighties and nineties but you know what? I am a firm believer that if you get a great book, it’s much much better than a film.
awesome!! five spooky modern day tales to get you in the mood for Halloween. I found myself thinking about the polts so the author's really do get into your heads with this. absolutely fantastic read :-D
Short horror stories can be a terrific thing of beauty at times. Quick character sketches that bring to life the cast, and a plot that cuts right to the bone, getting those scares front and center. Balancing these two necessary components in a small burst is an art, and to make them truly effective requires some very strong story-telling mojo.
Bad Apples: Five Slices of Halloween Horror does a sublime job of collecting five such effective stories under a single cover. The anthology is based around a simple, timeless tradition: the Halloween scare story. October 31st is ripe with things that go bump in the night, and the five authors collected here seize the stage for their own wicked tales. In short, these are the kind of storytellers you'd want around the campfire sharing their stories of haunts and legends. The anthology has it all: maniacs and monsters and ghosts, oh my.
Gregor Xane's The Riggle Twins starts the show off well and gets the anthology off to a strong start. It's also one of the most perfect examples of effective characterization done quickly. When we're introduced to Kelly Crenshaw, a surly old man, we immediately know his mindset. He makes the "Get Off My Lawn!" elders seem downright quaint and picturesque, but is cognizant enough of his own behaviors to question how he can possibly be melancholy when he enjoys misery so damn much. The Riggle twins are creepy products, thanks to Xanes descriptive tellings, and they might even make you question the wisdom of trying to ride out Halloween with the lights off, the shades drawn, and lacking any candy to give out.
Pumpkinhead Ted is a powerful, emphatic tale of abuse and bullying. Ted is malformed thanks to a birth defect, and the subject of ridicule for seemingly everyone. Evans Light does a terrific job illustrating how sometimes monsters are man-made, rather than born, and ties it all into a much too-real legacy of urban legend. This one is a brisk and compelling read that will tug at the heartstrings while possibly being the darkest, amoral story of the bunch.
Urban legends are a theme that Adam Light picks up with his Ghost Light Road. This one was a fun spin on kids seeking a few scares and getting far more than they bargained for, and added a little extra depth to the backwoods fright. Jason Parent's Easy Pickings, too, was a fun twist on the bully-victim dynamic, and managed to bring a different facet to the proceedings than Pumpkinhead Ted so that it never felt redundant. While less emotionally shocking and abrasive as Evans' story, it makes up for it with an eagerness that's both scary and somehow light-hearted.
Capping it all off is Edward Lorn's The Scare Rows, an erotically charged tour through the world's worst Halloween carnival. It's a fun, vulgar, dark riff on all of those haunted house, corn maze attractions that pop up annually to entertain for a few nights and then disappear back into the ground.
Bad Apples is some serious horror entertainment, and makes for a perfect Halloween anthology that readers just may find themselves turning toward every October 31st.
Update 9/9/16 - Riggle Twins is still my favorite of this collection and is one of my all-time favorite Halloween stories.
I can give this four stars by ignoring the last story. This collection started off strong with The Riggle Twins, kept up nicely with Pumpkin-head Ted and The Ghost Light, lessened a bit with Easy Pickings, and completely came off the rails with The Scare Rows. I can see rereading the first two or three stories every year as they are classic Halloween tales that really capture the October vibe for me.
This was a good, solid collection of somewhat creepy short stories that was absolutely ruined by the terrible descriptions of sex in the final story.
I think the following passage sums it up nicely:
Mr. Stuart Keane guffawed as he shot his hot seed all over his fist, forearm, and extended thigh. Thick white ropes of semen splattered the floor all around him, and Cory was instantly reminded of a Las Vegas fountain.
I picked up this collection of short stories to read for some atmospheric Halloween fun and it delivered. The stories just seemed to get better and better as I kept reading and then the fifth story came along. It was a bit much for me - and I'm no prude, but to borrow from another review, it was Halloween porn. Still the book is enjoyable and I recommend it if you are looking for a creepy and twisted read.
It’s almost Halloween. The nights are getting longer, there’s a dark chill in the air, and the lines between worlds are cracking. From somewhere within those cracks comes Bad Apples: Five Slices of Halloween Horror, a five-author anthology beckoning you to lose yourself in its pages.
Gregor Xane’s “The Wriggle Twins” is a morbid, twisted, darkly whimsical tale of two very special children. These two live on their own and only come out to play on Halloween, but when they do, you’ll want to be as far away as possible. The kids are seeking offerings for their paranormal benefactor, and it’s not candy he collects.
Evans Light’s “Pumpkinhead Ted” is a classic revenge tale that pits an unfortunate deformed boy against a group of vicious bullies. It’s a high-caliber gross-out at times, and the moral middle ground it takes with the characters adds to its horrific quality.
Adam Light’s “Ghost Light Road”, despite its title, is a darker and bleaker story than the ones before it. Supernatural slasher film junkies will get their fix here, as a group of thrill-seekers become prey in an isolated house, and an urban legend evolves and adapts to modern times.
Jason Parent’s “Easy Pickings” returns to the bullying theme, as two friends decide to pick on a younger boy, not realizing that his invisible friend isn’t so imaginary after all. Once the tables turn, games of tag and hide-and-seek become life or death affairs.
Edward Lorn’s “The Scare Rows” ends the collection, and it’s far different from any of the preceding stories. A mysterious man walks into a small town and sets it abuzz in anticipation of an event no one can quite describe. The direction this goes is unexpected and very explicit, in both violence and sex, but it’s tongue-in-cheek the whole way through.
It’s clear that each author included here has a love for the horror genre in its many facets, and for Halloween in particular. The descriptions of its sights, smells and sounds are spot-on. The stories are thrilling and chilling and nostalgic in all the right places, and they all hold that indefinable magic that so many associate with that inimitable evening. There are no highlights here. These stories are excellent across the board. Bad Apples is a welcome addition to the genre, and one that you can come back to year after year when autumnal darkness descends. Recommended.