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Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  120 ratings  ·  37 reviews
ORRIN GREY LOVES MONSTERS. That is abundantly clear in the stories he spins. No matter where he draws inspiration from, whether the weird tales of Lovecraft, Machen, and Poe or the films of Murnau, Corman, and Argento, the end result is inevitably fresh and new. And wonderfully monstrous.

If you love monsters—the macabre, the murderous, the misunderstood; the strange, the s
Paperback, 214 pages
Published October 31st 2015 by Word Horde
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Dominique Lamssies
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
There's so much to love in Orrin Grey's second collection it's ridiculous. Especially if you're a horror movie lover. You don't need to be to read and appreciate the stories in this collection, but if you are, there are a bajillion nods and winks that will give you a rather heady sense of pride at being in on the joke.

But this is not a collection just for movie junkies. Painted Monsters is what horror in any medium should be: Human stories of the bad decisions people make (even after other peopl
Michael Adams
I will need to write a fuller review of this at some point, but for now, suffice it to say that I could not have loved this collection any more than I do.
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: weird
A terrific collection of nightmarish creature-features in miniature. Perfect for a stormy night with some creepy music.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoy the work of Orrin Grey, and his love for vintage horror films and comic books oozes between the cracks of every line. “Night's Foul Bird” This story really evoked the mood of the silent classic Nosferatu for me. So much great use of creeping dread and shadows. And it’s available for a listen over at PseudoPod:

One of my perennial favorites is “The Worm That Gnaws and its luckless resurrection men. The unsettling imagery and inexorable pu
Micah Castle
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Grey's second collection, Painted Monsters and Other Strange Beasts gives and combines the fear of a great horror film and the endless, utter dread of the unknown found in many weird fiction stories.

Favorite stories: Walpurgisnacht, The Red Church, The Labyrinth of Sleep, Lovecrafting, Painted Monsters.
Jose Cruz
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It’s no secret that the shadow of cinema has loomed large over American horror fiction ever since the premiere of the country’s first devoutly supernatural chiller on Valentine’s Day, 1931. (That would be Tod Browning’s DRACULA for the philistines out there.) Since then novels and short stories alike have drawn inspiration from the silver screen and recycled its motifs—the reverse has held true less of the time—even, on some occasions, directly reacting to it and incorporating its characters and ...more
Apr 06, 2017 rated it liked it
FULL DISCLOSURE: I am an associate of Orrin Grey's and have published many of his stories in audio form, including some from this collection, on PSEUDOPOD.ORG.

FIRST TIER: a collection of modern horror short fiction from a solid writer with an assured style. Definitely worth your time, especially if you tire of bizarro excesses, half-baked violence or exhausting cosmic nihilism.

SECOND TIER: Grey has collected here a nice sampling of his short fiction that stands as both a good example of his styl
Jun 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Maybe I'm being a bit hard on this book. It has blurbs in it by the likes of Laird Barron, Gemma Files and Daniel Mills -- and an introduction by John Langan. I mean, Wow. And don't get me wrong, there's some very good stories here, but compared to a lot of weird fiction collections I've been reading this one has to be lower on the list.

Don't get me wrong, almost every story here was FUN, but there's not many I'd consider worth a re-read, not many that stuck with me afterward. Maybe they're just
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved this book. I even really like the structure that Orrin Grey used to fan out these particular set of stories as well, APART from the shorts themselves- right from the good ol' Western/Grave-Robbery stories to proper quasi-meta modern cheeky horror stories.

I don't usually read a lot of Short Story Collections cause my experience with them has usually been a 60-40 ratio of good stories to mediocre/underwhelming. But here I really dug close to most of the shorts.

I know this is said, repeated,
Jon Carroll  Thomas
Nov 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
The standard for modern horror fiction right now is very high, perhaps higher than it has ever been. And there is a certain pressure among that community of authors to create works that are constantly more grotesque and more despairing than the next author. (I say all this with the deepest possible affection for the genre.) And it is in this world that Orrin Grey distinguishes himself, not by coaxing his readers into the same black abyss, but by offering something more unique, and frankly, more ...more
Liv Rainey-Smith
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts" is a collection of 13 short stories, with comments from Orrin Grey at the end of each tale. As you might infer from the title and excellent Nick Gucker cover art, all involve a monster, or monsters. Aside from the general themes of monsters and horror, the stories are varied in time, place, and style. I'd rather not spoil any particular story by pairing it with the genre, but you'll find a few Lovecraft Mythos entries, some deals with the devil, haunting ...more
Mar 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was so pleasantly surprised by this book! I didn't go into Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts with the highest expectations, only because just a week before I started reading it, Orrin Grey commented on Facebook saying that scary wasn’t what he was going for, fun as hell was. Anyway, I decided to stick with my decision to read it, first, because I was curious about Orrin Grey and also because who doesn’t love books that are fun as hell? Well, I am so glad I did because yes, Painted Monste ...more
Dan Sauer
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts. I grew up watching or reading about many of the same gothic horror movies which inspired these stories, and this book really transported me back to the same feelings I had when encountering those classic films. It's not just an exercise in nostalgia; Grey uses the inspiration from those old gloomy treasures and creates something wholly his own with it. "Night's Foul Bird," for example, is an unusual vampire story which is steeped in t ...more
Sean Demory
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
An outstanding collection and a solid retrospective of Orrin Grey's work. Painted Monsters explores the cinematic monster as it wanders from German Expressionism to J-Horror, presenting stories that are erudite without being inaccessible and that build on their cinematic foundations to become both familiar and appealingly new. ...more
Bradley Smith
Nov 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Painted monsters reads like classic horror films, smashed together with a little Lovecraft and Poe, and a pinch of Mike Mignola. "The worm that gnaws" will leave you with chills. My favorite in the collection, "The White Prince", is hauntingly beautiful and a unique take on Vampires. You really can't go wrong with this collection. ...more
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a cool book. The stories are well-written and fun, and Nick Gucker's cover art kicks ass. It is well worth picking up.

I'm really impressed with what I've read from Word Horde so far, and OG's addition to their library is a strong one. Thanks, guys!
Eric Orchard
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, gothic
I didn't want this book to end. Really loved every page. ...more
Brian O'Connell
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
(Originally appeared on my website the Conqueror Weird.)

Who doesn’t love a good monster flick? Seriously…who? It’s always fun to watch a pulpy, rollicking yarn with some creepy creatures flickering across the silver screen. I binge watch the Corman Poe movies every Hallowe’en (The Pit and the Pendulum is my favorite, though “The Masque of the Red Death” is my favorite Poe story), and to hear the velvety Vincent Price intone his (slightly melodramatic) lines, alongside the cheesiest effects ever,
Sam Edwards
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those collections that I would have to describe foremost as "fun." Grey really captures that feel of movie magic, every story being a love letter to the larger-than-life gothic. "Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts" is a strong showing, my personal favorites including "Persistence of Vision" and the titular story.

Fans of monsters and old Hollywood alike will enjoy this collection, and I highly recommend you give it a go.
Wyrd Witch
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, short-stories
Many months ago, I reviewed Orrin Grey’s nonfiction books. These wonderful collections of reviews and impressions of the horror cinema of yesteryear made the beginning of quarantine far less draining than it had to be. The Monsters from the Vault series are filled with a love of film, monsters, and the lifeblood of the horror genre. Considering this dedication to our beloved creatures, I knew I had to read Orrin Grey’s actual fiction. Surely his works carried the best parts of these influences i ...more
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The easy, abbreviated version: if you’re a fan of original, well-crafted horror, this collection is absolutely worth adding to your library.

The long-winded-because-I-loved-it-so-much version: There’s this band, and you heard a song they did for a tribute album. A cover, sure, but it was better than most of those. They did it their way. Took the bright guitar of the original and made it menacing squall; changed the one lyric, and turned a romantic paean to bleak requiem.

A few years go by, and yo
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
"Nobody in the lab had any idea what it was then, of course, but the first one who touched it died instantly. His hair turned white, he fell to the floor choking and slapping at his chest. By the time anyone else got to him, he'd ossified, and there were hundreds of spiders crawling out of his mouth and nose."

FUCKING SIGN ME UP! Honestly I bought this book because everyone kept posting pictures of themselves with it, and the cover was so great. Contrary to what a lot of people think, you don't n
Leland Merritt
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For anyone who has ever looked into Orrin Grey for more than a moment, you know that he is movie lover. (Check out Monsters from the Vault for his reviews of old horror movies.) “Painted Monsters and Other Strange Beasts” is a love letter to horror cinema. Each story reads as if you were sitting in a theatre chomping on popcorn. These does not take away from Grey’s ability as a writer. His prose is strong and his characters are interesting and fleshed out. This collection is full of terrific sto ...more
Jake Marley
Monsters and Other Nightmares

In his introduction, I think John Langan called Orrin Grey a Monster Guy, and he is. The wonderful stories in this collection are filled with monsters, but they also run the gamut of horror fiction. Grey plays with horror tropes, but he never snubs his nose at them. There's love in his stories, and a passion for nightmares that make his stories a lot of fun to read.

Highly recommended!
J.T. Glover
Dec 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Hankering for monsterful fiction? Orrin Grey​ has you covered. I know the author, but I'd have loved this book even if I didn't. Great treatment of monsters from a dozen different angles, in a whole batch of formats, with narrative style to spare. Full review here -- ...more
Tom Reed
Nov 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
an excellent collection of stories. i also love the fact that there's a bit of background / 'behind-the-scenes' included at the end of each story. as a writer myself, i really enjoyed that. (does it make a difference that i'm a writer? probably not. i appreciated it regardless.) ...more
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthologies
The book was "ok". Some of the stories were weird, others just silly. I didn't find them particularly terrifying or horrifying - the daily newspaper is more terrifying than anything written in this book. ...more
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Painted Monsters is an enjoyable and fun collection of horror and weird fiction. There's a whole mess of ideas in here, but that by no means is a bad thing. Runs the gamut from pulpy monster horror to genuinely high-concept, Weird stories. Definitely worth a read. ...more
Logan Noble
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The stories in this collection are incredible. Orrin Grey's unique short stories, using his love of cinema and incredible imagination, are all short masterpieces. ...more
Joel Hacker
Painted monsters is Orrin Grey's second, though by no means sophomoric, short story collection from Word Horde. Monsters are one of Orrin's favorite things, and that sense of wonder and fun comes through in the writing here, making this a great entry point if you aren't familiar with his writing. As is pretty typical of these collections, there are Author's notes accompanying each of the thirteen pieces here, providing context, interesting anecdotes, and/or information on where they have previou ...more
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Orrin Grey is a skeleton who likes monsters. When asked, he claims to mostly write oubliettes.

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