This special festive double feature looks at the holiday themed horror anthologies Christmas Horror Volumes 1 and 2, published by Dark Regions Press.
The first volume features eight well known horror names, including John Skipp, Joe Lansdale and J.F. Gonzalez. It sports some beautiful full-page illustrations from Zach McCain. The yuletide yarns on offer here include:
- “Santa Explains” by Joe R Lansdale—A delinquent father visits his family for the holidays looking for forgiveness, but all is not as it seems.
- “The Endless Black of Friday” by Nate Southard—As if Black Friday sales weren’t bad enough, Nate Southard finds a way to make them oh so much worse.
- “Red Rage” by Stephen Mark Rainey—A family move into their new home just in time for Christmas, but the previous owners aren’t quite done with the place yet…
- “Pointy Canes” by Jeff Strand—Mass murder by candy cane! Festive frights Jeff Strand style
- “Naughty” by Shane McKenzie – A young boys older brother arranges a special Christmas present for him, with bloody violent consequences.
- “Krampusnacht in Cell Block J” by Cody Goodfellow—A Christmas party at a juvenile detention centre gets a surprise (and unwelcome) visitor for the holidays.
- “The Shittiest Guy in the World (A Christmas Fable)” by John Skipp—A cautionary tale for those who don’t know how to behave at Christmas.
- “Belsnickel” by J.F. Gonzalez—A long lost relative visits for the holidays, and Amy will soon wish he’d stayed lost.
There is a great mix of the light-hearted (“Pointy Canes”), spooky (“Red Rage”) and downright messed-up (“Naughty”) to satisfy any horror fans Christmas cravings, and there isn’t a lump of coal in the bunch.
Volume 2 gives us six additional yuletide yarns, including:
- “Christmas at the Pattersons” by Elizabeth Massie—A dull Christmas party hosted by the towns insufferable wealthy patrons takes a dark turn when two witches liven up proceedings.
- “Little Warriors” by Gene O’Neill—A home invasion at Christmas goes horribly wrong when the family fight back, with a little help from a mysterious supernatural force.
- “I Saw Santa” by Steve Rasnic Tem—Equal parts bizarre, funny and horrifying. This tale of a neglected eight year old who sees Santa coming down his chimney on Christmas Eve gives us perhaps the most memorable (and disturbing) depiction of Old Saint Nick ever put to paper.
- “December Birthday” by Jeff Strand—This short will make anyone think twice about using the phrase “It’s a birthday AND a Christmas present.”
- “A Note From Santa” by William F. Nolan—A short tale of Santa’s encounter one Christmas Eve with an axe wielding ghost.
- “Silent Night” by Richard Chizmar—A man on the run goes back to his family home for one last Christmas.
While it lacks the same fantastic production values of the first volume, and gives you fewer tales, the stories are of the same high quality as before, with Steve Rasnic Tem’s short being perhaps the best across both volumes.
If you’re looking for an alternative to the family friendly fare typically on offer this time of year, then Dark Regions Press have gathered some of the biggest names in horror fiction to give us just that. Christmas Horror Volumes 1 and 2 are sure to get every horror fan in the Christmas spirit.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good fright!