Sixteen never-before-published chilling tales that explore every aspect of our darkest holiday, Halloween, co-edited by Ellen Datlow, one of the most successful and respected genre editors, and Lisa Morton, a leading authority on Halloween. In addition to stories about scheming jack-o’-lanterns, vengeful ghosts, otherworldly changelings, disturbingly realistic haunted attractions, masks that cover terrifying faces, murderous urban legends, parties gone bad, cult Halloween movies, and trick or treating in the future, Haunted Nights also offers terrifying and mind-bending explorations of related holidays like All Souls’ Day, Dia de Los Muertos, and Devil’s Night.
In the introduction of the book, Morton gives us a rundown on the background of Halloween and why this holiday continues to remain so relevant and effective in storytelling:
Halloween, with its roots in a night that lifts the veil between our world and the next, is broad enough to hold horror tropes like ghosts, witches, and shape-shifters, but it also has its own specific icons, like ‘Stingy Jack,’ the blacksmith who outwits the devil but is finally forced to wander the earth forever with his way lit only by a glowing hell ember carried in a carved pumpkin (or turnip), the jack-o’-lantern, in other words. Halloween’s universal appeal – we are all interested in death, aren’t we? Makes it work in both isolated, rural settings and densely packed urban locales. It has a rich history and seems poised to extend into a long and interesting future.
I adore anything related to horror, be it in a book, a game or a movie, I will feast on it until nothing is left. I have always loved stories of suspense, horror and especially stories of the supernatural, those are my all-time favorites. However, reading will always be considered as my favorite pastime and I could not even come close to giving the correct number of horror books I have consumed over my lifetime. It’s a lot, way too many if you ask most people that know me.
That out of the way, let’s talk about the book. Haunted Nights is a wonderful mix of short stories and longer tales that offer you plenty of gore and even more, a ton of scares. Every single story is so well written. There you will find even more tales that have to do with older traditions, as well as modern settings. I can assure you that you will find many Halloween tales in this collection that will hold your imagination and stir the Halloween fires that burn within you.
Inside the book, you will discover tales on the origin of the jack-o-lantern, which is about a man who tricked the devil from taking his soul. When the man dies he is cursed to wander all eternity carrying a candlelit turnip to light his way. That was a really fun read! Another is, and not too scary in my opinion, is a backstory about a famous horror film franchise which was supposed to be a documentary. Tales of Goblins running around, a typical haunted house, a ghost story about a postpartum suicide then come back to life, and one of the best revenge stories I’ve ever read.
There are so many more fantastic stories and tales inside this book, each one keeps you hooked until the last page. This anthology has many brilliantly scary and creepy stories that the various authors wrote and are no rehash of the time-beloved classics. Be assured that Haunted Nights is a solid anthology that should not be missed. I highly recommend!
Title: Haunted Nights
Author: Lisa Morton
Published Date: October 3, 2017
Genre: Horror Fiction, Occult Fiction
Publisher: Anchor Books
Format: Paperback, Kindle
Pages: 370 pages
Reviewed by: Carl Collins
Our Rating: 3.8 /5
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