In past years of reviewing books, I’ve read all of the books I planned to feature during the Halloween season in one huge scarifying batch. I decided to space them out this year because, quite frankly I’m a complete wuss when it comes to even quasi-horror and doing that was giving me nightmares. My over-active imagination at its worst. When I saw The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares: The Haunted City and read the publisher’s description, I realized it might fit quite nicely into the Halloween season and, huge bonus, I could read it during the summer. Score one for the wussy reviewer!
Jason Blum is best known as an award-winning producer of films that include Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and The Purge. With his first Blumhouse Book of Nightmares, he brought those talents to compiling short stories (and some are not short at all) to keep us all up at night, checking the closets for monsters. And now he’s continued that tradition with a second Blumhouse Book of Nightmares. His instructions to the contributors were simple, pick a city and let your imagination run wild. And they did. Even reading this during longer daylight hours, I could only read it in small snippets – I did mention that I’m a wuss, right? So this one is for those of you who I know love your scary stories. Read them one at a time or devour them like a huge gory Thanksgiving meal. Tis the season for ghosts and goblins, so have fun!
“In Hollywood, people who make horror movies are outsiders. We operate, to a large degree, outside the traditional system. As a result, an incredible community has grown, filled with some of the most talented storytellers around. We all know one another and we all help one another out. We want one another to succeed simply for the love of all things scary.” Jason Blum, Preface
Sixteen contributors created the stories in The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares: The Haunted City. They range from filmmakers to authors, and it’s almost like they had a contest to see who could write the eeriest tale. I’m going to list the contributors with their stories and give you a brief taste of what a few of them are like, while trying to avoid spoilers.
Contributors and Their Stories:
Leslie Bohem: Geist
James DeMonaco: Procedure – A policewoman hunting a killer in Manhattan is plagued by nightmares of blood and corruption.
Christopher Denham: Hellhole – A couple apartment shopping in Brooklyn can only afford an extreme fixer-upper in Crown Heights, a neighborhood just a bit more diversified than they planned. Then their son finds an odd doll in the apartment’s small storage space, a doll who says its name is Mr. Sticks…
Scott Derrickson & C. Robert Cagill: A Clean White Room – Could a seemingly normal apartment building actually rest over a portal to hell? I’m sure Mr. Fitzpatrick thinks so…
Steve Faber: Novel Fifteen – Jackson is a quite famous author working on his latest novel, Novel 15 – his publisher will assign it a title – no biggie. What matters is that Jackson will do anything it takes to ensure every detail is perfect, no matter what it takes to do that…
George Gallo: Eyes
Ethan Hawke: 1987 – A seemingly endless night in New York City becomes the epitome of hallucinogenic terror.
William Joselyn: Donations
Sarah Langan: The Old Jail
Nissar Modi: The Darkish Man
Mark Neveldine: Meat Maker
Michael Olson: Dreamland
Eli Roth: Valdivia – After growing up with Boston winters and tiring of the quasi-desert that is Los Angeles, our narrator decides to vacation by chasing summer around the world – seemed like a good idea at the time. A friend suggests Chile as a great place to start. But when our naïve narrator gets lured to a secret spot in southern Chile, he suddenly comes face to face with its sinister history.
Jeremy Slater: Golden Hour – Everyone who’s visited Hollywood is familiar with the performing characters near Grauman’s Chinese Theater. But not all performers wear costumes. Our narrator is blessed, or cursed, to see the creatures who lurk there that most people overlook at their own peril.
Dana Stevens: The Leap – Edward is a real psychic, not one of those phony ones who only tell you what you want to hear. He hates working parties because the people there bombard him with too much input, so he doesn’t normally. He’s made an exception for Violet’s birthday, and that may or may not have been his first mistake – depending on how you look at it…
Scott Stewart: The Words
Simon Kurt Unsworth: Gentholme
Those of you who love horror will be happy to hear that I had a hard time getting through some of these stories. Did I mention that I’m a wuss? The difficulty was not from the writing, which was in all cases quite excellent, but rather in the subject matter. Some stories are more horrific than others – guess which ones I liked best. Hint: Probably not the ones you’ll like best. Many start off like a walk in a normal park until you come to the monsters/killers/lunatics hiding in the bushes. *shiver* Then they promptly go down a rabbit hole, some into terror and some into loony land.
So, should you read The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares: The Haunted City? If you’re in the mood for spooky stories just in time for Halloween, at least you’ll get to pick and choose your level of terror from among these often not-so-short stories. They’re all very well written IMHO so pick your poison. *cue the evil book reviewer’s laugh*
Can’t wait to read it?
The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares: The Haunted City was published on July 7, 2015, so it’s available from your favorite bookseller below. If you order the e-book version below, you’ll have it downloaded in a jiffy – just in time to check the closets for monsters tonight…
I’d love to get your comments on The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares: The Haunted City, Jason Blum and/or any of the contributors, and/or this review.