This so far has been one of the least graphic short stories in the The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories collection. Yet, the idea of an immortal Ripper recommitting his acts every night… that makes it one of the most terrifying tales in this collection. I like to imagine immortality being granted to the good and the just, not the evil and sadistic. But that might just be a personal preference.
Let me start this by saying that I basically read the whole book in one day. While I was home alone. It is not something that I recommend. To make my decision making all that much more questionable… I’d actually gone to start it late one night before bed (when my partner was next to me) and, after reading that King thinks this is the scariest story he’s ever written. So I put it down and decided it was a day time read. Which, to be fair, I did start it in the morning. Thought I’d stop when it got scary. I didn’t. I finished it at about 6 pm, realised I had a long, lonely night ahead of me… not what I would recommend at all.
I should start this review by saying that I actually really, really love spiders. I keep trying to convince my partner to let me have a pet one… and I specifically love Daddy Long Legs because they are super safe and really cool looking. One of the least creepy spiders in the kingdom. Having said all of that, I wasn’t so keen on this story. It was actually quite creepy and I sat there looking around my room for spiders when I was finished… I didn’t want to turn into Daddy!
This was a really cool Red Riding Hood retelling. Not the kind I was expecting, but certainly an enjoyable one. I kind of totally adored this and was really sad that it was over so soon. I could imagine an entire saga created about this version of Red Riding Hood. And I would most definitely read it.
This story is twisted, lustful and deeply disturbing. It talks a bit about the college experience… but I don’t EVER want to experience this version of college. So damn not okay. So damn twisted. And that was my thoughts at the beginning. Those feelings intensify drastically when you read the ending. I actually had to close my eyes and go to my happy place at the ending…
So I’ve never heard of the practice of wearing a sprig of hazel on All Hallows Eve. Although, I don’t really know all that much about All Hallows Eve (or Halloween) since it is not within my normal experiences. Regardless, I liked this kind of origins story to such a practice. It took a practice that seems cute and folksy… and then turns it into a horrifying mess that makes you cringe. A lot.
So. This story is horrifying. Horrible and not quite what I expected. I thought that the children would end up being evil and homicidal… they weren’t. It was horrifying. It was the mother. And I didn’t really want to sleep that night. There’s always something so much more terrifying when it’s the mother harming the children…
From the title of this story, I was completely expecting a story of a husband and wife which do something horrible to each other. Because, you know… it was in a collection of horrifying Halloween stories. It’s still completely horrifying. Still a creepy Halloween story… but not about a husband and wife. Not really about anything that I expected from the title. Which, of course, made me love it even more… since you know, the joys of a collection of Halloween horror tales.
There is something that is just so… recognisable about telling ghost stories. It doesn’t matter what age or setting, telling tales that are sure to freak out your friends, peers and family is just… well, fun. Which of course meant that there had to be an exchange of ghost stories in a collection of Halloween tales. The fact that it’s an exchange of steadily creepier stories in a bar in the middle of nowhere… well, that had me grinning and clapping my hands like a little ninny.
This was another of those stories that I just kept having random thoughts on while reading it. The dot points and tired delirium of my notes are far more entertaining than any sentences that I could turn them into… so here they are in all their slightly unusual glory…