“Death by Drive-In” – an entertaining short story anthology from the folks at Coffin Hop.

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From the folks at Coffin Hop:  http://coffinhop.com/

These are stories inspired by the classic era of the b-movies often shown at drive-in theaters.  I grew up watching the tv versions of a drive-in theater with the local legend, “Sammy Terry” on Friday nights on WTTV and then “Science Fiction Theater” on Saturdays, so I actually enjoyed this collection quite a bit. Sure, there were a few stories that didn’t quite do it for me, but isn’t that the case with all anthologies? (It has been in my experience.) I blew through the seventeen stories it contains in just a few hours, and there were several that were very well done, I thought. (The ones that didn’t do it for me were generally the ones that relied too much on the gross-out factor. There was also some careless editing, particularly in one story the femur is misplaced in the lower leg which, as an inveterate stickler, I found distracting.)

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Some of my favorites:
“The Colossal Monster” by Ron Smales – this one was kind of the switcheroo of the classic sci-fi film, “The Incredible Shrinking Man,” for in this story radiation causes the victim to inexplicably grow in size. A scientist finds a way to “cure” him, but will it be in time, and might there be other, less supernatural forces that are stacking the odds against him?

(Below: Grant Williams as the afflicted Scott Carey in 1957’s “The Incredible Shrinking Man” – a classic!)

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“Microwave Popcorn” by Dan Dillard
A great, short story with a couple helpings of humor added to the recipe. A somewhat superannuated employee at a factory, facing an imminent pink slip, is temporarily changed into an electrified man by the collaboration of faulty wiring and a break room microwave. He uses his newfound powers to set a few things right. In one of my favorite lines, when confronted, he admits, “guilty, as CHARGED.” Nice.

“The Queen of Screams” by Penelope Crowe
An aging, b-movie horror queen falls out of favor and resorts to drastic, plastic surgical measures in a desperate bid to regain her former status.

The collection also included stories by two authors I’ve read before. I posted about Joanna Parypinski’s novel, “Pandora”, last year, and – though I never blogged about it – I also enjoyed Red Tash’s novel “This Brilliant Darkness.”

In this collection, Parypinski’s “Poseidon’s Revenge” features a likable, trident-wielding heroine who takes the concept of an actress questioning her character’s “motivation” to a whole new level. Tash’s entry, “A Lycan for Pinterest” (ha ha – great title!) uses our culture’s growing obsession (probably not too strong a word) with that social media as a vehicle to explore the potential of an inter-species(?) relationship.

There were also several stories featuring homages to the characters of classic horror. “The Lagoon” by Nina D’Arcangela (I assume that’s a great nom de plume), told in the first person by someone you quickly realize is not a human, was another good one falling into that group.

(below: remember this chilling scene from the original “Creature from the Black Lagoon?”)

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“Retirement” by Jamie Friesen features an aging Godzilla, basking on a beach at a resort reminiscing about the glory of his past ravagings. A.F. Stewart’s “Revenge of the Monsters” is also in a similar vein. All the classic horror icons (Dracula, The Wolfman, Frankenstein, the Mummy, etc.) are hanging out at their favorite watering hole when they decide to go on another rampage, lest we puny humans forget their powers.

(below: Power lines stop Godzilla? Bah!)

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Julianne Snow’s “Little Shop of Cupcake Horrors” was amusing and reminds us that we should be careful who we buy our flour from… (I read this one morning before work while sitting in Panera, and – trust me – I gave the display case a wary glance on my way out…) 🙂

So overall a fun collection. If you’re a fan of the classic b-movie horror/sci-fi/fantasy from the height of the drive-in era,you’d probably enjoy it too.

If youre interested in getting a copy of this anthology (profits for which go to benefit litworld.org) check the following link. http://coffinhop.com/death-by-drive-in-collectors-ep/