Thursday 9 December 2021

ATTACK FROM THE 80s edited by Eugene Johnson

Modern technology has brought some new twists and turns to horror. Found footage, cell phone-based viruses, literal ghosts in the machines but maybe it’s time for a throwback. It’s time for some new tales of slumber party horrors, VCR monsters, and problems that can’t be solved with a smart phone. We want tales of unstoppable monsters, sewer-dwelling creatures, looming threats of cold-war chaos. Give us fear under the neon lights of an arcade, people fighting for their lives against the backdrop of a hot city night and a cheesy sax solo. Take us back to a time when latchkey kids had to fend for themselves and the only thing left to stop an unspeakable horror was a plucky band of high school kids. Make it bloody. Make it gnarly. Make it 80s!   

Firstly, I want to thank Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi and Raw Dog Screaming Press for sending me an eBook copy of this 80s-inspired horror anthology with a very rad cover!

Here are my thoughts about each story: 

TOP GUNS OF THE FRONTIER by Weston Ochse: What a clever little tale about two boys obsessed with Top Gun who find themselves on their very own dark adventure. One that shaped their futures. Creepy concept and great imagery. 

SNAPSHOT by Joe R. Lansdale & Kasey Lansdale: Yikes! Didn't expect this tale of thieves to descend into bloody and sadistic violence so quickly. Liked the twist ending. 

THE DEVIL IN THE DETAILS by Ben Monroe: A very interesting take on the satanic panic that swept through the 80s. Also, this tale definitely felt like it could've been written during that decade because it captured the musical, attitude and vibes of that period perfectly. Not to mention how well the horror aspect fit.

RETURN OF THE REANIMATED NIGHTMARE by Lisa Addison: The first poem was okay.

TAKING THE NIGHT TRAIN by Thomas F. Monteleone: I enjoyed this very peculiar story about the mostly unseen Ralphie and what he discovers during his adventures in the New York subway.

CATASTROPHE QUEENS by Jess Landry: Well, that turned out to be a total riot! Loved this one because it was SO MUCH FUN and made me laugh several times. Of course, it's also creepy and twists a bunch of 80s tropes into awesome twists and turns.

YOUR PICTURE HERE by John Skipp: I found this one quite ridiculous and vulgar, which I suppose was the desired effect. Either way, I was lukewarm about this bizarre tribute to Basket Case.

PERMANENT DAMAGE by Lee Murray: OMG. What a blast of a story! I had my hair permed twice during the late 80s/early 90s so this story of hair mayhem really appealed to me. And the way things turned out was totally cool, too. Plus fiery. Lotsa fun! 

SLASHBACKS by Tim Waggoner: A very interesting and well written story about an adult horror fan forever ridiculed for loving the genre and what happens one rainy night when he stumbles on a strange video store. 

MUNCHIES by Lucy A. Snyder: This turned out to be a hilarious and super fun story about a rampaging Republican monster (seriously) that attacks a town. But there's also a sad message behind it too. Really enjoyed this!

TEN MILES OF BAD ROAD by Stephen Graham Jones: Really enjoyed this feverish story about a guy so lost in thoughts of starring in his own metal music video that he actually gets lost in a very creepy junkyard. 

EPOCH, REWOUND by Vince A. Liaguno: Very clever poem that captured the essence of the 80s via some very cool pop culture, movie and music references.

DEMONIC DENIZENS by Cullen Bunn: A short and fast story about D&D kids at camp playing a different, much darker kind of game with real consequences.

THE WHITE ROOM by Rena Mason: I have to admit that I couldn't get into this one. The writing style was too head-hoppy for me and the story wasn't that interesting. The imagery at the end was cool, though. 

GHETTO BLASTER by Jeff Strand: Not a fan of this one.

HADDONFIELD, NEW JERSEY 1980 by Cindy O'Quinn: Interesting and nicely written.

WHEN HE WAS FAB by F. Paul Wilson: Couldn't get into this story.

WELCOME TO HELL by Christina Sng: Such a fantastic poem that turns some very familiar monsters in very cool and unique ways. Loved this!

PERSPECTIVE: JOURNAL OF A 1980s MAD MAN by Mort Castle: Nope. Didn't like this one.

MOTHER KNOWS BEST by Stephanie M. Wytovich: Wow. This is such a fantastic story. It's violent and creepy, full of bloody and nightmarish imagery that sent me on a surreal feverish dream I didn't wake up from until the last word. Memorable story. 

STRANGER DANGER by Grady Hendrix: I was excited to read this because I love all the Grady Hendrix books I've read. But this short story was a bit silly and I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

THE GARDEN OF DR. MOREAU by Lisa Morton: Really liked this clever story set in 1984 featuring a very familiar name and a creepy, totally nightmarish situation. I mean, even when you're trying to help, sometimes you actually make everything worse. 😬

Attack from the 80s is a super fun and nostalgic anthology full of dark tales set during a period when the world was awesome but at the same time was on a constant state of change and upheaval. A time when horror movies were available in your own home at any time of the day or night. Trust me, I lived it. 😁

The writing was great and the stories range from horrific and serious, to freaky and hilarious.

This book contains a lot of talented authors and is guaranteed to satisfy both horror and 80s fans.

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