Dark Screams: Volume Four

Edited by: Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar

Published By: Hydra

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

                I was excited when I received the first volume of the Dark Screams anthology series.  Each volume features five stories by some of the most prominent horror authors out there.  I’ve really enjoyed this series simply for the fact that the editors have selected stories with very different ideas of what is horror.  I couldn’t wait to see what the fourth volume had in store for us fans of horror.

                It all begins with Clive Barker’s The Departed.  In this story, a dead mother takes a chance at an encounter with her son on All Hallows Eve.  The horror here is not how the mother died or how she might appear to others, but the idea of a mother never being able to speak to or be seen by a son she loves more than life.

                In Lisa Morton’s The New War, Mike Carson is a war hero and a decorated vet, but his recent stay in the hospital after hip surgery has him questioning his sanity.  He swears he has seen fellow soldiers, long dead, roaming the halls…and that nurse – she has to be in cahoots with that dark monster that keeps visiting him every day, trying to take his breath away.  What’s the horror here?  The horror of a lost mind – this is what it feels like to be on the edges of Alzheimer’s or dementia.

                Sammy Goes Home, by Ray Garton, is a creature feature on the lines of Aliens.  When the family pets of small town USA start to disappear, though the number of pets missing seems strange, no one seems to worry much.  But when they start to reappear with huge, tumor-like growths…and when those growths burst…all hell breaks loose.

                Ed Gorman’s The Brasher Girl is a serial killer story featuring a demon-like influence…one that continues long after each serial killer ends up dead or in jail.  For some reason, each of the killers feels compelled to pass on the “wealth,” bringing more people into their secret murder club.

                We round things out with Creature Feature, by Heather Graham, a Scooby adventure of sorts.  Take one wax museum-like presentation featuring some of the most feared characters in history, a rumored curse, a pair of X-Files type FBI investigators and a curator with a bend towards blood and you have a murder mystery with an ending worthy of each and every Scooby Doo adventure you ever saw on television.

                It seems that Dark Screams anthology keeps getting better with each volume produced.  Dark Screams: Volume Four is the best one yet.  I couldn't put it down, couldn't wait to see what the next story had in store for me.  I can’t wait to read Dark Screams: Volume Five!


For feedback, visit our message board or e-mail the author at talonkarrde@g-pop-net.