Sublime Horror

Celebrating the best in horror

Category: Fiction (page 1 of 10)

Joke’s on you: Five parodies of the ghost story

I used to avoid “funny” ghost stories. Humour seemed at odds with the effect I sought from reading about the supernatural. It dispelled the atmosphere, leaving the stories, and the reader, disenchanted. Later on, I learned that horror could be funny, and that funny things can be horrific.

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Eden by Tim Lebbon review – ‘Smart, pacey, political and deeply blood-soaked’

Eden by Tim Lebbon conjures up what you’d get if you crossed Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation with the lurid “creature feature” paperbacks of the 70s and 80s: a world in which eco-politics and the unchecked powers of nature have created a hostile environment for humans, stalked by blood-thirsty animal predators and the living forest itself.

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‘Our Father Who Art in Heaven’ by Valentin Katayev review – a beautiful, awful story

The idea of a staunch anti-Semite writing about the Holocaust might sound like an entirely different kind of horror story than those we usually enjoy here at Sublime Horror.

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Aliens: Phalanx by Scott Sigler review – too Alien or not quite Alien enough?

The problem with Alien: Resurrection, contrary to popular opinion, is not that it’s a bad film. Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s fourth instalment in the Alien series has a lot of good elements; Ripley-8’s gleeful progression into inhumanity contrasts impeccably with the pathos of Call’s self-hatred, for example, and Jeunet seems to genuinely want to do something new with the sci-fi palette. No, the problem with Alien: Resurrection is that it’s not quite Alien enough. Or maybe the problem is that it’s a bit too Alien. Either way, it tries to be both the darkly comic, baroque sci-fi epic that Jeunet obviously wanted it to be and the more conceptual piece that screenwriter Joss Whedon seemed to originally intend, whilst leaving the actual Alien elements feeling tacked on.

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The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel review – a gripping, graphic hunt for the truth

The seedy underbelly of a small Missouri town is exposed when two young girls are brutally murdered one snowy night in this gripping psychological thriller. The opening chapter in The Familiar Dark is titled “The End.” and is a short, shocking page and a half that draws the reader straight into the narrative.

“They died during a freak April snowstorm, blood pooling on a patchy bed of white.”

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I See You So Close by M. Dressler review – a slower, cosier entry into this haunting ghost story series

Almost a year on from falling deeply in love with M. Dressler’s compelling ghost story The Last to See Me, I was looking forward to reading the sequel, I See You So Close, but some doubts continued to ferment in the back of my mind. Was a sequel necessary? How could the story keep its compelling, taut conflict? Though I feel that the sequel lost some of the first book’s narrative immediacy, the tale stays with me as more of a cosy ghost story – one where a spirit has transcended the shackles of her own trauma in order to go on and seek to help others.

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The Manifestations of Sherlock Holmes by James Lovegrove review – stretching the bounds of what a Sherlock Holmes story may be

In the first story of The Manifestations of Sherlock Holmes, an exasperated Dr. Watson asks Holmes, “Would you not allow that there is at least an outside chance that something other, something ineffable and indefinable, surrounds our lives and from time to time permeates them?” Author James Lovegrove positions his new Holmes book to consider Watson’s premise: what boundaries will readers accept for the great detective?

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Pine by Francine Toon review – A literary and unsettling folk-horror debut

Francine Toon’s debut novel Pine opens with a young girl and her father driving on a darkened country road in the Scottish Highlands. They’re heading to the nearest settlement – a tiny collection of houses – to go “guising”, or trick-or-treating. Among the surrounding trees, they see a lone figure in a white dressing gown. This apparition haunts the following story, coming as close as young Lauren’s own fireside – where the lady in white is a hideous night-hag, barefoot, moving oddly, incapable of eating, wiping herself from the memory of any adult that encounters her – but otherwise seen in glimpses, as the weird and supernatural hovers over every aspect of Lauren’s childhood.

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Bad People by Craig Wallwork review – evil running through its core

Bad People… you ain’t kidding!

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Binocular by Nick Sidhu and Kelly Smith review – a stark lesson in what happens if we let our darker side take control

Suspense and chills galore await in Binocular, a tightly controlled, claustrophobic double bill of menace.

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