Fright Before Christmas: 13 Tales of Holiday Horror
Edited by Richard Ankers
Publisher: Leap Books, LLC
Pub. Date: December 11, 2015
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Don't take that wrong. I love Christmas. But I also love Halloween and horror stories. And all that treacle and sweetness agitates my Diabetes. I'm not alone in this . In fact I have pretty good company in Charles Dickens whose A Christmas Carol is unapologetically a ghost story...and was probably fairly horrifying to the Victorian set.
Fright Before Christmas: 13 Tales of Holiday Horrors is in that tradition even though most of the stories do not have the positive ending that Dickens settled for. The best way to describe this entertaining anthology is that it is more in the line of Goosebumps!. It is geared toward middle grade children yet some of them are a little on the gruesome side so the parent should screen it first. Personally I think the level of fright and horror is just right .
There are many avenues of scare in these stories. If anything, it shows that anything in the Christmas tradition can be pushed over to the dark side. We have killer nutcrackers (that one especially frightens me!) Steampunk Santas, zombie snowmen, even Bigfoot makes an appearance. I especially liked "Machete Santa" by Medeia Sharif, where a splatterpunk video game becomes too real. Most of the stories are brief. In fact, if there is one complaint I have it is that many of them are single punchlines. I wished for a more extended story on some of the ideas but I didn't get it. I guess I was naughty this year.
So if you are the type that think Santa could use a little more red in his costume, you might like Fright Before Christmas. Yes, the tales are meant for middle grade but I enjoyed them too. So will you.