Stephen King - Nightmares And Dreamscapes (Nel, 1994)
Introduction: Myth, Belief, Faith and Ripley's Believe It Or Not!
Dolan's Cadillac The End Of The Whole Mess Suffer The Little Children The Night Flier Popsy It Grows On You Chattering Teeth Dedication The Moving Finger Sneakers You Know They've Got A Hell Of A Band Home Delivery Rainy Season My Pretty Pony Sorry, Right Number The Ten O'Clock People Crouch End The House On Maple Street The Fifth Quarter The Doctor's Case Umney's Last Case Head Down Brooklyn August
FROM THE IMAGINATION OF THE WORLD'S BESTSELLING WRITER: NIGHTMARES AND DREAMSCAPES
The Stephen King Amusement Park – an unnerving experience, with rides every which way to hell. ... and a few to glory.
A solitary finger pokes out of a drain. Novelty teeth turn predatory. The Nevada desert swallows a Cadillac. Meanwhile, the legend of Castle Rock returns ... and grows on you. What does it all mean? What else could it mean? Stephen King is back with a powerful collection of stories – a vast, many-chambered cave of a volume.
In story after story, the long reach of Stephen King's imagination and the no-holds-barred force of his storytelling will take you to places you've never been before. On a roller-coaster through the macabre and monstrous, via cutting-edge explorations of good and evil – and on to a heartfelt piece on Little League baseball.
You will lose a good deal of sleep. But Stephen King, writing to beat the devil, will do your dreaming for you ...
Can't remember the last time I had two Stephen King books on the go but so far it's proving a more pleasurable distraction than I'd anticipated, that's for sure.
King writes in his introduction that this book "completes a trilogy of which Night Shift and Skeleton Crew are the first two volumes. All the good short stories have now been collected; all the bad ones have been swept as far under the rug as I could get them, and there they will stay" which is maybe a little harsh on Cat From Hell, but i digress.
Night Shift at 409 pages looks relatively sleek against the 836 pages of Nightmares And Dreamscapes - Skeleton Crew met them halfway at 612 - and while you can't fault his (publishers) generosity, if ever there was a case of "less is more" .... Imagine the best of the stories run across four or five slimline volumes - 180 pages tops - and there's a chance that people may even finish them! Also - moan, moan, moan - however accomplished the cover artwork, it''s way too tasteful for a collection of this nature. Bring back that deliciously trashy Reaper!
The Night-Flier: Richard Dees, leading photographer with gutter press newspaper Inside View, is hot on the trail of a vampiric serial killer. 'The Night Flier', as he dubs himself, pilots a Skymaster Cessna and commits all his murders on remote airfields, and trust me on this, they're of a particularly sadistic nature (one poor old girl fortuitously comes to grief while reading Interview With A Vampire). The last six pages make for great suspense as Dee crash lands at Wilmington just in time to witness the most appalling slaughter, bodies flying through the window and all.
Chattery Teeth: Time's getting on, there's a sandstorm coming down and he's 400 miles from his LA home, but Hogan can't leave 'Scooter's Grocery & Roadside Zoo', nowheresville, USA, until he's at least attempted to buy the unpriced set of Jumbo Chattery Teeth. They're amazing! Hugest set of novelty choppers he ever did see, metal at that, perched on these little spindly legs and wearing big orange cartoon shoes. Old Scooter reckons the contraption no longer works properly, but that doesn't matter. Somehow he knows he simply MUST have them!
Turns out Hogan's ridiculous purchase could be his all-time shrewdest investment when 'Bryan Adams' - the acne-scarred young hitcher he's taken pity on - turns ugly, pulls a knife ...
... Chutter-Click-Chutter-Chutter-Click ....
Alternatively weird, funny, sad and very, very violent, Chattery Teeth is a big "up yours!" to the likes of me who thought his best horror work was far behind him.
Suffer The Little Children: "She turned over and the children were staring down at her. They were ringed in a tight little circle, like mourners around an open grave. And at the head of the grave was Robert, a small sober sexton ready to shovel the first spade of dirt into her face ....
When Miss Sidley realises that the entire third form have been possessed by demons, desperate measures are called for. Thank goodness for the gun her late brother took from a dead German shortly after the Battle of the Bulge ...
Sneakers: Tell, hard at work on the new Roger Daltry album, is driven to distraction by a pair of sneakers encircled by dead flies which peer at at him from beneath the same cubicle every time he visits the men's room. They belong to a drug peddler who was murdered with a pencil in the selfsame bog some years back. Tell eventually summons the caretaker to open the door ....
Popsy: Child-abductor Sheridan gets more than he bargained for when he waylays a pale kid at the Mall. The boy has long teeth, just like his doting father. And he's thirsty. Modern EC.
Home Delivery: Maddie, a lobster-man's widow at 22, three months pregnant and the dead scampering from their graves eating the living. At least the remote Jenny Island doesn't have much by way of a dead population to worry about - just the one tiny graveyard which Old Frank and the men keep under constant surveillance. Her late husband Jack proves what a doting father he'd have been by slithering out of the sea for the birth, but - unlike any other story in Skipp & Spector's zombie anthology Book Of The Dead I can think of - there's a quietly optimistic tone to Home Delivery which reads like it was extracted from a longer piece.
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.
I would include a cover scan of my copy, but it is a rather dull slipcase edition and I guess a green rectangle will be of no interest to anyone!
Some great stories in here, although this is probably the King collection I have read the least times. The Ten O'clock People is great fun, Crouch End is a creepy little blighter, and Umney's Last Case is a superb 'writer' tale.
Post by benedictjjones on Aug 18, 2008 10:02:49 GMT
i really liked 'the 10 o'clock people' (being a committed at work smoker this story really appealed!) which is about people who have tried to give up cigarettes and realised it'll never happen so only smoke when not at home etc. the chemicals in their brains from this show them some strange things... this also reminded me of that old 60's sci fi show where the main character kills aliens (who have replaced humans) and they dissolve to ash leaving him no evidence!
also the pulpy goodness of 'the fifth quarter' reeked of Bachman! 'king is bachman but bachman is King...'