Editor Ellen Datlow puts together some really good books and this might be one of my favorite to date. Dark fantasy/horror stories strung along a theme of films and filmmaking. What a brilliant concept.
There are some well-known authors included here (such as Dennis Etchison, F. Paul Wilson, Peter Straub, and Laird Barron) as well as some names that are new to me. But all the stories are well done and many of them manage to capture a film-noirish feel. It’s difficult to choose only one or two favorites in this collection. Some of the stand-outs to me were:
THE HANGED MAN OF OZ by Steve Nagy is creepy in that ‘make-you-look-over-your-shoulders’ sort of way. I want to watch The Wizard of Oz now, just to look for these things!
DEAD IMAGE by David Morrell isn’t as dark as some of the others, but I was quickly hooked on the story and Morrell’s story-telling.
SHE DRIVES MEN TO CRIMES OF PASSION by Genevieve Valentine was beautiful and haunting.
I tend to think Laird Barron is one of the best dark fantasy writers since Robert Aikman (who I thought was pretty spectacular) and his story ARDOR will help cement his reputation for strong writing.
ILLIMITABLE DOMINION by Kim Newman manages to be humorous, engaging, and slightly dark and is a great way to end the collection.
I personally feel that short fiction is the ideal format for horror and dark fantasy literature and the theme of film/film-making is absolutely brilliant and Datlow collects a very nice assortment. This collection is highly recommended.
Introduction: Genevieve Valntine
Preface: Ellen Datlow
“The Cutter” : Edward Bryant
“The Hanged Man of Oz” : Steve Nagy
“Deadspace” : Dennis Etchison
“Cuts” : F. Paul Wilson
“Final Girl Theory” : A.C. Wise
“Lapland, or Film No” : Peter Straub
“The Thousand Cuts” : Ian Watson
“Occam’s Ducks” : Howard Waldrop
“Dead Image” : David Morrell
“The Constantinople Archives” : Robert Shearman
“each thing I show you is a piece of my death” : Gemma Files & Stephen J. Barringer
“Cinder Images” : Gary McMahon
“The Pied Piper of Hammersmith” : Nicholas Royle
“Filming the Making of the Film of the Making of Fitzcarraldo” : Garry Kilworth
“Onlookers” Gary A. Braunbeck
“Recreation” : Lucy A. Snyder
“Bright Lights, Big Zombie” : Douglas E. Winter
“She Drives the Men to Crimes of Passion!” : Genevieve Valentine
“Even the Pawn” : Joel Lane
“Tenderizer” : Stephen Graham Jones
“Ardor” : Laird Barron
“Final Girl II: the Frame” : Daphne Gottlieb
“Illimitable Dominion” : Kim Newman
Looking for a good book? The Cutting Room is an excellent collection of dark stories around a film theme.
* * * * * *
The Cutting Room: Dark Reflections of the Silver Screen
editor: Ellen Datlow
publisher: Tachyon Publications
paperback, 384 pages