Monday, August 10, 2009

The Night They Missed The Horror Show

I’ve been wrestling for a while with the notion of a list of my favorite short stories, but haven’t gotten anywhere with it because there are just too many from which to choose. If I ever manage to put it together, one story that I know will be near the top is “The Night They Missed the Horror Show” by the legendary Joe R. Lansdale. In addition to being featured in numerous anthologies, it has been issued as a limited edition chapbook by Borderlands Press, as part of their great Dark Voices series, and comes with an audio CD.

The story is pretty simple. Two redneck teens in late-60s Texas, decide not to see “Night of the Living Dead” at the local drive-in – because the lead actor is black. Instead, they go cruising, and make a number of fateful choices. The story is profane, shocking and at times hilarious. If you are easily offended, it probably isn’t right for you.

What makes the new chapbook great is the accompanying CD. On it, you get an audio version of the story, read by Lansdale hisownself. Lansdale’s delivery is perfect, and really brings out the black humor in the piece. The story is accompanied by a few background audio effects, and by a musical score. The only complaint I had about the CD was a few times the music partially drowned out the words. Still, if you are a Lansdale fan (and you should be) or just enjoy a good story, this should be for you. But don’t say I didn’t warn you: the language might curl your hair.

This chapbook is available directly from Borderlands.

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