by Julie Ann Dawson, editor
Bards and Sages Publishing has introduced a collection of stories just ripe for Halloween. Legendary Horrors,
edited by Julie Ann Dawson, is a delightful assortment of chilling tales both old and new. All written in the classic
horror style (meaning less slash and more suggestion), these stories bring to life all of the traditional horror
icons: mummies, vampires, zombies, and werewolves. Also tossed into the mix are trolls, the Boogieman, and Death,
Dawson selected four classics as the foundation of this collection. Guy De Maupassant's "The Wolf" shows a master
storyteller's hand. John Williams Polidori's "The Vampyre" is dryly chilling. Theophile Gautier's "The Mummy's Foot"
is brilliant, and Bernard Capes' "The Black Reaper" is steeped in atmosphere. Interspersed with these tales are four
modern stories, written for a special contest. Sponsored by Bards and Sages Publishing, the contest, which was held
last year, encouraged new writers to reflect on these classic horror icons of the past, and give them a modern twist.
The results were four excellent stories that pumped new blood into these classic motifs.
"Mud Hollow Bridge" was David Hart's rendering of modern day trolls menacing a small town. "Zombie Maker" by Tim
Kane was spot on, capturing the sultry life of a sugar plantation owner and his lust for a young slave. "A Gypsy's
Gift to Lucas," Richard Deal's offering, was a warmly humorous look at werewolves and middle age. Finally, "Night
Tales Not Told" by Brian Pettera was a most uncommon (and very funny) interview with the Boogieman.
In this era of grisly slasher movies, where nothing is left up to the imagination, I thoroughly enjoyed reading
this collection of horror stories. I will keep my copy handy for re-reading next Halloween, just as I bring out my
dusty collection of Bella Lugosi's Dracula, Lon Chaney's Wolfman, and Boris Karloff's Frankenstein. I wonder if
Bards and Sages would consider repeating their contest in a few years to see if another crop of new authors could
handle these classic icons.
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NOTE: Reviewer Janie
Franz is the author of Freelance Writing: Itís a Business, Stupid!and co-author of
The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book and The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book.