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Night Worms Book Party: Our Reviews of HOWLS FROM HELL: A Horror Anthology


“An anthology for horror devotees by horror devotees, Howls From Hellfirst pays homage to horror's venerable tropes, then blows them away.” “Howls From Hell gifts us with sixteen imaginative nightmares from some of the freshest voices emerging in horror and dark fiction.







This is a fun anthology. I had no idea that the Howl Society even existed. Essentially, this is a collection of horror stories from writers who are all members of the Howl Society on Discord. Grady Hendix is a member, and he sets the stage with a forward that anyone who loves horror can relate to. After reading it I was definitely pumped to read some horror.

This is interesting to me, because I found that the stories that stood out to me the most were some of the longest ones. Don't get me wrong, I love a great piece of flash fiction, but for some reason the stories that had a bit more meat on their bones are the ones that stuck with me. I'm wondering if that's because it's been a while since I've read a short story collection or anthology, but now that I'm typing this I don't think it's been as long as I was originally thinking. Hey, you like what you like, right? And as of today, the following are the stories that are still floating around in my brain.

All of the horror stories I've read that involve old acetate film reels stay with me. I'm particularly fond of Gemma Files's brilliant novel EXPERIMENTAL FILM. So right when I started to read Suspended in Light by Alex Wolfgang I was hooked. There's something deeply creepy to me about old 16mm films. Perhaps it's because it's a modern type of media that seems out of place for how early it was invented. Moving pictures were created as early as 1888, and that seems much too antiquated for something that we still enjoy today, albeit in a much improved fashion. Regardless, I'm very interested in stories about haunted films.

The next story to really stand out to me is sort of a cross between horror and dystopian sci-fi. Possess and Serve by Christopher O'Halloran introduces the very interesting concept of the Assumed Control Unit, where agents "posses" a person's body whenever someone feels overwhelmed and unable to deal with their current situation. By simply pressing a button you can call an agent to assume control of your body and deescalate your current situation. Sounds great, right? Except what if the person who has sworn to protect you is less than trustworthy?

And the last story I'm going to mention is a really good body horror story with a twisted ending. It Gets In Your Eyes by Joseph Andre Thomas is about a woman who goes on a cruise and returns home with a nagging sensation that there is "something in her eye". After seeing multiple doctors, and even trying to diagnose herself on the internet, Marnie is still uncomfortable and convinced that something is very wrong with here eye. Is it all in her head, like the doctors suggest? Well, you will have to read this one to find out.

Overall I enjoyed all of the stories in this anthology. The ones I mentioned specifically in this review stuck with me the most, but this is really a rather strong anthology throughout. I definitely recommend picking this one up. @gowsy33






HOWLS FROM HELL is a beast of an anthology (get it? huh? huh?) with many brand-new-to-me authors. It’s a given that I would be drawn to the gorgeous cover art and the forward written by Grady Hendrix, but after reading it I realize it’s spectacular in its own right.

There are a total of sixteen stories, none of them alike. Each story gave me a new horror experience, but the one thing they all have in common is they are addictive.

The Howl Society stands for Horror-Obsessed Writing and Literature Society. It’s a community of horror readers and writers on Discord who read books monthly and have discussions about all things horror. It’s also inclusive because guess what?’s 100% free. Sounds pretty fantastic, right?

The forward by Grady Hendrix encompasses why I love horror so perfectly. His words gave me all the horror warm and fuzzies and left me ready to begin.

I haven’t read an anthology recently that doesn’t have a single bad apple.m, but every one of these little gems shines. Reading, I went through all sorts of reactions: I gasped, I winced, I laughed, and I immediately looked up more books by authors I didn’t even know were out there.

The first story A CASUAL ENCOUNTER by Quinn Fern is wicked fun. It is the perfect amuse-bouche for your horror palette and I left it with a wink and a smile. From this 5 star story, I hit one after the other. No joke, I rate every one of these 5 stars. I’ll give you a couple more teasers below:

Shane Hawk’s SHE’S TAKEN AWAY is perfectly executed. It’s written as a transcript of a doctor-patient session where the patient discusses her likely evil twin. There is not a single sinister word wasted.

SUSPENDED BY LIGHT by Alex Wolfgang thoroughly impressed me. I love a good “lost footage” trope and in this one a student starts watching old film reels when things get real creepy.

Science fiction and dystopian stories are favorite genres of mine, so I thoroughly enjoyed POSSES AND SERVE by Christopher O’Halloran. This futuristic style story takes place in a world where law enforcement agents utilize the Assume Control Unit. Basically agents can posses the bodies of civilians in order to deescalate a situation.

Okay so I don’t know if this makes me weird, but the story IT GETS IN YOUR EYES by Joseph Andre Thomas made me chuckle. I couldn’t read it fast enough. Reading the thoughts of our narrator was suspenseful but there is some great sarcasm that I much appreciated. The ending is everything.

I cannot recommend HOWLS FROM HELL enough. After the week I had, it was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Thank you so much to the Howl Society and Night Worms for my review copy.


3.5 stars! There were some real standouts in this anthology:
HOWLS FROM HELL is a showcase of new, talented voices in horror fiction. According to the entertaining introduction from Grady Hendrix, the stories in this anthology represent The HOWL society, a Discord chat born from a subreddit group (if I understand all of that correctly).
Anthologies can sometimes be tough reads and they aren't for everyone. I know that some horror fans won't even read/review Anthologies or Author Collections. I love short stories so I probably read more than the average person-I see them as the best way to introduce myself to a bunch of new-to-me authors to see if I want to investigate their work further. HOWLS FROM HELL is made up entirely of new-to-me authors. I’m not entirely sure, but I think some of the authors drew an illustration for someone else’s story. At least that’s what it seemed like to me and I thought that was cool.

A CASUAL ENCOUNTER/Quinn Fern- Right out of the gate this story grabbed my attention. Creative 'monster building' and a great hook/set-up for this seductive creature-feature. Very fresh, very 'now'

THE PIGEON LIED/J.W. Donley- This story jumps right into an elaborate universe complete with a huge cast of characters and an intricate plot having much ado about hats. Even though I had a hard time tracking this story, I enjoyed the author's speculative storytelling voice.

MANUFACTURED GOD/P.L. McMillan- I immediately got a Ridley Scott vibe with this story. Super immersive, high-tech, sci-fi/cosmic horror. A small group of explorers investigates a chamber of unknown origins and I enjoyed the dialog between the characters as they make discoveries. I could see this developed into a longer novel.

RED PUNCH BUGGY/B. O. B. Jenkin- Car accident. I'm not sure exactly what it was, but this story was disorienting for me.

SHE'S TAKEN AWAY/Shane Hawk- Police Dept. Transcription between a doctor and a patient. During the question and answer session, readers learn that the patient is a twin and that her twin sister has been institutionalized. The details of what the “evil twin” has done to get herself “taken away” are very disturbing and tantalizing. I loved this wicked tale.

SUSPENDED IN LIGHT/Alex Wolfgang-Julia is a film school student and is going through found footage. Old reels she’s feeding through a projector. Alone. Creepy stuff. “PLAY US FOREVER”. I would read more of this author’s work for sure.

GOOSEBERRY BRAMBLE- Solomon Forse- A testimony at a murder trial. A man tells the story of when he was a child and he disobeyed his grandma’s orders to never venture over to Gooseberry Bramble. Such a compelling narrative. I love reading stories like this.

CLEMENT & SONS/Joe Radkins- Haunted House. Fixer-upper. I love fixer-upper stories. There is something so appealing about an author taking the time to describe a house in disrepair and observe the protagonists set to cleaning it. But this house comes with a price and a grandfather clock. I enjoyed this story.

POSSESS and SERVE/Christopher O'Halloran- This was an original, imaginative alternate universe where Police officers could “assume control” over a perp’s actions to deescalate a situation. At least I *think* that's what was happening--then it turned into a domestic story of a relationship and family life. Admittedly, I thought this story was a little too long for the anthology and I felt my interest wan. This was just under 50 pages and I didn’t finish it, I think I was just used to shorter stories at this point.

DUPLICITOUS WINGS/Amanda Nevada DeMel- A desperate woman summons revenge upon her brother for stealing what she believes is rightfully hers. This story was not for me. I found it difficult to suspend disbelief in order to invest.

IT GETS IN YOUR EYES/Joseph Andre Thomas- A woman comes home from vacation with something irritating her eye. It becomes a real issue. This one too had a few issues to contend with, like doctor/patient confidentiality and HIPPA violations. Made it difficult to invest in, but once I did-this had some interesting, gross-out body horror at the end.

RED AND THE BEAST/Thea Maeve- I skipped this one just because I wasn’t in the mood for a fairytale-but I will go back. Sometimes I do crave a good, dark castle/prince/princess/slay-the-beast story.

THE INTRUDER/Justin Faull- A man gets stuck in traffic and winds up in a foul mood. When he gets home, something has clearly entered his apartment. The man has an altercation with the intruder. But then it could just be some kind of nightmare? Possession? It ended a little abruptly but it’s an interesting concept with real potential.

SPROUT/M. David Clarkson- This one has a shocking beginning. My eyes widened and my first impression was, “Ok-WOW”
Compelling first-person narrative-lots of pop culture references. I felt like this story was interesting but it was a little disjointed-some odd breaks in the story.

JUNCO CREEK/S. E. Denton- Leigh and Ben ascend into the Sierra Nevada range (close to my old stomping grounds, actually) for a nature-getaway and some mother/son bonding time in a remote cabin. I’ll add this story to my growing list of personal horrors. I think there is something so vulnerable about renting a house from strangers. Also, the outdoors is scary. Bears. Wildlife. Feeling like your son is distancing himself from you. Everything about this story scared me. I enjoyed it-one of my favorites. “There’s somebody under the cabin.” UGH!! Terrifying!!

A FISTFUL OF MURDER/Lindsey Ragsdale- A man gets some cash marked with the words “KILL” and begins to feel very strange. A quick story. I liked the storytelling voice.





This anthology is great because not only did it introduce me to a bunch of new authors, but it introduced me to the HOWL Society (the "Horror-Obsessed Writing and Literature" society) which I'm very excited to learn more about - and maybe join one day??

Man, what a fun collection of stories! There is so much variety presented here (body horror, sci-fi horror, folklore, occult/cults, cosmic horror, hilarious horror, demons, monsters, evil twins, etc). Seriously, there's definitely something for everyone here - and luckily for me almost all of it worked! It just seemed like everyone involved had a great time writing these twisted tales, and their enthusiasm and creativity spills from the pages.

And speaking of the writers, it was awesome getting to meet a huge cast of new (to me) authors! Lots of talent here for sure. Oh, and several of the authors also provide illustrations for the stories which were so cool! Like I said, lots of talent.

I really did enjoy most of these stories, but some stand out ones for me were:

"Manufactured Gods" by P.L. McMillan - an epic blend of sci-fi horror, tech horror, and Egyptian mythology where a group of scientists go to explore the ruins of Earth and find a truly unsettling monster deep below ground.

"Red Punch Buggy" by B.O.B. Jenkin - at first read I found it to be a funny and disturbing little tale, but it has since burrowed into my brain and I can't stop thinking about it. Much like Scott Cole's Crazytimes, it uses humor mixed with shocking violence to wonderful effect.

"A Fistful of Murder" by Lindsey Ragsdale - a story about a man who finds a dollar bill with the word KILL written on it, and every time he looks at it he is forced to do just that. It's a simple idea but structured and played out beautifully.

"Suspended in Light" by Alex Wolfgang - another one that got under my skin and I can't stop thinking about. Creepy story of a women reviewing old film reels and unleashing a haunting force. I didn't fully understand the ending, but I enjoyed the ride. @reading.vicariously



3.5 rounded up to 4.

Thank you Howls Society for sending me a copy of Howls From Hell. This is a great anthology to try if you're looking to hear some new(er) voices in horror. I loved reading a little bit about each author at the end of their story.

Here are a few that stood our for me:

A Casual Encounter by Quinn Fern - a fun piece of flash fiction that really kicked off the anthology.

She's Taken Away by Shane Hawk - I love psychological horror and the interview style was cool.

Gooseberry Bramble by Solomon Forse - the writing was so immersive, I felt like I was there!

It Gets in Your Eyes by Joseph Andre Thomas - Uck! I hate things about eyeballs. My eyeballs are so sensitive. This was so uncomfortable and great. @spookishmommy

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