Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Cutting Room: Dark Reflections of the Silver Screen - edited by Ellen Datlow

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

I believe it can be safely said that Ellen Datlow is one of the most well-known editors of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror working today.  Her newest anthology, just released by Tachyon Publications, is The Cutting Room: Dark Reflections of the Silver Screen.

Here, Datlow has gathered 23 short stories all dealing with the movie industry. A wide variety of tales featuring writers, directors, bit players, and stars; from blockbusters to porn.

A few highlights include the opening story of the collection, "The Cutter," by Edward Bryant.  One of the best short stories I've read this year.  It's about a movie house projectionist in a small town who edits some of the films that come to the Ramona, often making them better.  He's also the cutter of his own dreams.

"Final Girl Theory," by A. C. Wise is a wildly imaginative story of a fictitious film called Kaleidoscope.

Peter Straub has a rather esoteric entry that seems to be made up of every possible film noir cliche, ever.

One the best best in this anthology is "Dead Image," about a young actor who is the spitting image of the legendary James Deacon, who is a fictionalized version of James Dean.

The always entertaining Gary A. Braunbeck has a clever tale, featuring Buster Keaton and Samuel Beckett, called "Onlookers."

There's poetry from Lucy A. Snyder and Daphne Gottlieb, a very cool zombie story from Douglas E. Winter and much, much more.

Kim Newman writes my favorite line in her very funny story of Edgar Allan Poe's influence on Hollywood, "He thinks up this scene where Chuck is possessed by his evil wizard ancestor and smashes an axe through a door to get to his terrified wife (Debra Paget) while shouting something from The Tonight Show.  I know that will never work, but keep quiet."

The Cutting Room: Dark Reflections of the Silver Screen is not perfect, but it was certainly an enjoyable read.  All but one of the stories have been published elsewhere over the years, but I had never read any of these before.

Available now from Tachyon Publications in both print and e-book formats The Cutting Room: Dark Reflections of the Silver Screen is great for film buffs and fans of dark fiction alike.


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