Gore Carnival Book 3

     Gore Carnival Book 3: Encore Various Authors 5/5 stars

      Now we've made it passed the intermission, and so far this is one hell of a box set. If you like your horror sadistic and dark then you've come to the right place. There's been a wealth of great talent and all of these stories have been really well written. In a volume like this though you can only hold the momentum so long before you start hitting the clunkers. The confusing thing is that this is titled Encore but it differs greatly from the style and pace of intermission Had these titles been swapped it would have made more sense. The stories in volume 3 aren't as in your face or half as disturbing as book 2. This is my type of horror. When it needs to be it's extreme but it doesn't become the focal point. Case in point the lead off story Chuckles. This is by far a high point of the set and one that slowly follows a clown as he slides into insanity. Well thought out and one that has a hook that you feel right in your eyeballs. Tina Pey's clown reminds me a lot of Shakes The Clown but instead of being an alcoholic he slowly loses his mind. Shakes The Clown is by far the most messed up clown movie  I have ever seen and if you haven't seen it well you should.

     The common theme here is clowns. When you think of horror in a circus it's easy to place clowns in it because it's a fear that a lot of people have, Here you have a tripped out version of an Insane Clown Posse type of nightmare, and it's the one story I didn't really love. It wasn't bad but it just wasn't my style. then you have The Synyster Brothers which shows you that clowns are in fact not fun cuddly types. They will mess you up. Aside from Chuckles is another favorite called Pachyderm PTSD. This was an intriguing story that features a bitter clown, a bitter redneck and an elephant on a bunch of drugs. RD Cervo went in an unexpected direction and it works extremely well and shows that there are more than just clowns at the circus.

     This is my 2nd favorite book in the set because the horror here is organic and not written with the express goal of making you want to throw up or shock you. I think if it had kept going in that direction I would have stopped reading not because the stories were bad, I just would have gotten bored. You have a decent range of stories that have different elements to them. I loved Freak Show House because it reminded me a lot of Clive Barker. It's disturbing and dark but there's also great story telling involved. That to me is what makes a great story and volume 3 was a return to that.

      While all of these books are good book 3 is truly the home run that 2 could have been. The shock value alone was the driving force behind it but the story telling and overall creepiness that exist in Encore is what makes this so damn good. Once again the editors have put together a wealth of talent that flow well together. It's the kind of anthology that gets a publisher noticed and makes fans of the horror genre happy. So far The Gore Carnival is a must read box set but we do have one more book to go so let's hope that the momentum keeps going.