Anthologies, be they in book or film form, have always been one of my favorite things when it comes to horror. So, it’s no surprise to me that I did enjoy 2017’s “Nights of The Living Dead: An Anthology” by George A. Romero and Jonathan Maberry. What did surprise me was the through and through quality of the stories gathered into this collection! Usually you’ll have one or two stories that fall a little flat or just aren’t to your taste. Well, for my taste, all nineteen tales hit the mark in evoking a response in me. Some made me laugh, other gave me chills, and one even filled me with a sense of revulsion that had me gagging at the visceral descriptions given.
The linking thread to this collection is that all of the stories take place on or very near the beginning of the living dead outbreak portrayed in the cinematic classic, Night of the Living Dead. Some are set are the same time as the film, others just before, and a select few even look at the aftermath of that night. All of the stories do hold true to the rules of the NoTLD universe as we know them and remain grounded within it. My only real complaint is that there are some anachronistic moments in a few stories that took me out of the 1968 setting (one mentions a cell phone), but others are clearly set in a date just beyond the 60’s and 70’s, maybe even at the time of Tom Savini’s remake in 1990. I admit that it’s a minor nit to pick, but it was there. Otherwise I can’t say anything bad against this anthology.
Check out the impressive list of authors that contributed and my own blurb about each story:
- (The introductions from George A. Romero and Jonathan Maberry are not to be skipped.)
- “Dead Man’s Curve” by Joe R. Lansdale – Back country racing runs into the living dead.
- “A Dead Girl Named Sue” by Craig E. Engler – Even the undead deserve justice.
- “Fast Entry” by Jay Bonansinga – What if a psychic could see what the dead are thinking?
- “In This Quiet Earth” by Mike Carey – True devotion doesn’t end with death.
- “Jimmy Jay Baxter’s Last, Best Day on Earth” by John Skipp – MAGA in the apocalypse . . .
- “John Doe” by George A. Romero – Meet the possible Patient Zero in a Philly morgue.
- “Mercy Kill” by Ryan Brown – A soldier returns from Vietnam to fight a different battle.
- “Orbital Decay” by David Wellington – Zombies: In Space!!!
- “Snaggletooth” by Max Brailler – A love triangle that will make you think of The Tell-Tale Heart.
- “The Burning Days” by Carrie Ryan – Fire is a great barricade, but how long will the fuel last?
- “The Day After” by John A. Russo – Picks up right after the sheriff drops the torch in the film.
- “The Girl on The Table” by Isaac Marion – Karen’s transformation from her point of view.
- “Williamson’s Folly” by David J. Schow – “We’re from the government and here to help . . .”
- “You Can Stay All Day” by Mira Grant – One for the animal lovers out there.
- “Pages from A Notebook Found Inside A House in The Woods” by Brian Keene – The undead aren’t the only things that go bump in the night . . .
- “Dead Run” by Chuck Wendig – Am I my brother’s keeper?
- “Lone Gunman” by Jonathan Maberry – A soldier left behind … and under a mass of undead.
- “Live and On the Scene” by Keith R. A. DeCandido – Undead outbreak! Film at Eleven!
- “Deadliner” by Neal and Brendan Shusterman – The show must go on . . .
Now I did listen to the audiobook versus reading it (I had a 7 hour round trip car ride to take a chunk out of it), and a couple of the stories lend themselves well to the audio format, specifically “Orbital Decay” and “Live and On the Scene.” Another treat with the audiobook is having “Dead Man’s Curve” be read by Kasey Lansdale, a musician and author in her own right and Joe R. Lansdale’s daughter.
Whichever format you choose to get of the anthology, just get it! This collection is a must for any fans of the zombie genre, especially if you are a die-hard fan of the universe George A. Romero and John A. Russo created over 50 years ago. You can tell each of the authors that contributed to this have a true love of this world, too.