NIGHTMARE HOUR is a collection of 10 short stories perfect for the rising horror buff. In spare style, best-selling author R. L. Stine dishes up each creepy story using a range of myths from witches to killer clowns. Most of the tales have "surprise" endings in the tradition of "The Twilight Zone" or "Night Gallery." Anyone who thinks that this collection marks Stine's transition into the adult horror genre can guess again. Though they may appeal to older horror fans, these uncomplicated stories are decidedly written for and about children.
Accompanying each entry is an appropriately creepy illustration and a brief description of the story's inspiration. The book opens with a story about a head-stealing pumpkin patch just perfect for Halloween. The author includes stories about man-eating aliens ("Alien Candy"), a cunning sorcerer's apprentice ("The Most Evil Sorcerer"), and a man whose loyalty overreaches death ("The Dead Body"). Stine gets brownie points just for writing "Afraid of Clowns," in which a little boy who is, like me, certain that all clowns are killers, strikes a fierce bargain. If Hitchcock had written for fifth-graders, he might have penned "I'm Not Martin," the story of a kid determined not to be amputated.
With its lavish illustrations and clever, direct storytelling and themes that speak to every one of us, NIGHTMARE HOUR is a worthy read for horror fans of any age.
Reviewed by Sofrina Hinton on August 22, 2000
- Publication Date: August 22, 2000
- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins
- ISBN-10: 0064408426
- ISBN-13: 9780064408424