Electric Funeral is a collection of 15 short horror stories by Mark Slade along with 13 horrifying illustrations be Darwins Mishap. This book is a work of art in itself, each story paints a picture and the art that is included is stunning. This book has mad mimes, corpses in a pool, demons, witches and insane ghosts. Mark Slade is the publisher of the horror magazine Nightmare Illustrated and Electric Funeral is a little like a horror magazine on steroids.
One of my favorite stories in this book was the title piece: Electric Funeral. The story is simple enough, four young adults come across a small theater. Out front is a poster advertising Electric Funeral with the tag line: “Pray To God You Live Through This.” They reluctantly decide to enter and get much more than they bargained for. This story is a good example of how to paint a picture with words. There is a great description of the theater and it almost felt like you were sitting there watching a show.
The master of ceremonies in the Electric Funeral is a demented mime who is described as a 16th century nobleman that looks like a drag queen at a David Bowie concert. The mime is brought to life through Mark Slade’s description making him something you would see in a creepy horror film. There is also a great painting of the mime by Darwins Mishap that I wouldn’t mind hanging on a wall at my house. Since I like stories based in old theaters or amusement parks, I enjoyed this.
There are a few good ghost stories in this book including two that really stood out for me. The first one is The Right Doorway which is about a man who is down on his luck and comes across an old burned down asylum with a ghost attached that needs a favor. This is one of two asylum stories here that creeped me out. The other ghost story I liked was Room By Room, this was one where a couple is haunted by a ghost who they see yelling but can’t communicate with. The story had a surprise ending that was funny and scary.
There are a lot of great story ideas in Electric Funeral but my favorite story was Big Talk – Incantations. This is told from the viewpoint of a lawyer who is use to getting everything he wants, one night he rapes a woman in his office who he thinks wants him and the woman gets even with a little help. I liked how this is told from the lawyer’s viewpoint and he tries to convince the reader that he was doing all the right things. This is the way you would expect a lawyer to act but the cool thing in the story is that you hear the woman’s viewpoint also, she has a different story to tell and she uses the man’s ego to get her revenge.
This book is short at 66 pages but it packs a lot of visual fear into one short volume. This is the kind of book a horror fiction/art collector should have on their book shelf. While I may not have understood all the stories in the book, they all presented some frightening imagery. These are the kind of short stories I would like to read when I need a quick horror fix. The art adds a lot to the book as well and I spent a long time admiring it. The only thing this book was lacking was some scary background music which hopefully they can find a way to add in their next collaboration.