Three Halloween costumed hotties ditch a local Halloween party and head out to a haunted cornfield to engage in a contemporary Halloween tradition: the sharing of horror stories in the dark. With the frame story thus established, Zenescope Entertainment's featured 2012 Halloween Special writers get down to telling their tales of horror, but the horror is more than just a story for the three little hotties in a cornfield.
October is my favorite month of the year and Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas comprise my three favorite holidays. Autumn is the best time of year and I always kick off the Autumn holiday season with a little horror reading of my own. My tastes in horror aren't as similar to many others' though. I like atmosphere, setting, suspense, psychological aspects, and an all around gothic setting (gothic being defined in the literary sense). "Fall of the House of Usher," "Young Goodman Brown," and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" get me more into the Halloween mood than Friday the 13th and Nightmare of Elm Street do. Luckily there is a little of both genres of horror at play in Grimm Fairy Tales' 2012 Halloween Special.
Granted, like most of Zenescope Entertainment's horror titles, this year's Halloween special favors gore over goosebumps, but it does do a pretty good job of creating at least a topically traditional gothic (again in the literary sense) setting. The stories the girls exchange with one another are hit and miss with "Island of the Dolls" by Raven Gregory, "Are You There?" by Patrick Shand, and "Jack the Lantern" by Dirk Manning standing out amongst the rest. "Island of the Dolls" comes closest to the worthwhile psychological horror that is so much more effective than blood and gore and "Jack the Lantern" comes closest to the traditional Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe gothic setting and tale. "Are You There" manages to balance the two pretty effectively, but is no where near the level of the psychologically gory horror that The Walking Dead exudes.
The art here is also a mixed bag. Andrea Errico's work on "Jack the Lantern" is the strongest and the most oppressively atmospheric with it's dark colors and sharp lines. She would do a great job illustrating some of Poe, Hawthorne, or Irving's tales. The rest of the art is good, but none create the sense of "the whole of a dull dark and soundless day" that Errico does.
More than just a cheap capitalization on one of the years most commercial holidays, but not really delivering the deep chills and thrills that more discerning readers might be looking for this time of year, Grimm Fairy Tales' 2012 Halloween Special is a fun, if not incredibly deep, read. Honestly though, that's just what its readers might be looking for anyway.