Here Be Monsters: An Anthology of Monster Tales is an eclectic collection of stories using the classic monster trope, but not in the traditional vampire/ zombie/ werewolf mode. There are a few of the Universal Studios godfathers here, but in general, the collection steers away from the known and tread into the unknown. There have been a number of anthologies in recent years that have deliberately tried to shift horror away from the traditional beasties we all know and fear. I don't know if Here Be Monsters made a specific attempt at it or if it just happened to come together that way, but based on the uneven feel of this one, I'm guessing it was random selection.
There were some interesting stories here, but there was a violent thread throughout the collection that began to unsettle me. I do not care for the brutal horror elements and this anthology kept moving further and further in that direction. The violence toward women was particularly disturbing. Women nailed to tables, doctors strapping girls to tables, choking the "bitch" to death, and more started to bother me a great deal. Some of the stories even seemed written for the sole purpose of the violent action rather than any comprehensible narrative.
I would rather authors try and not quite make it rather than fall back on the cliché tropes, stereotypes, and weak plot devices we have all read elsewhere. This collection goes too far off the proverbial cliff however. In an attempt to be unique, some of the stories became plain old confusing. Combine this with the level of violence and splatter style horror, and it wasn't a collection I enjoyed. For the gore crowd, this might be a treat. For me, it was a turnoff. Weak plots, confusing tales, and excessive violence. Not my style.
Originally published at Horror Novel Reviews