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Legendary genre editor Ellen Datlow brings together eighteen dark and terrifying original stories inspired by cinema and television. A BLUMHOUSE BOOKS HORROR ORIGINAL. From the secret reels of a notoriously cursed cinematic masterpiece to the debauched livestreams of modern movie junkies who will do anything for clicks, Final Cuts brings together new and terrifying stories Legendary genre editor Ellen Datlow brings together eighteen dark and terrifying original stories inspired by cinema and television. A BLUMHOUSE BOOKS HORROR ORIGINAL. From the secret reels of a notoriously cursed cinematic masterpiece to the debauched livestreams of modern movie junkies who will do anything for clicks, Final Cuts brings together new and terrifying stories inspired by the many screens we can't peel our eyes away from. Inspired by the rich golden age of the film and television industries as well as the new media present, this new anthology reveals what evils hide behind the scenes and between the frames of our favorite medium. With original stories from a diverse list of some of the best-known names in horror, Final Cuts will haunt you long after the credits roll. NEW STORIES FROM: Josh Malerman, Chris Golden, Stephen Graham Jones, Garth Nix, Laird Barron, Kelley Armstrong, John Langan, Richard Kadrey, Paul Cornell, Lisa Morton, AC Wise, Dale Bailey, Jeffrey Ford, Cassandra Khaw, Nathan Ballingrud, Gemma Files, Usman T. Malik, and Brian Hodge.


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Legendary genre editor Ellen Datlow brings together eighteen dark and terrifying original stories inspired by cinema and television. A BLUMHOUSE BOOKS HORROR ORIGINAL. From the secret reels of a notoriously cursed cinematic masterpiece to the debauched livestreams of modern movie junkies who will do anything for clicks, Final Cuts brings together new and terrifying stories Legendary genre editor Ellen Datlow brings together eighteen dark and terrifying original stories inspired by cinema and television. A BLUMHOUSE BOOKS HORROR ORIGINAL. From the secret reels of a notoriously cursed cinematic masterpiece to the debauched livestreams of modern movie junkies who will do anything for clicks, Final Cuts brings together new and terrifying stories inspired by the many screens we can't peel our eyes away from. Inspired by the rich golden age of the film and television industries as well as the new media present, this new anthology reveals what evils hide behind the scenes and between the frames of our favorite medium. With original stories from a diverse list of some of the best-known names in horror, Final Cuts will haunt you long after the credits roll. NEW STORIES FROM: Josh Malerman, Chris Golden, Stephen Graham Jones, Garth Nix, Laird Barron, Kelley Armstrong, John Langan, Richard Kadrey, Paul Cornell, Lisa Morton, AC Wise, Dale Bailey, Jeffrey Ford, Cassandra Khaw, Nathan Ballingrud, Gemma Files, Usman T. Malik, and Brian Hodge.

30 review for Final Cuts: New Tales of Hollywood Horror and Other Spectacles

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sadie Hartmann

    FINAL CUTS: NEW TALES OF HOLLYWOOD HORROR AND OTHER SPECTACLES edited by the legendary Ellen Datlow is an anthology that will appeal to a huge audience. I don't know many horror fiction fans who are not also movie buffs. Fans of reading are typically excited about all forms of storytelling and since so many books are also made into films, it's quite enjoyable to get two versions of the same story: First the words; then the pictures. As per usual, when I read an anthology where so many of the stor FINAL CUTS: NEW TALES OF HOLLYWOOD HORROR AND OTHER SPECTACLES edited by the legendary Ellen Datlow is an anthology that will appeal to a huge audience. I don't know many horror fiction fans who are not also movie buffs. Fans of reading are typically excited about all forms of storytelling and since so many books are also made into films, it's quite enjoyable to get two versions of the same story: First the words; then the pictures. As per usual, when I read an anthology where so many of the stories were successful for me, I like to give each tale the attention they deserve. I'll just skip over the ones that I didn't make a connection with or I had trouble relating to-I kept a journal next to me while I read and jotted down some thoughts immediately after the story-this review is just a transcription of those: DRUNK PHYSICS by Kelly Armstrong- My review notes read, "Relevant to today. YouTube-Famous/Never read the comments. Two women experience their YouTube content go viral and they get some insidious comments on their videos that seem to implicate the women in an event from their past. This one was totally realistic and unsettling. SCREAM QUEEN- Nathan Ballingrud- Review notes read, "This reminds me of an aged Megan Fox and what she might tell a journalist about how she was objectified at an early age. How she was cast in roles of little substance and used for her sex appeal/body only. The ending is CRAZY!" SNUFF IN 6 SCENES by Richard Kadrey- "This is probably one of the shorter stories in the collection but one of the most memorable. A modern-day story of an app designed to play match-maker to people who want to murder someone and a person who wants to be murdered. Reminded me of a Black Mirror episode. Plenty of unexpected plot developments." THE ONE WE TELL BAD CHILDREN by Laird Barron- "Barron is becoming one of my favorite storytelling voices right now. It's instantly recognizable. A nihilistic homemade family movie starring Baron Need and Lady Carling. This family from the hinterlands was such an engaging read-I loved the narrator's voice and the interactions between family members. I found the humor dry and hysterical in contrast to the heaviness of the situation; which I loved. Like JoJo Rabbit style wit." LORDS OF THE MATINEE by Stephen Graham Jones- "a man is tasked with entertaining his ailing, deaf Father-in-Law while his wife is preoccupied. He takes him to the movies and experiences a supernatural phenomenon that complicates his relationship with his FIL. This was classic SGJ--presenting readers with realistic, flawed characters forced to deal with unexpected circumstances." A BEN EVANS FILM by Josh Malerman- "A 40ish-year-old man makes an amateur movie starring his dead parents. I loved how the main character was so wholly and completely dedicated to his work on this film. The delusion is presented in such a believable, realistic way- it's impossible not to find yourself aligning yourself with the deranged Ben Evans." THE FACE IS A MASK by Christopher Golden- "A man is searching for a mask that was used in a movie his mother starred in where she played a pregnant sacrifice for some ritualistic cult. The man uncovers some startling truths. This one freaked me out! Great urban-legend-esque tale." CUT FRAME by Gemma Files- "Immersive, 'found footage' tale that is utterly compelling. I love stories told in this epistolary way. MANY MOUTHS TO MAKE A MEAL By Garth Nix "1930s Hollywood with two memorable characters I would love to see more of! Harper and Mrs. Hope were great." ALTERED BEAST, ALTERED ME by John Langan "In classic Langan style, there's a lot going on with this one. Stories within stories. I felt like there was a message being transmitted to the reader that I wasn't quite able to put my finger on but it didn't deter me from enjoying the story." *sidenote: I saw a review on Amazon that gave this collection 1 star because "none of the stories were about Hollywood" and I tilted my head like, "Huh?" Every, single story in here has something to do with the film industry, the culture of movie-going or feature actors/directors as the main characters.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Blair

    What a fantastic theme for a horror anthology! I knew I would have to read this as soon as I heard about it. Horror inspired by film and television is one of my favourite kinds of horror. This theme has spawned some great novels – Experimental Film, The Witnesses Are Gone, The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing, Night Film, to name a few – and I was very excited to see what these 18 authors, many of them new to me, would do with it. The stories I loved most were those that took a subtle approach What a fantastic theme for a horror anthology! I knew I would have to read this as soon as I heard about it. Horror inspired by film and television is one of my favourite kinds of horror. This theme has spawned some great novels – Experimental Film, The Witnesses Are Gone, The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing, Night Film, to name a few – and I was very excited to see what these 18 authors, many of them new to me, would do with it. The stories I loved most were those that took a subtle approach to the theme and/or described their imaginary films vividly. Chief among them is 'Family' by Lisa Morton, a stunningly effective ghost story set in Hong Kong. Dave, a screenwriter, accepts his colleague Fiona's invitation to see a horror movie. The film is Family, a reputedly terrifying debut feature. At the screening, several audience members shout at the screen, burst into tears or even run out of the cinema in terror. Yet Dave and Fiona see nothing frightening in the film at all. The idea is fascinating; I completely understood Dave's obsession and loved following his puzzled investigation. The atmosphere of 'Family' has stayed with me more palpably than anything else from the book. 'Insanity Among Penguins' by Brian Hodge is another story with plenty of satisfying detail. Troy is delighted when Lydia, the owner of his local video shop, tells him she's tracked down a copy of a lost Werner Herzog documentary, Todestriebe. The two of them head off to Vancouver for a private screening, where they learn that the film is about a man rumoured to be a serial killer but never convicted. Troy spends more time talking about his love of Herzog and bootleg videos than he does about the mystery of Todestriebe; this is a horror story almost incidentally, and as with many of my favourite horror stories, that is what makes it so good. In 'Scream Queen' by Nathan Ballingrud, a somewhat embittered would-be director gets the chance to interview a reclusive actress. Now 82 years old, Jennifer Drummond appeared in the cult film Blood Savage in 1970; despite giving an iconic performance in a possession scene, she never acted again. The conversation between Drummond and her interviewer, Alan, is compelling and tense – a drip-feed of information creating an escalating impression of unease. Ballingrud uses an old-fashioned horror device, a break in the story where the characters are separated, to great effect; this scene only increases the tension. Like 'Insanity Among Penguins', 'Scream Queen' is excellent as both a horror story and a character study. 'Das Gesicht' by Dale Bailey is a very good choice of opening story; it's exactly the sort of thing I was hoping for from an anthology like Final Cuts. A young journalist tracks down 88-year-old Heinrich König, a former camera operator. He is persuaded to tell the story of Das Gesicht (The Face), which he made with director Udo Heldt and actress Catrin Amour after the trio came to Hollywood together in the early 1920s. The First World War, König thinks, 'scooped out Udo Heldt's soul', and that darkness seeps into the film, resulting in an infamous single screening. This story is full of dread and dark suggestion, making the climactic image truly haunting. I was looking forward to 'Cut Frame' by Gemma Files; indeed, Files' name in the list of contributors is one of the things that made me want to read the book in the first place. The story takes the form of various documents, including a transcript of an interview, about The Torc, a little-known Canadian horror film starring the supposedly cursed actress Tamar Dusk. As she did in Experimental Film, Files weaves Eastern European folklore into the plot. The idea of a beautiful, cursed woman is a bit of a cliche, but in Files' hands it comes newly alive. In 'Drunk Physics' by Kelley Armstrong, Hannah and Trinity's YouTube series Drunk Girl Physics becomes a hit, and a lucrative sponsorship deal allows them to move into a beautiful (albeit spooky) house. Trinity is 'the hot one' and Hannah the geeky comic relief; nevertheless, she's started to sense that Trinity is jealous of her. Which means that when fans spot a strange 'orb' in their videos, Trinity suspects Hannah is responsible. Is it a case of sabotage, or is there a ghost in the house? I would never have guessed the answer, and I appreciated the more modern approach to the theme in this story. I have a soft spot for 'Night of the Living' by Paul Cornell. A cinema manager reluctantly allows his least favourite employee to screen a 1970s folk horror film, Weyward House, at the weekly 'Gold' slot for elderly customers. While it's rough around the edges and the ending feels rushed, the concept is great and there are lots of pleasing details. 'Lords of the Matinee' by Stephen Graham Jones and 'A Ben Evans Film' by Josh Malerman each take an approach I associate with modern mainstream horror – which is to say both are a bit too grisly to be among my favourites, but I can't deny I was gripped. 'Altered Beast, Altered Me' by John Langan is a well-written and entertaining story in which a horror author buys a movie prop (the 'Dracula Ring') and finds his work increasingly influenced by it. 'Snuff in Six Scenes' by Richard Kadrey is a fun, dark, subversive tale about a woman who volunteers to be killed on film and the man who takes up the offer. 'The Face is a Mask' by Christopher Golden, in which a man tries to buy the mask his actress mother wore in a horror film, I quite liked but found the least memorable. A few of the stories, while enjoyable, have perhaps a little too much going on. 'Exhalation #10' by A.C. Wise is about a snuff film found in a crashed car. Its plotlines include the mystery identity of the woman in the film, a man whose ears are unusually sensitive to sound, and his unrequited love for the detective investigating the case; I enjoyed it, but I think something could've been cut. 'Folie à Deux, or The Ticking Hourglass' by Usman T. Malik, in which the execution of a murderer and child abuser is to be filmed, is hard to follow, though it does contain some strong and effective imagery. Similarly, 'Hungry Girls' by Cassandra Khaw features arresting description, but is a little too fragmented and lyrical for its own good. There were only three I actually didn't like: 'The One We Tell Bad Children' by Laird Barron, 'From the Balcony of the Idawolf Arms' by Jeffrey Ford, and 'Many Mouths to Make a Meal' by Garth Nix. None of them are actually bad, though, just not for me – all fall into the cosmic horror/dark fantasy category and that's never been to my taste. I received an advance review copy of Final Cuts from the publisher through Edelweiss. TinyLetter

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    3.0 Stars This was a diverse anthology of horror stories inspired by film. My favourite stories were: Drunk Physics by Kelley Armstrong… about two girls who get drunk and film themselves discussing physics to post on the internet. However, things get weird when they start getting weird comments and unexplainable images show up in their videos. Night of the Living by Paul Cornell … about a matinee theater showing for senior citizens that goes horribly wrong.

  4. 4 out of 5

    amanda

    Anthologies when done right are amazing and leave you wanting more. They have you researching the authors hungry for more of their work or you seek out more short story collections just like it, not wanting to devour a full book by just one fantastic writer but to stay in that groove of individual chapters. This is one of those books. Ellen Datlow hasn’t let me down yet and when I saw that this was A Blumhouse Books Horror original I was all the way in. This collection is an ode to horror movies Anthologies when done right are amazing and leave you wanting more. They have you researching the authors hungry for more of their work or you seek out more short story collections just like it, not wanting to devour a full book by just one fantastic writer but to stay in that groove of individual chapters. This is one of those books. Ellen Datlow hasn’t let me down yet and when I saw that this was A Blumhouse Books Horror original I was all the way in. This collection is an ode to horror movies from China to Hollywood to the black and white era to live-streams. The stories vary and diversify themselves in all sorts of ways but no matter how you slice and dice it you leave each one feeling a chill, maybe some more than others. There are definitely some stories I had certain favoritism towards. But I also took away some new authors whose writing I took a shine to which is something I always enjoy. What I loved about this anthology is that there isn’t a story that I wanted to skip. Usually there is one or two in every anthology that I just can’t get into but that wasn’t the case with this one. This is a solid work of art and I am happy I had the chance to read it. Thanks very much to Netgalley and the publisher for this copy of ARC. All opinions are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nisar Masoom

    Final Cuts—New Tales of Hollywood Horror and Other Spectacles (2020)—is edited by the renowned Ellen Datlow and I bet there was no better connoisseur who could compile 18 high-quality stories into a single volume in such expert fashion. It has been more than a while since I read and reviewed horror literature. The last work of horror I analyzed on Literary Retreat was Rami Ungar's Rose (2019). The previous horror anthology I reviewed was Garden of Fiends (2017) by Mark Matthews which was also my Final Cuts—New Tales of Hollywood Horror and Other Spectacles (2020)—is edited by the renowned Ellen Datlow and I bet there was no better connoisseur who could compile 18 high-quality stories into a single volume in such expert fashion. It has been more than a while since I read and reviewed horror literature. The last work of horror I analyzed on Literary Retreat was Rami Ungar's Rose (2019). The previous horror anthology I reviewed was Garden of Fiends (2017) by Mark Matthews which was also my very first article on this site. Final Cuts has definitely reignited by passion for the macabre. And I hope you think so too after reading this review. 1. DAS GESICHT by Dale Bailey: After an Introduction which talked about the birth of horror films, it would only be convenient for the opening story, Das GESICHT (The Face), to take place in the golden age of silent cinema. The story follows an old man as he reminisces to a young lady about the memories from shooting a now lost black-and-white picture. The prose is as razor sharp as the knife depicted on the cover of the collection. The tension is ripe. And the pacing is unparalleled. For a foremost tale, it has raised my expectations for the upcoming stories. Let's see if they can top DAS GESICHT's unforeseeable conclusion. Dale Bailey is a writer I have never heard of before but I'm grateful this collection allowed me to get introduced to his work. 2. DRUNK PHYSICS by Kelly Armstrong: This sophomore story which followed the initial yarn can be compared to a movie sequel—most of the times they don't live up to the original. The plot follows two girls making a web series on YouTube only for one of them to believe a ghost shows up in their episodes in the form of an orb. Unfortunately, the tale has clichéd characters and a plot which seems to be borrowed from the movie Unfriended. I appreciated the conclusion though as well as Kelly Armstrong's writing style which reminded me of R.L. Stine's who is best known for his Goosebumps and Fear Streets books. 3. EXHALTATION #10 by A.C. Wise: Damn this story seems to put the letter H in Horror. It's so dark that I thought I was reading another collection for a minute or so. The best aspect is the description which A.C. Wise is a master of. The plot follows a man with supernatural hearing trying to uncover the location of a dead woman by watching/listening to a snuff film. Intertwined with this mystery is the personal drama a man faces when he is love with someone he cannot have. The story reminded me of Joel Schumacher's 8mm (1999) mixed in with Isaac Floretine's Acts of Vengeance (2017), but in a good way. 4. SCREAM QUEEN by Nathan Ballingrud: This short story lives up it to its title. It's the first piece in the collection that actually got me scared out of my wits after a long time. SCREAM QUEEN follows two moviemakers interviewing a Scream Queen about being a one hit wonder and why she retired after that single feature. Not only is the yarn frightening but Nathan Ballingrud did his research when it came to scream queens and directors from the 80s era of Hollywood horror. 5. FAMILY by Lisa Morton: This is a great addition to the compilation primarily because it ditches western society for an eastern one. The plot follows an American screenwriter working in Hong Kong who sees a horror movie titled Family but does not see the ghost which majority of the region's citizens see when they watch it. The story is a bit predictable especially due to its cultural tropes but overall it's a good read. I liked how it ended abruptly, but at the same time, satisfactorily. 6. NIGHT OF THE LIVING by Paul Cornell: This is a difficult one to decipher. Unlike the title, the story has nothing to do with zombies. I think this story would have worked better in long form. Maybe as a miniseries? It has too much experimentation and too less shock value. 7. THE ONE WE TELL BAD CHILDREN by Laird Barron: A beautiful story. The imagery is beyond vivid. It follows one of nine children who thinks his parents might have gotten possessed by demons due to watching/starring in a rare film. I reckon that lovers of fantasy literature would love this tale as the prose is lengthy similar to authors of fantasy such as George R.R. Martin. I'm not a fantasy fan, it's one of my least preferred literary genres, but Laird Barron's solid entry had me at the edge of my seat till the very end. 8. SNUFF IN SIX SCENES by Richard Kadrey: This is exactly what you look for in a story dedicated to Hollywood horror. It plays out more like a screenplay (as a homage to its title) by finishing the tale scene by scene. The ending was a real shocker. I have never read anything by Richard Kadrey before but his writing style reminded me of Matt Shaw's—especially in the case of the latter's work Porn (2014). 9. INSANITY AMONG PENGUINS by Brian Hodge: This story plays out more like a work of existentialism than a product of horror. It follows two movie lovers going to a screening of one of the real-life director Werner Herzog's documentaries which has been rumored to exist for at least a decade. I am aware of Herzog and his frequent collaborator the late Klaus Kinski though I've never watched any of their work. Fans of the latter two might find this story more engrossing but for me it was an example of style over substance with a predictable ending. 10. FROM THE BALCONY OF THE IDAWOLF ARMS by Jeffrey Ford: This story was all over the place. Jeffrey Ford's description was good but there was no depth in the yarn—there just shock value for the sake of shock value. 11. LORDS OF THE MATINEE by Stephen Graham Jones: This story has a nice balance of comedy and dread. I don't wish to outline the plot as it's quite unpredictable and also very original. 12. A BEN EVANS FILM by Josh Malerman: This is the first story whose writer I'm well aware of—Josh Malerman—one of the 21st century's most well-known horror authors—whose work I've seen not read (Bird Box). I'm glad to have finally read him after completing A BEN EVANS FILM. From the get-go, the story is amazingly paced and the lead character is as psychotic as the antagonists of the Bird Box adaptation. I knew how the ending would play out but I was holding my breath towards the last two pages—it's just that heart-stopping. I might check out Malerman's other stories soon which I've been delaying since the foremost time I read about him. The only downside to the plot is the foreseeable conclusion. 13. THE FACE IS A MASK by Christopher Golden: This story has it all, Hollywood history, a cult, two interesting main characters one being a big-time producer and the other a professor. What drags this narrative down is its lack of originality. It has a lot of scares but a lot of predictability as well. 14. FOLIE A DEUX, OR THE TICKING HOURGLASS by Usman T. Malik: Finally a story which is fully immersed with eastern culture rather than western. Lisa Morton's entry in this compilation, FAMILY, also did well to introduce the traditions and folklore of Hong Kong, but it was too intertwined with western themes. FOLIE A DEUX reminded me of Malik's 2015 tale The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn though the former can be properly classified into one genre: horror. I was not surprised that Pakistani Urdu slangs, monuments, Lahori hallmarks (NCA, Jail Road, etc.), and Jinn were part of the package as they have become Malik's literary trademarks. What I did not expect was how multi-layered the story was by including tropes commonly associated with Pakistani society, the murder and rape of young children, film and photography widely viewed as a sin, etc. These themes weren't just in the story for the sake of diversity, but actually contributed to the plot as a whole. Malik's prose and ability to use traditional terms such as chador, waderah, etc., instead of English-language replacements, and his ability to mix magic and cultural reality as well as exhibit national identity in his works, reminded me of the short-story collection Bitter Fruit by Saadat Hasan Manto (incomparably translated into English by the late Khalid Hasan), and of Khushwant Singh's literature. The gory parts in this story shocked me because 1. They were unexpected and 2. They were extremely well described—like something right out of Clive Barker's Books of Blood. The only flaw I could say I found in this story was that Urdu-speaking readers would relate better to the overall narrative. But reading the tale after more than halfway through Final Cuts will feel like a breath of fresh air to most. 15. HUNGRY GIRLS by Cassandra Khaw: This story felt like one of the horror films that sparks brilliantly at the start but sizzles towards the end. Khaw's writing style is impeccable and her narrative has potential yet the execution was mediocre. 16. CUT FRAME by Gemma Files: Like another author in this collection, Josh Malerman, I've heard of Gemma Files but never read her work, until now. This story is refreshing as it was mostly narrated in the form of audio transcripts and notes. I have never read a tale in this format before. It suited the theme of the overall collection. The comprehensive plot, though, seemed to be a mixture of SCREAM QUEEN and THE FACE IS A MASK—two previous stories present in this compilation. I loved the writing style and the characters but the stereotypical storyline didn't exceed my expectations. 17. MANY MOUTHS TO MAKE A MEAL by Garth Nix: I thought the editor Ellen Datlow would save the best for last (though I'm yet to read the final entry at this point) but it seems the second-last story will be hard to top by the next one. It's fast-paced. Garth Nix's writing style reminded me of Raymond Chandler's and even his noire narrative was set during the pre-WW2 era. I loved the characters especially the main one, The Fixer. I don't want to reveal more of the plot as I figure a story such as this requires a short synopsis. 18. ALTERED BEAST, ALTERED ME by John Langan: John Langan is another writer I've heard about a lot about but never read until now. This story was very multi-formatted in the sense that it comprised of a bit of the stylization of Gemma Files' tale CUT FRAME but with email exchanges instead of audio transcripts. The description was extremely vivid and enough for me to glance at my immediate surroundings more than a couple of times similar to the actions taken by one of the characters of the yarn. What made this story better than CUT FRAME was that it's way scarier and also extremely well-researched. If you're a fan not only of Bram Stoker's Dracula but cinematic adaptations of the classic vampire then you're in for a treat. I also found myself eagerly devouring such important info though how much was real and how much was fictional is yet to be deciphered by me. The plot follows a best-selling suspense novelist discussing the first draft of his next work with another writer and/or editor over an email conversation. The center of the conversation is Dracula's Ring said to be worn by all the famous actors who portrayed the count from Lugosi to Lee (again I'm not sure if the Ring is actual or a product of the imagination). Still, its importance as a centerpiece of the story should not be overlooked as the outcome of the tale is largely connected to it. The most horrific bits are depicted in the draft the author is sharing with the other author. There's not just blood and guts. There's something Clive Barker-like about the hardcore imagery that will most probably leave every reader with nightmares even the long after finishing the yarn. The two flaws I found in this tale are: 1. It took a long time to get used to reading it. The many formats including the story within the story technique was a bit underwhelming during the first few pages, but after you've gotten halfway through it, it becomes engrossing. So, the first half of the story didn't pique my interest on my foremost reading. 2. It was too long for the closing tale. The preceding tale, MANY MOUTHS TO MAKE A MEAL, was better in the sense that it came towards the end of the compilation, and so its length and pacing was better suited to be a finisher for an already 18-story massive collection. All in all, ALTERED BEAST, ALTERED ME is one of the most original tales in Final Cuts, especially because it will be remain etched in readers' brains for an extended length of time. It's quite long maybe novella length but you'll find its length to be justifiable once you finish it. I wouldn't mind this story being extended towards novel form—it's simply amazing and probably one of the best horror stories I've encountered in my almost three years of reviewing fiction on this site. So there you have it! Final Cuts might satisfy lovers of horror films more than non-aficionados but it is still a solid collection. This compilation arranged expertly by Ellen Datlow proves that there's no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to editing an anthology. The diversity of tales present inside—whether this flexibility comes in the form of plotline, story structure or word count—makes Final Cuts one of the varied collections I have ever read. Individual Ratings: DAS GESICHT: 5 out of 5 DRUNK PHYSICS: 3 out of 5. EXHALTATION #10: 4 out of 5. SCREAM QUEEN: 4.5 out of 5. FAMILY: 3.5 out of 5. NIGHT OF THE LIVING: 2 out of 5. THE ONE WE TELL BAD CHILDREN: 4 out of 5. SNUFF IN SIX SCENES: 5 out of 5. INSANITY AMONG PENGUINS: 3 out of 5. FROM THE BALCONY OF THE IDAWOLF ARMS: 2 out of 5. LORDS OF THE MATINEE: 4.5 out of 5. A BEN EVANS FILM: 4.5 out of 5. THE FACE IS A MASK: 3.5 out of 5. FOLIE A DEUX, OR THE TICKING HOURGLASS: 4.5 out of 5. HUNGRY GIRLS: 3 out of 5. CUT FRAME: 4 out of 5. MANY MOUTHS TO MAKE A MEAL: 5 out of 5. ALTERED BEAST, ALTERED ME: 4 out of 5. Aggregate Score:3.8 out of 5. Read a copy of my review here: https://www.literaryretreat.com/final...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Robin Bonne

    Ellen Datlow is notorious for putting together great anthologies and a great anthology is exactly what this is. In my opinion, the best stories in this collection were Exhalation #10 by AC Wise, Scream Queen by Nathan Ballingrud, The One We Tell Bad Children by Laird Barren, Lords of the Matinee by Stephen Graham Jones, Hungry Girls by Cassandra Khaw, and Cut Frame by Gemma Files. All the stories in this anthology kept me entertained, so I’d recommend it. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher fo Ellen Datlow is notorious for putting together great anthologies and a great anthology is exactly what this is. In my opinion, the best stories in this collection were Exhalation #10 by AC Wise, Scream Queen by Nathan Ballingrud, The One We Tell Bad Children by Laird Barren, Lords of the Matinee by Stephen Graham Jones, Hungry Girls by Cassandra Khaw, and Cut Frame by Gemma Files. All the stories in this anthology kept me entertained, so I’d recommend it. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an unbiased review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Ellen Datlow's anthologies tend to be among the better ones. This one started off with a bang and seemed like it would be a truly great one. But like many anthologies, you get some good tales, hopefully at least a couple great ones, some average and some mediocre ones. Fortunately, the weaker stories here are few, with the majority being at least decent to quite excellent. There were two in the latter third of the book that I just couldn't get into, so I didn't bother trying to finish as was the Ellen Datlow's anthologies tend to be among the better ones. This one started off with a bang and seemed like it would be a truly great one. But like many anthologies, you get some good tales, hopefully at least a couple great ones, some average and some mediocre ones. Fortunately, the weaker stories here are few, with the majority being at least decent to quite excellent. There were two in the latter third of the book that I just couldn't get into, so I didn't bother trying to finish as was the case with Laird Barron's. I just am not a fan of his work, and find his stories to be so head-scratchingly confusing, I can't be bothered anymore. Gemma Files' was another one that played out pretty much as I expected. Interesting concept and format, but so many unnecessary details and commentary just slathered on, ultimately leading to an unsatisfactory ending. On the bright side, the early entries in the book like: Drunk Physics by Kelley Armstrong had several gut punching twists; Scream Queen by Nathan Ballingrud presented a trademark story of his, dark and twisted and grimy; Many Mouths to Make a Meal by Garth Nix was a nice throwback story with a uniqueness to it; Josh Malerman's A Ben Evans Film was another creepy, well-written entry, and the best was saved for last with John Langan again adeptly utilizing the "stroy-within-a-story" method he's successfully used before. Overall, there's more than enough good material here to outweigh the 4-5 lesser stories.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of Final Cuts. I love horror movies, pretty much anything scary, so when I read the premise for Final Cuts, I had to request it. Final Cuts is a collection of short stories where the basic plot revolves around movies, theater or moviemaking. Short story collections are like a box of chocolates; I usually end up getting one with coconut. I don't like coconut. But, I was pleased with the majority of the stories. For the most part, they were all enjoyable, Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of Final Cuts. I love horror movies, pretty much anything scary, so when I read the premise for Final Cuts, I had to request it. Final Cuts is a collection of short stories where the basic plot revolves around movies, theater or moviemaking. Short story collections are like a box of chocolates; I usually end up getting one with coconut. I don't like coconut. But, I was pleased with the majority of the stories. For the most part, they were all enjoyable, creepy, bloody, gory, and suspenseful. There were a handful of stories I wished were longer, like the one by Kelley Armstrong. I wanted more! I was glad there were a few more female writers than usually appear in collections, though a couple more wouldn't hurt.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cassie-la

    I was super excited to receive an advanced galley of Ellen Datlow's Final Cuts, which is a collection of short horror stories centered around one singular topic: movies. From real life films to fictional ones, home movies, snuff films, and big budget premieres, Datlow's latest anthology has a couple of shining gems, a few clunkers, and a whole lot of middle of the road offerings ... only several of which were actually scary. I was super excited to receive an advanced galley of Ellen Datlow's Final Cuts, which is a collection of short horror stories centered around one singular topic: movies. From real life films to fictional ones, home movies, snuff films, and big budget premieres, Datlow's latest anthology has a couple of shining gems, a few clunkers, and a whole lot of middle of the road offerings ... only several of which were actually scary.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Diane Hernandez

    Final Cuts is an anthology of eighteen “all new dark and strange fiction inspired by cinema and television.” As with all anthologies, the stories vary in skill-level. However, these tales also swing wildly in genre. All have horror settings or themes. But some are also thrillers, fantasy, and romances. My two favorites are like tiny perfectly crafted novels in compact form. “Drunk Physics” is the tale of a YouTube channel haunted by an hazy image who also posts comments on their YouTube page. Is i Final Cuts is an anthology of eighteen “all new dark and strange fiction inspired by cinema and television.” As with all anthologies, the stories vary in skill-level. However, these tales also swing wildly in genre. All have horror settings or themes. But some are also thrillers, fantasy, and romances. My two favorites are like tiny perfectly crafted novels in compact form. “Drunk Physics” is the tale of a YouTube channel haunted by an hazy image who also posts comments on their YouTube page. Is it a ghost, a hacker, or one of the two female vloggers? “Altered Beast, Altered Me” is the longest story in the collection making up 17% of the book. It’s an epistolary tale of how the auctioned treasures of a defunct vampire museum may be more than just movie props. These two stories are my personal favorites. However, there is something for everyone within Final Cuts. It is highly recommended and a favorite. 5 stars! Thanks to Anchor, Knopf and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kari

    Final Cuts is a new anthology with fresh stories from some great writers. There is something for everyone in here. Anthologies are always about middle of the road for me. I never like all of the stories, but can usually find a few that stick with me. The stories all revolve around films, movies and videos. Of the set, one my favorite ones was Drunk Physics by Kelley Armstrong. I also enjoyed From the Balcony of the Idawolf Arms by Jeffery Ford. As well as Lords of the Matinee by Stephen Graham Jo Final Cuts is a new anthology with fresh stories from some great writers. There is something for everyone in here. Anthologies are always about middle of the road for me. I never like all of the stories, but can usually find a few that stick with me. The stories all revolve around films, movies and videos. Of the set, one my favorite ones was Drunk Physics by Kelley Armstrong. I also enjoyed From the Balcony of the Idawolf Arms by Jeffery Ford. As well as Lords of the Matinee by Stephen Graham Jones. There were a couple that I didn't get what was going on, like The One We Tell the Bad Children by Laird Barron and Das Gesicht by Dale Bailey. I can also say that the one by Josh Malerman, A Ben Evans Film, confirmed for me that Bird Box is probably going to be the only book I will ever enjoy by him. If you like horror anthologies, give this one a try. There is a wide variety of horror to be found in here.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Rood

    The stories were just ok.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Becky Spratford

    Review Appears in my April 2020 Library Journal column and on the blog: https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detai... Three Words That Describe This Book: inclusive, full range of horror, shared frame Draft Review: Datlow returns with yet another excellent compilation of today’s best horror practitioners representing the full range of diversity within the genre, asking eighteen authors for brand new tales of terror framed by a connection to visual media. Library shelf mainstays like Kelley Armstrong, Jo Review Appears in my April 2020 Library Journal column and on the blog: https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detai... Three Words That Describe This Book: inclusive, full range of horror, shared frame Draft Review: Datlow returns with yet another excellent compilation of today’s best horror practitioners representing the full range of diversity within the genre, asking eighteen authors for brand new tales of terror framed by a connection to visual media. Library shelf mainstays like Kelley Armstrong, Josh Malerman and Richard Kadrey collide with promising newcomers like Cassandra Khaw and A.C. Wise, each taking their turn delving into the darkness hiding just below the surface of the frights we all love to watch. For example, Usman T. Malik explores our obsession with reality TV, presenting a serial killer who wants his execution live streamed, while Gemma Files uses interview transcripts and emails to tell the horrifying “true” story behind a cult horror actress, and ending with a novella by John Langan that begins as an innocent email conversation between two writers and their possible collaboration on a vampire tale that slowly, and satisfyingly, unravels as something far more sinister. Verdict: With its unique frame and stories of varying appeal, this anthology will be enticing to those who enjoy the genre in a variety of formats. Also, be prepared for readers to request more tales by the authors they encounter in this anthology.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shikhar

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Ellen Datlow’s recent anthology, Final Cuts: New Tales of Hollywood Horror and Other Spectacles, is a solid, wall-to-wall extravaganza surrounding film and tangentially related media such as television, documentaries, police video, and yes, shadow puppets. I’m only going to highlight my favorite stories, but it’s a matter of personal taste: every story in the anthology was engaging and well-executed. I highly recommend picking up Final Cuts. Not all anthologies are this reliably entertaining fro Ellen Datlow’s recent anthology, Final Cuts: New Tales of Hollywood Horror and Other Spectacles, is a solid, wall-to-wall extravaganza surrounding film and tangentially related media such as television, documentaries, police video, and yes, shadow puppets. I’m only going to highlight my favorite stories, but it’s a matter of personal taste: every story in the anthology was engaging and well-executed. I highly recommend picking up Final Cuts. Not all anthologies are this reliably entertaining from cover-to-cover. I’ll begin with this very strong first story. “Das Gesicht” by Dale Bailey is an atmospheric tale filled with dread, about a long lost film so blasphemous that the viewers screamed, fainted and in some cases, lost their sanity. The title’s literal translation is “The Face.” A.C. Wise’s “Exhalation #10” centers around a videotape that captures a woman’s final dying moments, particularly her final breaths. Believed to be the work of a serial killer, Henry is tasked with listening to the sound track because of his unique talent: he can hear what the authorities can not. Wise expertly leads the unwitting reader from dark revelation to even darker ones. In “Scream Queen” by Nathan Ballingrud, Alan interviews former B-movie actress Jennifer Drummond, who only made one movie but captured the hearts (and groins) of countless boys and young men. Jennifer starts out almost angelically polite, then changes to something darker. The revelations in this tale place it among the scariest stories in the anthology. Ballingrud’s southern voice, a hallmark of his work, takes us to a place beyond damned in this eerie and disturbing tale. “Night of the Living” by Paul Cornell is an interesting variation on classic zombie films. Laird Barron’s “The One We Tell Bad Children” is a historical horror in which parents leave their children alone in a cabin, deep in the untamed woodland of 18th century America, to face forces beyond comprehension. The eldest, nominally in charge, plays a silent film called “Ardor of the Damned.” As the children watch, numbed with horror, so the film also watches them, setting in motion all the terror that follows. It’s also interesting that the story takes place in an alternate version of America. “Snuff in Six Scenes” by Richard Kadrey is very short. Read it; it packs one hell of a punch! Definitely my favorite story in the anthology, Brian Hodge’s “Insanity Among Penguins,” is ostensibly about a rumored documentary by Werner Herzog (look him up, he’s interesting) called Todestriebe; most or all copies of the film have been destroyed, but there are rumors. Our protagonist happens to be obsessed with Todestriebe; it’s his ‘white whale.’ Having given up the search, assuming the rumors are BS, he is granted an opportunity to see the film by his video store owner. Read it! It’s a truly remarkable piece of fiction. “Lords of the Matinee” by Stephen Graham Jones is a wonderfully funny romp...that segues into darker territories when you least expect it. “Folie À Deux, or The Ticking Hourglass” is a truly international story by Pakistani writer Usman T. Malik. Two TV documentarians are dispatched to record a serial child murderer’s gruesome execution. Then things get weird. Thoroughly enjoyable but difficult to sum up in a few sentences. “Cut Frame” by Gemma Files is constructed entirely from emails, book quotes, and a transcript of an interview, to explain the mysterious 50s B-movie actress Tamar Dusk and what happened I her. A dentist, of all people (one of a particular film’s financiers) tells everything he knows to a Toronto-based parapsychologist about Tamar and the filming of a movie called The Torc. Files is adept with this modern version of an epistolary tale. The last fifth of Final Cuts is my second favorite of the tales contained therein, John Langan’s “Altered Beast, Altered Me.” A mid-list horror novelist acquires Dracula’s ring, worn by several actors when they inhabited the role — but it seems to be of far older lineage. A long story that ended far too soon. So kudos to Ellen Datlow on another successful and nearly perfect anthology.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I enjoy anthologies, I have found new favorite authors this way and it's fun to read stories with a basic theme connecting them once in a while. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized how much Ellen Datlow had to do with the anthologies and collections that I loved. Now if I see her name I know to grab it; there will be something I love between the covers. Final Cuts gives us horror tied to film, television, streaming video, basically anything caught on tape for your viewing pleasure in 1 I enjoy anthologies, I have found new favorite authors this way and it's fun to read stories with a basic theme connecting them once in a while. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized how much Ellen Datlow had to do with the anthologies and collections that I loved. Now if I see her name I know to grab it; there will be something I love between the covers. Final Cuts gives us horror tied to film, television, streaming video, basically anything caught on tape for your viewing pleasure in 18 stories of solid fiction. You can't be expected to love everything in an anthology; sometimes you may only find one that makes it worth it. All the stories in this were interesting, ranging from good to amazing, which is rare, and just shows the talent that has been growing in horror, and I think Datlow's ability to curate the right authors/stories for the right collection/anthology. Some of my favorites (trying not to spoil them): - Scream Queen by Nathan Ballingrud: This take on the trope is unique and empowering, and as with so much of his writing, he makes horror this moving, beautiful, thing to read. I love his writing -Insanity Among Penguins by Brian Hodge: If you ever wandered through the shelves of Blockbuster looking for the Faces of Death, you will get where this story is going. The whole last half was crazy. -Lords of the Matinee by Stephen Graham Jones: Another writer that just has a great style, you'll be reading along not realizing some messed up stuff is about to happen, this story a perfect example. -The Face Is A Mask by Christopher Golden: I loved this, the imagery he was able to give the reader added to an already creepy story. -Cut Frame by Gemma Files: This was mournful to me, a fight against your nature type of horror done so well. -Altered Beast, Altered Me by John Langan: Told by email exchanges between author friends, this tagged several movies, books and historical figures while picking through the vampire mythos. I thought it was amazingly written. In short this is worth a read, I enjoyed it immensely. Thank you to Blumhouse/Anchor Books for this ARC in return for my honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Whitlock

    First off, love the idea behind this anthology and would love to see it done as a TV series. How cool/fitting would that be? Now for the story reviews-- DAS GESICHT-Dale Bailey. 5/5 stars. What a great way to start this anthology. Gruesome, horrifying, tale masterfully told by the teller. Loved this story. DRUNK PHYSICS-Kelly Armstrong. 4/5 stars. This is my 2nd short from this author. I ADORED her story in the Ten-Word Tragedies anthology edited by Christopher Golden. She can WRITE! I love her pr First off, love the idea behind this anthology and would love to see it done as a TV series. How cool/fitting would that be? Now for the story reviews-- DAS GESICHT-Dale Bailey. 5/5 stars. What a great way to start this anthology. Gruesome, horrifying, tale masterfully told by the teller. Loved this story. DRUNK PHYSICS-Kelly Armstrong. 4/5 stars. This is my 2nd short from this author. I ADORED her story in the Ten-Word Tragedies anthology edited by Christopher Golden. She can WRITE! I love her prose and this story will keep you interested and glued to the page. I didn't care for the ending, only reason it lost a star. EXHALATION #10-A.C. Wise. 1/5 stars. Too much going on in this one and I couldn't stay interested. SCREAM QUEEN-Nathan Balingrud. 5/5 stars. Maybe Balingrud's best story yet. And that's saying a hell of a lot, anyone who's read NORTH AMERICAN LAKE MONSTERS will tell you. So good! FAMILY-Lisa Morton. 3/5 stars NIGHT OF THE LIVING-Paul Cornell. 2/5 stars THE ONE WE TELL BAD CHILDREN-Laird Barron. 3/5 stars. A slow start but I enjoyed the ending to this one. SNUFF IN SIX SCENES-Richard Kadrey. 4/5 stars. Uniquely written and I really liked it. Short and sweet too. INSANITY AMONG PENGUINS-Brian Hodge. 5/5 stars. Holy cow, this story is my jam. My goodness, a story as dark and creepy as can be. Should be in other BEST OF horror anthos as well. Fright fangs and all horror readers NEED to read this story and be freaked out!! FROM THE BALCONY OF THE IDAWOLF ARMS-Jeffrey Ford. 3/5 stars. This was a good story that I found to be a little bit creepy. I would have liked to see a little bit more happen in this, or have a bit more explained. LORDS OF THE MATINEE-Stephen Graham Jones. 5/5 stars. There's no one better at ripping your heart straight outta your chest than SGJ and he's at his best here. A must-read story only he could think up. A BEN EVANS FILM-Josh Malerman. 5/5 stars. It seems like Malerman maybe stuck a deal with the Devil or one of his demons once upon a time, because everything he writes is original horror at it's finest. This story was even a cut above some of his other shorts and I loved it. There actually is A BEN EVANS FILM short film out there, and I cannot wait until it's released. Until then, this story does an excellent job holding you over. THE FACE IS A MASK-Christopher Golden. 2/5 stars. After the previous 2 gut punches, this one felt kind of flat to me. FOLIE A DEUX, OR THE TICKING HOURGLASS-Usman Malik. 1/5 stars. HUNGRY GIRLS-Cassandra Khaw. 1/5 stars. CUT FRAME-Gemma Files. 5/5 stars. Wow. This should be included in all the BEST OF horror Anthos and awards later this year. Excellent story. Many MOUTHS MAKE A MEAL-Garth Nix. 3/5 stars. Really enjoyed the horror elements of this story. Didn't enjoy the noir elements as much, but other readers may. ALTERED ME, ALTERED BEAST-John Langan. 4/5 stars. Well written. This was more a novella than short story but it was interesting throughout. All in all, this antho is well worth your money for the time spent on it. Some real gems in this collection that make it a must-read for fans of horror stories.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maura

    Personally, I think the ratio of good to “meh” stories in this collection was much better than your average anthology but there’s one big caveat, and I think it’s the reason for a lot of the bad reviews here; the title is misleading because hardly any of the stories have much to do with Hollywood at all. With that subtitle, I was ready for some stories infused with Hollywood gossip and glamor and the collection starts off on the right foot with a nice atmospheric piece about a lost silent film. B Personally, I think the ratio of good to “meh” stories in this collection was much better than your average anthology but there’s one big caveat, and I think it’s the reason for a lot of the bad reviews here; the title is misleading because hardly any of the stories have much to do with Hollywood at all. With that subtitle, I was ready for some stories infused with Hollywood gossip and glamor and the collection starts off on the right foot with a nice atmospheric piece about a lost silent film. But then the collection flees Hollywood and hardly steps foot near it until again until well past the half way mark. The rest of the stories deal with YouTube shows, grindhouse movies, Korean cinema, Chinese Cinema, Canadian Cinema, rundown movie theaters and VHS stores clinging to life, a couple snuff films, documentary film crews and… outsider film makers, a magic lantern show in a Lovecraftian-meets-weird-west alternate universe, and some old movie memorabilia. Lots of stories related to the idea of movie/media but hardly anything having anything at all to do with Hollywood. I wonder how this kind of thing happens? Did all of writers say to themselves “Aha, I will make sure my story stands out from the others by having as little to do with the theme as I can get away with!” Or did the editor start with a much vaguer idea about cursed media and a marketing person said that putting “Hollywood” in the title would sell more copies (and disappoint a lot of people)? Either way, once I got over my initial disappointment, I did like a lot of the stories and you might too, as long as you go in with the understanding that the unifying theme here is more of a cursed media/found footage kind of thing (more like the movies in the “VHS” series) and don’t expect any stories about Marylin Monroe’s ghost haunting the Roosevelt Hotel, or anything like that. These are the ones I liked best: Das Gesicht Scream Queen Family Insanity Among Penguins Altered Beast, Altered Me

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kylie Summers

    Ellen Datlow is undoubtedly the queen of horror anthologies. I’ve read almost all of the anthologies edited by her. Her latest anthology is about the horrors of television, the silver screen and related media. She has rounded up some of horror’s greatest talents for this anthology’s 18 tales of terror, which are inspired by creepy movies, web series, grind-house flicks, and even snuff films. Although I liked every story in this collection, some were obviously better than others. However, that’s Ellen Datlow is undoubtedly the queen of horror anthologies. I’ve read almost all of the anthologies edited by her. Her latest anthology is about the horrors of television, the silver screen and related media. She has rounded up some of horror’s greatest talents for this anthology’s 18 tales of terror, which are inspired by creepy movies, web series, grind-house flicks, and even snuff films. Although I liked every story in this collection, some were obviously better than others. However, that’s expected in every anthology and differs according to the reader’s interest. I’ll pen down my thoughts on some of the stories that stood out for me. I loved Nathan Ballingrud’s “Scream Queen” and Gemma Files’ “Cut Frame.” They’re both tales of Hollywood actresses, whose reel life creeps into their real life off-camera. Kelley Armstrong’s Drunk Physics is a contemporary ghost story, that uses the devices of the Youtube era to weave a spooky tale. Some great twists in the story make it a memorable one. Night of the Living' by Paul Cornell is another story I found really enjoyable. An employee at a cinema plays a 70’s horror movie for old folks. The story line is interesting and makes a unique, eerie tale. If you love watching horror movies and tv series, you’ll enjoy this anthology. Ellen Datlow has another hit on her hands, with this great collection of stories. I would recommend it for fans of all types of horror. Thank you to the editor, the publisher, the authors, and NetGalley for providing me with an advance reader’s copy, for an honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Leanne

    Very fun horror anthology that exceeded my expectations -- I almost didn't pick it up because the cover was too silly. Most of the stories are quite dark and thoughtful. My favourites were: Altered Beast, Altered Me by John Langan - A fascinating and creepy Dracula novella with stories-in-stories and wonderful research into the history of vampire cinema and literature, blurring the real and the invented. Drunk Physics by Kelley Armstrong - Super fun, short tale that stood out with fun female chara Very fun horror anthology that exceeded my expectations -- I almost didn't pick it up because the cover was too silly. Most of the stories are quite dark and thoughtful. My favourites were: Altered Beast, Altered Me by John Langan - A fascinating and creepy Dracula novella with stories-in-stories and wonderful research into the history of vampire cinema and literature, blurring the real and the invented. Drunk Physics by Kelley Armstrong - Super fun, short tale that stood out with fun female characters (sadly rare in this anthology), a sense of humour, and a modern take on film including a potentially haunted YouTube series. Many Mouths to Make a Meal by Garth Nix - Creepy and unique film noire monster story, this one really surprised me. Insanity Among Penguins by Brian Hodge - The story of a missing Werner Herzog film and the cinema nerds who may have found it; it's wonderfully bleak. I also quite enjoyed the stories by Josh Malerman, Jeffrey Ford, Dale Bailey, and A.C. Wise. Just a great collection all around, with only one story I genuinely disliked and a couple that were flawed but still interesting.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jared Goetz

    Wow. This is a fantastic collection. I wasn't sure about the idea of a collection based on the idea of film, but having just completed Experimental Film it seemed like an obvious choice. Even if you weren't that interested in the uniting premise, this is a fantastic collection of horror stories. I had a few favorites. I really liked Drunk Physics by Kelley Armstrong, Scream Queen by Nathan Balingrud and Altered Beast, Altered Me, by John Langan. The last is hard to resist personally, because it's Wow. This is a fantastic collection. I wasn't sure about the idea of a collection based on the idea of film, but having just completed Experimental Film it seemed like an obvious choice. Even if you weren't that interested in the uniting premise, this is a fantastic collection of horror stories. I had a few favorites. I really liked Drunk Physics by Kelley Armstrong, Scream Queen by Nathan Balingrud and Altered Beast, Altered Me, by John Langan. The last is hard to resist personally, because it's one of my favorite authors, in an incredibly engrossing way, telling the story of another of my favorite authors turning into a vampire, set around where I grew up. Even aside from that, it had the most pull of any of the longer stories in the book. That said, I suspect my favorites just represent my own preferences because I would be hard pressed to describe any of the stories in the book as other than fantastic.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    * I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* I was very excited to receive a copy of Ellen Datlow's Final Cuts, a collection of short stories that revolve around the film industry. As a big fan of horror movies and really anything scary, I was very excited to get the chance to read this. As with most collections like this, some stories are great... and some stories are okay, with a lot of stories falling in the middle. I really enjoyed the range of how the stories were to * I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* I was very excited to receive a copy of Ellen Datlow's Final Cuts, a collection of short stories that revolve around the film industry. As a big fan of horror movies and really anything scary, I was very excited to get the chance to read this. As with most collections like this, some stories are great... and some stories are okay, with a lot of stories falling in the middle. I really enjoyed the range of how the stories were told, everything from the first-person narrative to email and interview transcripts. The stories that really stood out for me were Drunk Physics by Kelley Armstrong (this really made me want to read more of her work), Scream Queen by Nathan Ballingrud, and Cut Frame by Gemma Files. I highly recommend this book if you like to be scared or are interested in the film industry.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    A good, if not groundbreaking, themed anthology of horror stories about movies and moviemaking. Excellent collection of authors, but stories don't have too many highs and lows. Like many themed anthologies, stories hit the same ideas over and over again; the majority of the stories end up hitting the cursed/lost film theme. But some of the stories really do bring out unique ideas or hit on very specific aspects of film history. Stories about a studio fixer in the 1930s, the Canadian horror movie A good, if not groundbreaking, themed anthology of horror stories about movies and moviemaking. Excellent collection of authors, but stories don't have too many highs and lows. Like many themed anthologies, stories hit the same ideas over and over again; the majority of the stories end up hitting the cursed/lost film theme. But some of the stories really do bring out unique ideas or hit on very specific aspects of film history. Stories about a studio fixer in the 1930s, the Canadian horror movie boom of the 1970s, and a lost Werner Herzog documentary stand out for bringing something unique to the table. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an unbiased review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alison C

    Ellen Datlow has been editing dark fantasy and horror anthologies for decades, and she definitely knows how to do it. This anthology of all-original stories is no exception; there’s something for everyone here, really. Sometimes the concept of “Hollywood” or horror stories involving film is somewhat stretched, as in the last and longest story in the book (and the one that terrified me the most), “Altered Beast, Altered Me” by John Langan; other stories such as Josh Malerman’s “A Ben Evans Film” Ellen Datlow has been editing dark fantasy and horror anthologies for decades, and she definitely knows how to do it. This anthology of all-original stories is no exception; there’s something for everyone here, really. Sometimes the concept of “Hollywood” or horror stories involving film is somewhat stretched, as in the last and longest story in the book (and the one that terrified me the most), “Altered Beast, Altered Me” by John Langan; other stories such as Josh Malerman’s “A Ben Evans Film” are a bit more traditional. As ever with such anthologies, each reader will have his or her favourites; the two mentioned above were mine, but there is a lot of variety in the stories and fans of horror will be amply rewarded. Recommended!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Erin Al-Mehairi

    More review to come, but initial thoughts: I gave this 4 stars as some stories were an average 3 and some were extremely well-written 5s. Overall, it was an above average selection of stories of all various types though they all had some cinema tie. There are some of the best of the male horror writers included here, and I enjoyed them as they are some of my faves, but I did think that it would have made me happy to see more women - and the ones writing in this collected really made this antholo More review to come, but initial thoughts: I gave this 4 stars as some stories were an average 3 and some were extremely well-written 5s. Overall, it was an above average selection of stories of all various types though they all had some cinema tie. There are some of the best of the male horror writers included here, and I enjoyed them as they are some of my faves, but I did think that it would have made me happy to see more women - and the ones writing in this collected really made this anthology shine. I’d also call for more diversity as well. But as presented, it was a very enjoyable, strong read. I read a few stories a night or a week between some other reads, which I think helped break up the theme being a constant and give me something to look forward to with it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    3.5/5 stars a good anthology of horror stories related to film, some of which were really creepy and unnerving. here's a list of the stories that really stood out to me: drunk physics by kelley armstrong exhalation #10 by ac wise scream queen by nathan ballingrud snuff in six scenes by richard kadrey lords of the matinee by stephen graham jones a ben evans film by josh malerman cut frame by gemma files many mouths to make a meal by garth nix garth nix's story was more of fantasy thriller, but which i'd re 3.5/5 stars a good anthology of horror stories related to film, some of which were really creepy and unnerving. here's a list of the stories that really stood out to me: drunk physics by kelley armstrong exhalation #10 by ac wise scream queen by nathan ballingrud snuff in six scenes by richard kadrey lords of the matinee by stephen graham jones a ben evans film by josh malerman cut frame by gemma files many mouths to make a meal by garth nix garth nix's story was more of fantasy thriller, but which i'd really love to see expanded into a one-off novel or series because of its lore and characters. some of the stories though were either bland, confusing, or just really slow. all in all would love to read more stories like these!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hayden

    Hard to go wrong with anything Ellen Datlow curates, and Final Cuts... is no exception. Some of the best writers from the horror / weird fiction fields (Laird Barron, Stephen Graham Jones, John Langan, etc.), presenting stories that share some connection to Hollywood and / or film. There are no disappointments among the stories, but (as with most anthologies) some are less satisfying than others. Brian Hodges' "Insanity Among Penguins" and Gemma Files' "Cut Frame" were two of my personal favorite Hard to go wrong with anything Ellen Datlow curates, and Final Cuts... is no exception. Some of the best writers from the horror / weird fiction fields (Laird Barron, Stephen Graham Jones, John Langan, etc.), presenting stories that share some connection to Hollywood and / or film. There are no disappointments among the stories, but (as with most anthologies) some are less satisfying than others. Brian Hodges' "Insanity Among Penguins" and Gemma Files' "Cut Frame" were two of my personal favorites, and John Langan's bordering-on-novella-length "Altered Beast Altered Me" is a nice dark closer. Fitting work for the Blumhouse name, to be sure.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Robert Saucedo

    I really enjoyed the Ellen Datlow edited FINAL CUTS. It's an anthology of horror fiction themed around the world of cinema. Some of my favorite horror authors are included, such as Stephen Graham Jones, John Langan, and Nathan Ballingrud. Even the ghost of Paul Tremblay makes an appearance! Some of the standout short stories include a tale of a cursed Werner Herzog film about cosmic horror, as written by Brian Hodge, and a very cool alternate history take on Hollywood as mixed with feudal folklor I really enjoyed the Ellen Datlow edited FINAL CUTS. It's an anthology of horror fiction themed around the world of cinema. Some of my favorite horror authors are included, such as Stephen Graham Jones, John Langan, and Nathan Ballingrud. Even the ghost of Paul Tremblay makes an appearance! Some of the standout short stories include a tale of a cursed Werner Herzog film about cosmic horror, as written by Brian Hodge, and a very cool alternate history take on Hollywood as mixed with feudal folklore by Laird Barron. If you're a fan of short horror fiction and film, definitely check this collection out.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Denice Langley

    As a loyal reader, I have my favorite authors who I know will give me an excellent read. But I'm always looking for new authors too. Anthologies are the perfect "sampler" to introduce you to a variety of authors flexing their skills and sharing the little stories in their libraries too. These 18 stories were all good, some better than others, but still all good. The theme is horror stories, but there is a little of everything mixed in with the horror. A really good book to travel with since the As a loyal reader, I have my favorite authors who I know will give me an excellent read. But I'm always looking for new authors too. Anthologies are the perfect "sampler" to introduce you to a variety of authors flexing their skills and sharing the little stories in their libraries too. These 18 stories were all good, some better than others, but still all good. The theme is horror stories, but there is a little of everything mixed in with the horror. A really good book to travel with since the stories are short but good.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tom Holehan

    Interested collection of contemporary horror stories from a variety of writers mostly new to me including Josh Malerman, Gemma Files, Lisa Morton and Kelly Armstrong among several others. Like most collections, some of the short stories are just better and scarier than others. After "Insanity Among Penguins", "A Ben Evans Film" and "Lords of the Matinee", the remaining 15 stories range from middling to mediocre. Interested collection of contemporary horror stories from a variety of writers mostly new to me including Josh Malerman, Gemma Files, Lisa Morton and Kelly Armstrong among several others. Like most collections, some of the short stories are just better and scarier than others. After "Insanity Among Penguins", "A Ben Evans Film" and "Lords of the Matinee", the remaining 15 stories range from middling to mediocre.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    This was magnificent - maybe one or two stories that weren't a complete home run for me, and even those didn't go the way I expected. The last story by John Langan was outstanding - along with A.C. Wise's entry, it exemplified the way great horror is as melancholy as it is frightening. There were stories with echoes of European folklore, a Hong Kong setting, a university video podcast, so a lot of diversity of culture and place. A lot of ruminating on the whole fear of the camera stealing your s This was magnificent - maybe one or two stories that weren't a complete home run for me, and even those didn't go the way I expected. The last story by John Langan was outstanding - along with A.C. Wise's entry, it exemplified the way great horror is as melancholy as it is frightening. There were stories with echoes of European folklore, a Hong Kong setting, a university video podcast, so a lot of diversity of culture and place. A lot of ruminating on the whole fear of the camera stealing your soul, or corrupting it. I am always up for a good "infernal film" tale, and often they fail badly. Most of these were immensely successful.

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