“I Was a Teenage Werewolf” by Dale Bailey
Reviewed by Eric Kimminau
According to John Joseph Adams, Editor-in-Chief of Nightmare, “it is our hope that you’ll see where horror comes from, where it is now, and where it’s going.” I sincerely enjoyed the September issue so the hopes are high for December’s offering.
The title of “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” by Dale Bailey brought to mind the movie of the same title starring Michael J. Fox, which was not good. Trying to put preconceived notions aside, I began hoping for something different. And different it was. Written almost as a news story from the perspective of the witnesses and participants rather than from the lycanthrope. As the town of Rockdale, and specifically Rockdale High School began to buzz with mysterious events and sightings of the creature, rumor and conjecture began to spread. More attacks occurred, arrests made, a false sense of security delivered by local police and then another gruesome attack, this time from someone wearing a Rockdale Rams letter jacket. There was a teenage werewolf in Rockdale. From here a turn to the unique but expected occurs when a scarred survivor of one attack, Arlene Marshall, is named prom queen and then, during the prom dance it is discovered, as expected, that there are more teenage werewolves at Rockdale High than just their Queen, Arlene. This revelation concludes the story.
“The Low, Dark Edge of Life” by Livia Llewellyn begins with a translator’s note: “these are the only extant, unburned, and legible (for the most part) pages retrieved from what was apparently the diary of one Lilianett van Hamal, an American girl who apparently lodged at the Grand Béguinage shortly before the Great Summoning of 1878 that left much of the city of Leuven in ruins. No other items from before that event have been recovered from what is now the Leuven Exclusion Zone, which as of this date remains permanently off-limits to the outside world.” This is about as lucid as this story gets. Even with obvious nods to HPL, this comes across as a rambling incoherent blather of disjointed fragments that lead inevitably to an apparent demonic god mother whore thing that plans to return to Arkham asylum in America to make those who committed transgressions answer for them. While I (barely) followed this story to its conclusion, the author was obviously partaking of the opium as discussed rather heavily and still somehow managed to get this story published. I have somewhat enjoyed Nightmare. That said, I really don’t find the horror genre enjoyable and the blathering disjointed nature of one of this month’s stories leads me to believe that it would be in my best interest to avoid Nightmare in the future. I don’t seem to be on the same plane of reality as the editor and rather than pan his editorial choices and style, it may be better for me to just steer clear in the future.
Eric Kimminau is a BBS geek turned IT professional seeking those of like mind and character with whom I may share in wit and wisdom.