Do you remember what got you into horror? Do you remember that first movie that scared you so bad you had to see it again and again? Do you remember the first time plain black words on a page frightened you to your core and made you want more? Well, Todd martin does and he puts his love of the Horror Genre into his debut Nightmare Tales for our benefit as horror fans. Mr. Martin captures a definite feel of 80’s cinematic horror within his tales with cheesy (but undeniably fun) dialogue, good solid character development, classic plots and settings, and page turning story building. He adds his own brutal twist to the horror he loves and he always wrenches up the gore for us drooling gore fiends.
Ornaments is the first story in Nightmare Tales and it does a fine job setting the pace and feel of the collection. This story was adapted into a short film version, titled “Angel”, by Silver Moon Productions for their film Tales from the Grave 2: Happy Holidays. I feel like this story exceeds the simple and commonly used plot with Mr. Martin’s ability to build a story in a way that seems familiar just long enough for him to turn the gore level up a notch or two and make you jump. Sean and Angel crash their car en route to a Christmas weekend with family. They find shelter with an elderly couple and their two sweet grandchildren. Features a great gory ending and not the only one here.
“Gwen” is a throbbing slow building tale of obsession and heartbreak. Mr. Martin does an excellent job showing the ultimate longing and heartache his main character is experiencing. This tale is about the pain left from a break-up and it stares right at the broken heart and warped mind left after the end of the relationship.
In the “The Sleep Over” we meet a family that enjoys the forbidden delicacy of human flesh. Here again are the elements I spoke of before with a dash of comedy sprinkled amongst the gore. One of my favorites I felt like I was watching a movie from the 80’s in all its classic horror glory.
“The Transformation” is a story about a young man/newly turned vampire. It deals with his change in power and appetite but manages the same introverted and personal feel of “Gwen.”
Next up is another I enjoyed a lot “The Journal of Brett Tyler.” Keeping with the personal views into his characters this one is the journal, not diary, of a mentally slow young man. Mr. Martin starts us off with a few laughs and insights into Brett’s uneventful life. Soon the entries are getting stranger and stranger as poor Brett looses his marbles. His militant father begins speaking to him in a brilliant way and soon the body count rises in classic horror fashion.
“First Date” builds good and slow into a quickly twisting ending. Jay has had a bad luck streak with girls for a long time. Mr. Martin takes you out for his blood spattered night back in the dating scene.
In “Cecil’s last Might” Mr. Martin melds a Hollywood werewolf tale with a gut punching revenge story. The back story is not for the weak of heart but once the werewolf shows up action rules the day.
“The Face at the Window” is a twisted ghost story about forbidden love. A high school teacher impregnates a student and suffers horrific consequences. More heart punching story with gore dripping details in this closing story.
Nightmare Tales is a collection of horror stories for horror fans by a man who loves his horror. I think Todd Martin will only grow as a writer as he gets more comfortable in his style. Recommended for fans of good old classic horror ala’ the mid-80’s heyday horror cinema.
Available at Publish America