So, it’s been a big day for me. This morning I woke up to a notification that the Pseudopod production of my story “Night’s Foul Bird” had been mentioned on Entertainment Weekly! This is good timing, because “Night’s Foul Bird” is being reprinted in Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts, which is coming out in October from the good folks at Word Horde and just went up for preorder this morning as well! Expect a reveal of the amazing cover featuring art by Nick Gucker next week, and lots more rambling about the collection in the weeks to come. For now, I’ll talk just a bit about the genesis of the book, and then give you the exclusive reveal of the table of contents.
The title of Painted Monsters came from the 1968 Peter Bogdanovich film Targets, in which an aging Boris Karloff basically playing himself says, “My kind of horror is not horror anymore. No one’s afraid of a painted monster.” That line stuck with me, and the movie that it’s in felt so much like a meditation on the way that horror films were changing in the 60s, what they gained and what they lost, that when it came time to put my collection together, I knew that I wanted to use that quote as the epigram, and that I wanted the collection to explore the changing face of horror cinema. So while this is my second fiction collection, featuring a lot of the stories that I wrote between when Never Bet the Devil came out and now, it’s also been specifically chosen to highlight stories that are inspired by horror cinema, and organized so that the stories go through the history of horror, starting with silent films and working up to kaiju movies, Giallo films, and found footage. The title novelette–which is one of three stories completely original to the collection–is kind of a crash course across horror movie history, and also maybe the most me thing I’ve ever written.
Painted Monsters consists of thirteen stories, three of which, like I said, are entirely new to the collection. Another, “The Worm That Gnaws,” has previously only appeared on Pseudopod, while yet another, “Remains,” was only available as part of the special all-fiction issue of Strange Aeons offered to backers of the 2014 HPLFF Kickstarter. So without any (further) ado, here’s the table of contents for Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts:
Introduction by John Langan
The Worm That Gnaws
The White Prince
Night’s Foul Bird
The Murders on Morgue Street*
The Red Church
The Labyrinth of Sleep
Persistence of Vision
* Titles marked with an asterisk are original to the collection.