Curse of the Full Moon
Edited by James Lowder
Trade Paperback, 377 pages, $ 14.95
Review by Mario Guslandi
In horror fiction there are three archetypes which survive the passing of the years: vampires, zombies and werewolves. Vampires never went out of fashion; zombies are enjoying a recent revival (no pun intended) of interest; werewolves have gone through a number of ups and downs, but here they are again.
Curse of the Full Moon is a reprint anthology (only one story is original) which assembles nineteen tales revolving around the time-honoured myth of the werewolf and offering a good variety of takes on the subject.
The average quality of the stories is good, and some contributions are truly excellent.
Fine examples are Tanith Lee’s terrific “The Werewolf,” describing the unmasking of a werewolf by a young photographer; and Ursula K Le Guin’s “The Wife’s Story,” an enticing yarn where the traditional werewolf theme is unexpectedly reversed.
In “Full Moon Hearth” Barb Hendee gives a family feeling to an enjoyable werewolf tale, while in the thrilling “The Gentleman’s Hotel” Joe R Lansdale sends his famous character Reverend Mercer in a deserted town both haunted by ghosts and infested by hungry werewolves.
“Wolf Train West” by William Messner-Loebs effortlessly and effectively blends the atmospheres of the old West and the werewolf theme.
Matt Venne’s “The Brown Bomber and the Nazi Werewolves of the S.S.” is a delightful, well told piece with a ludicrous plot but a strong emotional power; and Harlan Ellison’s “Footsteps” is a darkly erotic tale featuring a voracious werewolf meeting her match in Paris.
But the real treat of the volume is offered by “The Lame Priest” by S Carleton, unearthed after a long oblivion (the story was originally published in 1901). Exceptionally dark, chilling and atmospheric in the extreme, the tale elicits pleasantly unnerving frissons as only the greatest horror stories are able to do.