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Night They Missed the Horror Show (short story)

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"If they'd gone to the drive-in like they'd planned, none of this would have happened. ..." "If they'd gone to the drive-in like they'd planned, none of this would have happened. ..."


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"If they'd gone to the drive-in like they'd planned, none of this would have happened. ..." "If they'd gone to the drive-in like they'd planned, none of this would have happened. ..."

30 review for Night They Missed the Horror Show (short story)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Laroche

    Well this was a thoroughly disgusting short story. Just 6 pages of absolutely despicable people doing absolutely despicable things for no particular reason. I'm not sure what I was supposed to gain from it. A hatred for humanity maybe? Well, I'm too much of an optimist for that to happen, but I did deeply hate the characters in the story. The prose is effective and I can't say the story was ever boring, but it just doesn't feel like a story worth telling. It's odd because I personally love slash Well this was a thoroughly disgusting short story. Just 6 pages of absolutely despicable people doing absolutely despicable things for no particular reason. I'm not sure what I was supposed to gain from it. A hatred for humanity maybe? Well, I'm too much of an optimist for that to happen, but I did deeply hate the characters in the story. The prose is effective and I can't say the story was ever boring, but it just doesn't feel like a story worth telling. It's odd because I personally love slasher movies so I'm struggling with figuring out why I'm okay with those, but not with this. Maybe because those films have some element of survival and someone to root for. This story had neither.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    Why was this rated as a top horror story? Ugh.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bobby Bermea

    Why is racism every white author's road to instant "edge"? It's tiresome. It's not counter culture, it is the culture. Maybe that's Lansdale's point but frankly, it's played out. Isaac Woodard. Emmett Till. Trayvon Martin. Slavery. Lynching. Since 1619 white America has visited every kind of brutality and degradation on Black people. What does this story do but add more of the same? We've seen it, heard it, lived it, all before. Weak. Why is racism every white author's road to instant "edge"? It's tiresome. It's not counter culture, it is the culture. Maybe that's Lansdale's point but frankly, it's played out. Isaac Woodard. Emmett Till. Trayvon Martin. Slavery. Lynching. Since 1619 white America has visited every kind of brutality and degradation on Black people. What does this story do but add more of the same? We've seen it, heard it, lived it, all before. Weak.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Catalina

    I fail to understand what anyone sees in this book. This wasn't graphic enough or cruel enough to truly be a torture porn short story. It wasn't tongue-in-cheek enough to be a black comedy. If this was truly a product of a bygone racist era and not some self-serving caricature, we may have had a more poignant novel on our hands. Instead, this just comes off as mean. I get what the novel is trying to do; It's attempting a joke about morality and where we draw that line, but we're left with this h I fail to understand what anyone sees in this book. This wasn't graphic enough or cruel enough to truly be a torture porn short story. It wasn't tongue-in-cheek enough to be a black comedy. If this was truly a product of a bygone racist era and not some self-serving caricature, we may have had a more poignant novel on our hands. Instead, this just comes off as mean. I get what the novel is trying to do; It's attempting a joke about morality and where we draw that line, but we're left with this half-assed attempt that plays more for shock value than a genuine message. This didn't work on any level. Graphic torture porn is great, it has a place in this market..but..this doesn't try hard enough to offer that up. It doesn't go far enough in the gore to really serve that niche. Black comedy about twisted, dated values of morality from the past has a place in this market too, but this doesn't even offer that. At best it's a prank gone wrong, at worst it's an excuse to throw around the N-word without consequences. This novel doesn't know what it wants to do and thus the author fails at capturing any real perspective or commentary. It's not worth a passing glance, it wasn't enjoyable, it wasn't that gross, it wasn't thought provoking. This novel really fails to serve a purpose. Maybe literature doesn't need to, but if you want to tackle such heavy topics at least do it right.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Channing Whitaker

    This was an interesting short. I met Mr. Lansdale on a panel at a convention earlier this year. I wanted to sample some of his work, and I saw this short recommended in a book group I follow on facebook, so I gave it a try. It was graphic disturbing but used those things to sever a higher point than mere shock. Lansdale places you in the time and place vividly within a few paragraphs. I can't say I loved the story, but I appreciated it, and therefore will be looking for another of Lansdale's tit This was an interesting short. I met Mr. Lansdale on a panel at a convention earlier this year. I wanted to sample some of his work, and I saw this short recommended in a book group I follow on facebook, so I gave it a try. It was graphic disturbing but used those things to sever a higher point than mere shock. Lansdale places you in the time and place vividly within a few paragraphs. I can't say I loved the story, but I appreciated it, and therefore will be looking for another of Lansdale's titles to give a try.

  6. 4 out of 5

    E. T. Brother

    Crap

  7. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    6 page short story that just makes you go "ick" throughout. Read if you like horrible people doing horrifying things in the most racist ways possible. 6 page short story that just makes you go "ick" throughout. Read if you like horrible people doing horrifying things in the most racist ways possible.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Laura R

    This was a seminal work of the subgenre called Splatterpunk that emerged in the 80s. To me, it was a needed pushback at traditional horror which depicted violence in a sanitized or glamorized or pleasurable way. The original dedication to Lewis Shiner puts it in context: "for once, a story that doesn't flinch". The first time I read it, it blew me away with its strong voice, punchy language and extreme intensity. Sadly, in the Trump era, it is still all too relevant. From Wikipedia: Splatterpunk w This was a seminal work of the subgenre called Splatterpunk that emerged in the 80s. To me, it was a needed pushback at traditional horror which depicted violence in a sanitized or glamorized or pleasurable way. The original dedication to Lewis Shiner puts it in context: "for once, a story that doesn't flinch". The first time I read it, it blew me away with its strong voice, punchy language and extreme intensity. Sadly, in the Trump era, it is still all too relevant. From Wikipedia: Splatterpunk was a movement within horror fiction in the 1980s, distinguished by its graphic, often gory, depiction of violence, countercultural alignment and "hyperintensive horror with no limits." The term was coined in 1986 by David J. Schow at the Twelfth World Fantasy Convention in Providence, Rhode Island. Splatterpunk is regarded as a revolt against the "traditional, meekly suggestive horror story". Splatterpunk has been defined as a "literary genre characterised by graphically described scenes of an extremely gory nature."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kate Workman

    I read this because it was on an NPR list of the best horror novels and stories of all time. I don’t know wtf it was doing there. The review on NPR said that “It pulls off that impossible trick of getting us to side with people we have no business siding with” and umm no it does not. Only a real sicko would “side” with anyone while reading this story. Being gross doesn’t make it “gritty” and the author exploiting actual atrocities for shock value doesn’t make it some kind of deep social commentar I read this because it was on an NPR list of the best horror novels and stories of all time. I don’t know wtf it was doing there. The review on NPR said that “It pulls off that impossible trick of getting us to side with people we have no business siding with” and umm no it does not. Only a real sicko would “side” with anyone while reading this story. Being gross doesn’t make it “gritty” and the author exploiting actual atrocities for shock value doesn’t make it some kind of deep social commentary. I’m giving it a generous 2 stars because some people might be more into gory horror than I am - but at the end of the day the goriness isn’t the real reason it sucks. It’s just a bad story on many levels.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I read this short story for free online. Although I appreciate it from a literary standpoint, I absolutely hated all of the characters, the language they use and the general feeling of this... not the type of creepy/spooky suspense, horror that I enjoy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    Super disturbing!!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Circello

    Wow. That was hard to read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chris Miller

    Wild, irreverent, and utterly mean. An absolute blast.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Twan

    Yikes

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    If you want to know if you'll enjoy Splatterpunk, reading this short story will pretty much do it, saving you a lot of time. One of the most harrowing stories ever written. If you want to know if you'll enjoy Splatterpunk, reading this short story will pretty much do it, saving you a lot of time. One of the most harrowing stories ever written.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jan Martinek

    This is probably the best (and clearly the most fucked up) short story I have ever read. Once you go through this, your world will never be the same.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anushka Aritri

    My first experience with the Splatterpunk genre. As gory and dark and well-written as I'd heard rumors of, but I don't know if I'd say this is my thing. My first experience with the Splatterpunk genre. As gory and dark and well-written as I'd heard rumors of, but I don't know if I'd say this is my thing.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Zoey

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I understand people being disgusted by the racism in this story. I believe Lansdale at least had a point he was trying to make with it. I think Lansdale’s goal was to have the snuff filmmakers as sort of being an even uglier reflection of the two “protagonists”. The racism and sexism the two leads display is taken to an absolute extreme by the villains. The two main characters get killed because of their racism. “If they went to the horror show none of this would have happened,” but they don’t, I understand people being disgusted by the racism in this story. I believe Lansdale at least had a point he was trying to make with it. I think Lansdale’s goal was to have the snuff filmmakers as sort of being an even uglier reflection of the two “protagonists”. The racism and sexism the two leads display is taken to an absolute extreme by the villains. The two main characters get killed because of their racism. “If they went to the horror show none of this would have happened,” but they don’t, because they refuse to watch a horror film with a black lead. Scott is the only remotely sympathetic character, and while horribly murdered along with the rest of the them, he is shot while the two white leads die protracted, torturous deaths. One of them is crammed into the trunk with Scott’s bloody corpse staring at him, while the other dies in a way evocative of lynching (I initially thought it was a reference to a specific murder, but it turned out the murder took place after the short story was written- however several other lynchings prior to the story also involved victims dragged behind horses or cars). The killings are perpetrated by villains far more monstrous than the viewpoint characters, so it’s hard to consider them karmic in any sort of way. The story offers the reader only dread, subversion, and hurt. It leaves a bruise on you.

  19. 5 out of 5

    David Masumba

    There is a darkness about all creatures but JOE R. LANDSDALE captures the darkest nature in this story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

    The Night They Missed the Horror Show is one screwed up story! It’s weird, violent, contains racism, and is funny. Can one find humor in such a sick story? Well, only Lansdale could do it. The story starts off with a couple of drunk racist white trash pieces of crap, who decide to stop on the side of the road. They then tie up a dog to their bumper, that had been driven over by a truck. For fun. Yes, for fun! This should be enough to show you how warped this story is, and it just gets weirder as The Night They Missed the Horror Show is one screwed up story! It’s weird, violent, contains racism, and is funny. Can one find humor in such a sick story? Well, only Lansdale could do it. The story starts off with a couple of drunk racist white trash pieces of crap, who decide to stop on the side of the road. They then tie up a dog to their bumper, that had been driven over by a truck. For fun. Yes, for fun! This should be enough to show you how warped this story is, and it just gets weirder as events develop. I’ve read this story before in a collection, but this version is a stand alone chapbook, along with an audio cd read by Joe R. Lansdale. Joe’s from Texas, and he has a southern drawl. So, he does a pretty decent job of reading the story. My only faults are, that he reads too fast, and he doesn’t emphasize certain emotions within the story. But, with his southern drawl, and the fact that the weird screwed up story is actually very good, I'll still give it a thumb up! The audio disc is actually pretty cool. A great idea.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eamon

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jared

  23. 4 out of 5

    Klayperson

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brooks

  25. 5 out of 5

    James

  26. 5 out of 5

    Zombette

  27. 4 out of 5

    Charles Reece

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jenn Li

  29. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  30. 5 out of 5

    Helena Sheibler

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