Author: Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Angie Hodapp, Betty Rocksteady, Dayton Ward, Gary Jonas, Joshua Viola, K. Nicole Davis, Keith Ferrell, Kevin Dilmore, Kevin J. Anderson, Mario Acevedo, Orrin Grey, Sean Eads, Stephen Graham Jones, Steve Rasnic Tem, Warren Hammond
Publisher: Hex Publishers
First Published: September 15, 2020
Genres: Horror, Supernatural
Format: ARC, eBook
Welcome to tonight's feature presentation, brought to you by an unholy alliance of our spellcasters at Hex Publishers and movie-mages at the Colorado Festival of Horror. Please be advised that all emergency exits have been locked for this special nostalgia-curdled premiere of death. From crinkling celluloid to ferocious flesh—from the silver screen to your hammering heart—behold as a swarm of werewolves, serial killers, Satanists, Elder Gods, aliens, ghosts, and unclassifiable monsters are loosed upon your auditorium. Relax, and allow our ushers to help with your buckets of popcorn—and blood; your ticket stubs—and severed limbs; your comfort candy—and body bags. Kick back and scream as you settle into a fate worse than Hell. Tonight's director's cut is guaranteed to slash you apart.
The 1980s were a golden age of American horror cinema, starting with a movement that began in the 1970s that defined the modern horror flick. The focus was shifted to films that were bolder, more aggressive, but artistic too. The horror genre also saw the rise of B movies that became cult favorites, low-budget gorefests that riveted audiences. Filled to the brim with supernatural killers, creature features, and evil children, the horror films of the era became a cultural zeitgeist that continues to influence horror writers and filmmakers to the present day.
“Don’t say we’re just trying to capture the zeitgeist. We’ve been breathing it all along.”
While there are still theaters available today, there’s no question that the rise of video streaming from home has ushered a wave of nostalgia for the 80s, when folks had to go to a movie theater or to a video rental store to watch movies. It Came from the Multiplex perfectly encapsulates this nostalgia and is an homage to horror films and the packed movie theaters of the era. Every story is themed around theaters in a wide variety of genres that hearken back to the film themes of the time; from giant killer spiders to children seemingly possessed by Satan, despite the repetitive theater theme, each story had something fresh to bring to the collection.
My favorite story undoubtedly was The Cronenberg Concerto, where a man “worships” the truly violent Splatterhouse films that rarely grace the screens of large popular theaters. I also really enjoyed Rise, ye vermin! and Invisible for the cool narratives and creepy antagonists. The final story, Special Makeup was also well placed, being a horror cinema satire that left me with a one-liner that I just had to laugh.
The one drawback is that the styles clashed so much despite a common theme that there were some stories that were entirely forgettable. Despite going in knowing that this was a collection about theaters, I also found the use of theaters at minimum as a setting in every story to be a little tiring. Even so, as an anthology, I feel that there will be something here for every kind of reader.
Warnings: violence, gore