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Tales from the Cemetery on the Hill by Dale Pierce - A Book Review

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2011

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The Sin Killer is one of those killers killing in Jesus's name, brutally killing and mutilating those he thinks have sinned by according to a perverse idea of the punishment fitting the crime (something to all my vague knowledge of the bible is against all of Jesus's teachings).

A man called Donavan decides to visit the grave of the latest victim of the Sin Killer on the creepy and godforsaken Hillside Cemetery. There, he meets a stranger who only goes by the name of Traveler and who tells him a bunch of stories of horror, or rather immerses Donavan in these stories:

  • They’re Tearing Down Joe Finn’s Arena: An ex wrestler revisits the arena he has had his best fights in before it's torn down. But he did not only triumph in the ring in the arena, he also killed a man in there in what only looked like an accident during a fight, and now the ghosts of the deceased are calling him into their fold ...
  • Between God, the Devil and a Pair of Horns: A bullfighter recovering from a severe goring stumbles into a bullfighting bar that holds a presentation on deaths in the bullfighting arena - to his shock, the last death presented is his own ...
  • Spook House: Damien Shaperon is a gifted painter - who does a little demon worshipping on the side, praying to a dark God called Olivier, to whom he has sacrificed quite a few young women already - and now his god-fearing college-age niece Lorena comes to stay with him ...
  • Mariano: Stage magician The Great Saris has a private and professional feud with fellow stage magician Mariano, the far more successful of the two. And thus, Saris ultimately kidnaps his rival in order to force his tricks out of him. Too bad then that Mariano's magic is real, thanks to a deal with the Devil, and the Devil comes to his rescue ...
  • The Devil Waits for Nightfall: Leon Rainier is a vampire who receives a visit from a vampire hunter reverend Sensenbrenner. Thing is, Leon isn't really a bad guy, he only drinks animal blood, leaves humans alone, and does his best to stay out of trouble. Instead of a fight, the two of them have a long talk about vampirism and such ... but you just can't expect a vampire to stay friendly forever ...
  • A Pistol for Brenden Unger: Brenden Unger goes to the movies only because he got kicked out of a bar in a drunken state. They're playing a Western, and suddenly Brenden is sucked into the film . Amazingly, Unger manages to make it back out of the movie alive, despite the fact that everybody in it was gunning for him, but somehow, someone has followed him to the real world, armed to the teeth ...
  • Materializations: A guy picked up a girl in a bar for some kinky sex. Too late he had to realize she was a succubus, and now he wants to get rid of her ...
  • The Mask of the Yellow Moon: Writer Morgan Pyle has made a fortune of the West Virginian legend of the Moth Man, claiming he has actually seen the creature, and now he writes books and holds lectures about it. Thing is, the Moth Man doesn't like to be commercialized and thus strikes back ...

In the interludes between the stories it has already become quite obvious that Donavan is actually the Sin Killer, and the Traveler ... well, who knows what he is. But let's continue to the final story:

  • Give Your Heart to Jesus: Ohio Dan, a fered river pirate, has later decided to mend his ways and become a good Christian. He married a nice wife and lived in a nice house ... until he found out his wife had an affair with the reverend. He killed her and her lover, and now he awaits his hanging - but tells his story to a reporter, telling him that what he had done to his wife and the reverend was justified because they were sinners, and he had killed them in the name of Jesus. And once he has gone to heaven, he will be sent back to earth by Jesus, as the Sin Killer, killing for Jesus.
    A century or so later, Donavan, a devout Christian, finds out his wife has cheated on him, which puts him in a state in which he is easy prey for the spirit of the Sin Killer, who tells him to kill his wife and her lover - but not right away, that would look suspicious, why not kill a few others who have sinned first, to make the wife's murder look like part of a killing spree, and he would do a good deed killing all those sinners as well ...

Back in the here and now, Donavan has to realize that the orders to kill haven't come from Jesus at all, but from the Dark God Oliver, and the Traveler is actually the Sin Killer's first victim come back to life. And the Sin Killer's victims have all assembled here on Hillside Cemetery to finally drag Donavan to hell ...

 

 

Feeling lucky ?
Want to search for books by
Dale Pierce
yourself ?

The links below
will take you
just there !!!

Basically, Tales from the Cemetery is fun genre entertainment. Granted, the book is not overly sophisticated, it's in spots actually pretty crude and pulpy, but the best of the short stories collected here play like those beloved EC Comics or Amicus omnibus movies - and when it comes to horror short stories, that's quite a compliment - and the finale, even though one has seen it coming for way too long, still packs quite a punch.

That said, Tales from the Cemetery is also far from being the perfect book, its perception of Christianity (one of the key issues of the framing story as well as some of the embedded short stories) is very crude, archaic even and could have done with a little (well, a lot) more subtlety, some of the stories (including the framing story, as mentioned above) are a bit too predictable for their own good, and then there's the fact that author Dale Pierce is a man who's very knowledgable when it comes to indie wrestling and bullfighting - and that pretty much ruins the first two stories, as they are so full of details from these two rather marginal sports and namedropping of names nobody not familiar with them has ever heard about that any kind of tension or suspense is eventually blown out of the window.

That all said, if you're still in for a few nights of scary stories, this is definitely one book you might want to read, probably not the best in genre entertainment, but fun still ...

 

Oh, and should you be interested in owning/reading the book, please do go here: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/tales-from-the-cemetery-on-the-hill/15118275

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD