In literature, the horror anthology is one of my favorite things. In particular I enjoy the buffet like quality that a horror anthology can offer. Case in point, Forever Darkness where we are introduced to The Kretcher Motel. A seedy type of establishment that one would do well to avoid when visiting Atlanta . Certainly there are those who are drawn to the special…amenities…that the Kretcher Motel offers. Those lost souls down on their luck or those seeking souls as a matter of fact.
The Kretcher offers cheap rates because the motel has a unique hunger. As does its proprietor, the beautiful and equally dangerous Sybline Kretcher. Quick to lend a helpful hand as well as manipulating guests, letting them find their deserved punishments. Moreover the proprietor in some cases even offers redemption. Yes, indeed, Sybline has been tending to the motel since the early 1960’s…but she has been around for a lot longer than that. A lot longer than you might imagine.
Sybline Kretcher as well as the Kretcher Motel are the two constants in the new horror anthology from Colors in Darkness. Forever Vacancy collects 13 diverse stories, ranging from hauntings to the wickedly humorous. All manner of characters find their way to the run down Kretcher Motel and their tales are the perfect fit for an anthology. Having said that I will add that I’m rather fond of the format in general. In addition to books I have similarly thrilled to those horror anthology in film and TV format however few they might be in number. A few of my favorites being 1972’s Tales from the Crypt, 1982’s Creepshow, and 2007’s Trick ‘r Treat of course.
Are you a fan of Creepshow? You might want to take a moment and listen to when we covered it on the Saturday Frights podcast!
With 13 different styles of stories presented in Forever Vacancy a few naturally stand out. While it all comes down to a matter of taste, I found Karma Suture by Tawanna Sullivan, The Honeymoon Suite: Jacob’s Reunion by Sumiko Saulson, and A Devil Of A Deal by David O’Hanlon to really shine amongst the other fine stories presented.
With Karma Suture, we are introduced to a location scout named Stephanie. Actually she has desires to be an actress but has taken a position with her ex-boyfriend, helping him on a film he is producing. For Stephanie the Kretcher Motel offers a bit of comeuppance for those that have wronged her…or she feels have wronged her.
A Devil Of A Deal I found to be the most fun. David O’Hanlon has crafted a rowdy as well as bawdy leading man. Or fallen angel in the case of Mr. Scratch. A raconteur who finds himself mixed up with a young woman who is being extorted by an unsavory character. There are all manner of surprises for Mr. Scratch and the reader. By the time you finish the story you just might find you have Sympathy for the Devil…or devils in this case.
[Via] The Rolling Stones HQ
The Honeymoon Suite: Jacob’s Reunion is hands down the most moving of the stories. In it we learn of the grief of Jess whose love Jacob was killed in a train-car collision. Deep feelings of survivor’s guilt due to not joining Jacob to attend his class reunion haunt Jess. But can forgiveness be found in a place like the Kretcher Motel?
While this anthology collection from Colors in Darkness is the first to feature Sybline Kretcher and her motel. I can only hope that we will be given new chances to…temporarily…visit that establishment. The setting is absolutely perfect and if you too are a fan of the horror anthology I highly suggest you pick it up. You can grab your copy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble in addition to the Colors in Darkness website.
I would also like to thank author David O’Hanlon. As he was the one who contacted me on the Saturday Frights Facebook page, asking if I would be interested in reviewing Forever Vacancy. Furthermore we were both delighted to learn that we had something in common beyond our love of horror. As a result of providing my mailing address we learned that we live in the same neck of the woods, a mere ten minutes away from each other in fact!
With Forever Vacancy being such a great horror anthology. Is it too much to hope for a television adaptation in the near future?
Additionally I believe I have fond the perfect actress to play the role of Sybline Kretcher!