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The Best Of Joe R. Landsdale

Updated on October 28, 2013

I am a huge fan of single serving, imaginative fictitious stories. This means that I have spent many hours over the years reading through short story collections.

Since my living space is very limited I am only able to keep the books I love, and The Best Of Joe R. Lansdale is one of my keepers.

I came to own this specific collection in a roundabout sort of way.

About 5 years ago I became interested in the Showtime series "Masters of Horror". The series consisted of 13 hour long episodes per season. Each episode was a stand alone short horror film directed by an established director of the genera. I bought both seasons and loved them. My favorite of all 26 episodes was Incident On And Off A Mountain Road.

I did a bit of research and discovered that the short film was based on a short story by Joe R. Lansdale and that it was available in this short story anthology so I ordered it from Amazon, curious about how the story stood up to the film.

As it turns out (and is rare for me) I actually liked the movie better than the story because the director just did such an amazing job bringing it to life however, I still really enjoyed the story and I loved the other stories in the book as well.

I admit that to date I've never read any of his novels but I realized that I was already familiar with his writing style as there were a few stories in there that I had already read in other anthologies. The majority I'd never seen before though, and I didn't at all mind revisiting the ones that I had read previously.

The thing that I like most about this writer's style is that it's very raw and gritty with a fantastically morbid sense of humor. He is quite articulate and his storytelling is immaculate. The way he phrases things is very genuine and unpolished, what I mean is there is no unnecessary politeness to it.

There are 16 stories in this collection (369 pages) and to be honest they are mostly more weird than scary to me but maybe I am just desensitized from 20 years of absorbing this sort of literature. The best part for me as a reader is that they're all very different from one another.There are serial killers, ghost fish, a soul thirsty mummy and a story of bizarre friendship between a mule and a pig.

I've read the anthology over and over and I've purchased copies to give away as gifts and stocking stuffers. If you're anything like me and require a good dose of strange every now and again, you'll also thoroughly enjoy this book.

Bubba Ho-Tep (Limited Collector's Edition)
Bubba Ho-Tep (Limited Collector's Edition)

This is another film based on one of the short stories in the book. It involves Elvis in a nursing home in Texas and an Egyptian mummy.

It stars Bruce Campbell (love him) and it's sort of a horror comedy. Besides being highly entertaining it also makes a broad honest and sad statement about how many people view the elderly.

If you read the book and love the story, you'll also very much enjoy the film. (trailer below)

Masters of Horror - Don Coscarelli - Incident on and off a Mountain Road
Masters of Horror - Don Coscarelli - Incident on and off a Mountain Road

Here is the short film that inspired me to buy the book. The screenplay differs from the story and for me plays out much better visually than it did in my head.

It is essentially an action packed serial killer flick with an unusual big fat wonderful twist. (trailer below)



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    • Stuwaha profile image

      Stuwaha 3 years ago

      @TreasuresBrenda: Well, the episode was based on the preexisting story :)

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 3 years ago from Canada

      Very interesting that this book was based on a Masters of Horror episode and that you found it after watching the episode.

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 3 years ago

      Have not read any of this author, maybe that's the key, keeping the stories short, so I can get to the end of them.............

    • mojoCNYartist profile image

      Dan 3 years ago from CNY

      I've only read one of his short stories that was in a collection of zombie stories....if I remember right it was pretty good.