Halldark Holidays edited by Gabino Iglesias is a collection of tales that are perfect for people that love both Hallmark holiday movies and all things horror.
I remember the tweet going out from Gabino with the original idea. I immediately retweeted and said something like “sign me up for a copy!”
I just love holiday horror so much! I loved watching the horror community on Twitter and in various podcasts talking about the project. Even the folks that got a rejection letter were praising the overall process!
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on Halldark Holidays edited by Gabino Iglesias
When I first heard about the idea of this one, I could not wait to get my hands on a copy! I’m so excited that I was able to dive in during my holiday break.
Per usual with collections like this, here are my quick thoughts on each of the stories.
The Darkness is Always There: An Introduction by Gabino Iglesias
I loved that this intro talked about how the project came to be! What an exciting thing this was. This intro also does a wonderfully job pumping the reader up for the following stories.
The Morbs by Greg Sisco – 5 Stars
Sent on assignment to write about a town big on Christmas, our photojournalist main character just wants to do her job, but has to continue brushing off her coworkers advances. What they’re about to learn about the town will make quite a story indeed. I loved this one so much! I read a story similar to this in one of Kevin J Kennedy’s holiday collections I believe.
The Hatching by Brian Keene – 5 Stars
Oh my goodness this one was so heartwarming a with a dash of terror! I loved how dedicated to his daughter the main character was. But those poor kids. Beware of the oversized Easter eggs!
She’s Back by Clara Madrigano – 4 Stars
Ooh the hints dropped in this one were wonderfully unsettling. I loved that we very slowly started to see that something was wrong.
Der Eeich Yaeger by Alessandro DiFrancesco – 4 Stars
This story certainly brought on all the warm and fuzzies of meeting your future in-laws and having it go well. Up until the point that it doesn’t, of course. I loved the main character and how open and caring she was.
A Winterland Surprise by Kathryn E. McGee- 5 Stars
In a town that loves Christmas, our main character is about to learn that the Christmas spirit is actually something that needs to be tended to. This tale was so spooky! Definitely a lesson in trusting your gut and not following the attractive man you just met into the dark…
The Bone Fire by Alan Baxter – 5 Stars
Oh my goodness! I was not expecting that ending. Holy moley!
Rainbow Black by Gina Ranalli- 5 Stars
Holiday: Coming Out Day
Ah! The closed-mindedness will make your blood boil. But the rest is just wonderful! I loved the ending!
An Invisible Christmas Spectacular by Bev Vincent – 5 Stars
When a mayor just wants to give his town a great Christmas celebration after a rough year, he decides to host the party on the property of a home that everyone thought was abandoned. At the party, things are going wonderfully! Until, of course, things go sideways. This one was so brutal and the switch from hallmark to dark was very quick!
Elmreach by Jonathan Duckworth – 5 Stars
Ah, another tale about going home to meet your partners family. This one was a whirlwind romance. Everything seemed so storybook perfect at the beginning… man this story was wicked unsettling! I love that the veil was slowly lifted as both the reader and main character learned what was going on at the same time. And that ending!
Frito Pie by Kelly J. Ford – 5 Stars
Holiday: Valentines Day
Oh the set up of this tale was so wonderfully done. I had no inkling that the tale was about to end up where it did!
A Total Super Miracle on 34th Street by Mackenzie Kiera – 3 Stars
Oh Lordy, this woman was obsessed with her own personal timeline of how things in her life should work out. When things don’t go as she thought, she goes on a warpath.
O Little Town… by Mark Allan Gunnells – 5 Stars
Oh noooooo! How quickly this all transpired was absolutely terrifying.
Feu De Joie by Magnolia Strock – 4 Stars
Holiday: 4th of July
Jesus! Very real world horror. Oofh. This one is gonna stick with me.
Somebody Always Hears You by Elizabeth Hirst – 3 Stars
What a dark twist on making wishes and having them come true! This main character was very unlikable for me, so I couldn’t wait to see how things turned out.
Christmas Every Day by Nicole Willson – 3 Stars
Oh gosh, what a spoiled child! The parents clearly couldn’t reason with her. And what revenge for the sister!
The Christmas Cabin by Fred Venturini – 4 Stars
Oh my goodness! I loved the start of this one so much. When the creepiness set in, it made me feel wicked claustrophobic!
What Happens in the Dark Will Soon Happen in the Light by Michael Harris Cohen – 3 Stars
Oofh, what a heartbreaking and eerie tale. I definitely wanted to know more when I got the end of this one.
The Best Christmas Town in Maryland! by Sheri White – 3 Stars
Yikes! This poor mayor just wanted everything to be perfect. But this year in the Christmas town, there will be more bloodshed than Christmas cheer.
Christmas in Quail’s Eggs by Max Carrey – 5 Stars
Another tale about going back home with your significant other to meet up with family. Phew, I was ready for something crazy to happen, but I couldn’t have seen this one coming! Terrifying!!
A Wail of a Christmas by Jillian Bost – 5 Stars
Woah! This one was super eerie. I loved the slow and easy pacing and then boom. Wonderfully done!
Holiday Traditions by Cina Pelayo –
Cina’s writing is so poetic and beautiful, even when discussing the macabre! I loved the flow of this story and how you knew something was not quite right but didn’t know what up until the reveal.
Mother and Child by Todd Robinson – 5 Stars
Ooh a haunted house in Maine?! I was so in for this one. What a spooky and absolutely heartbreaking tale. I loved the set up and pacing of this one.
My Final Thoughts on Halldark Holidays
I loved that the majority of these stories were centered around Christmas, but that there were a few other holidays scattered in. Each story was so unique! I loved that some were creepy, some were absolutely terrifying, and some were very real world horror.
If you enjoy holiday horror, you gotta go pick this one up if you haven’t yet!
Snag a copy through Bookshop to help support local indie bookshops: