Haunt of Southern-Fried Fear by Ronald Kelly is another killer collection from this master of horror! Filled with spookiness and loads of gut-punch terror, these stories will bring you on quite the ride.
Full Disclosure: This version of the book that I read was from a publisher that I can’t promote, and which no longer exists. As such, I have edited the book cover photo to cover their logo with a skull.
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on Haunt of Southern-Fried Fear by Ronald Kelly
This book is so much fun from cover to cover!
First off, the cover art by Alex McVey sets the tone. Formatted like the cover of a magazine, that theme continues on at the back of the book, where there are two pages of ads that reference things from the stories! There are things like cabin rentals that were seen in A Scream in the Night, the perfume from Forget Me Not, and much more! What a super fun element to add in!
I also really loved that right before the table of contents, we meet the old storyteller as he introduces the stories! This reminds me of Creepshow and how The Creep introduces things, and I’m SO here for it!
Then we get to the tales! But before each story, there is wonderful interior artwork created by Ronald Kelly. This one of the woman in the corn field was my favorite!
Per usual, here are my notes on each tale!
After learning of an urban legend based on real events, this couple decides visiting the location where a horrible woman used to live would be a great family outing. Things are going well until they discover three doors. They each pick one and from there the terror kicks in!
This was such a fun tale. Not knowing what would greet each character behind those doors was nerve wracking!
While this town prepares for the anniversary of a mining accident, some are afraid, but some actually look forward to it. Will this be like the ten year anniversary?
This is a quiet little tale filled with heartbreak. These poor families. I don’t know what’s worse, having to go through the original trauma or having to relive it every ten years.
Forever Angels –
After a mean prank pulled by her classmates, this child is haunted by things that her parents are convinced are nightmares.
What a sad and haunting tale! If only the family had listened to the girl!
A Scream in the Night –
When a man just wants to get away, he rents a cabin that he soon learns is haunted by the previous owners. When he learns why, he’s determined to find a way to help.
Another tale with an element of heartbreaking terror. I loved that this one also has awesome haunting elements!
The Peddler’s Journey –
On Christmas Eve, these two boys beg for their grandfather to tell them a tale. Even though they hear it every year, they can’t get enough! But this year, there’s something extra special!
I love this one so much! The ending is wonderful.
Forget Me Not –
When a serial killer ends up in jail, he thinks he’s got it made with a bed and three meals a day. But his last victim isn’t done with him yet.
My goodness that ending was so perfect! I love the path this story took!
Sawmill Road –
When two men meet up, they reminisce about something that had happened when they were kids; three boys headed to the site of a local legend, expecting the old sawmill to be super creepy. Just when they say it’s not too bad, the terror sets in.
This one had some glorious body horror! What a tragic and haunting tale.
Black Harvest –
When a young man finds a red ear of corn, tradition says he gets to kiss the prettiest girl at the dance later. When he spots the one, he ends up getting much more than just a kiss!
I had read this one previously in another collection. It was even more eerie the second time around!
Cumberland Furnace –
Growing up hearing ghost stories from the horrible history of an iron foundry, this man doesn’t believe all of the stories. But one day, when he gets too close to the old foundry, that changes.
The brutal abuse the poor workers had gone through will break your heart. This one covers a wide range of emotion in a short story!
My Favorite Passages from Haunt of Southern-Fried Fear
The very thought brought back childhood fears she was certain she had left behind long ago.
The candle dispelled the uncertainty of the darkness… but, unfortunately, not the uncertainty of the unknown.
It was a cold, clear night. The sky was a velvet canvas scattered with stars, with no clouds to speak of. It was frigid at that hour – thirty degrees or lower, and his breath drifted in a frosty mist from his nostrils.
When I was seven or eight, they just seemed like ghost stories to me: tales that kept you up at night, but whose impact faded with the light of day. Now I am not so sure.
My Final Thoughts on Haunt of Southern-Fried Fear
I had a blast with this one! Most of the stories were new to me, but a couple I had read before.
As I typically promote snagging a copy… I do need to point out that this one is unfortunately from a publisher that is no longer around. If you would like a copy, check out Ronald Kelly’s Twitter page to see if he is still promoting selling any that he had on hand. Outside of that, you can try thrifting. When this one finds a new home, I will be grabbing a copy for sure!
Thanks for reading!
And major shout-out to Ron Kelly for allowing me to snag a copy directly from him in order to get one of his famous doodles!
I cannot wait to snag book two, which will be out from Crossroads Press later this year!