Knifepoint Horror Anthology – Eight Tales of Terror
Stories by Soren Narnia adapted by V.V. Glass, Mr Picto, Chris Doherty, James Lawrence, John J. Pearson, Adam Caldwell, Charles Smith-Hopgood and MD Penman
As soon as I went down a poorly-lit street the fear came on strong. The victim hadn’t just been stabbed. The victim had been displayed.Moonkeeper
A man is temporarily homeless, just as a sadistic serial killer starts to work the streets. A nun resists the onslaught of a mysterious and unstoppable force. A ghostly presence drives a man from his home and awakens childhood terrors. A western gunfighter evades the peace of the grave.
Just some of the stories in the Knifepoint Horror Anthology. Soren Narnia is the author of these tales and first broadcast them in a podcast. Such was the impact of this hugely popular podcast that it inspired this work. The Knifepoint Horror Anthology includes adaptations of eight of his stories by a group of comic artists.
Things that are a bit off, a feeling that something doesn’t feel right. Unease. Danger. The feeling of being hunted. Anxiety, madness developing within our own minds. All aspects of horror, of the uncanny, that we might experience in our lives and which we can read in the pages of this anthology.
I’m not one for watching horror movies normally, I didn’t peek at American Werewolf in London through the living room door and I never sneakily picked up Stephen King books as a kid. Probably too feart. Coming to horror as an adult what I find works is not jump scares and definitely not torture and gore (don’t get why you would want to watch that stuff, but each to their own.) Rather, the creation of an eerie and unsettling atmosphere works for me.
Visitation – a tale of a ghostly intruder and the echoes of childhood horrors struck me the hardest. It includes the story of a hand that writes messages on a child’s foot while he lies in bed and this was probably the one that freaked me out the most. Chris Doherty is the artist and the black and white Jaime Hernandez style line art works perfectly for the story – darkened rooms with isolated figures bathed in stark white light.
Let No-One Walk Beside Her, illustrated by V.V.Glass is a different type of tale with a correspondingly different art style. A more epic and less personal horror, with grey snow-laden clouds rendered in soft pencils and staring, hungry eyes gazing out from the shadows.
Both Thrifting with art by Mr Picto and West illustrated by James Lawrence have a more cartoony style whilst still dealing with questions of death. Of course death and cartoons go together as the Roadrunner or Jerry the mouse will tell you. The juxtaposition of the art style and the decidedly unhumourous topic actually works pretty well. The tales are more bearable and give the reader a little bit of a rest before the heavier stories. Kind of a horrific palette cleanser.
None are heavier than Moonkeeper with illustration from John J. Pearson. John’s art lets us feel the cold of the streets and the fear in the eyes of the hunted; dealing with the horror of homelessness and their life falling to pieces whilst a serial killer er, chops people into pieces. Bill Sienkiewicz is the name that comes to mind when assessing John’s art – with fantastic use of shadow, panel structure and effects.
The brilliant Adam Cadwell provides the art for Trail, a Halloween tale of terror. Maybe my least favourite story (a bit too Simpsons Treehouse of Horror for my taste) with some of my most favourite art. I’ll have to check out more of Adam’s stuff soon.
Lake is a sci-fi horror tale with a Twilight Zone feel. Art is from Charlie Smith-Hopgood who succeeds in bringing a planet sized tale down to the personal level.
Where is Mother Henriette?
Why Mother Henriette was one of the first to offer herself up for the feeding
Sisters illustrated by MD Penman rounds of the book with a chronicle of an isolated nunnery (Mr Narnia seems to have a thing about nuns and snow) and the awful forces which take hold there. The halls and chambers of the building, light filtering in whilst participants in horrific rites dance naked, compelled by ravenous urges. All are memorably rendered by the artist with some of the books most monumental scenes.
The Knifepoint Horror Anthology features some wonderful art and it will appeal even to the horror-averse like myself. You might not want to read it right before bed though. Not if you are alone anyway.