Happy Halloween 2017 from The Doors Examiner! If you’re in the mood for some creepy stories combined with classic literature and humor, we’d suggest “Classics Mutilated.” “Quoth the Rock Star” features Jim Morrison meeting The Raven from the famous Edgar Allan Poe poem, no doubt inspired by Jim’s verse from “A Feast of Friends.”
“Classics Mutilated” is an anthology of 13 short stories that takes some literary classics and mashes them up with a twist of horror, crossing genres, characters, and the lines between them.
“Mutilated” is kind of a misnomer for these stories, as there’s nothing mutilated or even stitched together about them. They’re more a fusion of genres that enhances the originals. Like alternate histories in writing, for a good mashup you have to have a good command of the material, balanced with a respect for the original while maintaining a sense of the irreverent about it. Hopefully, the new story, besides being entertaining, will also provide a better understanding or insight into the original. These stories do that, and they’re also well written.
Some of the standout stories for me were:
“Death Stopped for Miss Dickinson” takes the literary assessment of Emily Dickinson courting death in her poetry from the figurative into the literal. Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes a story that takes the fine lacy poetics of Dickinson and creates a story worthy of Dickinson.
“Quoth The Rock Star” has Jim Morrison entering the world of Edgar Allan Poe and “The Raven” as they battle it out for possession of a soul. The author of “Quoth,” Rio Youers, writes one of the best descriptions of a Doors concert I’ve ever read. Youers interlaces Morrison’s lyrics into the prose to create effect, tone and even real power in using Morrison’s motifs and imagery. His telling of the story will give Doors fans a rush of recognition.
In “From Hell’s Heart” Nancy Collins has Captain Ahab from Moby-Dick fused with H.P. Lovecraft. I was never a big fan of Lovecraft when he was big in the mid-’70s because he always backed away from describing the horror, but Nancy Collins takes that extra step and describes Lovecraft’s indescribable.
“Frankenbilly” is a western homage to the B-movie. It meshes “Frankenstein” with the ’60s classic “Billy the Kid Versus Dracula,” successfully serving the flavor of a western and a B-movie without degenerating into B-grade writing.
For rock fans that want to continue in the vein of “Quoth The Rock Star,” Mark Morris’ “Vicious” has Sid Vicious on tour in the U.S. meeting up with a Voodoo priestess or two. Morris definitely maintains Vicious’ attitude and outlook towards life.
“Twilight of the Gods” has Norse mythology going to high school and meeting the 90210 world. An apt tongue in cheek look at the likes of Freya, Odin, and Thor.
The H.G. Wells story “The Island of Dr. Moreau” never seemed to work in concept either in Wells’ work or in the movies. But in “The Happiest Hell on Earth,” John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow have Moreau working much better when he meets up with a Walt Disneyesque Hollywood impresario.
In “Classics Mutilated” there is a quotient of fun in the stories, a joie de vivre in the writing, that you can even see in titles like “Anne-Droid of Green Gables.” ““Classics Mutilated” is a good read for anyone who likes literature and/or horror and is looking for a little different perspective on either. It’ll bring back fond memories and may even send you back to the originals.
Originally published January 24, 2011.