In 1980 Kirby McCauley edited a groundbreaking horror fiction anthology called Dark Forces. In 1988 David J. Schow edited an anthology of horror fiction called Silver Scream. Silver Scream didn't just break ground. It tore the ground up, turned it upside down, and planted new seeds. The field was never the same.

Silver Scream is my favorite horror anthology. It is the perfect snapshot of the changes the genre was going through in the late eighties. Most of the radical new writers were heavily influenced by movies, so it was natural for a book like Silver Scream to be created.

Silver Scream contains horror stories with cinematic themes to them. The book is a virtual who's who of the biggest names of the day. No, Stephen King isn't in it, but Silver Scream represented a bold new future for horror. It didn't need him.

This anthology is full of incredible fiction. There's Joe R. Lansdale's unforgettable Night They Missed the Horror Show. My hands down favorite short story by Robert McCammon, Night Calls the Green Falcon, is there. Mick Garris, the nicest guy in the genre, ended up out-splattering the punks with A Life in the Cinema. Douglas E. Winter's Splatter: A Cautionary tale is still in my top ten favorite stories in the history of the horror field.

You've got John Skipp and Craig Spector, only they contributed separate stories. Chet Williamson, always an underrated star of the genre, appears in the book. Karl Edward Wagner's More Sinned Against smacked readers in the face. Ray Garton committed Sinema to its pages. There are two razor sharp pieces of microfiction from Richard Christian Matheson. There's F. Paul Wilson, Ramsey Campbell, and Edward Bryant. The book would be incomplete without Clive Barker, and his Son of Celluloid is included.

The classic writers are not completely left out of Silver Scream. The venerable Robert Bloch is represented with The Movie People, another huge favorite story of mine. The Movie People is more of a breezy fantasy than a horror story, but it fits into the book perfectly.

Feel like crying? David J. Schow revealed in a recent podcast that he almost got David Cronenberg to contribute a story.

Topping things off is Tobe Hooper's cinematic introduction, and Schow's witty and innovative afterword, Endsticks.

It hasn't been all that hard to find copies of Silver Scream, but with the recent fanatical interest in horror fiction, prices have become pretty expensive. Now a new edition is available from Cimarron Street Books. Cimarron seems to be the same people who were behind The Scream Factory and bare*bones magazines. They are doing some really cool stuff, like more David Schow titles, along with an affordable Best of the Scream Factory trade paperback, as well as a new incarnation of bare*bones.

Written by Mark Sieber

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