Midnight In The Pentagram Edited by Kenneth W. Cain
In the largest collection I have read in recently, I bring to you Midnight in the Pentagram, Edited by Kenneth W. Cain from Silver Shamrock Publishing. This is just such an awesome anthology, with every story based around the occult.
Satan, Devil worshipers, witchcraft, exorcisms, demons, soul-selling, weird religion, and more fill these 490 pages while summoning your darkest fears. This is a work that belongs on every horror-lovers bookshelf and is worth the time and read.
There are 33 stories in this collection, but here I will discuss the ones that have stuck with me the most.
Opening the Door by Kenneth McKinley – Two college kids who have a lucrative side hustle going into homes seized by banks for whatever reason, and cleaning out the belongings. They then sell the most valuable finds to auctions and collectors. On this recent job, the two friends find they have stumbled upon the home, and belongings of someone very important. After some digging they find a treasure trove of some belongings with the name A. Crowley on them. You would be correct, these are satanic! Next they find a set of rare records, which play some mesmerizing chanting, and that is when the real trouble begins. I really enjoyed the way this story played out from beginning to end. It was quickly paced, had enjoyable characters, and truly catastrophic ending. I would’ve enjoyed a novel out of the premise of his one.
Legion Cast Forth By Robert Ford – A man with a pig farm is in the business of exorcisms, with The Vatican. When he grows tired of the unfair pay, he decides to take matters into his own hands, which never ends well in stories like this. I thought this was a really unique take on the classic exorcism/possession stories. I can’t reveal to many plot points because I think it would ruin the premise, but it took me a while to figure out exactly what was taking place here, and once I did I was very spooked! Plus bonus points for having a main character named Cletus!
My Body by Wesley Southard – A new French restaurant opens in a small town in Indiana. The residents of the town can’t get enough, and soon a food critic for the local newspaper is hooked too. The Devil sure is delicious. This story was an interesting deviation from the rest of the collection so far in this work. Again, I wasn’t sure where this story was leading, but it was very well planned and the ending was executed nicely.
A Night Above by John Quick – This is a story about a demon summoned from hell to grant a group of girls at a sleepover anything they command of him. This demon is out to teach some life lessons, however, there is always a catch. This was a humorous a quick story, that I enjoyed from the first line to the last. Just when you think this demon might not be so bad, the ending reminds you that he is still a spawn of the Devil.
Brujeria by Michael Patrick Hicks – An actor and his girlfriend gather at his more successful, A-list director friend’s mansion in Los Angeles for a dinner and movie watch party. The movie they are viewing is a long lost feature called Brujeria, in which the director wanted to capture the Devil on film. He also used real witches for the film. The legend is that the film is cursed, and these Hollywood actors are about to find out the truth of that legend. I thought this story was intriguing, because I’m sure that I’m not alone in finding cursed movies interesting. Films like The Omen, Poltergeist, The Twilight Zone, and The Exorcist all have the stigma of being cursed, and I found this was an interesting topic to read about here in Brujeria.
Express by Edward M. Erdelac – A man who works the front desk at a large office building sees many people going to a corporate office, I think real estate developers, but none as strange as Dr. Kind, who owns and operates a mystic bookstore. He’s had enough of the raised rent and has come to raise hell with the big men on top. This story was different for me because it involved some different elements; wealthy businesses vs. the working man. A nice, and Lovecraftian take. Very original.
Witches’ Night by Owl Goingback – On April 30th, 1974, The Exorcist is all the rage, and a group of friends are about to practice a little witchcraft on their own. I won’t reveal more of this story, as I imagine it is a common favorite. I will definitely be reading more work by Owl Goingback.
Again, thank you to Silver Shamrock Publishing for this amazing anthology. They previously had published Midnight in the Graveyard, which is a collection of stories about ghosts, spirits, and haunts. They will be open for submissions for their next anthology Midnight Beyond the Stars, where all the stories will be alien themed horror, April 1st – April 31st 2021. I’m so excited for it!
The Weevil Dead