Stainless Steel Sarcophagus: Tales Of Lovecraftian Fantasy & Horror

by Mark McLaughlin, Michael Sheehan Jr.

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Stainless Steel Sarcophagus is about a strange mirror with a mind of its own that rolls around in a store, showing people’s reflections as undead versions of themselves. It manages to be amusing, and I prefer this sort of humor compared to the silly/goofy stuff that comes later.

The Dollmaker’s Vengeance was okay, but I really wasn’t too involved with the character’s revenge plot seeing as it’s just a small snippet of a story leaving just the creepiness of living dolls that bite and such. Dreamland stories with these kinds of characters don’t always work for me.

Queen Of the Vultures is another dreamland story and again showcases the humor in the first one that I like since it’s more restrained and not being forced like the upcoming stories. A wizard of sorts seeks a vulture goddess that eats the undead.

House of the Ocelot brings yet another dreamland story. A man becomes interested in a strange house, and after bringing a robed person outside of it cookies and latte is allowed in. Inside he finds cat people who eventually take him to Ulthar. Another one I enjoyed, and cats are the best, well ahem, most of them…

Oh boy, here we go. The next two just aren’t so great, Unspeakable and Spawn of The Rancid Deepnessess… Full of the silly stuff that’s beyond forced I warned of earlier, I appreciate the imagination and all but no, just no.

The final story, Inside-Outsider, almost ends up the same as the last two, but thankfully it becomes a body horror that just barely manages to work somehow. Not quite sure how multiple people know what elephant testicles look like but hey. The story gets grosser and weirder as it goes on and just dares you to finish.

I’d say the short collection is worth a read, and I’m sure others like the silly stuff in those two stories better than I. The writing is never bad, and I enjoyed myself well enough despite the things I didn’t like.

*** Three out of Five Stars (Average)

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