Collected Easter Horror Shorts review by: Mandy Tyra

SWEET! Another winning holiday horror collection put together by Kevin J. Kennedy.
We got 22 stories (over 400 pages!) of pure frightening Easter enlightenment. Helpful coping tips included.
It really is kind of an odd religious based holiday of bunny and egg worship but these freaky tails will help you double tap into that sinister Easter spirit.
** I’m not the least little bit religious so there may be a fair smidge of fun natured blasphemy in this review. I ain’t sorry, I shan’t repent. 😛

With a foreword by Nev Murray, the head honcho reviewer extraordinaire at Confessions of a Reviewer, I agreed with him in his Christmas Collection foreword and I tend to agree with him regarding Easter as well. The chocolate IS the best and maybe even only good part.
Organized religion; bad. Extended family get togethers; very bad. Bunnies; just so damn evil.
“Bunnies aren’t just cute like everybody supposes, they got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses, and what’s with all the carrots? What do they need such good eyesight for anywaaay? Bunnies, Bunnies, it must be BUNNIES!” ~ The musical stylings and deep musings of Anya from BtVS.
I’ve always wanted to be able to use that, ya know, with relevance. Revelant!

Cadbury eggs are my weakness and I only let myself indulge in them just the one day (not on Easter but the day they hit the shelves), they are like Lays though, can’t eat just one…ooor half a dozen. Lol

For those that know me, you know my OCD compels to me to talk about each and every story, in order. Although it can be somewhat exhausting to read (yea, I’ve been told), it’s relatively painless.
I’ll try my damndest not to get off topic, too much, from this point on.
As incentive, I may have a Cadbury egg in store for you at the end. 😉
So buckle up ~ breeze through or bail out (I take no offence) and let’s hop to it!!

Lamb to Slaughter ~ Amy Cross 22pgs
Poor Oline, she drew the short end of the stick just by being the girl in the family. Every 11th Easter, the eldest daughter has a task to follow through with for the protection and betterment of the family. Old world superstitions in a new world setting, family values at a priceless cost. Is it worth it…
Great story with a mysterious and tense build up and just when you think it would be over, it has one of those ‘final scenes’ after the credits.
Also check out B&B by Amy Cross, it’s a perfect mix of Time crimes and Triangle. Fab writer!

Sonnes Hill ~ Lex H. Jones 39pgs
Brenden and Milo move to a very nice house in the suburbs, such a great neighborhood. They are especially impressed with those neighbors who are accepting of them, it’s a bigot free community. But when one of them falls ill, it sends the other one on a neighborly excursion to an ancient secret kept deep in the marshes.
Strong Pet Sematary vibe with this one, loved it, eerie and unpredictable. Theism in full bloom.
The intro really gets you, it’s such a treat when the first paragraph is from the 2nd half, then we get to find out what the hell happened to lead us to that sharp and jagged point.

Easter Eggs ~ Latashia Figueroa 30pgs
Brian loves his mom, can’t stand his mom’s live in loser of an abusive boyfriend, Pete. Sad and frustrated when Pete throws a wrench in their Easter plans, at least he has his neighbor best friend Mr. Eldridge to turn to. He’s an old war vet who treats Brian like a buddy, helps look after the family too. He’s collected some Easter keepsakes in his basement and has learned a few things in his world travels. Brian is eager to be taught.
Loved this kid and Mr. Eldridge, add in his sweet mom and the abusive boyfriend, made this a riveting little tale.
From Latashia’s bio, it said her stories are “psychological thrillers with a dash of horror.” YEP, nailed that and Pet Sematary was also my first Stephen King book, you always remember your first King.

The Rebirth ~ Mark Cassell 20pgs
Tracey is full of gusto as a new elementary school teacher, has an Easter egg contest planned for her kiddos that does not go exactly as planned when she brings the mysterious wooden egg that she came across…errr that came across her, the night before. It looks innocent enough and the kids are bound to like it. It’s otherworldly and bound is quite apt.
This one was a creepy little thrill ride, you don’t know what the hell is going on only that it is wild and crazy. And gross. And smelly.

Baby Blues ~ Briana Robertson 26pgs
Roxanne, stay at home mother of two, utterly exhausted and frustrated. She’s lucky enough to have an amazing and supportive husband but he is quite busy, being a doctor and all. It’s Easter which means she’ll have to further suppress her mental fatigue in order to make it a fun and memorable holiday.
You can tell this author has kids because she captured all the subtle little irritating nuances and mommy moods very very well. How within the same thought we go from ‘Awwww so cute!’ to ‘uuughhh go away…’. Resonates with realism.
I felt deeply for this mother and saw a lot of myself in there, well…until the end, I related up until that point.
So damn powerful, extremely well written, I want MORE from this impressive writer.
I LOVED this! Single mom with a litter of 3, believe me ~ I related.

Mia’s Easter Basket ~ Mark Lukens 9pgs
Mia is the mom but she’s the one who gets a specialty Easter basket delivered to her doorstep every year for the last 4 years, without fail. Because 5 years ago this day, is when her life changed, forever and…for the better
No cute little edible bunnies or sweet poetry in her baskets though.
A fine and dandy little freaky tale, I really liked the angle. Is it good, is it bad, is it wrong…
So many moral variables. Personally, I find it G R E A T.

He Has Risen ~ C.S. Anderson 8pgs
Norman should have had the willpower and good sense to lay off the sauce when on guard duty for the Easter celebration. Even in a zombie apocalypse, the survivors try to maintain a bit of normalcy and tradition, especially for the little ones. Now it’s ruined, all ruined and Norman finds himself sobering up handcuffed to a corpse. Uhh not good. You gotta hate drunks though, always crashing the party. The AA program is a Crown Royal bitch in this compound!
Ohhhh Easter and zombies compliment each other so well, especially on the rocks with a lime wedge.

The Echoes of the Bunny-Man ~ Steven Stacy 34pgs
A supernatural tale about a teen named Kirby and her ever diminishing group of friends. Within the last year, over 20 teens have committed suicide in their little town, her sister included. Plagued by strange dreams and terrifying visions, she searches for answers, far too many questions though…
Read like a teen scream blockbuster on par with Final Destination and Forget Me Not (underrated little gem). Such a blast to read which took a more heartbreaking turn after I read Steven Stacy’s bio. Oh my god…this is loosely based on a true story about a horribly unbelievable mass tragedy in his past. So so sad and what fantastic storytelling, I’m sure it was therapeutic on some level.

Killer Jelly Beans From Outer Space ~ James Matthew Byers 8pgs
WOW, I was blown away by this short story length of a poem. Disturbing in a darkly humorous way. Candy is bad for you on so many levels. Borrowing from the title of one of my favorite campy 80’s movies, these jelly beans are staging a rebellion for all jelly kind.

Rotten Eggs ~ Jeff Strand 11pgs
Nicki and Brett, a couple little kids enjoying their Easter surprises, gorging on candy when their big sister Rhonda chimes in, always with her relentless teasing. Her razing gets a bit beyond cruel when she stages their Easter egg hunt. You gotta be careful with mercilessly teasing kids, they take everything so literal. Rhonda’s the one due for the surprise egg.
I love Jeff Strand’s writing style, if you like a thick and meaty slice of hilarity with your horror, read Benjamin’s Parasite!

A Town Called Easter ~ Kevin J. Kennedy 17pgs
It’s an invasion of Easter proportions!! Another roller coaster ride of a story involving a secret lab, an old cave, a compound, an ancient fertile rabbit, a warren gone wild, zombie kits, a town under siege, and a love story.
Our patriarch of this eggcellent (sorry) collection and a damn fine author to boot. I first came across him in The Tale of Sawney Bean, dramatic and disturbing. The book, not the writer… although I’ve heard rumors…

Lord of the Dance ~ J.C. Michaels 12pgs
We meet a man in a seemingly dire predicament, oh but don’t worry about him, turns out he’s quite used to it. Every Easter for many maaany years, until he performs his duties. Is he a sinner or a saint? Is it sacramental stigmata….sacrilege?? He’s lived to embody it all. For this one we flash waaaay back, circa crucifixion era. I really liked thinking on this one. A theological Easter tale for the ages.
J.C. has a book coming out with Kevin soon called You Only Get One Shot, about writers who square off with their best written words. A lot is at stake in this cut throat comp.

Easter Gunny ~ Peter Oliver Wonder 10pgs
Gunny only wanted to be accepted as part of the family, an equal. He’s not having a very swell Easter, in trouble again but he doesn’t understand why, he never understands why. He’s getting fed up though. VERY entertaining short told through a very unique point of view. And with a happy ending, kind of…
Hilarious author bio too, Peter’s bio would make for an awesome (ummm quasi-fiction….) book.

It’s Not All About Bunnies and Chocolate ~ Veronica Smith 11pgs
Be careful when it comes to those coveted trendy toys and time sensitive special offers via Facebook. Jean likes to be able to spoil her daughter when she can, it’s just the two of them though and times are rough. Missing out on the Hatch-a-Pet for X-mas, she gets another chance to wooo her little girl when seeing an overstock ad for the popular high demand toy. Her daughter is gonna be ecstatic! Or maybe a feeling more so verging on traumatic…
Either way it’s sure to be a memorable Easter.
Brutal. So brutal. So fun!!

Last Supper ~ Suzanne Fox 21pgs
Jude is pretty much an ass of a husband, he and his sweet-natured wife Mary are headed off a day early to go spend the holiday weekend with their long time friends who moved outside city limits. He’s annoyed having to miss a day of work but Jez was insistent. At least there is good food and strong drink but something isn’t quite right in suburbia. Jez is acting weird, something’s off but the feast is delish even if the spicy secrets are a tad bit salty.
Well written savory little dish served cold.

Bunny and Clyde ~ Lisa Vasquez 11pgs
Dark and harrowing, so emotional. What mom wouldn’t be a nervous wreck after losing a child? A mother grieving and a big brother haunted by happier Easters. He wants his mom to be herself again and for his dead sister to stop trying to play with him.
When you reach the end of this you will gasp and exhale at the same time!
I’ve heard so many amazing things about Lisa Vasquez and I’ve read a few of her shorts and I think she’s a fantastic writer chalked full of originality.

Magic Awaits ~ Christopher Motz
12-year-old Steven is too old for all this Easter stuff but his parents drop him off at his dad’s boss’s house for the big celebration anyway. It’s important to the old guy, and for his dad’s job. His lousy time turns annoying then veers headfirst into bizarre with the introduction of a 6ft bunny in a dirty costume who defies physics.
Horrific yet whimsical, really fun and unique story.

An Easter Prayer ~ Weston Kincade and David Chrisley 23pgs
Another story with a very unusual narrative. You know those claw machine games, put your money or tokens in and try to grab a toy? Well do you ever think about how traumatic it would be for the objects trapped inside to see a giant metal hand piercing down towards them??
NO, course not, you’re selfish. It’s not all fun and games at this Easter festival but there will be a few surprises.
This was bizarro brilliance, reminded me of a really demented Toy Story revolt.

Trying to Write a Horror Story ~ Andrew Lennon 11pgs
It’s a disturbing autobiographical story, ala diary type exercise for the procrastinating writer. Andrew is trying to stay on top of his writing so he hangs back from the family Easter getaway this year, peace and quiet he should be able to get all caught up. His #1 fan Becky Narron (my governess/enslaver at Roadie Notes!!) has some inspirational words and motivational tools for him, it’s for his own good.
I guess you could call this one another unusual pov, maybe the weirdest one yet!
HAHAHA Oh Lennon, you’re a hoot!!! Ya, Becky told me the real story…
And now I want a story, I can be very inspiring too.

Hatch ~ Christina Bergling 25pgs
Jeremy brings home the ugliest egg he found on his way home from school, his mom finds it repulsive but he’s enamored with the vile thing. It’s so beautiful, he pampers and coddles it in a makeshift nest by his bed. He swears he saw it move, can feel it pulse. Restless nights followed by disconnected days, it seems they are both going through some changes.
Great story with a perfect build up to a descriptive and disturbing climax. Can also be read as a loose allegory for puberty…

Sulphur ~ Mark Fleming 10pgs
A drunken belligerent man, annoyed at getting woken from his stupor by the neighbor girl, what the hell is she doing smashing Easter eggs all over?? Ohh the smell. Fumbling and slurring his way into a combative mission to find more booze aaand shut that brat up, he blackout stumbles into a bit of self reflect recollect recon instead. Ohhh that smell….
WOW, talk about a powerful puzzle of a story with a jaw dropping ending in only about 10 pages. Impressive!

Paying it Forward ~ Jeff Menapace 13pgs
Cute young couple in love enjoying a Chinese dinner on Good Friday. Being inspired by her fortune, Julie decides to do the whole Pay it Forward gesture simply by anonymously picking up the check for a lonely looking guy dining alone. Pay it forward? Well, some people you’d be better off deficit’n backwards…slowly.
A goodwill cautionary tale of deranged religious fanaticism.
Read the Bad Games trilogy from this unbelievably amazing author!!

My pick for top 3 would be:
Sonnes Hill
The Rebirth
Baby Blues
The Echoes of the Bunny Man
A Town called Easter
Easter Gunny
Lord of the Dance
Bunny and Clyde
Trying to Write a Horror Story
Sulfur
Top 3…x3, with a remainder of 1. Simple math really…

So yea…Easter, while not nearly as pricey and gouging as X-mas, it’s still a lot of hare raising hoopla to jump through and pull off for the kiddos. It is fun though, I have to admit. I’m not completely dead inside, faint heartbeat does count.
Ok but I do have one question; how come Christmas has the nativity scene laid out all over from lifesize display to fireplace mantle set piece but Easter does not have a… crucifixion/resurrection scene spread lay out??? Wouldn’t that be sticking with the true faith of it all?? Hmmm… :/
Oh well, bring on the yummy chocolate and evil bunnies, we’re pepped and prepped!

Oh man, that was quite a bit longer than I intended but I did trim it up a touch if that counts for anything.
And ummm…sorry for the two of you that made it through, as I’m sure you guessed the Cadbury offer was a fib. Yea, I have none left. Suckers!! 😛

Mr. Kennedy, he’s great with these holiday themed anthos, can’t wait till….uhhh Mother’s Day, EH?? Horrific homage style, that’d be a retributive sweet treat. Come on Kevin, do it, DO IT!! 😀

You can buy the book here:

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