Nightmares and Dreamscapes joins Night Shift and Skeleton Crew in a number of published collections of Stephen King’s short works. While not as memorable as the former two, Nightmares and Dreamscapes still offers fans of both King and the horror genre in general something to chew on.
While Nightmares and Dreamscapes pales in comparison to King’s other collections, it also offers selections well versed in what King does best: gore tinged horror and the waking of the dead. King does take chances within the collection and whether readers come away from the collection feeling cold or warm, they will probably at least admire his audacity throughout some of the tales.
One such tale in the collection is You Know They’ve Got a Hell of a Band. In the story, a couple ventures into a seemingly charming little town on a road trip by the name of Rock and Roll Heaven. What they encounter there are the undead remnants of such popular musicians as Janis Joplin, Buddy Holly and Jim Morrison. The town’s mayor, Elvis, soon informs the couple that they will be required to become a permanent resident of the town and will be forced to attend the constant concerts of the town’s elite musician population. It’s an audacious story and, as such, it will either endear readers or revolt them. However, the story is so amusing and original that many readers might find it hard to feel hatred toward the execution.
It is, however, The House on Maple Street that will most likely strike a chord with most readers. The story of a group of children, oppressed by an abusive and cruel stepfather, find a way to rid themselves of the tyrannical authority figure who sets about making both their lives and the life of their mother a living hell on earth. Tinged with strokes of science fiction and touching on one of the concepts that King handles best – the strong ties that are formed in childhood – this is a beautiful and amazing tale that might just be the best within the collection.
Nightmares and Dreamscapes will, at the very least, entertain many readers. Some stories will, however, lose the readers attention. But there are good stories to be found within the collection and deserve at least one read.