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Tales from the Crust: An Anthology of Pizza Horror

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The toppings: Terror and torment. The crust: Stuffed with dread and despair. And the sauce: Well, the sauce is always red. Whether you’re in the mood for a Chicago-style deep dish of darkness, or prefer a New York wide slice of thin-crusted carnage, or if you just have a hankering for the cheap, cheesy charms of cardboard-crusted, delivered-to-your-door devilry; we have just The toppings: Terror and torment. The crust: Stuffed with dread and despair. And the sauce: Well, the sauce is always red. Whether you’re in the mood for a Chicago-style deep dish of darkness, or prefer a New York wide slice of thin-crusted carnage, or if you just have a hankering for the cheap, cheesy charms of cardboard-crusted, delivered-to-your-door devilry; we have just the slice for you. Bring your most monstrous of appetites, because we’re serving suspense and horrors both chillingly cosmic and morbidly mundane from acclaimed horror authors such as Brian Evenson, Jessica McHugh, and Cody Goodfellow, as well as up-and-coming literary threats like Craig Wallwork, Sheri White, and Tony McMillen. Tales From the Crust, stories you can devour in thirty minutes or less or the next one’s free. Whatever that means.


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The toppings: Terror and torment. The crust: Stuffed with dread and despair. And the sauce: Well, the sauce is always red. Whether you’re in the mood for a Chicago-style deep dish of darkness, or prefer a New York wide slice of thin-crusted carnage, or if you just have a hankering for the cheap, cheesy charms of cardboard-crusted, delivered-to-your-door devilry; we have just The toppings: Terror and torment. The crust: Stuffed with dread and despair. And the sauce: Well, the sauce is always red. Whether you’re in the mood for a Chicago-style deep dish of darkness, or prefer a New York wide slice of thin-crusted carnage, or if you just have a hankering for the cheap, cheesy charms of cardboard-crusted, delivered-to-your-door devilry; we have just the slice for you. Bring your most monstrous of appetites, because we’re serving suspense and horrors both chillingly cosmic and morbidly mundane from acclaimed horror authors such as Brian Evenson, Jessica McHugh, and Cody Goodfellow, as well as up-and-coming literary threats like Craig Wallwork, Sheri White, and Tony McMillen. Tales From the Crust, stories you can devour in thirty minutes or less or the next one’s free. Whatever that means.

52 review for Tales from the Crust: An Anthology of Pizza Horror

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael Hicks

    Pizza horror. There’s a subgenre I bet you didn’t know existed! And maybe it didn’t, not until David James Keaton and Max Booth III willed it into being with their collaboration in editing the twenty-six stories, plus and intro and afterword that take a deep dive into their own realms of pizza horror, for Tales from the Crust. Either way, pizza horror is a thing now — the genie is out of the bottle and can’t be put back, to the point that several other magazines and anthologies open for submissi Pizza horror. There’s a subgenre I bet you didn’t know existed! And maybe it didn’t, not until David James Keaton and Max Booth III willed it into being with their collaboration in editing the twenty-six stories, plus and intro and afterword that take a deep dive into their own realms of pizza horror, for Tales from the Crust. Either way, pizza horror is a thing now — the genie is out of the bottle and can’t be put back, to the point that several other magazines and anthologies open for submission have, hilariously, had to make note that they are not accepting pizza horror stories. One might reasonably wonder just how much variety there could be in such a singularly defined subgenre, but Tales from the Crust has a surprising amount of elasticity to it. Granted, the idea itself is a bit cheesy, but there’s also plenty of meat on these stories (hey, see what I did there?!). We get stories about a delivery boy stalking a favorite customer, a couple of eerie cults, some cosmic horror, a frat boy hazing gone awry, a creature feature, a post-apocalyptic narrative, and even a horror riff on the old porno staple of a woman answering the door naked and needing a bit more sausage than her pizza pie can provide. Some of these stories are tasty little Totino’s pizza roll-sized offerings, while others offer up a hearty California Pizza Kitchen-style variety. Keaton, co-editor and brainchild behind this deep dish anthology, and Steve Gillies get the ball rolling right off the bat in their brief introduction. If you’re not the type to read a book’s introduction, well, first of all, shame on you! You can make up for that bad habit here, because you absolutely have to read this introduction in order to understand the flavor of this anthology and prepare yourself for what’s to come. It’s a really funny intro, with Keaton talking about everything from how awful pizza in California is to all the crap he and Booth had to deal with during their submissions period. It’s funny stuff! …until it isn’t. The humor stops when Keaton shares a letter he received from Steve Gillies and it gets very, very creepy... If you want to know what, exactly, pizza horror can be, you have to read this intro. It is hands-down the best introduction I’ve ever read. Cody Goodfellow launches the antho proper in style with “The Vegan Wendigo,” and Jessica McHugh delivers a fun one about a frat boy hazing that goes terribly, and absolutely justifiably, wrong in “When the Moon Hits Your Eye.” Craig Wallwork’s “Rosemary and Time” is an early standout, though, involving a locked room mystery, a hired killer, the secrets hidden in a homemade pizza pie, and physics. How have I not heard of Wallwork and what the hell else has he written, cause I need more! This is an awesome introduction to his work and the type of story that instantly put him on my watch list. If you at all found yourself craving a pizza during your own reading of Tales from the Crust, Michael Paul Gonzalez is likely to strangle that urge to death in the womb. His story, “Upper Crust,” is, hands-down, the most repulsive and disgusting story in the whole of Tales from the Crust. It’s is freaking gross, and I found myself reaching for a barf bag more than once. I loved it! This one stars...well, I won’t ruin the surprise, but some readers will love it and others will protest and want to burn this book. It involves an initiate to a secret society and an unholy Edward Lee-like conglomeration of pizza recipes. Fair warning: do not read this story while you eat! As I said earlier, there’s a surprising amount of elasticity to this anthology but I have to applaud Tim Lieder and Joshua Chaplinsky in particular for delivering two of the most out-of-the-box ideas here. Lieder presents his fictional story, “Introduction to ‘Let’s Kill the Pizza Guy’: The Love Poems of Yael Friedman Concerning Hadassah Herz,” as a scholarly examination of the most popular of Yael Friedman’s creative non-fiction poems and her affair with Hadassah Herz, which saw the murder of three delivery boys. It’s a neat story with a really unique presentation, tonally reminiscent of Marisha Pessl’s Night Film and the documentarian accounts in Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves. If you liked those books, odds are you’ll dig Lieder’s work here. Chaplinsky, meanwhile, forgoes your typical narrative structure and instead serves up an actual freaking menu for the horror-inspired Cenobio Pizzeria, which serves up pies like The Kreuger and The Stuff. “Enter a new realm of culinary indulgence. We have such sights to show you.” This was a quick and creative detour away from your typical story and is a nice little palette cleanser. James Newman and Desmond Reddick deliver one heck of a romp in “30 Minutes or Less...or Else!” Delivery man Keegan tries to beat the clock on his pizza delivery only to end up kidnapped by cultists! This is a wicked bit of fun that reminded me a bit of Newman’s and Adam Howe’s Scapegoat, one of the most flat-out entertaining books I read last year. I had a lot of fun with this one, and it felt like a bit of a spiritual successor to that particular novel, so definitely a good time here. Also highly entertaining was Matthew Bartlett’s “The Black Cheese,” about a new microwavable pizza that looks and smells funny, but tastes absolutely incredible. The people who eat it are changed forever! I’ll leave it up to you read it and find out how, though. Keaton and Booth close out the anthology with their post-apocalyptic “Pizza Party Friday!” The last two men on earth are on a quest to make one last perfect pizza before they die of radiation poisoning. It’s a pretty straight-forward plot and humorous, too, but the authors do a nice job giving the story a little twist, crinkling things a bit further with their non-linear narrative structure. Good stuff! Nathan Rabin’s Afterword is absolutely not to be missed. Again, like the introduction, if you skip it you’re missing out one hell of a story. Rather than deliver a straight-forward afterword extolling the virtues of pizza cuisine and how great all these authors are, Rabin tells us about the true history of “The Violent and Ugly Death of the Noid.” Those of us who were around in the 80s will recall The Noid as Domino’s villainous mascot who tried to stop delivery drivers from getting orders delivered in thirty minutes or less. What you may not know is that the Noid was based on a real-life and very controversial pitchman who roamed the streets murdering delivery boys (and eventually delivery girls, dogs, and children). OK, so none of this actually based on a true story, but it is an interesting comic book-like what if?, and Rabin goes all in, creating a real, albeit fictitious, Noid that is equal parts The Joker and The Punisher, engaged in a war on pizza delivery drivers. It’s a brutal and hilarious story recounting the topography of one’s man rise and fall in the criminal empire of pizza delivery. If you remember the Noid from way back when and thought it needed way more Scarface, Rabin’s got you covered. Interestingly enough, there’s actually another story in Tales from the Crust partly inspired by the Noid. Rather than Avoid the Noid, Tony McMillen’s “Elude the Snood,” is actually based on a real-life event involving a mentally ill man taking a pizza shop hostage in retaliation for the chain’s advertisements, which he viewed as a personal attack on him. It’s a really interesting story, both the sad real-life incident and McMillen’s fictional account which takes things a bit further as he leans hard into the Illuminati-like conspiracy theory that leads Drederick Fitzgerald Snood to take some rather aggressive steps to halt Dicey Slice’s ad campaign. As I said earlier, Tales from the Crust has a surprising amount of elasticity, but also a fair share of originality. With nearly thirty stories, once all is said and done, there’s plenty to chew on here and a wide array of tropes to suit any particular taste. As with any anthology, I liked some stories better than others, although I don’t believe there’s any I would single out here as being bad. It’s pizza horror, man! C’mon! You know that old line about pizza being like sex? Even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty damn good. Whether you like thin crust or deep dish, there’s plenty of saucy deliciousness to consume here. Go grab a slice and dig in!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Benoit Lelièvre

    Writing pizza horror is more complicated than it seems, but this group of authors made it happen. Because there's something inherently comforting to pizza. It has a banality and an ease of access that gets it everywhere and into everyone's hands, so nobody expect their relationship to it to become estranged and alien. My favorite stories in here were Andrew Hilbert's Hitchcockian "Watch Them Eat" and Matthew Bartlett's weird and uncanny "Black Cheese", which explored aspects of pizza I hadn't eve Writing pizza horror is more complicated than it seems, but this group of authors made it happen. Because there's something inherently comforting to pizza. It has a banality and an ease of access that gets it everywhere and into everyone's hands, so nobody expect their relationship to it to become estranged and alien. My favorite stories in here were Andrew Hilbert's Hitchcockian "Watch Them Eat" and Matthew Bartlett's weird and uncanny "Black Cheese", which explored aspects of pizza I hadn't ever really considered. More on Dead End Folles in a week.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    “FROM EACH, ACCORDING TO HIS MEATZ, TO EACH, ACCORDING TO HIS CHEEZE.” When I caught wind of this collection, I immediately wanted to read it. The concept is brilliant! Who doesn’t love pizza? And who doesn’t love horror stories that have pizza in ‘em? A thick flayed, slightly burnt epidermis crust with a menstrual mucus sauce, extra fromunda cheese and blood sausage and eyeball topping. Maybe even pineapple…who knows? A very well done and eclectic collection of shorts. There’s a lot going on in “FROM EACH, ACCORDING TO HIS MEATZ, TO EACH, ACCORDING TO HIS CHEEZE.” When I caught wind of this collection, I immediately wanted to read it. The concept is brilliant! Who doesn’t love pizza? And who doesn’t love horror stories that have pizza in ‘em? A thick flayed, slightly burnt epidermis crust with a menstrual mucus sauce, extra fromunda cheese and blood sausage and eyeball topping. Maybe even pineapple…who knows? A very well done and eclectic collection of shorts. There’s a lot going on in these tales from the crust, so get ready, dig right in and grab a slice of terror.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Audra (ouija.reads)

    What two things go together than horror and pizza?? OK, I know pizza isn’t imminently horrifying, but this group of writers has set out to prove that underneath all the delicious cheese and sauce, there’s something to fear about pizza. While I love the idea, this collection was hit-or-miss for me. Some of the stories were spot on: funny, weird, uniquely horrific. But a fair amount of them were poorly written, felt unfinished, or just never snagged my interest. I felt that a stronger hand at editi What two things go together than horror and pizza?? OK, I know pizza isn’t imminently horrifying, but this group of writers has set out to prove that underneath all the delicious cheese and sauce, there’s something to fear about pizza. While I love the idea, this collection was hit-or-miss for me. Some of the stories were spot on: funny, weird, uniquely horrific. But a fair amount of them were poorly written, felt unfinished, or just never snagged my interest. I felt that a stronger hand at editing was needed for the stories in the collection to feel as though they all were carrying equal weight. Equally confusing for me was the introduction—it did not set the tone for what was to come very well and was difficult to understand. It started me off on the wrong foot and made me feel like I was missing some kind of inside joke. It was definitely fun to see what strange and crazy directions all the writers took off in to scare readers with pizza. But overall, the stories in this anthology are just OK for me. I recommend you have this book with a huge deep-dish pizza with all the toppings and for dessert, watch the incredible pizza-horror-comedy flick Satanic Panic written by horror novelist Grady Hendrix. Sounds like a perfect weekend!

  5. 4 out of 5

    David Keaton

    So you love pizza? Well I have the perfect book for you! So you hate pizza? Well I have the perfect book for you!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Booked podcast

    Hear the complete review on our website: https://bookedpodcast.podbean.com/e/4... Hear the complete review on our website: https://bookedpodcast.podbean.com/e/4...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bob Lewis

    Okay, I know what you're thinking: pizza horror? Really? That's certainly what I was thinking before I picked this up, but I have a near-obsessive love for both pizza and horror, not to mention an overactive sense of whimsy, so I figured it would be an over-the-top crazy ride full of cheesy pizza-themed horror. It certainly is that, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it's actually even more than that. If you're looking for some fun and crazy horror stories that will take you right ba Okay, I know what you're thinking: pizza horror? Really? That's certainly what I was thinking before I picked this up, but I have a near-obsessive love for both pizza and horror, not to mention an overactive sense of whimsy, so I figured it would be an over-the-top crazy ride full of cheesy pizza-themed horror. It certainly is that, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it's actually even more than that. If you're looking for some fun and crazy horror stories that will take you right back to the good old days of eating cheap pizza and watching cheesy movies from the video store, you certainly won't be disappointed. Many (though thankfully not all) of the stories are exactly what you're looking for. However, if you like a bit more depth in your literature, even you'll find something to like here, and that's what really blows me away about this anthology. Somehow these authors have come up with (and these editors have selected) a variety of stories that manages never to get stale despite their common (and admittedly offbeat) theme. The cheesy goodness of one story is perfectly balanced by the emotional or intellectual depth of another. And amazingly, they manage to pull that all off in stories about pizza. Well, mostly about pizza. That brings us to another point about what I expected from an anthology like this and how I was pleasantly surprised. Let's be honest here: there's never been a thriving sub-genre of pizza horror. My fear was that I'd end up reading a bunch of just regular old horror stories (not that there's anything wrong with that) into which the authors happened to shoehorn some reference to pizza. Tell a vampire story but make the protagonist a pizza boy, for instance, or tell a ghost story but set it in a pizzeria. Yeah, a couple of the stories do feel a bit like that, but much to my delight, the vast majority actually feel like the pizza element is an integral part of the plot. That doesn't mean they're all about horrifying pizza. Sometimes the pizza is incidental to the horror element (though certainly not always), but in most of these stories, the element of pizza genuinely feels like it adds something, if not to the horror, then to the characters or the setting or some other element of the narrative. Let's be perfectly honest, though. There are twenty-six stories here (plus an introduction and afterword that veer into the narrative category themselves). Not all of them are going to be to your liking. Certainly not all of them were to my liking. There were a few entries that really didn't do anything to me. They're balanced, however, by a couple other stories that I feel are worth the price of admission alone. It's a weird book, to be sure. But if you're the kind of person sitting on this page reading reviews for a book about pizza horror, you're probably the sort of person who really ought to buy a copy.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Webberly Rattenkraft

    Short, delectable slices of horror covering every variant of pizza horror a fevered cheese-clogged brain could conceive and some you'll wish it hadn't. Creatures, maniacs, Satanists, assholes, beasts, eldritch horrors—everybody loves pizza, though maybe a bit less after reading a couple of these tales in particular. Very Highly Ratty-Recommended Indeed, and the special edition is an aesthetic delight, fun fact. Short, delectable slices of horror covering every variant of pizza horror a fevered cheese-clogged brain could conceive and some you'll wish it hadn't. Creatures, maniacs, Satanists, assholes, beasts, eldritch horrors—everybody loves pizza, though maybe a bit less after reading a couple of these tales in particular. Very Highly Ratty-Recommended Indeed, and the special edition is an aesthetic delight, fun fact.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Joyce

    If you follow either of the co-editors on social media, or are yourself a budding short story author, you may well have seen the origin of this seemingly-absurd concept play out online. Max Booth III and Lori Michelle are no strangers to publishing anthologies consisting of a strong line-up of contributors (see 2016’s Lost Signals and 2018’s Lost Films). They are also no strangers to taking on a challenging concept. So, it came as no surprise when they announced an open call for submissions for If you follow either of the co-editors on social media, or are yourself a budding short story author, you may well have seen the origin of this seemingly-absurd concept play out online. Max Booth III and Lori Michelle are no strangers to publishing anthologies consisting of a strong line-up of contributors (see 2016’s Lost Signals and 2018’s Lost Films). They are also no strangers to taking on a challenging concept. So, it came as no surprise when they announced an open call for submissions for a new anthology, the only caveat being that the subject had to be ‘pizza horror’. To say editors Keaton and Booth’s unique concept had an effect on small press short story magazines and anthologies would be an understatement; it was suddenly not uncommon to see open calls include the statement ‘NO PIZZA STORIES!’. The real question was: could they successfully deliver an anthology containing stories exclusively about pizza? To answer the question, Keaton and Booth absolutely delivered an anthology about pizza horror. And it is an overwhelming success. There are stories of cosmic horror, body horror, action, humour, bizarro, surrealism, science-fiction, stories masquerading as non-fiction, and even a menu straight from the number one pizzeria in hell. Therein lies one of the strengths of the anthology; variety. There are so many different flavours of horror available that it will be nigh on impossible for a reader not to find something to enjoy. And the strong line-up of storytellers not only guarantees the quality of the work within, but also demonstrates the ability of the editors and publishers to appeal to the very best, even with an idea as seemingly absurd as ‘pizza horror’. Pull up a stool, grab a delicious slice of pizza horror, and enjoy the ride.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Hayla

    DNF Seven Stories in. I’m so disappointed in this book. It could have been such a fun idea. Who wouldn’t want to read pizza-themed horror stories? It brings to mind campy, low budget films like Attack of the Killer Doughnuts. What did we get instead? A gross out, puke kink collection. No. Thank. You. Unless you like reading about characters eating puke, or shitting on pizza and eating it - avoid this book! 🤮

  11. 5 out of 5

    Penelope Falkov

    fun for novelty reasons, not quality.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Robb

    Check out my podcast review: https://bookedpodcast.podbean.com/e/4... Check out my podcast review: https://bookedpodcast.podbean.com/e/4...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Cope

    This is fun. Outlandish, often demented and disgusting fun. From the starting point of pizza horror these stories head off in some very imaginative directions. I found around 10 good slices here, but even the ones that weren't quite to my taste I wouldn't describe as dull. Favourite for me is the darkly funny opener from Cody Goodfellow. (Would the book's concept work for other foods? Lasagne: no, Chips: no, Ice-cream: no (?), Sandwiches: no, Donuts: yes, Cheese: yes, Sausages: yes, Cake: yes, F This is fun. Outlandish, often demented and disgusting fun. From the starting point of pizza horror these stories head off in some very imaginative directions. I found around 10 good slices here, but even the ones that weren't quite to my taste I wouldn't describe as dull. Favourite for me is the darkly funny opener from Cody Goodfellow. (Would the book's concept work for other foods? Lasagne: no, Chips: no, Ice-cream: no (?), Sandwiches: no, Donuts: yes, Cheese: yes, Sausages: yes, Cake: yes, Fruit: ... undecided).

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sean Franco-Norris

    It is going to be a challenge to review this book. I have a love and hate relationship with the novel. I think it has too many stories in an anthology. I loved the concept of doing an anthology on pizza in the horror genre. Unfortunately, a lot of stories just fell flat for me. There were only a few of them that I enjoyed a lot. I originally was going to review it per story, but it has gotten too much for me to keep up with the review because I find myself reading it through as fast as possible It is going to be a challenge to review this book. I have a love and hate relationship with the novel. I think it has too many stories in an anthology. I loved the concept of doing an anthology on pizza in the horror genre. Unfortunately, a lot of stories just fell flat for me. There were only a few of them that I enjoyed a lot. I originally was going to review it per story, but it has gotten too much for me to keep up with the review because I find myself reading it through as fast as possible just to be done with it. The story I dislike a lot was Upper Crust. It was just flat out gross. It didn't have any horror plot. It was filled with gore. I did hope there will be more to the story, but it didn't. There were a couple of stories that I like, which were 'Pizza_Gal_666', 'When the Moon Hits Your Eye', and 'And She Answered the Door...Naked!'. I know I like other stories, but I honestly just forgot because I was ready to be done with the anthology of pizza horror. I think it'd be much better if it was shortened down to maybe 10 stories. I can imagine how hard for the editor to choose which stories should be included in the anthology. I'm glad I was given an opportunity to read the novel because it was different than what I normally read. Would I recommend it? Yes, I would. As long as you are not sensitive to the disgusting part. After all, it talks about pizza and you'll be expected someone eating the grossest toppings on the pizza. I received the book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Randall Brown

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michael Allen Rose

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ben Fitts

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sidney

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mavis 69 420 666

  20. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jason Ezra

  22. 4 out of 5

    danny

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tony McMillen

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tom Over

  25. 4 out of 5

    Megan

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ben

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ollie

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amber

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tim W.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Misty Rice

  31. 5 out of 5

    Ehrrin

  32. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  33. 4 out of 5

    The Behrg

  34. 5 out of 5

    Sonora Taylor

  35. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Robinson

  36. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Jones

  37. 4 out of 5

    Suz Jay

  38. 5 out of 5

    Izzy Lee

  39. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Clifton

  40. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  41. 4 out of 5

    Cody

  42. 5 out of 5

    Julie Bork

  43. 5 out of 5

    Matt (TeamRedmon)

  44. 4 out of 5

    Nick Kolakowski

  45. 5 out of 5

    Rikki King

  46. 5 out of 5

    Marc

  47. 5 out of 5

    The Grim Reader

  48. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Chaplinsky

  49. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Spragg

  50. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Del Duca

  51. 4 out of 5

    John Lynch

  52. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

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