A horror anthology from 1980, which lived up to but did not exceed my expectations. Apparently some other editions included additional stories, but there are the ones that were in my copy:
The Stains · Robert Aickman – Long story, good build-up, quite creepy, but I thought the ending fell flat, and didn’t live up to the promise… A man grieving the death of his wife meets a mysterious young woman in a remote rural area, while visiting his brother, a noted specialist in lichens.
City Fishing · Steve Rasnic – Hey, this is back before he became Steve Rasnic Tem! Plays off both stereotypes about rural hicks and urban ghettos in an interesting way, but was only OK.
Yare · Manly Wade Wellman – A folklorist is tricked into becoming a monster hunter.
A Room with a Vie · Tanith Lee – Loved this. Not strikingly original, but a nice riff on the haunted-hotel-room theme.
Tissue · Marc Laidlaw – eh, not for me. Again, a nice psychological buildup regarding the interdependence of families, but the end relies solely on physical grossness, which makes it a little weak, to me.
Without Rhyme or Reason · Peter Valentine Timlett – Really well-done story, with some nice twists. A young woman is placed as a housekeeper of sorts to an eccentric, wealthy older woman. But when she discovers how many women have preceded her in this position, her fears are stoked.
Love Me Tender · Bob Shaw – This was the only story in this anthology I’d previously read. A nice horror riff on insect mimicry, in a remote shack down in the swamp. There’s a similar sci-fi story out there… which I’ve read at least twice, and now I have no idea what it was. Arg. I’m asking BookSleuth now…
Kevin Malone · Gene Wolfe – Thematically similar to the Timlett piece preceding it, but with shades of Beauty and the Beast. A young couple answer an ad for employment at a manor house. When they arrive, they are given anything most people would dream of… but yet, horror ensues. Well done.
Chicken Soup · Kit Reed – A story of a mama’s boy gone bad…
The Pursuer · James Wade – A man is convinced he has a stalker. But is is true, or paranoia?
The Spot · Dennis Etchison & Mark Johnson – A horror story about the emptiness of the entertainment industry, and ambition. Creepy, but I didn’t love it.
The Gingerbread House · Cherry Wilder – A woman goes to visit her brother, who’s rented a cute cottage in Germany. All seems idyllic… but, as it turns out, the woman is anorexic, her brother’s on the lam, and the house is haunted.
.220 Swift · Karl Edward Wagner – A Lovecraft-esque story of a rural town, and the beings that lurk in the forgotten tunnels underneath…
The Fit · Ramsey Campbell – A nasty witch who tries to control people by giving them handmade clothes freaks out a young man. Well, either it’s the witch, or his forbidden but blossoming attraction to his aunt. Take your pick.
Big Wheels: A Tale of the Laundry Game – Stephen King. Huh. I usually like King’s short stories, but this has got to be the poorest offering from him that I’ve read. A couple of hicks get drunk, drive around, and ambiguous weirdness ensues. It didn’t do it for me.