Come closer. Take off your mask. No, wait… leave it on. I’d like to see who you’re pretending to be, or who you think you are. There’ll be time enough to find out who you really are later… much later. Like when you’ve seduced me to your bed, or lured me to my death, or… but wait! You’re not planning any of those things, are you? Why, you’re just frightened; hiding behind that rubber skin for fear of being mocked or hassled; or to blend in. Well now, let’s peek at who you really are, shall we? Oh… Oh, it’s you?! But I thought–
22 short stories with one common theme; masks.
From the editor Steve Dillon:
"So, why masks? I’ve always been a lover of masks and have collected them and worn them for as long as I can recall. One of my school paintings was a self-portrait which, having completed it and deemed it too ugly, I painted a clown-mask over the top of it. Whether or not that resonates with readers of this introduction, I think it’s safe to suggest we all use masks of one sort or another, both to protect us from ourselves, as well as to prevent our detection by others, or project a different image of who we are. We hide behind them, gain strength and courage from them, deflect judgement with their use so we can ‘fit in,’ and so on. "For this anthology, I hoped for memorable, dark, frightening stories. Tales of psychological or supernatural horror with a mask of some sort that was central to the story. I’d originally thought of theatrical masks, or clowns such as Jimmy Stewart’s character Buttons in ‘The Greatest Show on Earth.’ But, of course, masks can also be devised using cosmetic surgery, whether that’s to hide behind, or for transformation, beautification or gender-identification. Masks are also used extensively in role-play, acting, disguise, and as part of a concealment by religious or traditional costume. Without offering any spoilers here, this anthology contains great examples of each of the above types of masks, and some I hadn’t even considered… enjoy!"
About the Author
Clive Barker is a bestselling horror and fantasy writer, illustrator, producer, screenwriter, and visual artist. He first came to prominence with his short story series, The Books of Blood, and his novella, The Hellbound Heart, which was the inspiration for the Hellraiser movies. Barker also wrote the storyline for the popular first-person shooter video game Clive Baker’s Jericho. Some of his popular novels include Thief of Always, The Scarlet Gospels, and Imajica.
Date of Birth:October 5, 1952
Place of Birth:Liverpool, England
Table of Contents
Presented in the book from shortest to longest, to slowly draw the reader into longer encounters with the theme of masks, culminating in the Clive Barker masterpiece novella, 'Sex, Death and Starshine.'
'The Masque of the Red Death' by Edgar Allan Poe
'Masques' by Paul Kane (a sequel to Edgar Allan Poe's classic)
'Till Death' by Gene Johnson
'All in the Family' by Jennifer Loring and Mike Thorn
'A Pet is for Life' by Geneve Flynn
'The Transfer' by Algernon Blackwood
'The Other Side' by Ramsey Campbell
'Walk a Mile in Another Man’s Face' by Mark Allan Gunnells
'Cousin Bag' by Wile E. Young
'Face Mask' by Amdi Silvestri
'The Treatment Team' by Fred McGavran
'Mouse' by Chris Mason
'Three Faces of Dr. Larson' by Lisa Alfano
'Now I Don the Mask' by Brian Asman
'Mister Pocket Pants' by Eric Dimbleby
'The Divinity of Akobi' by Brian Craddock
'L’Inconnue' by Jenna M. Pitman
'Plainfield' by Jeff C. Stevenson
'The Dwellers Within' by Stephen Herczeg
'The Curtain Rises' by Rhoads Brazos
'The Bloody Rag' by Matthew R. Davis
'Sex, Death and Starshine' by Clive Barker