Review: “The Kraken” by Michael Kelly

2 of 5 stars.

This very short tale has a gem of a horror vignette embedded into an unconvincing frame story.

The Kraken, scaly and oozing slime, was on the kitchen counter. It pulsed and moved across the Formica and eased itself onto the bottom of the food-encrusted stainless steel sink.

The Kraken, by tradition and definition, is an over-sized cephalopod related to the squid and the octopus that menaced the Vikings and, later, Jack Sparrow. While the next lines make reference to the tentacles of the beast, this opening contradicts the basics twice: first by making him pint-sized, and secondly by giving him scales. This is disappointing.

The inner tale doesn’t disappoint. The narrator and his buddy Kenny waste many a day and night doing recreational drugs and acting recklessly. This includes an evening on shrooms in which they broke into a lake-side marina and “borrowed” a boat. Eventually, the drug-high crashes and they find themselves bobbing on the yacht and nauseated. The dysphoria and psychologically-compromised situation turns into a horror show when Kenny vomits over the side of the boat. Before he can get his bearings, a large tentacle snatches Kenny and pulls him under . . .

This tale is included in Creatures: Thirty Years of Monsters edited by John Langan and Paul Tremblay after first appearing in The Second Humdrumming Book of Horror Stories.
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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