Review of Orrin Grey, “The Granfalloon”, The Best Horror of the Year Volume Ten, edited by Ellen Datlow (Night Shade Books, 2018): 315—326. Purchase Here. Originally published in Darker Companions: Celebrating 50 Years of Ramsey Campbell, edited by Scott David Aniolowski and Joseph S. Pulver Sr. (PS Publishing). Purchase Here. Reviewed by Rob Francis
Nice, simple story that is interesting and satisfying, even if it does peter out a bit at the end. Madeline (Mads) is an expert in occult spaces (and places) who has been invited to contribute a lecture to her old colleague Constance’s college classes. Mads had an affair with Constance when they were both young(er) and has since developed a drinking problem, complicating the situation. When Constance takes some of her students (and an erotically-charged Mads) on an extra-curricular fieldtrip to an old movie theatre (The Granfalloon), whose oddball owner disappeared years before, things get weird.
The story is thought-provoking and atmospheric, and I wish it were a bit longer — the exploration of the theatre is great and although the story effectively reflects on how we may be corrupted by the (various) media around us and our constant need for meaning and answers (and hence become part of granfalloons I suppose), I felt the story would have been served by a more visceral and less reflective end.