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** "20th Century Ghost" contains a number of shout-outs to classic films, including a lengthy description of ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}'' that never actually mentions its name.

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** "20th Century Ghost" contains a number of shout-outs to classic films, including a lengthy description of ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}'' ''WesternAnimation/{{Fantasia}}'' that never actually mentions its name.


* BittersweetEnding: In "Pop Art," the narrator helps Art [[spoiler: commit suicide after Art is left disabled and suffering after a dog attack. The narrator is left traumatized and grief-stricken for years, and his life gets much worse.]] Eventually, however, the narrator is able to leave his abusive father and go to college on a scholarship, where he meets and falls in love with an inflatable woman- the first inflatable person he's since since Art. They marry and the narrator is finally able to find peace.

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* BittersweetEnding: In "Pop Art," the narrator helps Art [[spoiler: commit suicide after Art is left disabled and suffering after a dog attack. The narrator is left traumatized and grief-stricken for years, and his life gets much worse.]] Eventually, however, the narrator is able to leave his abusive father and go to college on a scholarship, where he meets and falls in love with an inflatable woman- the first inflatable person he's since seen since Art. They marry and the narrator is finally able to find peace.

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* BittersweetEnding: In "Pop Art," the narrator helps Art [[spoiler: commit suicide after Art is left disabled and suffering after a dog attack. The narrator is left traumatized and grief-stricken for years, and his life gets much worse.]] Eventually, however, the narrator is able to leave his abusive father and go to college on a scholarship, where he meets and falls in love with an inflatable woman- the first inflatable person he's since since Art. They marry and the narrator is finally able to find peace.


* {{Jerkass}}: The narrator's father in "Pop Art." He abuses his son and lays around all day doing nothing. When his son befriends an inflatable boy named Art, he instantly dislikes him, to the point of getting a vicious pit bull who immediately almost kills Art. When the dog ends up being poorly-trained and a hassle, he locks her in a small cage outside where she wallows in her own excrement. All of this is just the buildup to the climax of the story, where he intentionally lets the dog loose when Art comes over and the narrator isn't there to protect him.

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* {{Jerkass}}: The narrator's father in "Pop Art." He abuses his son and lays around all day doing nothing. When his son befriends an inflatable boy named Art, he instantly dislikes him, to the point of getting a vicious pit bull who immediately almost kills Art. When the dog ends up being poorly-trained and a hassle, he locks her him in a small cage outside where she he wallows in her his own excrement. All of this is just the buildup to the climax of the story, where he intentionally lets the dog loose when Art comes over and the narrator isn't there to protect him.

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* {{Jerkass}}: The narrator's father in "Pop Art." He abuses his son and lays around all day doing nothing. When his son befriends an inflatable boy named Art, he instantly dislikes him, to the point of getting a vicious pit bull who immediately almost kills Art. When the dog ends up being poorly-trained and a hassle, he locks her in a small cage outside where she wallows in her own excrement. All of this is just the buildup to the climax of the story, where he intentionally lets the dog loose when Art comes over and the narrator isn't there to protect him.


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* MercyKill: More like "Mercy Assisted Suicide," but still counts. In "Pop Art," the titular Art is left disabled and suffering after an encounter with the narrator's father's dog. He decides he wants fulfill his dream of flying as high as he can to see if he can reach outer space. Art and the narrator go to the beach and tie balloons on him, and after an emotional hug the narrator lets him go.


*CreepyChild: "My Father's Mask" features a strange boy in an angel costume from whom the narrator instinctively hides.



* KitschCollection: The short story "The Last Breath" features of collection of famous people's last breaths.

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* KitschCollection: The short story *HistoricalDomainCharacter: Creator/GeorgeARomero and Creator/TomSavini both have cameo appearances in "Bobby Conroy Comes Back From the Dead."
*LookBothWays: At the end of
"The Last Breath" features of collection of famous people's last breaths.Breath," [[spoiler: the mother is so distressed that she runs off into the street and gets hit by a car.]]
*TheLostWoods: The forest near the lake house in "My Father's Mask." Children are known to disappear there if they don't stay on the paths, and adults can't even see the paths.


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*MindScrew: "My Father's Mask" is a story about a family haunted by "playing-card people" visiting a lake house with TheLostWoods out back, a CreepyChild in an angel costume riding a bicycle, and a bunch of masks that visitors have to wear. Have fun figuring out what it all means.


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* MuseumOfTheStrangeAndUnusual: The short story "The Last Breath" features of collection of famous people's last breaths.


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*NoEnding: [[spoiler: "In the Rundown"]] ends without any resolution to its set-up. "Better Than Home" doesn't really have an ending either, but that's more due to its having a RandomEventsPlot.


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*OffingTheOffspring: Implied to be what's happening in "In the Rundown" when the main character discovers a woman whose children's throats have been slashed.


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*OldFlame: The title character of "Bobby Conroy Comes Back From the Dead" runs into his high-school girlfriend and wishes that he hadn't let her go.

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*AdmiringTheAbomination: When Francis becomes a giant locust in "You Will Hear the Locust Sing," everyone who sees him is terrified -- except Francis' best friend, who just says, "Awesome!" For that matter, Francis' own reaction to his transformation is basically the same.


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*TheFamilyThatSlaysTogether: Van Helsing wants to teach his sons to become vampire killers. Or maybe just killers, [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane depending on your point of view]].


** "You Will Hear the Locust Sing" is a open riff on Creator/FranzKafka's story ''Literature/{{Metamorphosis}}.''
** "20th Century Ghost" contains a number of shout-outs to classic films, including a lengthy description of ''Film/{{Fantasia}}'' that never actually mentions its name.

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** "You Will Hear the Locust Sing" is a open riff on Creator/FranzKafka's story ''Literature/{{Metamorphosis}}.''
'' It also mentions '50s giant-monster movies such as ''Film/{{Them}}'', its other obvious inspiration.
** "20th Century Ghost" contains a number of shout-outs to classic films, including a lengthy description of ''Film/{{Fantasia}}'' ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}'' that never actually mentions its name.

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*BarbaricBully: Several of them, most notably in "Pop Art," where schoolyard bullies subject Art to abuse that could easily kill him.


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*DogStereotype: The pit bull in "Pop Art" is mean, ferocious and untameable.


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*NuclearNasty: It's implied in "You Will Hear the Locust Sing" that Francis' transformation has something to do with living near an atomic test site.


** "20th Century Ghosts" contains a number of shout-outs to classic films, including a lengthy description of ''Film/{{Fantasia}}'' that never actually mentions its name.

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** "20th Century Ghosts" Ghost" contains a number of shout-outs to classic films, including a lengthy description of ''Film/{{Fantasia}}'' that never actually mentions its name.


** ''20th Century Ghosts'' contains a number of shout-outs to classic films, including a lengthy description of ''Film/{{Fantasia}}'' that never actually mentions its name.

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** ''20th "20th Century Ghosts'' Ghosts" contains a number of shout-outs to classic films, including a lengthy description of ''Film/{{Fantasia}}'' that never actually mentions its name.


* MyCareHatesMe: Lampshaded by Carroll in "Best New Horror" when he discovers that he's lost his car keys:

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* MyCareHatesMe: MyCarHatesMe: Lampshaded by Carroll in "Best New Horror" when he discovers that he's lost his car keys:


*CellPhonesAreUseless: In "Best New Horror," Carroll finds that there's no cell reception at the Kilrue house, [[GenreSavvy because of course there isn't]].



*ContinuityNod: In "Best New Horror," Carroll reminisces about reading a horror book called ''I Love Galesburg in the Springtime'', whose plot is never described but includes something about "Jack Finney's impossible Woodrow Wilson dime." Subsequent story "The Black Phone" takes place in Galesburg and centers around a boy named John Finney, though there's no mention of a dime.



*MyCareHatesMe: Lampshaded by Carroll in "Best New Horror" when he discovers that he's lost his car keys:
-->He had seen this in a hundred horror movies too, had read it in three hundred horror stories. They never had the keys, or the car wouldn't start, or--



* ShoutOut: "You Will Hear the Locust Sing" is a open riff on Creator/FranzKafka's story ''Literature/{{Metamorphosis}}.''

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* ShoutOut: "You ShoutOut:
**"You
Will Hear the Locust Sing" is a open riff on Creator/FranzKafka's story ''Literature/{{Metamorphosis}}.''''
**''20th Century Ghosts'' contains a number of shout-outs to classic films, including a lengthy description of ''Film/{{Fantasia}}'' that never actually mentions its name.


*ElderAbuse: In "Best New Horror," [[spoiler: the Kilrue brothers' mother is ChainedToABed in a filthy room while they live off her Social Security checks]].



*NightmareFetishist: Deconstructed in "Best New Horror." Carroll's attraction to the gruesome and the macabre drives off his wife and eventually leads him to go alone to the Kilrues' remote farmhouse despite the abundant warning signs that they could be dangerous.



*SciFiGhetto: Discussed in-universe in "Best New Horror." Carroll argues that, though literary folk turn up their noses at fantasy and horror, every work of fiction is a fantasy and every conflict brings potential horror.



*SlowClap: Carroll's speech at a horror convention in "Best New Horror" brings this response: a smattering of applause in the back swells into a standing ovation.



* TwistEnding: Discussed in "Best New Horror." Carroll opines that one reason why the Kilrue's story got such a negative reception is that the "shock ending" has gone out of fashion.

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* TwistEnding: Discussed in "Best New Horror." Carroll opines that one reason why the Kilrue's story got such a negative reception is that the "shock ending" has gone out of fashion.

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*AffablyEvil: Child murderer Al in "The Black Phone" acts like a fairly normal person most of the time, even to his captive. Possibly a case of SplitPersonality, as he claims that "someone else" committed the murders.


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*ChainedToABed: In "Best New Horror," Carroll finds[[spoiler: the Kilrues' mother tied to a bed with wire, apparently neglected while they live off her Social Security checks.]]


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*ConvenientlyTimedAttackFromBehind: Inverted in "The Black Phone." [[spoiler: Al's brother is just about to free Finney, when Al suddenly appears behind him with an ax.]]
*DontMakeMeTakeMyBeltOff: Van Helsing in "Abraham's Boys" disciplines his sons with a [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quirt quirt]], which is pretty rough even for that era.


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*MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: It's never made clear whether vampires actually exist in the world of "Abraham's Boys," or if it's Van Helsing's delusion.
*TheMovieBuff: The title character of "20th Century Ghost," who saw every movie on opening day when she was alive. Her ghost seems to pick out kindred spirits among the living to appear to.
*OldDarkHouse: The farmhouse where the Kilrue brothers in "Best New Horror" are staying is such a classic example that Eddie half expects to hear the theme from ''Series/TheAddamsFamily'' playing.
*PhoneCallFromTheDead: [[spoiler: The children that Al murdered use "The Black Phone" to communicate with him and Finney.]]
*PreMortemOneLiner: From "The Black Phone": [[spoiler: "It's for you."]]
*PunBasedTitle: "Pop Art," about a boy named Art who's in danger of popping.
*RandomEventsPlot: "Better Than Home" is a series of vignettes from a boy's life.


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*SupernaturalPhone: "The Black Phone" can [[spoiler:transmit the voices of the dead.]]


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*TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth: The narrator's view of Art in "Pop Art." At one point he even compares him to Jesus.
*{{Troperiffic}}: The final scenes of "Best New Horror" deliberately invoke a bunch of horror tropes (OldDarkHouse, HillbillyHorrors, ChainedToABed, etc.), leading Carroll to believe (hope?) that he's in an actual horror story.
*TwistEnding: Discussed in "Best New Horror." Carroll opines that one reason why the Kilrue's story got such a negative reception is that the "shock ending" has gone out of fashion.

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