Cattery Teeth by Stephen King review

Chattery Teeth, and Other StoriesChattery Teeth, and Other Stories by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is right out of that short Family Guy sketch. You know the one. The one where Stephen King is in his publisher’s office coming up the ideas for new horror stories, grabs the lamp, and suddenly proclaims his next novel is about a haunted killer lamp.

That’s the one. I used to not think this was fair, but as I read more and more, it does seem like King sits in his office and becomes inspired by random items around him. “What if that painting tried to kill people?” “What if that broom tried to kill people?” Or, in this case, “What if those Chattery Teeth tried to kill people?”

But that’s kind of a misnomer. The story isn’t about the Chattery Teeth trying to kill people, but rather man trying to kill man. In many of King’s stories there is a strong element that Man is Man’s greatest enemy, either externally (ie: other men) or internally (ie: one being one’s own worst enemy. In this tale it’s the former, when the main character Bill Hogan (against his better judgement) picks up a hitchhiker who ends up being a thief and murderer brandishing a gun.

Thankfully, Hogan had also picked up a pair of Chattery Teeth at a local convenience store that had been claimed to be broken, and they now come to life and attack the criminal by biting him repeatedly, several times in the genitals. Hogan faints, only to wake up to find the teeth gone. He returns to the same store a year later, sees the teeth there again, and purchases them again.

This is a quick story, and it’ll really only scare anyone who is particularly squeamish when it comes to mutilation of the male sex organ. If you’re not the type of person who gets perturbed by fiction surrounding that (which I do not) then this becomes a very bland story. That’s the thing about scary stories: if you aren’t scared by them — if they don’t get that emotional reaction — then they kind of fall apart. Horror stories are held up by tentpoles of emotion, not logic. If they don’t get the emotional reaction (fear in this case) that they need to hold up the story, it all crumbles. Still, it’s adequately written and a great addition to Nightmares and Dreamscapes.

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