Little Deaths: An Anthology of Erotic Horror, edited by Ellen Datlow
This paperback has been with me through multiple moves (offhand, I'd estimate at least four). Now that I finally got around to reading it, I realize that I've encountered a couple of the stories here in other places. One was Dan Simmons's story "Dying in Bangkok," which I skipped because I found it so disturbing the first time around. Also, Kelley Eskridge's "And Salome Danced," with its ambiguous protagonist and equally ambiguous love object, which I saw her read at WisCon a few years back--a really nice story for reading aloud, I thought. Those two are among the better stories in this volume, which is not to say that there are any bad ones. There are some deeply disturbing ones, like "Lover Doll" by Wayne Allen Sallee, which contains one of those images which I cannot scrub out of my brain, like the horse's head infested with eels at the beginning of The Tin Drum. Yish.
Some of the shorter stories are the most effective. F'r instance, "Ménage à Trois" by Richard Christian Matheson is weird and haunting and three pages long. And "Becky Lives" by Harry Crews is twisted and sick and satisfyingly brief. Other highlights include Lucy Taylor's "Hungry Skin" and Clive Barker's "On Amen's Shore." Not every story is a classic, but they're all worth reading (at least once), depending on your constitution.