Tag Archives: Extreme Horror

The Good and the Bad/Run for Your Life Nick McClusky

I always get excited when the mailman delivers a parcel from the UK. It’s usually something cool from one of my brothers from across the pond, and this chapbook is no exception. From Jack Bantry, founder and publisher of one of the coolest extreme horror mags out there, Splatterpunk, and Nathan Robinson comes a pair of stories about zombies.

I am up to the fill line with zombies, but let us move on.

In “Run for Your Life Nick McClusky,” Nathan Robinson gives us the somewhat deluded story of a veteran who is fighting the undead as well as unsettling memories and vile flashbacks. Hold on tight for this one, because the ending is liable to knock you out of your seat.

On the flip side (or the first one, if you read it the other way) is “The Good and the Bad,” by Jack Bantry. In this tale, our hero is a hungry stranger who takes an unlocked door as an invitation—and the scene he is welcomed into is far from cordial. A woman in a cage and a sadistic weirdo seem to be the least of the problems. Maniacally fun, this one.

This, like everything Splatterpunk Press puts out, is limited in number. I think the run on these was one hundred, but if you contact Mr. Bantry he may have some left…

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Ad Nauseam

Ad Nauseam, a collection of unsettling and often extreme stories from C.W. Lasart,  is a wonderful way to spend a weekend. It’s full of sex and gore and weird scenarios, all the things a good weekend should have in its list of ingredients.

The opener, “Simple Pleasures,” is a brow-furrower about a less than smart man and the strange…um, sexy holes that invade his property. “Widow” has arachnophobes running for the door, while “Angel Lust” tackles the sorry void in snuff/corpse erection/porn fiction.

“Retirement Woes” is a lot deeper than it initially reads, and a bit nastier as well. “Lunch Date with Loa Loa” is a great tale about ghosts and eye worms. “Bone Phone” is an example of one’s past coming to call—literally.

“Sister Alice’s Suitor” is a gory diorama of loneliness and jealousies and the oftentimes bad choices they bully us into making. “The Hand That Feeds” is a sweet story of a grandfather entertaining his grandchildren with stories from the past, except that these tales involve a morbidly obese sociopath and implied cannibalism.

The whole batch was great, but I only cited some here. This in no way implies the others are of a lesser caliber—they are not. All the stories are well written and sure to shock and, if you’re a little bit of a sicko, titillate. If you have a strong stomach and a sense of adventure, spend a little time with Ms. Lasart and let her show you a good time.

Ad Nauseam was released by Dark Moon Books in 2012.

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Splatterpunk 4

I received the fourth issue of Splatterpunk last week, and wasted no time digging into it. I am a big fan of Jack Bantry’s nostalga-dripping DIY zine. He was also kind enough to throw me a copy of the larger size debut issue so I now have a complete collection.

But enough of that, let’s get our gloves on and dissect this bad boy, shall we?

Opening with a short editorial by Bantry himself, which gives way to a wonderfully witty essay by Jeff Burk on why he loves extreme horror, we then have our first story of the issue, “I’m On My,” by Shane McKenzie. This tale of accidents and bad choices made with the best intentions is raw and throbbing, like a fresh wound. We follow that story’s blood trail to a great interview with both McKenzie and John Skipp, which is both insightful and fun.

Next we have “A Bit of Christmas Mayhem” by the always wonderful Jeff Strand. This story made me laugh out loud. It is so darkly insane and funny as we follow the main character, Mr. Chronic Bad Luck, who finds himself in the most ridiculous of Christmas Eve situations.

We are then given a glimpse into the truly twisted and hardcore life of “Wicking,” a violent and twisted tale by editor Jack Bantry and Robert Essig.

We get a chance to breathe when we pull into the reviews column, where Bantry and Gambino Iglesias give us the scoop on some newish books we should check out. And rounding out the fiction is a story by J.F. Gonzalez, “Ricochet,” which is a frightening glimpse into the perils of Internet technology and secrets. After which we get a short interview with Mr. Gonzalez.

Overall, Splatterpunk 4 is another great issue of over-the-top horror stories presented and paired with great artwork. Splatterpunk is a consistent little zine and one that packs as much heart into each issue as some larger presses manage to do in a year’s time. If you like your horror fresh and bleeding and harder than heroin, give Splatterpunk a chance. You won’t be disappointed.

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Splatterpunk 2

The blurb on the cover from Wrath James White says it all: “It makes me nostalgic.”

Splatterpunk is a blast from the past, seriously 80s fanzine past, as in folded and stapled papery goodness. When Ken said he was sending it to me, I was sort of expecting something else but was quite happy to be disappointed.

The brainchild of editor Jack Bantry, each issue of Splatterpunk features a handful of stories—hardcore and guaranteed to make you squirm—and the usual zine fodder: reviews, columns, and interviews.

The interview in this second issue is with the genre legend Ray Garton. The stories feature an illustration for each, beautifully rendered in stark black and white.

Four tales make up the fiction in this issue, which opens with “Fair Trade,” by Jeff Strand. This unsettling tale chronicles a hapless man called out on his infidelity by his wife. She gives him an ultimatum that becomes heavier than initially thought, and then Strand smacks us in the face with a twist ending. He’s good at this, a master.

The second tale is by Shane McKenzie, a young man I can say I’ve been watching since the beginning. He turns in “Fat Slob,” the grossest of the four stories. In it, our morbidly obese hero embarks on a weight loss journey. It features no smoothies or treadmills, no squat thrusts or carb reduction. Just a flab-hungry demonic creature, gruesome and downright icky. Shane does not disappoint when it comes to inducing the cringe.

Barry Hoffman delivers the third tale, “Room for One,” which is quite different in tone than the others. Almost dreamily surreal, but stark and raw in its emotional punch. This short tale of revenge and urban decay is superb and not easily forgotten.

Closing us out is Ronald Malfi and his tale, “The Jumping Sharks of Dyer Island.” A stunning parable about vacations and fraud and things not being what you expect them to be. To say anymore would be a disservice.

Splatterpunk is the real deal. A bare bones gooey love letter to extreme horror. I hope to see it around for a long time.

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Muerte Con Carne

Marta is a bitchy ball-buster who knows Felix will do anything for her. Although unsure of Marta’s plan to cross into Mexico to film a documentary about illegal immigrants, he agrees to help her, as Marta knew he would. She is also hoping to find out what happened to her parents, from whom she was separated as a little girl.

She plans to wear a tiny camera, set into a crucifix, around her neck, which will provide feedback to Felix’s computer.

After one of their frequent fights, Marta takes off into Mexico, leaving Felix behind. But Marta, while tough, is no match for the crazy family that kidnaps her before she can cross back into America. Not only do they want her to mate with the mentally-challenged but insanely strong son, they have kidnapped others who will provide meat for their taco stand.

Marta realizes this and is horrified because she had eaten at the stand earlier that day—yet she is also craving the forbidden food when its aroma envelops the house. She also has to fight for her life against the giant son, who is a wrestler—but he doesn’t go up against other wrestlers. His opponents are Mexicans trying to get to the border, and are no match for the brutality they find themselves trying to survive.

Felix realizes Marta is in danger and does everything he can to get to her. But will he be successful or sautéed?

This is extreme horror at its best. It’s suspenseful, nasty, and completely disgusting. I loved it. Shane McKenzie doesn’t pull his punches; he lets his readers have it without one shred of remorse.

Muerte Con Carne is another literary knife to the gut from a great author.

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Sacrifice

There is nothing more pleasurable than becoming so engrossed in a book that, at the end, I look out the window and wonder: What happened to the sun? What time is it?

I consumed Wrath James White’s Sacrifice (Sinister Grin Press, September 2011) in one sitting. White is quickly becoming one of my new favorite horror writers, and for good reason. Known for his extreme take on the genre, this book has everything for anyone who enjoys that overwhelming feeling of uneasiness, like bugs crawling over your skin, and you can never seem to brush them off.

The story starts with a bang, and never relents. After a man’s eerie encounter with a young girl, his dog (along with nearly every other living creature around) eats him alive. Detective John Malloy, Las Vegas Homicide, hurries to the scene, only to find that there is little left of the man’s body. None of it makes sense. Weird cases like these are the ones he hates the most, and though this isn’t the weirdest he’s seen, it ranks right up there.

The bodies start piling up, each one attacked and eaten by animals, insects, and children. And, if he didn’t already have enough on his plate, he and his partner, Mohammed Rafik, are assigned to a series of missing persons cases involving little girls. When they hear about a voodoo princess named Delilah, who may have the power to remove people’s fears and anger, Malloy believes his cases are connected, and this woman might be the key to how.

With over-the-top gore and violence, White delivers a tale that will leave his readers begging for Delilah to come and take their fears away. Yet, when I finished the book, I felt strangely satisfied—a feeling delivered by only a handful of the contemporary horror writers I have read.

If you’ve got the stomach to handle the blood and guts of White’s extreme horror, this is definitely a book you want to read.

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