Tag Archives: Wrath James White

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 3

After only reading one issue of the U.K.’s best DIY flavored extreme horror magazine, I’d call myself a fan. So when Jack Bantry sent me the next issue, I dove right in.

I’ll begin by showing my ignorance as to who the cover art is trying to portray, but I’ll be damned if the M*A*S*H fan in me doesn’t want it to be a psychotic Alan Alda brandishing a butcher knife. And again, Wrath James White’s cover blurb—“It makes me nostalgic”—could not be more truthful.

But let’s get to the meat of the sandwich, shall we? The fiction begins with “Balance,” a strange tale by J.F. Gonzalez, wherein a man wakes up to find everything in his life skewed, but not quite that skewed. The same people occupy this life but in differing roles. A heady but not all that extreme tale.

Ryan C. Thomas offers up “Ginsu Gary,” a darkly comedic take on an old urban legend. In this one we meet a flustered mafia henchman as he tries to get the “cleaner” to stop pitching products and get to work.

Splatterpunk editor Jack Bantry teams up with Nathan Robinson to deliver a strange tale of odd justice in “Squash.” Never before have amphibians and revenge worked so well together. Robert Ford turns in a story entitled “Maggie Blue,” which, while being written well and cringe-worthy in its nastiness, seems a bit disjointed and wonky in its logic.

As always, the stories are wonderfully illustrated, this time the guilty parties are Glenn Chadbourne, Dan Henk, and Daniele Serra.

The featured interview this time around is with the always witty Jeff Strand, he of the twist ending and nasty premise, who is not afraid to show a lovable goofy sense of humor. Dig him.

Rounding things out are another interview with editor Paul Fry and reviews (including a great one for Shock Totem’s reissue of James Newman’s The Wicked).

While I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as I did the last, it was still great fun. Please, do check Jack and Splatterpunk magazine out. They have their black hearts in the right place and aim to entertain. And that is the best target.

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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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Shock Totem Invades Killercon

This coming weekend, at the fourth annual Killercon convention in Las Vegas, joining the likes of F. Paul Wilson, Wrath James White, Jack Ketchum, John Skipp, Adam Cesare, and more, the Shock Totem Five will be meeting in person for the first time ever. We will have a vendor table all weekend long. If you’re attending, we’d love to meet you.

We are hosting a party Friday night as well. I say party, but since everyone shot down all my great ideas–bouncy castle, Sumo wrestler outfits/matches, Andrew WK karaoke battles–I’m not sure how much of a party it’ll be, but it’ll be fun…because when it’s time to party we will always party hard!

Yeah, I went there.

In addition, we will be doing a special pre-release of our upcoming collection, Beautiful Sorrows, by Mercedes M. Yardley. Own it weeks before its official release. We’ll have fifty paperback copies available (there will also be a limited edition hardcover release) at a special discount price. Mercedes will gladly autograph your copy. She’ll be doing a reading from the book as well.

For more info, click here. Preorders for the official paperback and hardcover release will go up later today and tomorrow. If you have any questions, please let us know.

Hope to see you there!

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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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The Resurrectionist

I have long heard Wrath James White’s name being used synonymously with hardcore horror, usually in sentences that also mention Edward Lee . Being a long time fan of Lee’s work, I knew I needed to check this cat out. Color me late to the party, as usual.

Recently I picked up a copy of The Resurrectionist at a used book shop in Rehoboth Beach. Within a day I had finished it. I know it’s such a cliché praise point, but I literally couldn’t put it down.

It is the story of Dale McCarthy, a man with a gift. Dale has the power to resurrect the dead. They have no memory of their deaths, most of the time. Dale is not a good man. He is a sadistic and brutal monster, one that preys on his victims through rape, torture, and vicious murder—only to bring them back to life and clean up the traces of his deeds.

Dale moves to a new neighborhood and comes to like his new neighbors. Josh and Sarah Lincoln, a nice young couple, fall under Dale’s obsessive gaze and soon come to find things are not well. Sarah wakes to flashbacks of horrendous violence and rape. She begins to notice things are different in the bedroom: the sheets are different from the ones she had on the bed upon going to sleep, there are clean spots on the walls and carpet. Eventually she puts it all together, and the story really takes off from there.

How do you arrest a murderer who leaves no bodies behind? How do you explain to the police that you’ve been raped and murdered every night for a week without them hauling you off to the funny farm? These questions become the framework for the second act.

White has a deft hand at surefire pacing and character development. The writing is lean and sharp…no extra wordage for the sake of pomposity. Just what is need to get the story across. His flair for description made everything easy to envision and quite often hard to shake. The lines of good taste are nonexistent in this book. I’m sure White would take that quote as a badge of honor.

This was released in 2009, by Leisure/Dorchester Publishing, before they screwed the pooch. It is definitely worth seeking out if hardcore horror is your cup of tea. Wrath has several books out through Deadite Press, as well. I will definitely be seeking out more if his work.

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