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Posted June 4, 2006
Sporting a dark, powerful cover and delicious illustrations that shed a menacing light on the corresponding text, the seven stories featured here, by writers hailing from Maryland, California, Ireland and Holland, among other places, oscillate between the brutal and the sensitive, earthly violence and fantastic gore, moronic mafia men and funny zombies. A follow-up to Teddy Bear Cannibal Massacre, the debut release from Dybbuk Press, Badass Horror is a tremendous improvement. Everything looks better this time, from the choice of material to the graphic design, from the layout and typesetting to the overall production. My favorite is Michael Hemmingson's 'Hardboiled Stiff,' an impressive tribute to classic detective fiction that employs all the familiar conventions of the genre in a refreshing, self-referential way: the mysterious broad who kicks off the plot with a sexually charged visit to the private eye's office, the witty dialogue, the missing daughter of a rich senator, hippie orgies, and the inevitable clash between conservative politics and free love - only this time Vietnam victims are rising from the dead, determined to take control over the streets of Miami and punish those who sent them to die. Another good story is Gord Rollo's 'Moving Pictures,' an urban-oriental legend about a deadly Chinese tattoo with a life of its own, an intense piece that abounds, like most of the stories here, in elaborate metaphors, stubborn adjectives and adverbs, and charming, out-of-control similes: 'Ronnie's smile fell off his face like an outcropping of ice dropping from the edge of a glacier into the cold dark sea' (102). Or: 'Ronnie's cocky attitude wilted and died, fear literally squeezing the breath from his lungs, like a hug from a world record Boa Constrictor' (103). An interesting effort from an original press that promises to deliver regular doses of disturbing fiction.
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Posted May 1, 2006
This anthology of horror stories is not for those with weak stomachs. Therefore, if you are looking for a chill, but nothing hard core, go elsewhere. It seemed to me that no one was spared or granted any mercy within these pages. If you are still interested, this is what you will get: ............ Pool Sharks by Gerard Brennan is the first tale and is about just that...pool sharks. But in this game you win or die. ....................... The Stray by Garry Kilworth is about a slow man that some ladies of night let hang around their place of business. Until, that is, a customer takes offense. .................... Hardboiled Still by Michael Hemmingson is the longest tale in the anthology. It is also the strangest. The way it is written, it reminds me of the old Dick Tracy comics. A private investigator wakes up one night to find out that he is a zombie. ....................... All the Pretty Girls by Ronald Damien Malfi will appeal to you classic car lovers. The story revolves around a possessed 1962 Mercury Comet S-22 Coupe. (I sense you drooling already.) .................... Moving Pictures by Gord Rollo is my personal favorite. A new tattoo parlor is about to open in the area. When the enforcer appears to collect the protection money, the oriental man offers a free tattoo to buy time until he can get customers and make some money. But his tattoos are VERY special indeed. ..................... The Essences by Davin Ireland refer to the emotions of people in the world. Each city has a Keeper (Watcher or Caretaker) who cares of the vials containing that city's essences. .................. Bloodbath at Landsdale Towers by Michael Boatman is my second fave. Two dark and menacing figures with interesting powers are out to get the names of all the dealers in the area. They also have the most interesting pet, a Death Puck with legs. You have to read it to believe it. ....................................... **** Each story is well done. However, the first story or two uses slang words that some people will not understand. Yet they will easily figure it out by the way the words are used. All of the stories are good, none below average. Those searching for talent in the horror field will be pleased with the choices made to create this anthology. I will be checking back to see which, if not all, of these authors make the big time. Excellent reading for stormy nights. ****
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Posted May 2, 2012
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