The preface to Rock and Roll Reform School Zombies has Bryan Smith scribe a dedication to the punk rock and heavy metal bands that featured prominently in his life; as he clearly states, it’s a nod also to those acts that kept him sane as young man. With a comprehensive list of artists who influenced and motivated him it’s an interesting read for sure, understandable by anyone who feels passionately toward any art, whatever form it takes. He then follows that opening with another kick-ass tribute, one in the form of this novella itself.
This book may be a celebration of musical and zombie genres, but above all I take it as much as being a billet-doux to the pulp-horror fiction genre itself. From the atmosphere it oozes from its opening pages, it’s a far-out tale of dutiful boyfriend Wayne Devereaux and his mission to free his girlfriend from the dangerous clutches of the maniacal staff of the Southern Illinois Music Re-education Center (SIMRC). Click here to read more.. »
I’ve loved reading Richard Laymon’s horror novels since, as a teenager, I picked up a copy of his horror novel Flesh. That book totally engrossed me with its riveting, and at times quite shocking, sci-fi-tinted, story of alien infestation and zombie-like menace. Here was a horror writer who knew how to distil his words and ideas down into sharp and scary texts, time and again, to great effect.
Alarums is equally punchy and precise. Its focus is upon a pair of sisters, Melanie and Penelope Conway, who couldn’t be more different. Melanie is a concert violinist, and is quiet with a slightly retracted and passive personality, whilst her sister Penelope is the opposite; she’s very attractive and quite outgoing, and is bold and assertive where her sister is more restrained. Click here to read more.. »
Shaun Hutson’s debut 1982 novel Slugs chillingly touched upon the dangers of mutation at even the lowest part of the food chain, in a true horror style. Erebus builds upon these foundations by toying further with the kind of haywire, havoc and bloody pandemonium that can occur when the subject of animalistic rampaging fury is a few more steps up the ladder of aforementioned chain.
The death of his father brings Vic Tyler back to the small town of Wakely to take over the family farm and business. As if such a new start wasn’t already mired in sad events, it’s compounded by surreal and violent behaviour among the livestock in the local community. That begins to crop up across the board, and soon in Vic’s own farm. Click here to read more.. »
The Woods are Dark was one of Richard Laymon’s earliest novels. Whilst it’s certainly not the strongest amongst the many horror books which he wrote during his lifetime, it exudes much of that style which came to define one of the canon’s great contributors. He’s also a personal favourite genre writer of mine, but I won’t let that bias the review (too much).
The book focuses upon the dangerous and bloodthirsty backwater community of Barlow. Those unfortunates whose travels take them on a path through this small town find themselves at risk of kidnap, terror, torture and death, and often in that order. For Barlow harbours an evil secret, and a collective of duplicitous inhabitants set on murderous intent. Click here to read more.. »
There are those books which, due to their tone or an author’s deep meaning and intentions, demand you take them seriously. Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations would be one such example, from the wider classical literary world. Or say, something by Jonathan Franzen or John Irving.
Then there are those books that have earned a reputation from genre fans, or horror genre fans as is the case for our beloved site, that similarly request a certain regard be given to their consideration. Anything by a canon-author such as Stephen King, or say Anne Rice, might fall under such an umbrella.
Then there are those books which we pace through, which entertain and shock, and are like a brief summer’s fling in that they are a short, uncomplicated burst of high-energy and fun. House of Blood is one such book. There’s nothing bad about it; it’s a perfect staple of the horror genre, with the thrills and spills (of viscera of course) one would come to expect, even demand from a book with such a name. Click here to read more.. »