Those looking for something very different, very bizarre, and very shocking may find this collection of visceral, graphic, lurid, often disgusting short stories compelling, but it's doubtful the book should be recommended for any but the most open-minded and strong-stomached reader. Written by some of the better-known authors in the horror genre (Kathe Koja, Clive Barker, Poppy Z. Brite, among them), the stories go beyond the bounds of taste and descend into mind-boggling shock/schlock. These tales sear the mind, evoking fright, horror, and disgust and revealing primal, instinctive (and perhaps best-forgotten) reactions. And yet, it's possible to admire the sheer courage of these authors for their fearlessness at penning such "in your face" works, to respect the bizarre brilliance of the minds that dream up such grotesque plots and characters, and to believe that such stories--offensive as they may be to some--do in fact have a place in today's libraries and bookstores, if for no other reason than to expand our minds, jolt us out of our complacency, and make us thankful for the mundane, traditional, and safe. Emily Melton
From Kirkus Reviews
A mosaic of viscera, excrement, sex, and degradation whirls before our eyes in this anthology of stories and essays that run the gamut from lame and pretentious to genuinely stunning. Sammon, a former film publicist turned literary schlockmeister (he edited Splatterpunks, 1990), introduces this volume with the boast, ``They're bad. They're back. They're women.'' Yes, female authors and characters do feature heavily in this Splatpack, but stories like Sammon's own flaccid entry, ``Within You, Without You'' (in which a rock band sexually mutilates a female teenage groupie on video), and essays such as Martin Amis's self-serving, decade-old interview of filmmaker Brian DePalma (whose oeuvre includes the sexist classics Body Double and Dressed to Kill) serve as a curious counterpoint to the stated focus. Among the better entries are Gorman Bechard's ``Pig,'' a wickedly funny tale about an all-woman vigilante hit squad in 21st-century Los Angeles that simultaneously evokes Philip K. Dick and the frenetic violence of Japanese adult comics; Nancy A. Collins's ``Rant,'' a chilling glimpse into the mind of a deluded messiah; Anya Martin's ``Rockin' the Midnight Hour,'' which examines the connections between horror and rock; and ``Calling Dr. Satan,'' Jim Goad's interview with Anton LaVey, self-proclaimed ``Black Pope'' of the Church of Satan and author of The Satanic Bible. A genre that alternately craves and shuns acceptance, Splatterpunk is (for those not familiar with buzzwords used to pigeonhole literature) an amalgam of slasher films, brooding metal/Goth-inspired rock, and basic naughtiness disguised as nihilism; the editor describes it as ``a method. An attitude. A state of mind.'' This exercise in combining incongruous media elements into one discordant whole could be the real cutting edge--but Sammon dulls it in introductory passages whose smugness and hipster wannabe posturing frequently undermine the authors' contributions. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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