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Vile Things: Extreme Deviations of Horror Paperback – June 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


by Rebekah McKendry, Fangoria Magazine

Last week, I received a copy of VILE THINGS: EXTREME DEVIATIONS OF HORROR in the mail from Comet Press. The book is an anthology style collection of stories from a variety of writers including Ramsey Campbell, Graham Masterson, and CJ Henderson. I read horror almost everyday and very little actually disturbs me. That doesn t mean they aren t good, it just takes a lot to disturb me.

On Wednesday night, I was having my hair streaked purple. This is a long process that takes several hours, so before departing for my hair appointment, I grabbed the copy of VILE THINGS from my desk to peruse while I sat. I got to the salon, and as they started to turn my red locks to grape, I began reading VILE THINGS. This was not what I expected. This was intense.

Over the next few hours, I found myself cringing, shifting around uncomfortably in my chair, and even at times looking away to take a short break from the disturbing tales I was reading. This book is not just your basic horror stories. This is extreme s**t.

Edited by Cheryl Mullenax, VILE THINGS: EXTREME DEVIATIONS OF HORROR is not for the light horror fan. The stories are not just extreme horror, but also extreme gore and sex...a triple threat of fun in my eyes. Some of the highlights for me were The Worm by John Bruni, which involved so much icky incest that I thought I was going to put down my book in exchange for a nice clean copy of hair-salon Cosmopolitan. The Rat King by Jeffery Thomas put a nice new twist on Nazi/ Holocaust horror. I also really enjoyed Fungoid by Randy Chandler, which rivaled a short story from Chuck Palahniuk's Haunted as my most cringe-worthy reading material. Don t read that one on a full stomach or if you are really sensitive about your genitals. Let s just say when a monster fungus clogs up your plumbing , you may have to snake your snake .

The writers in the collection are a mix of award winning horror masters and some clearly up-and-coming writers. Quite a few of the authors are just starting their literary careers, and this immaturity sometimes glares through in the wording and structure. However, the intense story lines and disturbing plots shine over the sometimes awkward writing styles and occasional poor analogies.

This book is a definite for any extreme horror fan. Full of terror, sex, and gore, I don t recommend this for the faint of heart or for a light read at a beauty salon.

--Fangoria Magazine

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Comet Press (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982097913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982097915
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. P. Miskowski on September 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
Vile Things: Extreme Deviations of Horror
Edited by Cheryl Mullenax

Featuring new or recent fiction by a dozen authors and anchored by reprints from horror literary giants Ramsey Campbell and Graham Masterton, the 2009 Comet Press anthology Vile Things answers such questions as:

How can a mad scientist, who is also a family man, keep his household electronics running once he decides to go green?

Why should you never cross the threshold of an apartment that bears an obscene portrait of a rooster?

How do you get even with a roommate whose only crime is being irresistible?

Rarely does one volume of work by such a wide range of experienced and emerging writers offer the abundance of creepiness found in Vile Things: Extreme Deviations of Horror. Maggots, animals and people slither this way and that, sometimes erotically, sometimes horrifically and occasionally both--as in Angel Leigh McCoy's devilishly sensual "Coquettrice." In addition to McCoy's story, I especially liked the ruthless wit of Stefan Pearson's "Going Green." But there are many delights to be found here.

In Sean Logan's geek revenge story "Tenant's Rights" a slovenly upstairs renter turns peeping tom, drilling holes in the floor to spy on the handsome roommate whose sexual charisma--and magnificent hair--have driven him to distraction. The anti-hero of "The Caterpillar" by C. Dennis Moore stumbles toward a state of grace and awe, thanks to an unexpected connection to his disfigured young cousin.

These are not typical or predictable tales of horror. While a couple of the pieces lack polish, there is no shortage of originality. If you think, as I do, that the most exotic images and disturbing acts lurk in the basement next door or the apartment across the hall, here is the material for your next nightmare.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Whitt Patrick Pond TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Vile Things: Extreme Deviations of Horror is something of a mixed bag. What you get out of it will largely depend on just what you're looking for when you want to read horror. If you want stories that will make you squirm, then Vile Things will definitely succeed on that level. Every story in this anthology has a fairly high "ick" factor and if that's what scares you, then this is definitely an anthology you'll want to read.

For myself, however, this anthology was a bit disappointing. When I see a sub-title promising "Extreme Deviations of Horror", I expect stories that will really push the envelope, that will be so unsettling as to generate controversy or come with a cautionary note. Vile Things is not, despite its title, one of those anthologies. Most of the stories were - other than the high ick factor - fairly conventional, and far too many rely on what I would term the 'outside agent' factor, i.e. horrible things happen but it's because of some third-party making them happen, which both distances the reader from the horror and removes any responsibility for the character's actions. It's the literary equivalent of "The devil made me do it!", which is not at all the same as a deal-with-the-devil story. For me, real horror, the best horror, leaves the reader unsettled, altering their world view in such a way that they don't feel quite as safe or comfortable as they did before reading the story. A really good horror story will stay with the reader long, long after the reading is done.

From that perspective, there are a few stories here that I can recommend, first and foremost being Ramsey Campbell's "Again" where a lone hiker takes the path less traveled and witnesses something that neither he nor the reader will ever be able to get out of their head.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Kennel on March 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This anthology at first seems like a book that is built upon gross things and who wants a horror story where there is only gore? But if you get past the first couple stories or skip them, you will find there is some good writing in there. Particularly "The Devil Lives in Jersey" by Z.F. Kilgore and "Sepsis" by Graham Masterson. There is some humor in here. "Tenant's Rights" by Sean Logan will have you laugh and squirm at the same time and so will "Going Green" by Stefan Pierson. A good book for those looking for some blood, guts, and other sick things in their horror stories.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jacob Gustafson on March 26, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Vile Things is an anthology of extreme horror. I know what you're thinking, sure its extreme, but how extreme could it really be? Many anthologies have come before promising "extreme" horror but that promise usually goes unfulfilled. Vile Things delivers. Every story within is extreme in some fashion or another, many of which deal with body horror, a personal favorite of mine. One story in particular, Maggots by Tim Curran was so extreme it made me nauseous, and I read it after watched gorefest Bone Sickness. Yeesh. I will be tracking down his novels soon. Most of the authors here are on the rise or have been dealing depravity in the underground while most of us missed out, which is doubly awesome. I love discovering new authors. Its like a treasure hunt, and I found the mother load. Rat King by Jeffery Thomas about a nazi death camp worker was particularly well written and nasty and The Devil Lives in Jersey by Z.F. Kilgore, a story about a big city cop in a small town haunted by a demon left me wanting much more from him. Fungoid by Randy Chandler was hilarious and disgusting and Coquettrice by Angel Leigh McCoy about a demon that steals men to breed with, was unique and graphic. In fact horror mainstays Ramsey Campbell and Graham Masterton's stories are the weakest of all which should tell you something. 15 stories in all, nicely published by Comet Press, a new publisher to keep your eyes on.

So, if you enjoy extreme horror, nausea, and pushing the literary envelope check out Vile Things, its the Splatterpunk of the new millennium. It's worth every penny.
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