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.