In Carlton Mellick III's fourteenth bizarro novel, The Haunted Vagina, the reader is presented with another Mellickian mind-bending concept--what if your girlfriend's vagina was a gateway to another world? We are introduced to Steve and his girlfriend Stacy, whose "haunted" vagina is a problem for their sex life. When a skeleton-like creature emerges from Stacy's vagina, the two decide to explore what may be inside of her.
When Steve explores (and becomes trapped in) Stacy's vaginal world, he reflects upon his relationship with her. Mellick makes it obvious through clear dialogue and abstract imagery that their relationship is not healthy. Despite these strange occurrences and relationship problems, Steve remains hopelessly devoted to Stacy. This love is the basis for Mellick's return to a common theme: the power, figuratively and literally, a women's vagina can hold over a man.
The joys and terrors that Steve finds in the vagina reflect his relationship with Stacy. The power and trust struggles are seen from inside both characters--inside Steve, who is the narrator of the story, and from literally inside Stacy. This allows the reader a uniquely personal viewpoint of Steve and Stacy's downward spiral as lovers.
Mellick has made a name for himself by writing consistently engaging, strange, and downright weird stories. His characters can sometimes get lost in the weirdness. The Haunted Vagina is not really about the hallucinogenic world Steve finds inside Stacy; it is about the characters themselves. Their doubts and fears fuel the plot.
Fan's looking only for Mellick's hardcore gore and extremely bizarre imagery may be disappointed, as this book is more subtle than its predecessors. Don't be mistaken: this is still very much a horror book that explores the vagaries and dangers of lust, love and obsession. In this Bizarro novel, Mellick illustrates the human condition better than many authors of "realism."
Despite having dealt with similar themes before (e.g. Razor Wire Pubic Hair and The Steel Breakfast Era), this is Mellick's most mature and effective representation of men's sexual fears. His sparse style paints an intimate portrait of Steve and Stacy's relationship. The Haunted Vagina deserves attention; it's among Mellick's very best.
--The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction, Fall 2009
From the Back Cover
"Easily the craziest, weirdest, strangest, funniest, most obscene writer in America."
- GOTHIC MAGAZINE
"Carlton Mellick III has the craziest book titles... and the kinkiest fans!"
- CHRISTOPHER MOORE, author of The Stupidest Angel
"If you haven't read Mellick you're not nearly perverse enough for the twenty first century."
- JACK KETCHUM, author of The Woman and The Girl Next Door
"Carlton Mellick III is one of bizarro fiction's most talented practitioners, a virtuoso of the surreal, science fictional tale."
- CORY DOCTOROW, author of Little Brother
"Bizarre, twisted, and emotionally raw--Carlton Mellick's fiction is theliterary equivalent of putting your brain in a blender."
- BRIAN KEENE, author of The Rising and Dead Sea
"Carlton Mellick III exemplifies the intelligence and wit that lurksbetween its lurid covers. In a genre where crude titles are an art inthemselves, Mellick is a true artist."
- THE GUARDIAN
"Just as Pop had Andy Warhol and Dada Tristan Tzara, the Bizarro movementhas its very own P. T. Barnum-type practitioner. He's themutton-chopped author of such books as Electric Jesus Corpse and The Menstruating Mall, the illustrator, editor, and instructor of all things Bizarro, and his name is Carlton Mellick III."
- DETAILS MAGAZINE