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Splatterpunks II: Over the Edge Hardcover – April 1, 1995
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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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The first Splatterpunks anthology was, for me, one of those life-changing books that points a person in an entirely new direction; given that, I have no idea why it took me twelve years to pick up the second in the series. But I did, finally, and once again Paul Sammon has collected a bunch of truly nasty pieces of work. Not quite as nasty now, in the age of Charlee Jacob and her ilk, as they likely were in 1995, but they still pack quite a punch.
As with most anthologies, there's some variance in quality, but not as much as one might expect from a book this thick. The best of the bunch, by my count, is Wayne Allen Sallee's novella "For You, the Living," an account of a Chicago whose population has, in the majority, been turned into sex-crazed zombies. (Shades of David Cronenberg are always a welcome addition to the bookshelves of Goat Central) Other highlights can be found from the names you recognize already: Clive Barker's "Scape-goats" is wonderfully, unmistakably Barker; Kathe Koja's "Impermanent Mercies" is typical of the brilliant stuff she turns out; Steve Rasnic Tem's "Boxer" is, in Sammon's words, "just so weird". It should also be noted that this volume contains the first published work of Christa Faust (Hoodtown), and a fine little piece it is. The book is also shot through with nonfiction pieces, which I found kind of surprising; Jim and Debbie Goad's interview with the late Anton LaVey is the best of the bunch, just as interesting as any of the fiction to be found here. Good stuff, all this, with a slip now and again, but that shouldn't stop you from checking this one out. *** ½