BADASS HORROR

Edited by Michael Stone and Christopher J. Hall

Reviewed by Garry Charles

This little collection came up for offers to review quite a while ago now, and at the time I felt very lucky to be awarded the chance to do the deed. The collection was quite a long time in arriving and in that time I had built it up to be something special. So, when it eventually arrived at the PO Box and was handed over to me, I ripped open the envelope with the eagerness of a rampant virgin removing the panties of his loved one. This is where the similarities between that first time and Badass Horror end. Whereas my first act of lust was an overrated tumble that lasted less than a minute, Badass Horror lived up to what I expected.

I shall start with the art work (as I usually have the bad manners of forgetting to mention it until later and in this case something must be said early on). The cover is a striking piece of inkmanship that is followed through the entire book by the expert skill of Frederico Dallochio. The stark black and white work brought up memories of Sin City.

If the artist is reading this I must know if I was supposed to be able to see faces in the sleeve of the leather clad pool player who is perspiring all over the front cover.

But do the stories live up to the great artwork and the title Badass? The answer is yes and no. All the stories are amazingly written, but at least two of them lacked the extra bite to be classed Badass. These two stories are by no means lacking in quality, it's just that they didn't have the same harshness as their counterparts.

And now, in my usual style, I will subject you to my thoughts on each of the tales.

POOL SHARKS by Gerard Brennan

This story just oozes gritty violence. I loved it from the first page to the last. The author has no qualms over explicit details and language. It's harsh, aggressive and bites the reader in punishment for opening the cover without asking nicely. A suitable opener. This is Badass.

THE STRAY by Garry Kilworth

This is the first story that didn't meet the Badass title, but, nonetheless it's extremely good. I was taken back to the feelings aroused the first time I read The Black Cat by Poe. I've read that Garry has a novel out entitled Attica and, based on this, I have been convinced to dig deep and purchase.

HARDBOILED STIFF by Michael Hemmingson

As you probably know I am a bit of a zombie fan and this story is cooooooooooool daddy-o. Zombies, hippies, orgies and a private eye with a necrophile secretary. This story is the real shit, man!!!

In its own unique way the story contains some rather distasteful scenes, but it's done with a tongue in cheek humour that raises it higher than most recent zombie tales. 10/10. My fave, man.

ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS by Ronald Damien Malfi

Mr Malfi has created one of those stories that manage to leave a slightly bad odour after reading. Another author to add to that list of I've got to read everything they've done.

MOVING PICTURES by Gord Rollo

I just wish they still ran the Tales from the Crypt show because Moving Pictures is screaming out for an intro by the withered Crypt Keeper.

I want one of those tattoos.

THE ESSENCES by Davin Ireland

The second of the tales that doesn't quite come under the umbrella of BADASS, but it still excels as a stand alone story.

It conjured up some really good visuals and I would have liked the last quarter of the tale to have been longer. If it had gone deeper into the repercussions of the main character's actions it would have easily become Badass.

BLOODBATH AT LANDSDALE TOWERS by Michael Boatman

We entered the world of Badass with gritty violence and we exit on nasty, bloody violence (all is right in this world). Every word of this little gem was filled with a darkness blacker than the ink on the page.

Badass Horror is a great edition to any library. This Badass kicks ass!!!!!!

Badass Horror edited by Michael Stone and Christopher J. Hall. Dybbuk Press pb, 148pp, £8 from Amazon UK. Also available from Shocklines and the publisher.

Website: - www.dybbuk-press.com


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