Dreadful Tales Book Club – May 2014 Edition

NOS4A2The astute amongst you will have noticed that there was no Book of the Month for April but have fear because we are back with a vengeance with Wolf Creek: Origin for the murderous month of May.

With the release of Wolf Creek 2 on North American screens this month we thought it might be timely to discover what made outback legend Mick Taylor the monster he is today?

“Nature vs nurture turns out to be a bloodbath
The wide open outback offers plenty of space for someone to hide. Or to hide a body.
When wiry youngster Mick Taylor starts as a jackaroo at a remote Western Australian sheep station, he tries to keep his head down among the rough company of the farmhands. But he can’t keep the devils inside him hidden for long.
It turns out he’s not the only one with the killer impulse – and the other psychopaths don’t appreciate competition. Is Cutter, the station’s surly shooter, on to him? And what are the cops really up to as they follow the trail of the dead?
In the first of a blood-soaked series of Wolf Creek prequel novels, the cult film’s writer/director Greg Mclean and horror writer Aaron Sterns take us back to the beginning, when Mick was a scrawny boy, the only witness to the grisly death of his little sister. Origin provides an unforgettably bloody answer to the question of nature vs nurture. What made Mick Taylor Australian horror’s most terrifying psycho killer?”

Discuss the book here at The Mortuary, the official meeting place for the Dreadful Tales Book Club.

Available in paperback and ebook formats wherever good books are sold.

- Dark Mark

The Waiting by Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea is a new author to me but one with a growing reputation as a writer of paranormal thrillers, so when the offer to read and review his latest novella arose I leapt at the opportunity.

Cassandra Pagano falls desperately ill on her wedding day leaving her in a semi comatose state and kept alive by life support machines. Her new husband Brian decides to take her out of hospital and care for her in their new home along with mother-in-law Alice. If this scenario wasn’t nightmare enough there is an entity in the house, a phantom of a boy which appears to show particular interest in Cassandra who is trapped in limbo between the worlds of the living and the dead.

Shea writes a taught chilling little thriller and his characters are so well drawn that you viscerally feel their anguish. We particularly feel for Brian who with the strong support of his mother-in-law and Cassandra’s nurse tries desperately to maintain a normal existence against the odds, hoping that his wife will start to recover and that they may begin their life together anew. If this were not more than enough to cope with he has to contend with the spectre whose presence pervades their home. By grounding his tale firmly in such a awful and tragic scenario and populating it with believable and sympathetic characters Shea deftly makes the incursion of a supernatural more believable and terrifying.

As the plot unfolds and the terrible secret and purpose of the sinister child is revealed the tension and palpable dread mounts towards a climax which will haunt you for a long time after you put the novella down.

Shea delivers a classic ghost story with a refreshingly fresh feel, well and concisely written with a delightfully spooky child and enthralling plot which chills its reader to the bone. This may be the first I have read by him but will certainly not be the last.

Stuck On You by Jasper Bark

STUCK ON YOU coverWith a tag line by the publisher that actually says “Warning! Do not buy this book, gentle reader”, how the hell can I actually stand here (I’m totally sitting, guys) and say that you shouldn’t buy this book?

Because you know what? You should really buy this book.

If you like slashers, you should buy this book.
If you like Deadite Press and their nasty nastiness, you should buy this book.
If you like flesh dripping, genital torturing, disgusting prose, you should buy this book.
If you like Nora Roberts and those Evanovich books, you should… um… not buy this… fuck it, you should totally buy this book.

Why?
Because you’re never going to read something both horribly disgusting, and so brilliantly written, ever again. Ever.

So yeah, I am fully supportive of you all buying this book. It’s horrendously disgusting, and actually made me write to the publisher and ask “What the hell was that?” (Check that with Joe. He’ll back me up.)

Warning! Do not buy this book, gentle reader.

No really, we mean it. Move along, click away from this page and go look at some Dino porn instead. We’re not kidding. The only reason we published it is because award-winning author Jasper Bark has got some serious dirt on us. Honestly, there’s no other reason to put out something this depraved.

This is the sickest, filthiest and most horny novella you’re likely to read this year. It will turn you on even as it turns your stomach. Think you’ve seen everything there is to see in horror and erotica? Think again! Just when you think this story can’t get any lower it finds new depths to plumb.

Why are you still reading this?! Oh God you’re going to buy it aren’t you? You can’t help yourself. You’re going to click on that purchase button and download this little bad boy.

Well don’t say we didn’t warn you…

 - from crystallakepub.com

Flo realz, people. This is the real deal.
Okay… enough talking like an idiot.

The synopsis basically says nothing about the piece itself, but tell you everything about the nature of the style and the delivery of the story. It’s gritty, nasty, depraved, and highly sexually charged. I wouldn’t even hesitate to say that this could be the forefather of a true erotic horror movement, albeit very extreme “horrorotica”.

The story centers around a husband, Ricardo, who has been sent on an errand to Mexico by his wife, Ellen, to pick up a few odds and ends for their “artisan trading” business. The biggest problem with this? Whether or not Ellen can trust Ricardo to behave himself while in Mexico alone. Recently, Ellen had caught Ricardo in an attempted affair, uncovered more past indiscretions, and confronted him violently. Though she still allowed him to cross the border in search of items to sell as their booth in Arizona.

And that’s when he met Consuela. And everything gets worse from there.

When I say “everything gets worse”, I really mean it. Well, everything but the writing.

This sick puppy of a novella, ringing in at 58 digital pages, starts at disturbing, and takes an escalator up to the next level of the weirdo shopping center, to the over-the-top grossness store, and restocks its shelves with cans of whatthefuck pasta (with extra sauce) and vomit flavored Ramen noodles.

There’s nothing else I can say about this that won’t be a spoiler, save for the fact that it’s one of the most imaginative and excessive horror/erotica stories I have ever read. When Bark’s collection hits the shelves, I’m going to be first in line to get my sticky little hands on it.

C.

Note: Being turned on by this story worried me a little bit, but the cover reminds me of a ham steak for some reason and I’m actually kind of hungry… and that’s really beginning to worry me more…

In Memoriam: Dave Brockie Aug 30/63 – Mar 23/14

ripDaveBrockie

It is with heavy hearts that I, and the folks here at DT, say goodbye to one of the true kings of DIY. The punk rock and metal God. The multi-talented singer/songwriter/author/artist, Davie Brockie.

I first came across GWAR’s music at a very young age, somewhere in between the time when their second release, Scumdogs of the Universe, came out and when America Must Be Destroyed, their third, violated my sensitive eardrums, back in the days where you could still buy tapes at the record store. And you could actually find records in a record store… let alone a store full of them.

A real one. Not an online store.
Moving on…

Do the math here, folks. I was born in 1981. The space between the release of those two albums was only a year’s time (1990-1991) which makes me… 10. Yes, you read that right. I was 10 years old. That’s seriously fucked up, thinking about it… but it also makes a lot of sense.

Jesus… 10? What’s wrong with my parents? No, this isn’t my parents’ fault. They didn’t censor my musical choices, and I love them for that. Better yet, it’s a question of what’s wrong with the dude with the short, yet impressively feathered hair, who was selling GWAR tapes to a 10-year-old? (I still love him, wherever he ended up…)

Like a lot of people, I was introduced to the world of Dave Brockie’s GWAR persona before I was introduced to the man behind the mask, or his artwork, wild musings, and intensely creative writings. It shouldn’t be impossible for any of our readers to imagine me dancing like a maniac to Saddam-A-Go-Go or The Salaminizer, what with the insane ramblings I subject you to on a not-so-regular basis. Well… it sure as hell shouldn’t… but I always wondered about you lot…

Ugh. I’m sorry. This is actually proving to be really difficult to write. I have so many memories tied to GWAR and Dave Brockie. It’s actually a lot more than I initially thought it was.

See, I am an official, card carrying member of the GWAR Total Slavery Fan club, and I only just found out about Brockie’s passing the day after his passing - I’m writing this on Monday March 24th, 2014. I feel like I’ve been through the goddamned wringer.

I’ve got 13 albums of this man’s shit memorized, and every one of those albums spells out a different part of my childhood and adolescence. I know that what I’m feeling is obviously nothing like what his friends and family are going through, but it just… this is the saddest I’ve ever been about the death of someone I don’t know. I feel like I’ve lost a friend. I feel like I’ve lost someone I could turn to when things got bad. It feels like something major is gone from my life.

And, y’know… something is gone. A big something. No… two big somethings are gone.

1) Dave Brockie the friend, family member, artist, musician, author, and so much more, is gone. And 2) so is Oderus Urungus – the monster of my dreams, and the voice of one of my favourite musical fiends.

If any of my peers caught me listening to GWAR back in the day, they automatically knew it was a good day, and that I’d be in good spirits. And in truth, whenever I was listening to a GWAR album, it was a good day. How could I not laugh at Fucking An Animal‘s over-the-top barnyard insanity, or Slaughterama‘s ridiculous and overtly political Geraldo talk-show styled themed killings? Or how about Meat Sandwich. Penis I See. Have You Seen Me? Or my absolute favourite, nonsensical, and smile inducing song – Dirty, Filthy? How could I be even remotely upset when lyrics of The Ultimate Bohab coursed through my brain? (I don’t suggest that any of you who are easily offended actually look up those lyrics. They’re… they’re not very nice.)

But my real relationship with Dave Brockie, as much as it wasn’t a real, in-person relationship, began when I happened across Whargoul – his first, and sadly his only novel – on the website Oderus.com. A site that now simply features the statement “We’ll miss you Dave…” instead of the treasure trove of rants, art, and musings of a beautiful madman.

(But if you’re savvy like my dear old self, and know how to use the Internet Wayback Machine, you can take a gander at the site in all of its yellow, disgusting glory. In fact, if you go back far enough, you can actually take a look at the book before it was published by Deadite in 2010, and the way Brockie initially meant for it to be read before any professional edits happened.)

Reading Whargoul at such a young age was a real eye opener. While I was aware of Brockie’s incredible knowledge of historical events through his lyrics, and his penchant for war culture, it had never occurred to me that the man who wrote some of my favorite songs could possibly pen a full-fledged novel, let alone one that was actually any good. The fact that he was able to blend his vast knowledge of war with his vile, crass, and thoroughly inappropriate sense of humour, and bring to life a character only once before glimpsed in the song Wargoul (yes, the spelling was different) was more than my teenage mind could deal with.

And then imagine my surprise when I found out he was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada – a four and a half hour drive away from me.

It wasn’t until many years later and my discovery of the Splatterpunk movement that I was again to wonder how writers were getting away with this kind of stuff.

From the matter-of-fact opening paragraph that reeks of Brockie’s brand of deadpan humour, to the last line that dares you to challenge its strange, almost non-sequitor-like sense of finality – Whargoul is a goddamned ride.

A lot of people around the internet today are calling Whargoul a “true piece of bizarro fiction”, but I see it as something more than that. It has its place in bizarro, of that there is no doubt. But it’s also a piece of history as seen by the dual personality of Dave Brockie/Oderus Urungus, and a unique vision at that. It’s the aforementioned musings of a madman, but told through the filter of someone who was brutally intelligent and had his shit together.

It has been for years, and will probably always remain one of my favourite books.

But listen, I can’t do this anymore. I’ve been thinking about what to say for hours now, agonizing over it, really, and I’ve decided that writing this is just prolonging the needless torture of saying goodbye.

I want nothing more right now than to spend a great many thousand words sharing all of my favorite Brockie and GWAR stories, of the friends made through a mutual GWAR appreciation, and of the amazing memories I made and shared with girlfriends and best friends… but I can’t.

I don’t want these memories to end. I want more, and that’s just never going to happen now.

So I’ll just bite the bullet and say goodbye.

Goodbye, Dave. Even though we never actually met, I’ll miss you more than you’d ever know. I’m sorry I never got to tell you how much you meant to me as an artist and a leader, and how you helped mold the sick and twisted man I am proud to have become.

And goodbye Oderus. I hope the trip home on the World Maggot is a good one.

1901320_754760207876783_1404317396_n

Save a seat for me in hell, you beautiful bastard.

C.

P.s: Enjoy one of my favorite videos of Oderus/Brockie reading Goodnight Moon (very or NSFW or for those who offend easily)

Prey Drive by Wrath James White

preydrivecoverfinal_zps869f8e34Am I the only Wrath James White reader that ever wondered how Joseph got to be so goddamned fit and fearsome in Succulent Prey? Cause seriously… the way White describes this man’s physique is nothing short of a perfectly sculpted human flesh wall.

Well, this book not only proves to be an incredible return to the story and character that gave a ton of men shame-boners, and made more than a few women uncomfortably wet, but it also serves as somewhat of a rudimentary blueprint for how to become as fit as a ferocious murderer using Plyometrics and Body weight Training!

Oh, and how to eat people. Because that’s what y’do, right? Eating the people? Yes. Nom nom nom.

In 2005, twenty year-old Joseph Miles went in search of a cure for a disease he was convinced was turning him into a monster. The result was a killing spree that left a string of dismembered and cannibalized bodies from San Francisco to Seattle.

Eight years later, after being tried and sentenced to life in prison, Joseph is still searching for a cure. To do so, he must first escape from super maximum security prison where he has been involved in underground death matches sponsored by the prison guards and has been targeted by two of the prison’s most dangerous inmates.

Joseph enlists the aid of a lonely female guard with a history of inappropriate behavior with inmates, and a young model named Selene whom Joseph met in art class when he was still a psychology student. She has followed him obsessively over the years and will do anything to help Joseph escape. But could Selene be even more dangerous and twisted than Joseph Miles? Is she really trying to help him find a cure or does she have darker motivations?

- from Amazon.com

After reading this author’s previous work, I’m quite familiar with his thirst for blood and violence. In fact, I’ve come to a place in my life where, not only to I look forward to reading his insanely realistic scenes of bodily mutilation and torture, but I also kinda feel all warm and gooey inside when I’m in the middle of one. Which makes me sound like I should be filling out a self-admittance form for a mental health clinic, but I digress…

White has a way of crafting an engaging story filled with energy and action, but also letting the reader in on the subtle nuances of the characters and creatures he’s created – what makes them tick, really. Both Succulent Prey and Prey Drive have a massive thread within them concerning the main character’s need to love and be loved, and the supporting character’s need to love the monster they are actually more obsessed with than anything. Joseph’s desire to eat someone, to me, isn’t homicidal in nature, but is more-so presented as an urge or a drive that he cannot simply “control”, in the conventional sense of the word. It’s both the way he defends himself, and the way he shows his love, both physically and emotionally.

Think about it for a second:

Scenario One: You’re bleeding the lizard at a urinal in the washroom of a subway late at night. Do do do do dooooo aaahhhhhhh… BAM! someone grabs you from behind in a choke hold, but a portion of his forearm is close to your teeth. You’re like Joseph Miles and you’ve filed your teeth into sharp points (because yes) aaannnnnnd CHOMP! There goes the bastard’s Brachioradialis.

Scenario Two: You’re rolling around on your rotating, water bed – your sexy Muppet bed sheets washed and cleaned for the loving occasion – just as the lady of the night, or Candy, as she calls herself, finishes doing a line in the bathroom and stumbles saunters into the room. You pick her up off the ground sweep her off her feet and nibble the side of her neck… buuuut those teeth are a little sharper than you thought and now you’re covered in sticky hooker blood. (A sentence I never thought I’d ever type.)

See? Two scenarios – two different, and useful, instances where one would use their filed and sharpened teeth. Only… in a Wrath James White novel, someone’s going to lose more than a small piece of themselves.

Where the hell was I going with this? Teeth! Teeth and biting and…

Ugh, I don’t remember. Whatever.

The point is, this novel doesn’t at all fall into the George Lucas “I’m going to create a sequel and make it suck” area of the writing spectrum. No! In fact, it’s quite the contrary. This novel is almost better than the first, if only because it feels more mature and honed than Succulent Prey did, and focuses on a very limited geographic area, thus allowing more of a story to develop without having the reader have to imagine a bazillion little places along the way.

Joseph, as a character, is more refined and controlled from the writer’s perspective, and the surrounding cast is used to the best of their ability, as opposed to being thrown into the cage with a starving lion.

White obviously listened to his inner fan with this one, fashioning more theories as to what drive this particular killer, whether or not it is something that can be created, and what lies ahead of someone driven by such an incredibly powerful urge to kill.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this lands on my TBR pile at least once a year. It’s addictive, and an incredibly successful addition to what I only hope becomes “The Prey Series”.

I, for one, sincerely wish Wrath James White would create a workout routine and diet plan based on Joseph Miles’ prison house run. I would take the challenge in a heartbeat if I knew I could get this doughy center off my body and look like this menacing brute.

Well… you know… without the people eating part. Cause that’s not likely going to be very legal…

C.

Witch Doctor, Volume 2: Mal Practice by Brandon Seifert

51BSf43LI3L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Witch Doctor is a fun, engaging series, and is oft times hilarious in its delivery, but is unfortunately still something I just couldn’t get into on my first run through.

Granted, I had three children clamouring for my attention when I was reading it, constantly asking questions like “Why is she scratching him?” and “WHAT’S THAT!?” over my damned shoulder… but one would think the constant barrage of colour and charism that this book exudes would make me push my little ones aside for a moment.

Or maybe I’m just going to have to give it another read… I’ll be back.

Here, read the synopsis while I’m away.

Dr. Vincent Morrow, specialist in supernatural diseases, is back – but this time, he’s the patient! In the second collection of the hit medical horror series, Doc Morrow himself is targeted by shadowy supernatural forces. With his body betraying him, Morrow races against the clock to diagnose the threats he faces – and to punish those responsible!

- from Amazon

Witch Doctor, Volume Two collects Witch Doctor: The Resuscitation and Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #1-6, and thoroughly, but unintentionally, confused me within its first few pages. I felt as if I’d lost something by not reading Volume 1, but not to worry! I have a solution! It’s called “buy volume one and read that first, smartypants!

Seifert writes his characters both wittily and with a very apparent respect for the classic heroes and villains of horror’s past. His comedic delivery is virtually flawless, and is maybe only hampered by the verbose nature of the dialogue that drives everything. This is something readers might really have to dig into a few times before it becomes easy reading fare. 

The art in this volume is beautiful, instantly filling a void between the more modern Gabriel Rodriguez and Bernie Wrightson’s old-school style. As a fan of the funnybooks, I would say Lukas Ketner has his shit together in a massively impressive way, and takes what could be something akin to a relatively tame Lovecraftian sci-fi/horror/fantasy tale, and breathes new life into it.

While I wouldn’t suggest this for younger readers, I would throw down with it a few more times before calling it quits on the Doc. There’s promise here, but for now it’s not my cup of tea.

Witch Doctor, Volume 2: Mal Practice is nominated for a Stoker in the Best Graphic Novel category, and is up against some heavy hitters. It stands a good chance, though, as it’s story driven, has a fantastic staying power, and is one of only two nominated pieces I can see that could easily continue its story and still provide a marked level of entertainment.

C.

Dreadful Tales Book Club – March 2014 Edition

NOS4A2As March is the month of my spawning upon the earth I have been allowed to choose this month’s book. The King In Yellow by Robert W. Chambers is a classic collection of short stories which inspired H.P. Lovecraft and many others. First published in 1895 the title of the book is taken from fictional play with the same name which occurs as a motif through several of the stories. The King in Yellow causes anyone who reads it to be driven to despair and madness.
Join us and explore tales of beauty, decay and the macabre from a darker more decadent era.

Discuss the book here at The Mortuary, the official meeting place for the Dreadful Tales Book Club.

Now in the public domain It is available free from Amazon and Project Gutenberg.

- Dark Mark