Ginger Nuts of Horror
Well, this is a nasty little number.
From Comet Press comes Red Room, a brand new extreme horror and dark crime magazine.
While I only occasionally enjoy extreme fiction, the combination of hardcore horror and crime fiction promised by Red Room had me intrigued. Crime fiction makes me think of more “serious” work that contrasts with what I consider typical of the extreme horror genre, so I had high hopes for the stories and articles in this collection.
I was not disappointed.
Red Room’s debut contains exciting, surprising features and tales that make me optimistic about the journal’s future. I must admit to being unfamiliar with many of the names contained within, but I was excited by the fact that Jack Ketchum had a story, and that David L Tamarin had interviewed a notorious cop-turned-fiction-writer who was once accused, and subsequently cleared, of taking part in grisly kidnappings.
Rather than describing each article and story, I will leave you to discover them yourself and just mention those that were, for me, Red Room #1’s highlights.
The magazine opens with Nick Manzolillo’s excellent and disturbing tale The Phantom Video Stream. This uneasy story is about a man who discovers a secret sub-section of Netflix which offers no explanation as to its contents, and which is not referenced anywhere online. The seedy and unsettling tone of this one had me wondering how far it was going to go, and its conclusion left me grimly satisfied.
Tom Barlow’s Selfie was the first of Red Room’s crime fiction tales, and I loved its rapid pace and lively style. After being conned out of his father’s life insurance policy, our protagonist Mike has no way to pay for his sister’s ongoing chemo treatment. However, lucky for Mike, he’s just learned that he has an identical twin brother who has no knowledge of Mike’s existence. His plan is ruthless and cunning – but not without its drawbacks.
Jack Ketchum’s Megan’s Law is a thoroughly distressing piece of work, and is told with the author’s customary eloquence and unflinching style. Brace yourself before reading this one.
The last I will mention is David L Tamarin’s aforementioned interview with Gil Valle, an ex-police officer who was arrested by the FBI and charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping. The main evidence used against him was his use of a dark fetish/fantasy website where he discussed graphic sexual scenarios involving kidnap and cannibalism. The interview offers a glimpse into Valle’s mind, as well as the shocking events that took place after he was acquitted of all charges. It is followed by an excerpt from Valle’s upcoming novel.
As well as other distasteful and thoroughly enjoyable stories, there is also an enjoyable feature on Video Nasties.
Red Room is a tasty treat for anyone who likes fiction and features that leave a bad taste in the mouth.
Recommended for fellow sick little monkeys.