Ginger Nuts of Horror
By John Boden
A few years ago, Jack Bantry launched a new horror magazine, called Splatterpunk. It was a labor of love and an amorous letter to the genre that apparently started a fire in the man's black heart. I reviewed, I believe every issue (and even managed to land a story and an article in issues #5 and #6) and the vision he goes after is quite clear. Splatterpunk was the punk rock boyfriend of mainstream horror. It was the leather-clad, earring in the fucking nose wearing weirdoes who stomped around the dance floor while those preppie lame-Os were dancing like they were having mild seizures.
Recently, Bantry has focused on books. With a chapbook seeing its release earlier this year and the recent release of this title, Splatterpunk's Not Dead. With this book, Bantry is excitedly nodding to that genre that sparked his vision. And he has enlisted the talents of some of the new crop of writers and artists working in the field. Some of it is extreme, some bizarro and some toeing the line between.
After the wonderful introductory essay by Bizarro godhead, Jeff Burk we get right to the story meat of the matter. We begin with Nathan Robinson's "Another Bunch of Flowers By The Road." This top-fuelled piece about grief and evening the perceived score is almost funny in its cartoonish quest for the tipping of the scales that were it not so rooted in tragedy and grief you could laugh, a little. This is followed by Robert Essig's "High Fashion" where we meet a young designed and his less-than-normal approach to design inspiration.
"Beware the Beverage" by Jeff Strand shows us one possible and horrific scenario that our love of energy drinks could lead to. "Eggbeater" is the weird and wild story of a strange boy with a unique, um...birth defect. 'Please Subscribe" by Adam Cesare is another of his sharp almost satirical-were-it -not-chillingly-possible commentaries on social media and etiquette. "Abstinence" by Shane McKenzie is a tale about what it's titled after. But if you're familiar with Shane's work then you expect the extremes we're dealing with here.
"the Androgyne" by Brendan Vidito is a wet and wild foray into the fusion of flesh. We end with a tale called "Walter's Last Canvas" by Paul Shrimpton, this one has a more traditional feel than some of the others, a story of old evil and art.
Not all of these stories wowed me. Some did, while the other more bizarro ones didn't --not being bad just didn't get me in the sweet spot as much. This is a good chance to check out some newer authors whom you might not be familiar with. It's a solid read.
Splatterpunk's Not Dead is available through Splatterpunk Press