I’ve never looked at a dildo and mistaken it for a chest expander, but I’m not a priest, so there’s that. This is how Hawker and McHardy begin their novella, My Dildo Is a Serial Killer. A priest opens a box containing what he believes to be exercise equipment, and insanity ensues. Of course, this mistake arises because someone who couldn’t spell “exorcism” delivered the box with the expectation that someone associated with the church would be able to remedy the problem with the giant purple dildo possessed by the spirit of a serial killer. His name is Terry. Escaping from the exorcism performed by a couple of priests, Terry finds his way to Christina, a disgusting human being with potentially no redeeming qualities. She is the perfect tool for the fulfillment of Terry’s needs. It’s not totally her fault, though. Wait until you meet her parents because, as messed up as Christina happens to be, there’s no doubt they played a key role in nudging her along that path. I’m not telling you anything more about this one. You have to experience it for yourself. The deaths are over-the-top and gruesome, the humor is dark and perverse, and the blistering pace keeps the reader raw and sore as McHardy and Hawker bestow us with a barrage of absurd, graphic, and hilarious events from beginning to climax. These two are fantastic on their own. Combined, they craft a seamless narrative that captures the best of both worlds.
This title was released as part of the 31 Days of Godless event at http://www.godless.com for October of 2021. You can pick up a digital copy of this release by going to the website or by downloading the Godless app on your mobile device of choice.
Lucas Mangum listed Bradbury and Laymon as his inspirations when writing Bone Cider, but he didn’t need to tell us that. Reading this story made me want to pick up my worn out copies of Bradbury’s The October Country or The Illustrated Man or Laymon’s Night In the Lonesome October. Mangum’s descriptions of the sights, sounds, and experiences shared by our young protagonist evoke reminiscence of the Octobers of childhood. Reading these words, we can’t help but feel the chill in the air, the fallen leaves blowing with a light rattle across the sidewalk as we trespass in the gloom of dusk or full night, and the tingling deep inside that remained only so long as we still believed in the magic of those nights. Some of us hold on to that tingling sensation well into adulthood, and Mangum is clearly one of those people. Bone Cider is a story of loss, of family, and of the way the world seems–or is–different when the nights are long and the world is only thinly separated from other worlds we glimpse only in our dreams. Lucas Mangum brings all of that to life in the tale he tells.
Bone Cider was released as part of the 31 Days of Godless event at http://www.godless.com for the month of October, 2021. You can grab a copy for yourself by going to the website or using the app on your preferred mobile device. The link is below:
James Lovegrove writes himself into the narrative with The Cthulhu Casebooks, in a fictionalized account of his own life in the preface to this tale. As a distant relation to the former H.P. Lovecraft, a parcel finds its way to him upon the passing of another member of the Lovecraft family. Contained within is a trilogy of manuscripts penned by Dr. John Watson, confidant and partner of Sherlock Holmes. In the tale that unfolds, we learn that the meeting of Watson and Holmes did not transpire as we’ve come to believe. Additionally, further elements of Watson’s previously available documentation of the cases he and Holmes investigated have been fictionalized to protect the world from forbidden knowledge of things best left unknown. From the deserts and mountains of Afghanistan to long-forgotten catacombs beneath London, a global tale of unspeakable horror emerges. Upon meeting one another, Holmes and Watson find themselves in pursuit of answers to a rash of ritualistic deaths occurring during the new moon. What they discover will leave the pair, as well as other familiar characters from the Holmes’ archives, changed in ways never hinted at within the released accounts from Watson. All-in-all, this was a worthwhile mixture of the Lovecraftian mythos and the characters developed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The writing style emulates Doyle’s prose surprisingly well, and the insertion of creatures like Nyarlathotep and Cthulhu into the narrative was performed seamlessly. The story itself didn’t impress me quite as much as I’d hoped, but it was decent enough to nudge me toward checking out the additional two volumes in this series. Dennis Kleinman’s narration of Watson was quite fantastic, as was his performance of Holmes’ dialogue. Sadly, the other characters felt perhaps a bit less set apart from the background. This is not to say that they weren’t distinct enough to tell them apart, because he managed that quite well, just that they weren’t brought to life in quite the same way the two protagonists were.
Halloween Kills picks up on the action only minutes after Halloween (2018) rolled credits. As Dylan Arnold’s Cameron walks home, upset with himself and wallowing a bit, he comes across Will Patton’s Officer Hawkins where he lies bleeding on the pavement as he’d been left to die in the final third of the previous installment. Though Hawkins appears to be dead at first, he is soon revealed to be clinging to life. We are treated to a surprisingly well-produced return to Halloween (1978) in a flashback that shares the concluding events of that night from the perspective of a younger Hawkins and his partner. In this, we discover that Hawkins has cause to feel no small amount of guilt over the events of that night 40 years before. We witness further events of that night, encountering children having an altercation before being sent home by police roaming the streets in search of Michael Myers. One of those children will be a familiar character to discerning viewers of the older Halloween. We meet up with Tommy Doyle (now played by Anthony Michael Hall), Nancy Stephens’s Marion (returning to the character for a fourth time in the series, though only the second in this internal timeline), and Kyle Richards’s Lindsey (reprising her role from the 1978 classic) at a bar where open mic night is in full swing. While I would have enjoyed seeing a nod to The Curse of Michael Myers, with Paul Rudd returning to portray Tommy Doyle, I was nonetheless pleased to see so many performers returning to roles they played in 1978 and 1981 respectively. This includes Charles Cyphers returning to take on the mantle of Leigh Brackett yet again. As emergency services race toward Laurie Strode’s burning home, Jamie Lee Curtis’s Strode shouts a desperate plea that they let it burn. If they had heard her and heeded her request, the movie would have turned out quite differently. A single firefighter falling through the floor into Strode’s trap basement provides the means for the still breathing Myers to remove himself from his imprisonment below the house. Carnage ensues in a scene that pits Michael against a group of firefighters, in which the killer’s prowess is displayed to be anything but diminished. This is something we experience more than once in this movie that has rarely, if ever, been incorporated in a slasher flick. In Halloween Kills, we are treated to one-against-many conflicts that are typically antithetical to the slow, methodical stalker and prey relationships we often expect from such stories. The Michael Myers of this movie is more a force of nature than we’ve come to expect, capable of bursts of intense violence directed, rather than toward singular targets, at groups of people. An economy of brutality is on display with murderous efficiency, as Myers dispatches multiple opponents with expedience and ruthlessness. I went into Halloween Kills with the expectation that it would suffer from middle movie syndrome, being the second of a planned trilogy of sequels following the events of Halloween 40 years before. What I experienced was more like The Empire Strikes Back than The Two Towers, a self-contained narrative that–while it is designed to carry the plot between beginning and end of the trilogy–manages to satisfy my needs as a standalone experience. The performances are spectacular, the kills are savage and visceral, the soundtrack/score was superb, and the story unfolding for the characters as Michael makes his way through Haddonfield toward his natural destination is a vivid enough assortment of threads as to make for a worthwhile tapestry. The sheer brutality of Michael’s murders is almost enough to distract the viewer from the underlying theme of fear spreading through a community primed for terror and harboring a certain tension just beneath the surface for nearly half a century. This explodes in a predictable fashion as the residents of Haddonfield create the conditions wherein Michael is able to thrive and flourish, feeding–as he seems to–on the very anger and horror being amplified by the mob mentality spreading like wildfire throughout the movie. A bit of dialogue near the end of the movie manages to sum things up nicely. When Hawkins expresses his regret at having made this possible by not letting Michael die back in 1978, Laurie Strode corrects him and explains that this is her fault, that her fear of Michael’s return has been allowed to spread and fester like an infection in the otherwise quaint community. I know that I am certainly looking forward to the release of Halloween Ends next October, and I truly hope a whole lot of you are as well.
Jonathan Butcher has assembled quite the vile and visceral collection of stories in Scats, Splats, and Stupid Twats. It’s a quick read, but one that manages to leave one hell of an impact on the reader. The anchor of this collection, The Chocolateman, definitely has me anticipating the release of the novel inspired by this short. A disorienting and frankly revolting chance encounter in a public restroom sets the stage for a particularly filthy sort of horror befalling a man who despises any manner of filth. The stories Slop and Pretty Cunt showcase a certain graphic and visceral reaction to infidelity that will satisfy anyone who has been on the receiving end of that sort of treatment. Taking everything too far, Butcher provides a catharsis, penning fantasies that bring to light some of the darker thoughts people have experienced in times of pain and vulnerability. The other four stories run the gamut of topics. We experience the undying love between a mother and child, the harsh consequence of senility afflicting a wizard, a Halloween ritual of monstrous proportions, and a broken home struggling to stitch itself together. Butcher also includes a poem replete with fantastic descriptive elements and visually stunning imagery. This is a fantastic collection of shorts that will absolutely demand the attention of any reader brave enough to dive in.
This collection was released on http://www.godless.com as part of the 31 Days of Godless event. You can grab a copy for yourself by going to the website or by downloading the app. The link is below:
Peter Caffrey brings us a new tale of scumbaggery, and with it, a new glimpse of what Hooper is capable of in Freak Fuck. We meet Doctor Oliver/Doctor Fairweather just as he’s transitioning from one name to another, setting up shop in a new country. Our fly-by-night plastic surgeon dedicates his life to preying on the insecure and vulnerable, promising beauty and restoration of youth, only to take whatever he can swindle from his prospective clients/patients. As the story progresses, we discover that the good doctor has a great many unsavory and horrific appetites, the greatest of which being his desire to experiment on unwilling subjects, crafting monstrous perversions of natural, human beauty. When his accomplice nurse fails to arrive for work, Nurse Hooper arrives in just the nick of time, ready and willing to aid the man in his larceny and misdeeds. This is not the Hooper we’ve come to expect, and, arriving on scene as Hooper does, it sets a whole different tone to the interactions between scumbag and arbiter, showcasing Hooper as one who can adapt to whatever the circumstances require. Caffrey’s addition to the Hoopiverse brings us one of the more extreme and vile scumbags we’ve had the pleasure of seeing meet his fate, and Hooper seems to be a bit more hands-on in the application of judgment this time around. I wasn’t sure how this one would play out, and there were so many directions it could go, but Caffrey provides us with quite the unsettling, yet one of the most well-deserved punishments so far in the series.
This installment of the Fucking Scumbags series was released as part of the http://www.godless.com 31 Days of Godless event. You can procure this–and the other installments–by going to the website or by downloading the app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:
Readers of Carver Pike’s Diablo Snuff books will have first met Kong in Passion & Pain, after his first encounter with the sinister organization. His torture at their hands drove him to seek any information he could find, only to discover they were like ghosts. Our next meeting with Kong is near the end of The Grindhouse, where he appears as a member of Psalm 71. A lot had clearly taken place between those points in time, and Slaughter Box provides us with a glimpse of that missing period of Kong’s life. Still traumatized and emotionally damaged from his first experience with Diablo Snuff, Kong returns to his hometown where he finds a flier for the grand reopening of a local movie theater. Violating the trust of his childhood best friend, Kong invites that friend’s younger sister, Sammy, on a date. With the flier fresh in his mind, their venue is obvious. Unfortunately, as the reader suspects, this is a trap. William Castle, had he been a homicidal monster or a psychopath, would have fallen in love with the painstakingly engineered and hideously cruel alterations to the theater. Bringing the film to life in the most awful ways, Diablo Snuff intends to punish Kong for his persistent search. I won’t spoil anything, but we know Kong makes it through the events of this book, but will anyone else survive the malicious and inhumane machinations of Diablo Snuff? You’ll have to read it for yourself if you want to find out. Carver Pike does an excellent job of balancing high stakes, tense horror with more human elements of the story. We learn a great deal about Kong, his life before we first discovered him in that hellish warehouse, and the miserable life he’d been leading subsequent to his escape from the organization’s clutches. We get to know Sammy, and the deep affection between she and Kong is so well-crafted on the page as to feel as palpable and sincere as a relationship between two real people. As one might expect, Pike manages to fill the pages with a fair amount of sex and smut, in addition to the violence. If you’ve read The Grindhouse–as you certainly should have–you’ll be well aware of what Diablo Snuff is capable of when they’ve got a movie projector available. This is the penultimate Diablo Snuff book, leading the way into the (sure to be) intense conclusion, The Maddening. It’s been a long ride, getting here…but one cannot claim it hasn’t been enjoyable.
Devon’s childhood is reminiscent of many of our own early years spent in front of the television, complete with mothers who worked as strippers and fathers who found themselves sexually aroused when ALF was on the air. Wait? Is that not a common thread for those of us within a certain age range? Well, we can surely all identify with childhood trauma associated with the sexual proclivities of our fathers, right? Alright, fine…maybe Devon’s childhood isn’t the everyday, standard set of experiences. I doubt it qualifies as a spoiler to suggest that Devon’s father has a certain fetish associated with hamsters. It’s a bit of a Richard Gere scenario, for those who recall those rumors that circulated around the man who brought Dick Tracy to life and who fell for the hooker with a heart of gold…just with hamsters rather than gerbils. What would spoil this for you is if I described the circumstances surrounding the father’s death. I will not do that. All I will say is that none of us reading this will hold a candle to the trauma Devon experiences in those final moments. Later in life, Devon finds his path crossing with a pet store associate, Peggy. Though he has developed a strange fetish of his own, he finds himself drawn to the woman just the same. From there, R. J. Benetti drags us through a gruesome conclusion no one will see coming. This story is fantastic in its unexpected absurdity and no-holds-barred disgusting content. I don’t know what I might have expected going into this one, but if I had any expectations at all, they would have been shattered before I finished the first section of narrative.
You can swing by http://www.godless.com to pick up a copy of this story as part of the 31 Days of Godless event. You can also obtain it through the Godless app, available for your mobile device of choice. The link is below:
It’s a depressing reality that we’ve all known people like @wellnesswarrior497. Whether in real life or online, at the workplace, in the classroom, or even in the checkout line at the grocery store, we have all surely run into the people proclaiming their high-vibration energy and how blessed they are. The same people telling us about fad diets, new types of massage, and how this or that crystal will help us manifest our best selves. Get Me Out of This Shimmering Oasis is a story of that sort of person, shared with us as snapshots to her Instagram account. She gleefully tells us of her arrival at a new wellness facility, regaling us with the litany of ailments she’s overcome through various dubious methods. Within hours, it becomes clear that this facility might not be what she–and the other guests–expected. Sadly, it dawns on us quite a bit faster than it dawns on @wellnesswarrior497. If you, like me, have little more than contempt for social media “influencers” and their pyramid scheming counterparts in our everyday lives, you are absolutely going to love this story. It’s hard not to feel a little bad for the vapid protagonist along the way, in the same way one might feel bad for a child who doesn’t understand what’s happening around them. It’s ok, though, that sympathy is easily overridden by a desire to never listen to the insipid ramblings of the two-dimensional loser any longer. Leitner does not disappoint as she scratches away the veneer of sanity and health of people like the protagonist.
This title is available as part of the 31 Days Of Godless event over at http://www.godless.com or via the Godless app. The link is below:
Poisoning the Well begins with a short, shocking tale of Trevor Wolf defying authorities and braving a life-threatening storm to get home to his wife, only to receive a startling homecoming the reader shouldn’t see coming. With this auspicious start, Todd Love invites us on a journey through thirteen brief tales that will leave you wishing he’d given you more. Spiders deposit clutches of eggs in horrible places. Irish myths and legends are examined. The reader will experience equal parts nostalgia, amusement, and horror as Halloween of 1988 is brought to life in a way any child of the 80s will appreciate. And that is only a small sample of the stories you’ll have to look forward to. You will be satisfied. You will be entertained.
This title was released as part of the http://www.godless.com 31 Days of Godless event to celebrate October of 2021. You can snag it for yourself by going to the website or by downloading the app on your mobile device. The link is below: