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Monday, December 19, 2011

Apeshit by Carlton Mellick III

The back cover describes Apeshit as "perhaps one of the most f*cked up books ever written." That's an apt description. This is either the most revolting, graphic, offensive piece of splatterpunk horror I've ever read, or the most brilliant, original, insightful piece of satire upon the genre ever written.

Then again, maybe it's both. Or neither.

 As far as basic plotting goes, this is part Friday the 13th, part Evil Dead, and part The Hills Have Eyes. Basically, a bunch of teenagers (the requisite mix of cheerleaders and football players) decide to head out for a weekend of drunken partying at a cabin in the middle of the woods (where, of course, there is no cellular service). Right from the star, however, Mellick begins messing with the conventions of the genre.

Beware, spoilers abound from his point on.

First of all, the three hot cheerleaders are seriously messed up. One is a tattoo addict with a bright green mohawk, involved in a threesome relationship with two of the football players (more on them in a moment). One is a total germaphobe, completely unwilling to be touched, who gets off on erotic abortions (I don't even want to know if that's a real fetish). The other is obsessive-compulsive, pregnant by her own brother, and afflicted with the mythological condition vagina dentata.

As for the football players, let's start with the 'normal' one - he's your typical jock, hyper masculine, aggressive, and the son of a sadistic father who has tortured the fear out of him. As for the other two, one is a loving sex-addict who would rather infect the threesome with AIDS than tell them the truth about his affairs and thus lose their friendship. The other is a nice guy who is about to break up with the cheerleader part of their threesome, and who has been using the cover of a urinary tract infection to hide the fact that he's healing from a sex-change below the waist.

As for the mutant monsters in the woods, they're your typical horror movie fodder - cranked up a few notches on the weirdness scale. Either lovers or siblings (or, as is suggested, both), they're hideously deformed, with half-formed fetal limbs growing out of their heads, completely wild, and maniacally bloodthirsty.

What follows is a few days of absolute carnage, with acts of dismemberment, torture, and rape that strive to top each other with new levels of depravity. Adding to the weirdness is the fact that (as we learn later) nothing can die in the cursed territory of the forest. This allows for some disgusting sexual adventures with a headless cheerleader, and for a disemboweled cheerleader to use her dragging entrails as a rope for rescue and bondage. What puts it over the top, though, is the sex-change jock who gets impaled upon a tree branch that rips through to his mouth, but who still desires human penetration.

 It's a story that would be comic, if it weren't so revolting . . . that would be absurd, if it weren't so sincere. As a straight-forward horror novel it's simply too much, but as a satiric take on the genre, it's an interesting read.

2 comments:

  1. *Blink* How on earth did you read that? Better question-- how on earth did someone think of that and then actually write it?

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  2. It was the "If you're a fan of Evil Dead" tagline that sucked me in. I nearly tossed it in the DNF pile several times, but it was short enough that I felt obligated to finish it.

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