Friday, December 19, 2014

WTF Friday: Carlton Mellick III & Kevin Strange

Every once in a while, as the mood strikes me, I like to indulge in those titles that are a bit odd . . . a bit different . . . a bit bizarre . . . and a bit freaky. These are books that don't get a lot of press, and which rarely get any retail shelf space.

They're often an underground of sort of literature, best shared through guilty whispers, and often with embarrassed grins. These are our WTF Friday reads!

A pair of Bizarro style reads for you today, with my own review of Carlton Mellick's latest, and Donald's review of a Kevin Strange classic (complete with an appropriately twisted holiday gift).

Continuing his long-running trend of Bizarro successes, Carlton Mellick III invites us to gorge ourselves on a rain of candy in Sweet Story. It's an entertaining story that's equal part bizarro horror, fairy tale homage, children's story parody, post-apocalyptic thriller, and dark morality play. Not to indulge too much in sweet allusion, but it's like the richest chocolate bar,coated in the finest candy, surrounding a core of sponge toffee . . . which hides a surprise center of the thickest, foulest medicine.

It all begins, innocently (and weirdly) enough with a young girl, her chubby admirer, and a chase through the blurry side of town to find the end of the rainbow. Because this is fantasy, they actually find the end. Because this is parody, the leprechaun turns out to be actual a dirty old homeless man. Because this is Bizarro, he's actually a rainbow pirate, and he offers the children one wish each.

Little Timmy Taco wishes he and Sally could be married forever, while little Sally Sandwich wishes it would rain candy forever. Oh, and her pet turtle wishes he could fly . . . which he does.

Since 'be careful what you wish for' is the oldest kick in the teeth fairy tales have ever offered us, it's no great surprise that those wishes don't turn out well for anyone. Just imagine what might happen if it were to rain candy instead of water, with jawbreakers and hard candy plummeting from the sky, and you can imagine the kind of sweet, sticky, bloody, catastrophic damage that ushers in the end of the world.

Carrying us into post-apocalyptic horror is a goth sister (who is very much an older, darker mirror of Sally), a spiteful mother (who drinks almost as much as she bitches and whines), a disturbingly creepy dad (who smiles and laughs at everything, no matter how horrible and grim, and does so without the slightest sense of irony), and a bunch of talking toys (who have an odd predilection towards torture and murder).

By the end of Sweet Story, Mellick has abandoned us in a world of cannibalistic madmen whose teeth rotted out long ago, alongside two kids who learn the hard way what 'till death do you part' means in the context of a wish to be married forever. It's a fantastic tale that goes wrong at every turn, but which does so with fairy tale style and childish flare. Just don't blame Mellick if you come away from it never wanting to see another piece of candy for as long as you live.

Paperback, 120 pages
Published July 1st 2014 by Eraserhead Press

Murder Stories for your Brain Piece is top-notch gross out horror. Thanks to Kevin Strange, your brain piece will never again center itself right inside your cranium after reading this.

Killing Jessica Again was my overall favorite, with a story of love taken to an extreme, and a murder story of pure raging madness. This is actually a surprise for me from Kevin, as he took a different approach with this story.

Loch Ness Lay is for all you monster erotica fans, with Kevin Strange dropping a visual of bizarre fetishes, all beginning with a woman who joins a boat ride in search of Nessie. But she wants more, she has this hunger for snakes and reptiles, but its not the taste she is after. It's what married people do in bed, or boyfriend, girlfriend kinda stuff . . . I'll be PG-13 and say that it will take your smut-reading mind for a ride on the wild side.

Kevin told me "I save the best for last" and, my god, he was not kidding. The Last Story is a flash before the eyes, as a man recalls all his past deaths and raging boner moments. Extreme blood splattering, crawling bugs, and sexual brain gore "for your brain piece."

Kevin Strange never disappoints. If this is your first book, then you're in for one heck of murder plot and some Bizarro horror gruesome goodness.

Paperback, 172 pages
Published August 17th 2014 by Strangehouse Books

Now, as for that appropriately twisted holiday gift, stop by http://www.kevinthestrange.com/ today, sign up for his monthly newsletter, and on Christmas Day he will deliver a free digital chapbook to your inbox - THE WITCH WHO F*CKED CHRISTMAS!

1 comment:

  1. She wants to get it on with Nessie? Bigfoot must've been busy...
    I've seen Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - you don't want food falling from the sky. Bad idea.