Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bonechilling Bizarro

Halloween is upon us. It is getting colder, betting things are manifesting on television, people try on salacious costumes inappropriate for their age and/or body type. Death walks and he wants nothing from us but a funsize Snicker's bar. It's pretty awesome. But there's a way to make it more awesome. Are your eyes popping out of their sockets? Has your heart exploded? It's surprising, but it's true. Halloween can be better if you take a walk on the weird side.

That which should not be is innately scary to us, because it is wrong. We find ourselves regressing somewhat when faced by such things. Up is down, left is right, Sarah Palin is literate (okay, so nothing is that weird)and sometimes the road back to consensual reality is strewn with bones and bad memories. When the weird and the horrific come together, great experiences happen. Bizarro horror goes places you might not want to go but you'll be glad when you get there. Here are some titles that can gear you up for an unforgettable Halloween.

1.Apeshit by Carlton Mellick III

Something must be seriously wrong with me, because when I read this I was not shocked apalled or disgusted but surprised, enthralled and envious of Mellick's ability to make people cringe. This takes you beyond the boundaries of common decency into a naughty, naughty place. It is not the place where horror goes, but the place where fundamentalist Christians, Tipper Gore and your grandmother think it goes. For something to be not a work of horror but a work of what people too scared to look into horror think it is, is an incredible achievement.

2.Siren Promised by Jeremy Robert Johnson

Addiction, madness, violence, grit. Real person hells merge with places on the periphery of reality. It deconstructs, chills you to the bone. A thing of transcendent unapologetic hurt.

3.Carnageland by D.W Barbee

If you've been going down this list and purchasing things like an awesome Superman of calculated consumer cool and reading them, then you'll feel enlightened and when you stop twitching and writhing, you'll want a palate cleanser. Carnageland is a tweaked out ADD bastard child of Shrek and Invader Zim with plenty of gorehound fun to be had.

4.Slubglub in the Weird World of the Weeping Willows by Andrew Goldfarb

A fun existential Halloween special, richly illustrated by Bizarro polymath, huckster and Renaissance man Andrew Goldfarb. Don't pass this one up.

5. Morning is Dead by Andersen Prunty

Sort of a Lynchian take on Carnival of Souls and 50's science fiction. Hard to describe, hard to read, easy to love. Any of Prunty's books is a good bet. Smart, challenging horror excellence.

6.A Million Versions of Right by Matt Revert

Chances are, if you're human, you've felt afraid or uncomfortable with or because of your body. Body horror is usually about turning into a machine or an insect man. Seldom is it about flatulence, masturbation or any of the baser instincts going awry. A Million Versions of Right is a short story collection where these things rule the day. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be embarassed for yourself and others. Some of these stories are as funny as things get, some as scary.

7. King Scratch by Jordan Krall

Krall is a friend and collaborator of mine with the most democratic, objective sense of taste I have ever encountered. Krall's truly admirable sense of cultural objectivity takes him into strange realms and will take you there too. King Scratch is one of the darkest of these nightworlds, a sleazenoir journey where perversity, cheapness and violence rule. King Scratch is a mischievous Walpurgisnacht of a book and if you're up for it, you'll be richly rewarded with a hell of a tale.

Of course,in addition to these, if you're looking for some scary weird fiction, you could do worse than the Murderland books and Archelon Ranch. But you're here, so I'm sure you know that.

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