William Malone gets META in a cool Creature TITAN FIND

 I love finding out what books people are reading in my cheap horror and action films!  The recent directors release of CREATURE as THE TITAN FIND features a doozy.  I’ve always been sweet on the movies directed by William Malone, but never noticed that in deep space it’s not just fun to be in a Malone film, but to read a novelization of an earlier one.  Check out this paperback edition of SCARED TO DEATH traveling the galaxy! 

And here is the poster they built it from.  Pretty snazzy stuff!


Bibliotheque Terrors! CHAINSAW TERROR!

I have not read a ton of Shaun Hutson novels, but I’ve enjoyed each one that has crossed my path over the years. But I was reminded of CHAINSAW TERROR when I was recently pulling through some old Deep Red fanzines.  Never read a book called Chainsaw Terror? By Shaun Hutson using a pseudonym???  Well, that had to change.  Sadly, all the copies I found were quite expensive and I left it on my wish list at Amazon as a “someday” type of item.
And then it popped up for FOUR DOLLARS! 
So, I ordered and waited, fearing that I was going to get CHAINSAW TERRA or something completely incorrect, but that didn’t happen. Finally…here I come “Nick Drake!”  Rip me with your best shot.

Chainsaw Terror does not dissapoint in any way, it does exactly what it says it will do in a fairly short period of time, and indeed it does have a lot of chainsawing going on within a sick little framework that hinges gore sequences together without getting boring.  And I also learned the power of a title. If you promise to terrorize with a shredding implement and deliver on that promise, every page that mentions cutlery, tools or even heavy dishes feels like a prelude to something wild.  It just works like a well oiled…nah, that is too easy.  It just rips your literary horror hound senses apar…nah.  OK. It is is simple, dirty, nasty, smelly and tastes like the kind of rotten nectar that every budding gorehound seeks out in the next film they rent.  Delicious.

Edward Briggs is downright nuts.  His father is a handyman with a wife that doesn’t want to be with him anymore.  So, he kills the crap out of her and kills himself in nasty fashion as well. Of course, Edward witnesses this and it sours him on relationships. Except for the one he has with his sister Maureen.  Skipping ahead, the pair are now a little more balanced. This means Maureen is sane and Edward is insane, which puts them square in the middle on the teeter totter of doom.  Add a chainsaw and things tip awfully wrong to the insane side!  When Maureen decides to leave the (luckily) soundproofed house the siblings share to be with her boyfriend it is time for Edward to snap. And does he ever.  After demolishing her into bits, he saves her head and goes on a short but grisly rampage against women that he imagines have wronged him, and men who love or pimp out the women that he targets. The workbench in the soundproof house gets one hell of a workout!! 
There are lots of elements in a straight line from witnessing a grisly homicide to becoming a grisly body pile of a self inflicted accidental homicide for Edward.  We get a little romance, some pimp and whore drama, some reporter saving kindly prostitute drama, some explicit lesbian orgasming, some explicit all entry sex scenes and even a bit of rambling from Edward.  But where Hutson goes nuts is where it counts. When the title lives up to the name.  These suckers aren’t just gore scenes by and large, they make the “entrails spaghetti” and clicking castanets of Crustacean domination seem like an fruit cocktail appetizer set to the tune of a baby rattle.
“Now he wrenched it free, briefly hearing the drone of metal on bone as it crunched her pelvis and lower ribs in to a thousand splinters. Entrails seemed to snake upwards like the bleeding tentacles of some stricken octopus and a stench so rank it made him sick, wafted up from the riven cavity of her stomach.”
And that is just the end of a scene…
Chainsaw Terror is the exploding barbed wire deathmatch of horror fiction.  While it isn’t an every day type of read, and it isn’t written with any particularly outstanding craft in the plotting area, this is what we occasionally find ourselves as horror and exploitation fans looking for. You says TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and you go in with open eyes and hopes on having the title live up to what it promises.  Hutson pulls that off here. Given my interests I can only describe it as a heady (har har) stew of Pieces, Buio Omega and Erotic Nights of the Living Dead.  You may scratch your head, but that is pretty high praise from me.  I wanted, searched and found what I hoped would be a fast paced and splattery read and this fits the bill to a bloody saw link.  
While I doubt Shaun Hutson would proclaim it his finest, though the above omnibus does showcase the censored version along with two other novels that used a pen name, it shows off his skill at the basics of storytelling that lie under his later novels.  The dialog works, the characters may be two dimensional, but they do get enough flesh for us to see when it is suddenly shredded away by a power tool and the level of descriptiveness be it internal gore or the description of a womanly “cleft” is charmingly over the top.  Also, the term “powerful erection” gets as much play as it does in Guy N. Smith’s Bamboo Guerrillas.  
Come to think of it, the two novels are sort of watersheds for me as a reader. I like the hacked out novels, the ones that are quick, dirty and direct. 
Chainsaw Terror is notoriously difficult to get, but it has a fairly interesting story of publication as well.  After it was released the title alone caused a bit of a stir, never mind the contents.  So, the same publisher, Star, re-issued it heavily edited as Come The Night.  That must be one hell of a weird read!  Essentially, I figure if you cut out the hardest violence and sex scenes you end up with a pulpy semi-giallo with a prostitute and a journalist chasing after a murderer.   Still, it is curious and equally hard to find!  
Also, the persistent rumor that even the final release was censored is something Hutson says has no merit.  The scene in question is supposedly a “violation by chainsaw” but that pretty much happens in every scene with a saw anyways.  However, if I was a betting man that wore a tinfoil hat of conspiracy loving I’d be more interested in what happens at page 105.  Edward gets a second prostitute, that has already figured out that he murdered the earlier victim, and brings to bear his favorite drill.  The scene jumps and reading it made me think of the advent of Japanese Laserdisc prints being sold and passed around filling in lots of splattery breaks in Italian horror films.  Check it out…
He stood mere inches from her, his swollen penis throbbing between his legs, the drill hummed loudly on low gear, then he flicked a switch and pitch intensified as he turned the lethal tool up to full speed.  He levelled it, the bit-spinning at over 3500 RPM-aimed at her right eye…
Edward switched off the drill and dropped to his knees before Amy’s now lifeless remains.
There are a few guns on the table for the author here…and given that NOTHING has been held back it is a rather jarring jump past some obvious bad behavior.  A case of an author just figuring that they had already done enough? I wonder… not that I’m complaining, because it is pretty damned nasty, and again, this is just part of a scene.
For a bit of insight into the cuts / manuscript issues from the man himself-check out this tidbit from the 2008 questions page on The Shaun Hutson website found HERE.  The question asks about the supposed censoring and Clive Barkers reported reaction to Chainsaw Terror.  Bonus points to Shaun for being exactly the guy he is here…you have to love an author like this…  I know I do!  

There was an original (as in typed and coffee stained) copy of CHAINSAW TERROR around a while ago but that’s it, Colum, I’m afraid. Where did you hear of this edition by the way, on another website? I’m curious…The scene you refer to caused Clive Barker to call me irresponsible at a fucking convention many moons ago. My reply; “Irresponsible? That’s rich coming from the cunt who made a piece of shit like Hellraiser..” Not the usual literary response I think he’d been used to…but there again, don’t question me if you can’t take an honest answer…Neil Gaiman got the same thing many years ago when taking the piss out of SLUGS late one night in a hotel bar. I warned him I’d tip him out of his chair..he kept on..I tipped him out of his chair…He wasn’t happy…twat. Good luck finding CHAINSAW TERROR.. 
Find it. Buy it. Get tipped out of your chair.  You won’t see it win any awards, but it joins Eat Them Alive, Bamboo Guerrillas and Ninja Master: The Skin Swindle on my short list of triumphantly sleazy novels that I love.

Bibliotheque Terrors! Brides of the Impaler

What would October be without horror novels to supplement my Halloween Horrors??  And who better to turn to than Edward Lee, the ultimate in BUZZ YOUR FUCKING HEAD OFF horror?  Nobody.  Add in that he is taking on the Vampires in his novel Brides of the Impaler and it just screams “Jab my prose through your eyelids Mr. Z.”  So I did…and what I found was pretty damn great, both as a novel and as a European Trash Cinema drinking game!!

With a prologue we meet a professor and his hot younger assistant doing a little digging around the grave of the “true” Dracula.  Lee right off the bat shows that he is going to bring his violent aesthetic to that old fangnut of horror as the young lady lustily brings up the details of the legendary impalers activities…and then BLAM, he drops a wall on the pair, unearthing something mysterious.  Trapped, our archeologist watches as some mysterious figures zip away with something that may be important.  Oh, it is…
Christina Nichols and her step sister Britt bring us to present day as a pair of ladies living the high life in New York City. They are married to a pair of rich lawyers and have it all.  They earned this karmic swing thanks to a horrific shared past where they were drugged and raped by their stepparents–so no wonder Christina has reason to doubt herself as a strange influence comes over her.  She is a designer of costume kewpies, and has hit the big time with gothic horror dolls (that would fall right out of the Infernal series if you ask me)–and her latest creation, The Noxious Nun, may be closer than she thinks.  Their husbands try to be understanding as the girls become embroiled in odd behavior that has them both confused…but as lawyers they get to be wonderfully shifty throughout.  The police?  Well, they have their hands full too.
Detective Howard Vernon is trying to solve a series of mysterious murders committed under strange circumstances…impaling to put a fine point on it!  But the victims are impaled on Christmas Tree stands and with old broom handles… 
The nun is there…she is very real, and nobody is safe from having not just their mind ripped up, but their flesh will be torn, sucked, shredded, slurped and devoured along the way. 
Ah, Ed Lee, I love your work sir.

Lee has taken the time to step away from the crowd and create a really hypersexualized and violent vampire lore here that casts aside the “Dracula” stuff and replaces it with a lot of elements that you would find in a weird late night Eurotrash horror flick.  I highly doubt vampire fans will be left wanting by the wanton ways of the vicious Kanesae and her homeless squadron of vampire whores, never mind the urban gothic vision of Lee that eschews all the stuff you would expect from an NYC setting, instead he builds a world as grungy and unsettling as any Backwoods Bighead excursion he has forged before.  This is the books strongest suit in my opinion.  While you may feel like logic gets cloudy on occasion, it is obvious to me that this is possibly the most atmospheric horror novel Lee has written.

You want vampires with a twist of ultraviolence and near malicious masturbation?  You want to find yourself rushing to the finish to find out how this could possibly all end (and it actually does work)…get this book.

Now, I have to do a secondary review, because I was greatly thrilled to see that Edward Lee thanks Jess Franco, Amando De Ossorio, Paul Naschy and Jean Rollin right up front.  Any reader of this blog knows how high my regard is for that line up!  The book is riddled with Eurotrash stars and references that kept me turning the page. Howard Vernon is simple, but having a woman named Laura having sex with a guy named Gemser is very cool.  Better yet, husbands Paul Nasher (“he was stocky, broad shouldered–like a power lifter”) and Jess Franklin (a heavy smoker with “unruly brown hair and pointy goatee that seemed perpetually in need of a trim”) are even more fun.  My favorite though?  Cristina and her sister Britt. Cristina is THE PRINCESS OF EROTICISM if you like that title of A Virgin Among The Living Dead.  And one of the hottest starlets of that one? Britt Nichols.  Cristina goes on the voyage here and gets the erotic treatment along the way of course!! 
Sadly, no scissors scene Franco fans…
Very clever indeed, and there are many many more!  I had to chuckle at CINZIA as well, seeing as I just did a Casual (un)dress Friday on that lady as well.
So, a really solid horror novel and a Eurotrash Fetish Pole.  Yeah, you need it.  While at times I was thinking that this was definitely Leisure Lee, a bit more mellow it also speaks volumes about Edward Lee.
This is mellow when a homeless woman is performing fellatio on a man that has been impaled ass to mouth as he dies.
Ed Lee? Hell yeah.

Crustacean Domination! Guy N. Smith’s CRABS Part 2

The Crabs and their giant cutlery claws skitter on in the second (of three) installments of CRUSTACEAN DOMINATION (also called a far less than scholarly take on six fine novels that deal with the important man and sea dweller relationship).
With this entry we reach the apex of the series, one of the most entertaining nature running amok novels I’ve ever encountered… CRABS ON THE RAMPAGE (1981). Just say that title out loud when nobody is listening. See? It makes you smile doesn’t it? It does. Ahead lie some big spoilers, so I’m warning you right now. Before I look at the book though, I have to stress that this one is not only the most fun in the series, but it really benefits from reading the previous three entries first. Rampage ties them all together neatly, and even manages to take my second favorite character of all the books and give him a surprisingly good epilogue. So, no matter how exciting this one sounds, I can’t stress enough that you’ll get more from it if you go in order. But if you can’t resist trying one, this should satisfy as well.

“The big one came first, a waving pincer checking the others. This was human–regal meat!”
“And now the hour of vengeance was nigh. For the big one told them so!”

Who knew that crabs could use the word “nigh?” Amazing!!
So, what we have in Crabs On The Rampage is the most violent entry into the series, but Smith is no longer content to simply tri-sect his human victims. He isn’t even content to let them hurl tanks about anymore! Nope, they need to invade London! But Smith also needs a motive for our clickity-clickers, and he finds it by giving them a killer cancer that is simply causing them to drop dead. No crab will go down without a fight, so our man Cliff Davenport is called back to action by Old Grizzly Grisedale. They can’t poison the crabs for fear of destroying the populated areas they are targeting, so it is battle upon battle as not just single victims of their own stupidity get dropped, but scores of folks going plopping into the ocean to make a bloody Crab Chowder as the beasts go for the bigger targets such as bridges. We return to Shell Island, we battle at Barmouth and it all comes to a screaming conclusion that features the de-clawing of one of our human friends. What irony eh? Cliff gets a little more crabby as a parting shot from the nemesis of his family.
But Smith doesn’t simply focus on the large scale mayhem thankfully, I am always impressed by his ability to draw up characters in a short time that actually make you at least understand them before they end up getting killed. While my favorite scene of this kind remains the “human joint of meat cooking in a makeshift oven” in Thirst, …Rampage contains a stunning chapter about a real prick of a dad who just won’t relent until his son goes fishing with him. It does not go well at all, but Smith has created the characters, with all their flaws for better or worse, so clearly that when panic and unavoidable death strike it really makes an impact on the reader. One really clever use of a characters Crab-O-Phobia is so well done that it becomes both memorable and hysterical at the same time. I never thought I’d read a story that had a deputy sheriff plagued by nightmares of monster crabs mentally screaming the line “Let it suffer-fuck the Protection Of Animals Act Of 1911!”
Nope, never thought I’d read that.
This is the kind of book that tells me I’ve chosen the correct path to entertaining and enlightenment…the Guy N. Smith way. It isn’t anything more than a spectacular monster tale splattered with over the top gore and loaded with characters that are memorable even if they do end up chomped down within 15 pages. It is funny, it is fun and I love it.
Besides, just say CRABS ON THE RAMPAGE out loud one more time.
Feel yer face…

That is a smile!

Next up, I’ll tackle the final two books, Crabs Moon and the hard to find, but utterly unique in the series… CRABS-THE HUMAN SACRIFICE! Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go write another letter to Santa for Crabs Fury…

Crustacean Domination! Guy N. Smith’s CRABS Part 1

2007 is the year of my Guy N. Smith vision quest. I don’t know what started me on this path, but I’ve been running along nicely, reading a GNS book between each other title I decide upon. I’ve met THE SLIME BEAST. Felt THE THIRST (and it’s sequel no less). I’ve drowned in the sexual slime of THE SUCKING PIT! But after winning a down to the final seconds auction for the hardest to find Crabs title, CRABS-THE HUMAN SACRIFICE, I decided it was time to give that series a straight through read. All six books put together form an interesting tale of nymphomaniacs, crabs as big as cows (or donkeys or…whatever else comes to mind), tank battling beasts, a hero name Cliff Davenport and a whole lotta people getting bisected, trisected and devoured by tiny mouths that are linked to big claws.
I love these books.
Guy N. Smith has become my literary (??) equivalent of Jess Franco it feels like. I really believe that at the heart of my obsession with guys like Jess and Guy (or obscure eurotrash genres) is the fact that I missed my calling as a librarian. I need it ALL, I need to put it in order on a shelf-but best of all, I treasure not only the actual items I find, but the search is an equal thrill. So, lets get crabby. I will warn you gentle readers that plenty of bad words will be on show, and there will be spoilers-though I don’t think I can really convey how dementedly fun these books are without you experiencing them as well. While some are hard to find, you can find Smith’s books for a song with a little looking-and many of the Crabs will set you back less than a paperback off the stands even after shipping. By no means definitive, these are just my impressions of the books… you can find some excellent resources for Smith online. If you want to go to the man himself, simply go to GUY N. SMITH ONLINE and poke around. Order a book and he’ll sign it! Another fine spot for sharing the bliss of not only GNS, but loads of other great topics, go and check out the VAULT OF EVIL. Also, be sure to join the VoE Forums of course!

From the top then-we start off on the Welsh coast on Shell Island as two young lovers go for a swim….

Night Of The Crabs (1976) After the opening sequence that screams JAWS WITH CLAWS as two young lovers are chowed upon while bathing on Shell Island, right next to a military base(!!), we meet series hero Cliff Davenport. Sad to say, the Crab Salad that started us off consisted of his nephew! Luckily, Cliff is a marine botanist and also very curious. Off we go to investigate the strange happenings. Along the way Cliff meets Pat Benson and the INSTANTLY fall in love! Phew! A strange sea comber appears during a moonlit jaunt for the pair and WHAMMO!! GIANT CRABS…yep, we know they are real and they spend a lot of time killing people in classic big monster ways. It also helps out that Cliff knows military man “Old Grizzly” Grisedale. Can you say “The Battle Of Barmouth is underway?” I bet you can. Tanks battle crabs, crabs hurl tanks… and you’ll smile the whole ride through.
Night Of The Crabs plays like a classic horror film of the 50’s, with a good helping of 70’s gritty gore slathered on top. The prose is tight and words are not wasted-each detail furthering the story towards gory conclusions. There is the tendency in Smith’s world (and it is a fairly unified place to my experience) for people to act utterly illogical. But it doesn’t feel that way as you read along, instead it feels as if the writing is in fast forward. Guy meets girl, they fall in love. Crabs eat people…bring in the tanks. But this is what makes it exciting! Night starts the series out with a bang, laying the foundation of the monsters reign of terror with total precision. Is it flowery or pretty? Nope! Entertaining and engrossing? Absolutely. We know they are big and mean, now let the fun begin. Night contains some excellent set pieces, including an underwater seek and destroy mission that is equal parts Creature From The Black Lagoon and Jaws. Hell, it may be like other things, but nothing is like the CRABS!

Killer Crabs (1978) The Crabs are back, and this is a great entry into the series. This time we have the big beasts in Barbeque Bay to deal with. Interestingly, after the first crabs book, the world just accepts the big beasts-so we don’t have to go through any scenes of convincing the locals and the like. Just bring on the claws. Of all the books, this is the one I’d choose to be adapted into a film. Cliff Davenport returns and joins up with local authorities and the memorable salty seaman, Klin. Best of all is the hub of all the local drama, the nympho Caroline du Brunner. Klin is giving her the reason I called him salty seaman, and she is ALSO horny for criminals on the run with tons of cash stashed aside as well. This one has it all. Sex, violence, intrigue, buried cash and lots of clickity-click. Hell, there is even a subplot about evil Japanese fish poachers! As fast and enthusiastic as Night Of The Crabs is, Smith really hits the sweet spot (and the wet ones) on every page here. Look for the scene where one poor fisherman reaches for a bit of driftwood in hope of escaping the crabs…and it turns out to be his own leg! Which he only recognizes when he sees his own SHOE on it!!
After reading Night Of The Crabs and Killer Crabs I’ve already become a Craboid Clickity Clicker for life. But the series would roll on and the crab action would get even more outlandish. Big as sheep? Big as Cows? CARRYING TANKS?? Let’s move on.

Taking a step back in time, Smith decides to fill us in on the Origin Of The Crabs (1979) next. An interesting move for the saga of the Crabs, because the first two books were loaded with undeniable giant crab attacks, there was an immediate reaction from the public AND the military. The crabs are smaller, and most of the book is dedicated to covering up their presence on Loch Merse. The laird of Cranlarich, Bruce McKechnie, has a problem. He runs hunting tours on his property and enjoys the heavy fees he takes from his rich clients. He doesn’t plan on serving up his guests as Crab Salad, but that of course happens quickly. When two particular hunters refuse to be warned off taking midnight trips into the loch (clickity click my friends!!), they are devoured messily. This brings John Ryland, whose brother is sitting in the belly of several over sized crabs, into action. Luckily our laird ain’t a lord with the ladies, and Ryland can hook up with oversexed and eager for love Christine BlacklawMcKechnie’s mistress. The pair investigate the monster in the loch tale… and lots of people die in the process.
After the first two entries, this book is a welcome change-though it does fly in the face of expectation a bit. Slower paced, but the characters are typically fun Smith fare-and I was a bit surprised to see the author pull the trigger on the cast at the books end. Crab Gore fans won’t be let down by the more deliberate pace, since the payoffs are quite large. As Origin Of The Crabs ends, the reader stands on the edge of the ultimate CRAB tale…the one that ties together the first three books with a giant pincer. After reading this book, you are warmed up for the magnificence of… CRABS ON THE RAMPAGE.

In part two… Rampaging Crabs, Corman styled Remakes and a crab side salad as Crustacean Domination wraps up!