Reviewed: September, 2020
Released: 2020, Grindhouse Press
When it comes to my choices in entertainment, I’m not really a mainstream pop culture person, I like the lesser known and the underground. However, with exception of Heavy Metal, I am a dabbler. I like a bit of a Fantasy guy, a bit of a Sci-Fi guy, I read lots of comics and played D&D when I was younger, and of course I enjoyed horror movies.
I’m not a total horror freak, I don’t go to conventions or subscribe to Fangoria or Rue Morgue or anything. I don’t read horror either but I grew up watching crappy 70’s and 80’s horror films and still do.
Why is this even remotely important to this book review? Well, I was asked if I wanted to read and review a new anthology of horror stories for Metal-Rules.com called HORRORAMA. I’ve been asked this question before for other not-Metal books and I usually politely decline because this is strictly a METAL web-site, not pop culture and horror/sci-if/fantasy like so many others that blur the lines.
However, HORRORAMA has one of the three short-stories is written by Matt Harvey of Exhumed. Exhumed is Metal. I love Exhumed so there was the connection. The book now officially has enough ‘Metal Cred’ to be reviewed on this site.
As a quick side-note, this is not the very first Metal-related Fiction book review on this site, (there are about half a dozen others) but Metal Fiction, compared to Metal Non-Fiction is extremely rare; easily a 100:1 ratio. This is why I jumped at the chance to review HORRORAMA because Metal-Fiction is so rare and therefore kind of unique and cool, as compared to ‘just’ another autobiography of an aging 80’s Rock Star.
It’s quite an honour for this piece of Fiction to be reviewed here in our book review section known for its extensive archives of Metal related non-fiction reviews. By now if the Editor and owner of Grindhouse Press, C.V. Hunt is reading this review, she must think I’m a nut-case and is wondering if I’m going to say anything about the actual book!
On a more serious note, HORRORAMA is a pretty cool anthology. The cover and design are made to look like an old VHS tape! CV Hunt pens a nice, heartfelt introduction to the concept of horror anthologies and all-night move marathons in the 80’s watching ‘video-nasties’. Hunt is speaking my nostalgic language and I bought into it right away. Another nice touch is that each chapter has a picture; a recreation of an old page of TV Guide (or something very similar) which is loaded with little in-jokes and references to Heavy Metal TV culture and horror. It’s very well done and watch for clever references to Iron Maiden and more!
As for the book proper we get three short-stories. This is where I always struggle when I review fiction. Who am I to judge someone else creative endeavours? I don’t want to spoil anything either, so these really are ‘non-reviews’ in the sense I don’t go into much detail. The first is called ‘Stor-all Self Storage’ by A.S. Cooper. It is a neat concept. It is followed by a simple black-woods tale called ‘Primitive’ by Lucas Magnum. Both are well-written effective, creepy and original.
And now we get to what you have all been waiting for, the whole reason behind this long-winded review, Matt Harvey’s story called, ‘The Vessel’. It’s actually the shortest of the three at just over 50 pages. It is some sort of weird Sci-Fi, evil-cult, alien, child-abduction, indoctrination kitchen-sink tale of a hard-boiled Private Investigator o the case, which appealed to me enormously since I work in that line of work. Overall, it was not what I was expecting, and maybe that is a good thing. I was thinking he would write more of a traditional horror-gore-cannibal-torture-zombie kinda thing. Maybe he is saving that for lyrics for the next Exhumed or Gruesome album. Ultimately satisfying, all of these stories were very entertaining.
This was a really nice diversion. I get bogged down reading autobiographies, academic essays and band biographies that HORRORAMA was a nice change. Lastly, if you are a horror fan you are probably well aware of Grindhouse Press but if not, this is actually book # 70 in the series! Buy ‘em all!