{Book Review} Splatterpunk #9: Edited By Jack Bantry & J.R. Park

Splatterpunk #9

Reviewed By Ben Walker

It’s back, and it’s brought a friend! Splatterpunk Zine, by far the best zine featuring splatterpunk stories, has teamed up with The Sinister Horror Company to bring you its 9th issue, with four bite-sized stories and a side helping of non-fiction. And it goes without saying that Dan Henk provides another great cover but I’ve said it anyway and I’m not going to edit it out so there.

So lets rifle through the contents and give some thoughts on it then. A quick editorial explains more about the partnership with Sinister Horror Co, after which you’re straight into Aaron Beat Up‘s guide to the apocalypse, a non-fiction piece about post-apocalyptic movies. I can’t say that my taste in these lines up exactly with Mr Beat Up’s, but it’s essentially a listicle, and if you agreed with everyone who wrote one of those your nose would be browner than the bottom of the vats in the Cadbury factory.

Next, it’s Jack Bantry‘s top 10 splatterpunk and extreme horror novels, with a lot of solid choices and a few I hadn’t heard of, so that’s something for the shopping list. Maybe I’ll agree with those choices afterwards and maybe I won’t but – look we went over this already didn’t we?

Patrick Lacey then gives us the first fiction piece with Performance Art, and my interest was piqued right from the title, as I’m a big fan of horror that infuses some kind of artform into the narrative. This gets off to a PETA-worrying start before delving into some torrid and eventually sinister depths of – well – performance art. There are slimy, shambling things, masked figures, and lots of half-seen horrors here, and while the lead character’s search for something new doesn’t offer many surprises, it’s a neat little tale with some effective, if well-worn, imagery.

Matt Shaw then brings you Blue, where sex and death mingle in an uncomfortably close way. It’s a short burst of weirdness with a messy climax, but it flashes around in time and that didn’t quite work for me. Ironically, for a story about sex gone wrong, it needed some better foreplay and shoots part of its load a bit too quickly.

Then Daniel Eaves offers to Scratch that Itch, and you’d think from the title that this would be another bit of rueful rumpy-pumpy, but no, this is one of those “mind of a killer” stories. There are a few digs at societal norms as the lead character’s mind deteriorates alongside an itch which causes them to become what they say they’re not. This one was a bit too by the numbers, none of the outbursts were that disturbing or horrific, or even blackly funny, it just rolls along with things going ever more wrong, which I was kind of indifferent to seeing as the side characters never rise above much more than casual observers, and the lead is just a means of delivery for unpleasantness that doesn’t entertain.

Jack Bantry then steps back in to lay himself bare in an interview which gives you a nice potted history of the zine. This should be interesting if you’re new to the zine, and there a few some peeks behind the curtain at the editor-creator himself too.

Rounding things out is CM Franklyn‘s Cunt, out to offend from word one and doing a pretty good job of it along the way. It’s a foul-mouthed tale of a foul-mouthed girl in a foul city where sex and murder are everyday happenings. This is a lot more experimental in style and language than the other stories, which makes it a stand-out, despite it being hard going at times. There are some gleefully rude turns of phrases as well as gory scenes, and above all else, it has what I’d say is a true punk rock spirit, a fuck ’em all attitude as the lead character tries to exist alongside the filth that makes her so angry.

In summary then, splatterpunk’s not dead after all, and this zine proves it.

Splatterpunk #9

Splatterpunk Zine is back!

In the tradition of zines from the 1980s/90s comes the brainchild of author Jack Bantry. Splatterpunk Zine caused quite a stir in the horror world, and with the help of the Sinister Horror Company it’s back!

It returns with issue 9, and is co-edited by Sinister’s very own J. R. Park. The zine features new fiction from Patrick Lacey, Matt Shaw, CM Franklyn and Daniel Eaves. Art from Dan Henk, Robert Elrod and Jorge Wiles. Plus A Guide to the Apocalypse by Aaron Beat Up, Bantry’s Top Ten Splatterpunk & Extreme Horror Novels and more…

Cover design by Mike Dickinson, illustration by Dan Henk.

You can buy Splatterpunk #9 from The Sinister Horror Company

Ben Walker

Ben got a taste for terror after sneaking downstairs to watch The Thing from behind the sofa at age 9. He’s a big fan of extreme & bizarre horror and well as more psychological frights, and most things in between. When he’s not reading, he’s writing, and when he’s not writing he’s on twitter @BensNotWriting or reviewing books on his YouTube channel, BLURB.

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