The Bride Stripped Bare: Rob Bliss
Reviewed By Ben Walker
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Necro Publications (21 Jun. 2019)
There’s something familiar about The Bride Stripped Bare, and it’s not the Edward Lee influence it wears so proudly on its digital sleeve. It’s that title. It bugged me for a few days until I remembered Google was a thing, and one quick search later, I realised where I’d heard it before. This hellish novel shares its name with a series of romance books, which got their name from a piece of artwork by Marcel Duchamp. Weird as it is, that piece of art is open to a lot more interpretation than this brutal tale of marriage gone staggeringly wrong.
It starts out as a fairly standard tale of pre-marriage depravity, with best man and lead character Chris enjoying a night out in a small town with his pal Gord and bride-to-be Venus. Drinks are drunk and drugs are chugged, with Chris thinking that the wild sex and wilder murders he’s both witness to and a part of are just drug-induced fantasies. If only things were that simple.
Simple is definitely something this book is not. There’s more familial drama here than a 24-hour Dynasty marathon, only with added shape-shifting, hell dimensions, superpowered animal furs, snaking tail penises and so much more. Once things go from a troubling backwoods hick action-adventure to full-on cult-infused horror weirdness, it’s hard to tear yourself away from the sheer imagination on offer. And fair warning, this being a Necro Publications title means there’s a huge amount of hardcore terror, with gory scenes of torture, sexual violence and rape alongside mutated bodies, surreal transformations and that good old standby, gas-mask wearing nurses.
All the degradation, depravity and dismemberment starts when the wedding party does, and the plot barely pauses for breath afterwards. Most times it seems like there’s no hope for the heroes, with no easy solutions to any of the blood-drenched situations Chris and the others find themselves in. By the end, nobody is left unsullied by the evil Baer family and their various cronies. It definitely brings Edward Lee’s writing to mind at times, as well a cultish version of Straw Dogs, where characters are forced into violence against their better nature, and end up loving it a bit too much. Parts are lost, lives are lost, and our heroes find themselves taking to murder just a smidge too easily. It makes for some wild action, but it does leave you a bit disconnected from the human side of things at times.
The main issue here is that there are way too many narrow escapes, so as the story goes on, you tend to brush off any jeopardy as short-lived. Characters also shrug things off fairly easily, from hellish birthing chambers to a sex hive, to a mysterious venue full of sadists and worse. Maybe it’s because they’re hopped up on drugs most of the time, but their ability to win through pretty much any insane situation dampens the tension a little. Also, one late-game decision had me smacking my head on the desk in frustration as once again, overconfidence leads to bad news. In that final section, some encounters either play out too fast or are hidden from the reader entirely. There’s a reason for this misdirection, but being made to look away from a scene that’s had so much build-up just makes you wish it’d been left in, which makes the ending lose some of its impact.
Still, with plenty of squishy, pulsating horror and some truly nightmarish, bizarre concepts, this is definitely worth a read for the sheer what-the-fuckery of it all.
The Bride Stripped Bare
Edward Lee meets Clive Barker…
Gord is getting married to a woman he recently met, named Venus Baer. His best friend, Chris, is invited to be the best man. The bride-to-be is incredibly sexy, manipulative, and evil.
Chris and Gord realize something is horribly wrong with the Baer family and soon find out escaping the family is going to be one hell of a task. The huge family stretches around the world making a clean getaway an impossibility. But that’s just what Gord, Chris and Gord’s sister, Elizabeth, are going to try and do.
The Bride Stripped Bare takes the backwood freaks of classic Edward Lee books and slams them together with Clive Barker and his Nightbreed world. Lots of blood, drugs, sex, and violence make this a perfect addition to the Necro family.
New blood extreme horror ready to take you on a drug-crazed, chaotic race against evil.
Find out what happens when the bride is stripped bare.
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.