First published back in April of 2002 by Freak Press, ‘Excitable Boys’ is a collection of the most repulsive and damn-right sick stories to thrill the tastes of those who seek such repulsive literature. Compiled and edited by Kelly Laymon (none other than Richard Laymon’s daughter), the idea for the book was the brain child of Kelly’s after hearing Ryan Harding’s 2000 entry in the World Horror Convention Gross-Out Contest. The name for the compilation came from Warren Zevon’s song entitled ‘Excitable Boy’ (1978). Sharing similar themes and subject matters, the title seemed somewhat appropriate to Kelly.
The book kicks off with a short introduction from Kelly, entitled ‘Take A Tour Through The Sewer’, where she details how and why ‘Excitable Boys’ came about. This four page introduction is an amusing little read and certainly does a good job in whetting the appetite for the explicit tales to come.
Good Care - Rain Grave - 23 Pages
Rain delivers an unnerving tale of inter-family revenge after a boy’s father unfairly punishes him for his ‘insolence’ in the most horrific of ways. As you would guess, the father eventually gets his comeuppance. The story is a good little tale to get the book underway with, delivering a sufficient amount of descriptive gore and a general teeth-grindingly intense atmosphere to bring home some good-old-fashioned menace.
The Constipated Cannibal - Michael McCarty - 3 Pages
This super-short tale is preluded by a rather grotesque illustration by Gak depicting what one would imagine would be the end result of a ‘constipated cannibal’. Not a pleasant site! The resulting delightfully-detailed description of a cannibal's troublesome bowel movements is wonderfully unpleasant, with a well needed slab of comedy curdling the foulness that surrounds this general premise. This is undoubtably what ‘Excitable Boys’ is all about!
The McCrath Model SS40-C, Series S - Edward Lee - 34 Pages
This charming tale delivers to the writing world what Hideshi Hino’s film ‘Guinea Pig 2: Flower Of Flesh And Blood’ (1985) did to the world of motion picture. Centred around the monstrous-evil unleashed by a doctor and his helpers on his two victims, this particularly disturbing tale is possibly the strongest of the entire collection. Heavily charged with sexual deviance, callous torture and graphic mutilation; Lee’s contribution is sure to please all those who decide to pick up a copy of this book.
Full Of It - Brian Keene - 12 Pages
The story involves a group of ex-soldiers who have taken it upon themselves to form a terrorist organisation named ‘The Sons of the Constitution’. We join the tale as they capture a soldier who is spying on the group. But their subsequent entrapment and torture of the soldier backfires somewhat when a shocking turn of events lays waste to the entire group. From start to finish, this surreal tale is waist-deep in its unrelenting assault on the reader. Keene delivers a truly foul story, with a tongue-firmly-in-the-cheek approach to what can only be described as a childishly comical grand finale. For the gross out factor, you won't be disappointed with this one.
Attack Of The Fifty-Foot Prison Bitch - Mark McLaughlin - 16 Pages
Absolutely typical of Mark McLaughlin. You can always tell when it's one of McLaughlin’s tales simply by the ridiculous B-Movie-esque title. With his usual all-out surreal and unashamedly crude nature, Mark brings us this self-explanatory-titled-tale which delivers the all-important message that ‘radioactivity and prisoners just don't mix’. The mistake was made here, with diabolical and typically revolting consequences. You know what you're getting with a Mark McLaughlin story, so expect the usual surreal, comical, ridiculous, crude, in-your-face and monstrously over the top B-Movie plotline; all crammed into the least amount of pages possible. This is a non-stop thrill of a ride.
A Heart Full Of Love, A Bowel Full Of Hate - Gavin Williams - 6 Pages
This six page abomination is nothing short of all-out-foul. The short starts off with the opening sentence “I knew things were going from bad to worse when live beetles started to pour out of my grandmama’s anus”. From here on Williams unleashes an onslaught of non-stop-gut-churning-gore with its one and only mission - to gross out the reader from start to finish. And doesn’t the man do that well! Expect a barrage of depravities that Williams has dug up from deep within his obviously twisted imagination.
Genital Grinder: A Snuff Film in Five Acts - Ryan Harding - 18 Pages
Following on from that, with the mood of the compilation now firmly set in its place we have Ryan Harding’s memorable (in all the wrong or right ways, depending on your outlook) short entitled ‘Genital Grinder: A Snuff Film in Five Acts’. With a title which was most likely taken from Carcass’s opening track on their album ‘Reek Of Putrefaction’ (1988), you can already guess at the levels of splatter that are going to be involved here. The short tells the tale of two ambitious film makers who take on the mission of filming their very own horrendously over-the-top snuff movie. Outrageously gory and heavily ladled with very black comedy, Harding brings to ‘Excitable Boys’ another wave of monumental gross-out fun that is one of those shorts that lingers in the back of your mind for a good few weeks afterwards.
Just Like Chicken - Geoff Cooper - 5 Pages
This final contribution recalls a particularly horrible event that took place at the annual Gross-Out contest at World Horror in Denver. Yep, that’s right, a true story to end the book on! And what a little story it is too. Ever seen Herb Robins’s film ‘The Worm Eaters’ (1977)? Well, here you get the written rendition in all its nauseating glory!
The book is illustrated throughout (one illustration per story) by Gak, along with a brief passage on each author. This is a non-stop assault of pure gross-out fun that is sure to bring a chuckle to almost all lovers of gory splatterpunk pulp. If you’ve read this far, then this is more than likely a book for you!
The anthology runs for a total of 135 pages.
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