First published in October of 2015, Barbie Wilde’s ‘Voices Of The Damned’ brings together eleven of the author’s short stories (including two brand new stories) published for the first time in one collection.  Beautifully presented in both a Trade Hardback Edition along with a Deluxe Hardback Edition, both versions contain full-colour illustrations to accompany each story (the deluxe edition in a very high-quality).

The collection kicks off with a foreword by Fangoria’s Editor, Chris Alexander, offering up some well-deserved praise for Barbie’s literary work from a man who has followed the career of the author and her seductive tales.

Sister Cilice – Part I of the Cilicium Trilogy – 11 Pages
So far Sister Veronica’s life had been one of work and prayer.  She’d been sent to the Nunnery at the age of seventeen, without ever experiencing what it was like to be intimate with the other sex.  Her life had closed in on her.  And now she was tormented by depraved dreams.  No amount of self-flagellation would rid her mind of those familiars that so tormented her sleeping mind.  And now in her waking hours she found herself longing for the accidental touch of Father Xavier.  A handsome and virile man who had consumed her thoughts.  At night she would mortify her bare flesh to chase away the thoughts of the Father, but doing so just made her suffering more sensual.  However, after burying herself in the library archives, Sister Veronica stumbled upon an ancient manuscript contained within an old leaden box. A manuscript that told of demons.  Of corruption of the flesh.  Of everything that she had become.  Of the Order of the Gash…

First published in Paul Kane’s ‘Hellbound Hearts’ (2009) anthology, Barbie Wilde kicks off her own collection with a story that’s clearly very close to her heart.  Possibly best known for her role as the female Cenobite in Clive Barker’s iconic horror film ‘Hellbound: Hellraiser II’ (1988), the short is one that feels almost autobiographical coming from the author.  In fact, Wilde seems to get into the very head of her character, Sister Veronica, and sings a seductive lullaby of a decent into corruption and exploring the dark pleasures of the flesh.  This is Cenobite mythos at its very, very finest.  What an opener.  What an introduction.  What a tantalising first taste of the ungodly pleasures to come.

Zulu Zombies – 22 Pages
After consuming a tad too much alcohol on their best friend’s Hen Night, Trish and Debs managed to completely miss their train back home and instead found themselves curled up asleep in the Milton Keynes train station awaiting the next train.  Waking from their alcohol-induced slumber, they realised a train was just about to depart and clambered aboard without first checking that it was the right train.  And it wasn’t.  But that was far from the worst turn of events for them that night.  It was as the Train Inspector towered over them, thrusting an ancient spear into Debs’ gut, that things went decidedly bad for them.  The following Zulu Zombie rape of Trish was an equally sour note.  And its all thanks to a young man named John Jones, who couldn’t keep good care of one particular ancient stone bottle.  The Zombie Zulu warrior spirits were out in the streets of London…

First published in Dean M. Drinkel’s anthology ‘The Bestiarum Vocabulum’ (2013) I have to be honest, I was hooked on the story’s title alone.  Zulu Zombies – now there’s something to tantalise any good pulp-horror zombie fan.  And from the pen of one particularly sexy Cenobite to match.  Oh yes, with this story you really are in for one hell of a treat.  Expect Zulu Zombie mayhem, undead rape, witch doctor rituals, vomiting and plenty of bloodshed.  Cram it all into one hell of an adrenaline pumping read – and you’ve got a strange ‘I Am Legend’ (1954) meets ‘Zulu’ (1964) meets ‘Horror Express’ (1972) maddening ride.

American Mutant – 22 Pages
Reverend Billy Bob Bannon was smooth.  He had the gift of the gab and used it to great effect.  His chosen path had been religion.  His flock spanned the US.  His impressive and lucrative reach was thanks to the TV channel he preached through.  And it was through this that he charmed millions of dollars out of his many devotees.  Of course deep down he wasn’t remotely religious.  It was all an act.  But a very successful one.  But then one fateful night in Biloxi the whole game changed for Billy Bob.  From out of the blue a red-haired call girl who he’d seen quite a bit of some thirteen years ago, turned up with a young thirteen year old boy in tow.  Of course the child was his.  That much was obvious.  However, what initially appeared to be a carrier destroying problem soon reveals another, far more lucrative side.  As it turned out, Reverend Billy Bob Bannon’s son, Michael, had a unique ability.  One of his hands is good, the other pure evil.  And through his hands, he could channel the conflicting forces.  The possibilities were just too darn good for the Reverend to pass up on…

First published in Kelly Dunn’s ‘Mutation Nation’ (2011) anthology, here we have Barbie embracing the bygone all-American loves of overzealous preachers and genetic mutations.  The short reads like Katherine Dunn’s ‘Geek Love’ (1989) that’s been given a much thicker ‘horror’ edge.  Wilde paints the portraits of some particularly strong personalities, with bold and brash characterisation ensnaring the reader within seconds.  The pace is quick and snowballs with the gradual revelations that steer the short to a dramatic and wonderfully over-the-top conclusion.  I absolutely loved this one.  As a Brit it’s exactly how we hope America is.  Awash with unscrupulous con artist preachers whilst hiding away mutant children with unnatural powers.  God bless America!

The Alpdrücke – 18 Pages
For the past few weeks Jim hadn’t been sleeping well.  In fact, nightmares had been keeping both himself and his girlfriend, Marney, awake almost every night.  Now she’d had enough.  And after hearing the nightmares involved a silly-hat-wearing-dwarf swinging a tennis racket with cheese-wire for strings just exasperated the situation further.  Jim was now seeing Dr Gardner to get to the root of the problem.  But, as Marney was finding out from her work colleague, Mr Zeiner, such things are often beyond the reach of science.  What Jim was suffering from was a Germanic demon.  An Alpdrucke.  And it had something more than just torment in mind…

First published within Dean M. Drinkel’s anthology ‘The Demonologia Biblica’ (2013) this next story is a weirdly nightmarish short that seems to have been born from the same cast as Clive Barker’s ‘The Yattering And Jack’ crossed with the succubus from James Herbert’s novel ‘Once…’ (2001).  The short bounces along at an energetic pace, only stumbling for a page or two whilst detailing the intricacies of sleep.  Nevertheless, an excellent start to get the anthology’s cogs greased with, and begin upon the demonic journey southwards…

Valeska – 24 Pages
Valeska spotted her prey almost as soon as she entered the trendy night-spot where she so often went hunting.  He was her typical prey.  Smooth, confident, attractive – deeply arrogant.  Easy pickings for one like her.  She was strong.  Powerful.  The most deadly of her kind.  After all, she was a Seminal.  And the moment he locked eyes on her he was hers.  They’d leave together, she’d get him alone, they’d strip, start enjoying each other, and then it was her time to take what she needed.  The power of Valeska’s Seminal vagina would suck every last bit of semen and his life essence from him.  Necrophilia is so good for the soul, even if you don’t have one…

First published in this collection, Barbie Wilde’s ‘Valeska’ is a wonderfully dark and sexual tale, crossing the likes of David S Goyer’s ‘Blade’ (1998) with something Poppy Z. Brite might pen – and of course all with that vital Barbie Wilde sensual darkness.  It’s a pretty twisted short.  And it’s absolutely crammed with erotic scenes that gradually take on a more sinister tone.  Written in three distinct sections, the story sets out in what one assumes is the current time, then hurtles back to the time of the great plague in 1348, to set down the very roots of her vampire-like races, before once again returning to the present time.  Through this the story incorporates a far greater degree of mythos than you would probably have expected it to.  Nevertheless, it all slots together seamlessly; creating a story that feels much larger than the sum of its pages.  This is one hell of a dark short story. At the throbbing heart of it all is sex.  And Wilde seduces the reader into the erotic embrace of the tale with the causal ease of a mythological Siren.

The Cilicium Pandoric – Part II of the Cilicium Trilogy – 10 Pages
Sister Cilice was now a first level Female Cenobite of the Order of the Gash.  But she had become tired with her experimentation in the exquisite suffering on others.  She sought something more.  So she finally resolved to visit the Toymaker, a legendary creator of Pandorics.  He alone could help her with her quest.  She wished for her own order.  The Sisterhood of the Cilice.  The idea of adding more females under her command to populate the vast dungeons of the Underworld was a delicious one.  After all, Hell needed a bit of glamour…

First published in Gorezone Magazine No. 30 (2014), Barbie Wilde’s second instalment into her Cilicium trilogy takes the mythos from ‘Hellraiser IV’ (1996) and weaves in a pure Barbie Wilde streak of erotic seduction.  Sister Veronica is now well-and-truly part of Hell.  Her position is firmly established.  Her role clear.  But her story doesn’t end there.  Even in Hell, struggles for power can arise if the will is strong enough.  And although relatively short, this second instalment in Wilde’s trilogy covers a lot of ground; setting in motion a tantalizing story of Cenobite ambition akin to what we would later see in Barker’s ‘The Scarlet Gospels’ (2015).  Written from the perspective of one who knows the will of a Female Cenobite the best – this truly is essential reading.  The Hellraiser mythos just took another step further into the seductive reaches of the abyss.

Gaia – 18 Pages
When Gaia Iliopoulos was a young girl, her mother would tell her the ancient myths from their homeland of Greece.  Tales of cruelty that could warp a young girl’s mind.  And with Gaia, the stories did just that.  But it was as Gaia was on the verge of her teenage years that she found her real inner strength.  Her Uncle Abraxas, who had visited their family many times over the years, let his lust overcome him and stole away Gaia’s childhood from her.  Abraxas would eventually have his comeuppance, but the rape left a mark on Gaia.  As she grew older and her parents died, Gaia would find that she had inherited a substantial amount of money.  Enough to allow her to finally feel safe.  Enough so she could live out the rest of her life locked away from the rest of the world.  But there were those that had different ideas…

First published within Dean M. Drinkel’s anthology ‘Phobophobia’ (2011) the short was originally published under the title ‘U is for Uranophobia’.  The story itself is a bit of a slow-burner.  A good portion of the short is given over to establishing the disturbed principal character, Gaia, and her devotion to the Gods of Greek Mythology.  From early on it’s quite a hard story to swallow.  Gaia’s rape as a minor, and the subsequent effect it had on her, is tough stuff.  And then, whilst immersed in the misery of it all, the story is split in half, and we’re thrust forward to when Gaia is an adult and living alone in her home.  With the money she has inherited she has a panic room built within her basement, where she can hide and finally feel safe.  But of course the story doesn’t end there.  Wilde’s just getting started.  Throw in a couple of disaffected youths who want to rob the house.  And then a barrel full of blood, carnage and typical Barbie Wilde lustful violence (that makes you feel oh-so-grubby), and you end up with another utterly captivating and hellishly entertaining read.  Oh don’t you just love the slaughter?!

Polyp – 16 Pages
Because of a pretty frightening family history of colon cancer, Vincent had to have a colonoscopy examination every year.  It wasn’t exactly something he looked forward to.  It was uncomfortable and humiliating.  But the sedatives they administered helped.  And so here he was again, in St Stephen’s hospital, lying on his back in his dignity shorts waiting for the endoscope to be shoved up his behind.  However, what had evolved in Vincent’s gut and what now awaited Dr Stanson and his team was beyond the wildest dreams of the most unconventional of neurogastroenterologists.  What awaited them, nestling deep within Vincent’s colon, was something born of nightmares.  And the good doctor was about to disturb it…

First published within Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan’s anthology ‘The Mammoth Book Of Body Horror’ (2012), Barbie’s next offering is a wacky piece of body horror akin to that of Bizarro fiction.  The story doesn’t take itself too seriously - oozing an 80’s trippy horror vibe with an ‘Outer Limits’ style of outrageous imagination.  Here Wilde purposefully holds off on delving into the dark and seductive corridors that we usually see within her work.  Instead we have a grin-inducing horror romp which just keeps on pushing the boundaries.  And talk about an ending.   Expect nothing short of pure unadulterated lunacy with a touch of the wickedly perverse.  Absolute genius.

Botophobia – 16 Pages
Following the tragic death of her parents and then the break-up of her marriage, Lorraine had little choice but to move back to her childhood home in Opportunity in Washington.  The ranch-style property had hardly changed since she’d moved away.  Even her old room looked much the same.  And the basement was just as terrifying.  Especially that long-locked room that was hidden away in the dark alcove.  As a child she’d always wondered what lay behind that door.  The mysteries it held.  But something’s really are best left unknown…

First published within Dean M. Drinkel’s anthology ‘Phobophobias’ (2014), what’s possibly an even bigger mystery than what lies behind the basement room door in Barbie’s story, is what the hell Botophobia is?!  It’s a puzzle unto itself.  Nevertheless, if we sweep this head-scratching aspect aside for a minute, what we have left is a pretty weird and downright entertaining little tale.  Have yourself a messed-up trip on the most disagreeable hallucinogenic you can get your grubby hands on, then sling on an episode of ‘The X-Files’ (1993 – 2002), and you’ll be in reasonably similar territory to what Barbie Wilde’s got in store for you here.  From a somewhat reserved start, once the strange door in the basement is unlocked the whole story is suddenly thrown into a completely unexpected and outrageously over-the-top new direction.  This is just dark, twisted, sci-fi pulp horror fun.  Plain and simple.  Now, let’s just take a second to ponder what on earth goes on inside Barbie Wilde’s mind.

Writer’s Block – 18 Pages
Depression was smothering Bartholomew Atkins.  His creativity was at an all-time low.  A situation that was crippling for a struggling writer like Bart.  However, with the arrival of the Frighteners Horror Writers and Filmmakers Festival in Brighton, Bart had high hopes that he might just be able to peddle some of his books and even a few copies of the low-budget DVD he’d written the screenplay for.  It was worth a shot.  And at any rate, spending time at a convention couldn’t be any worse than wasting his days away like he’d been doing with his writer’s block.  However, as it turns out, the horror convention has much more in store for Bart than a bit of networking and the chance to sell a few books.  There Bart will meet the stunning goddess that is Lora Wynchester, and in meeting her, the chance to finally cure his writer’s block for good…

First published within Dean M. Drinkel’s anthology ‘The Grimorium Verum’ (2015), this next story utilises every writer’s nightmare – the dreaded writer’s block – for its initial premise.  And indeed the short starts off setting down the sort of backdrop and introducing a lead character (the struggling young writer Bartholomew Atkins) that you’d expect to find in a story of this nature.  It’s all fairly safe ground.  In fact it’s pretty much as you’d expect in a depressing sort of way – that is until all of a sudden Barbie raises the pulse-rate by about a hundred-beats-a-minute and gets going with some steamy sex coupled with the wonderfully elaborate telling of an age-old witch’s story.  From the safe-and-purposefully-quite-mundane initial few pages, the tale is flung into an imaginative and wildly addictive direction which just keeps on clawing you in.

The Cilicium Rebellion – Part III of the Cilicium Trilogy - 15 Pages
Sister Cilice had slowly accrued like-minded creatures who would happily follow her to the very depths of desire and sensuality.  But she wanted something more.  She wanted total dominion.  And so she planned a rebellion that would shake the very foundations of Hell itself and usurp the Lead Cenobite who presently ruled.  But when her rebellion has succeeded.  When her fight for power is over and the devastation is total - who will there be left to lead?  The darkened corridors of Hell may be left bare, but Hell has its own cards to play in its fate, and they’re not necessarily the same ones as the Female Cenobite’s…

First published in this collection, Barbie’s final story forms the final instalment in her ‘Hellraiser mythos’ inspired Cilicium Trilogy.  By now the whole setting has been established, Sister Cilice is a powerful player in Hell, and (following on from the second story in the trilogy) it’s time to stir things up in the same vein as Barker’s ‘The Scarlet Gospels’ (2015).  The resulting warfare, although dramatic in its outcome, is toned down somewhat by a strange lack of involvement from Barbie.  There’s pretty much a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it clash, and then once the smoke clears, is when the story actually gets going.  From here it takes on a direction you’d probably not expect it to.  Although, out of all three Cilicium Trilogy stories, this one in particular feels like it’s closest to something Barker might have penned himself.  It’s got dark mischief in its bones.  And it uses this mischief in a way that feels cruel but somehow sits right with the whole story.  A fitting ending for the three instalments in the trilogy, and a perfect ending for the collection as a whole.

The anthology ends with a short two page Afterword from Jen and Sylvia Soska (aka ‘The Soska Sisters’ or ‘Twisted Twins’) which praises the many aspects of the perverse journey that Wilde has just taken you on.

This is nothing short of an absolutely stunning collection.

The collection runs for a total of 214 pages.

© DLS Reviews

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