October of 1984 saw the publication of Guy N Smith’s novel ‘The Walking Dead’ which formed the sequel to his classic pulp horror novel ‘The Sucking Pit’ (1975).
A full ten years have passed since the horrific events that took place at the Sucking Pit. However, Chris Latimer has returned to where Hopwas Wood once stood; where the Sucking Pit had taken so many victims. The area is now a barren, unsightly wilderness, with developers beginning the arduous task of erecting fifty new houses on what had once been Hopwas Wood. But Harman’s plan to fill the Sucking Pit with rubble, couldn’t suppress the pure evil that lies restlessly waiting in the depths of the Sucking Pit for long. Soon enough the ground opens up, and now all the satanic secrets that lay waiting in the Sucking Pit are once again set loose.
Deep within the boggy depths of this quagmire, the living-dead lie, waiting to unleash their revenge on the people of Hopwas. Their first victim, a JCB driver by the name of Mick Treadman, who is working on the development project, is dragged into the dark depths of the Sucking Pit when the seemingly bottomless abyss opens up underneath him.
Before long, the strange rippling surface of the Sucking Pit, with the brief glimpses of the restless dead it conceals, plays a hypnotic effect on a group of local youths. That night, with the locally-raised musician Carl Wickers playing a show at one of the nightclubs in Hopwas, an orgy of violence erupts when the Sucking Pit’s hypnotic curse drives the possessed youths into a bloodthirsty rage at the packed show.
Deep within the dark and lifeless depths of the Sucking Pit, the evil that died within its unforgiving depths cries out for more victims. More of the villagers succumb under its evil trance. The reanimated corpse of Jenny Lawson lays waiting with her equally dead gypsy lover Corenelius; their revenge focussed on one individual now - Chris Latimer.
With the villagers around him succumbing to the hypnotic demands of the dead submerged within the Sucking Pit, Latimer needs to rescue his newly acquainted lover Pamela and end the curse that embodies the Sucking Pit...
From start to finish Smith delivers an unrelenting and utterly over-the-top pulp horror feast. Following his extensively tried and tested formula for constructing a successful horror novel, Smith packs in hefty wedges of gore, violence and sex, all of which are laced with a delightfully pulpish occultist undertone.
The storyline bounds from one outrageous nail-biting event to the next. None more so than with the graphic violence that is unleashed at the Carl Wickers gig. Here Smith comes into his own, taking off his gloves and really getting stuck into the frenzied violence and resulting bloodspill.
Aside from the delightful frolics of the graphic violence, the tale’s premise is otherwise remarkably flimsy, with a very weak storyline barely holding the driving factors of the tale together. As the novel draws towards its grand finale, the tension builds dramatically, only to be let down by what can only be described as an appallingly pathetic and utterly disappointing conclusion.
All in all, ‘The Walking Dead’ is still a thoroughly enjoyable pulp horror novel, with a vast number of pages delivering a barrage of gory action. The wooden and cheesy characters are forgivable, in their own way adding to the overall pulpy enjoyment of the tale. The simplistically weak plot and utterly atrocious conclusion are what really subtracts from the tale.
The novel runs for a total of 160 pages.
© DLS Reviews