First published back in April of 2017, extreme horror author Matt Shaw and new wave pulp horror poster boy J.R. Park put their dark and twisted imaginations together to pen their co-written novella ‘Postal’.

DLS Synopsis:
The postal execution grant system was a game changer.  A bold move that divided the population.  But the benefits soon started to reveal themselves, and before long, almost everyone was on board.  Although they had little choice.

The scheme was a simple one.  Each month a letter would be sent to randomly selected people; thirteen in total.  Within that month the receiver of the letter was given lawful right to kill one person.  It didn’t matter who it was or how they did it.  The receiver was granted the right to commit murder with no legal consequences.

Anyone could be sent a letter.  Anyone could become one of the Lucky Thirteen.  The hope to be given the licence, to be as wicked as they wanted, placated the nation.  The population had never been so willing to conform.  To treat their neighbours with so much respect.  To be such upstanding members of the community.

Of course there were those that opposed the new system.  General Joe Young fought against the scheme with his People Against the Postal Execution Regime movement.  But their opposing voices were mere whispers against the overwhelming voice of the population.

People loved it.  They’d wait in for the post each day in the vague hope of receiving one of the infamous letters.  On them receiving the official grant to rid the world of one less person.  Having the opportunity to exact their revenge without fear of reprisal.

It was one hell of a game changer.  And for some, the opportunity it brought would be a nothing short of life changing…

DLS Review:
What happens when you put an extreme horror author together with a gritty pulp horror writer?  Well, besides the ensuing mess (which some unfortunate soul will need to clear up at some stage), you’re pretty much guaranteed a blisteringly fast-paced over-the-top gorefest, where its quicker to count those that are left standing at the end, compared with those that added to the piles of dead littering the blood-drenched floor.  And surprise surprise, that’s exactly what you get with Matt Shaw and Justin Park’s novella ‘Postal’.

The concept behind the tale is pure pulp.  Yeah, it’s completely and utterly preposterous.  Absolutely no one in their right mind would ever take such an idea seriously.  But then with pulp horror that’s half the fun of it.  Suspend every possible grain of disbelief.  Believability can go hang for all we care.  Instead it’s about the thrills, kills and utterly over-the-top maniacal mayhem that these two grinning authors have promised is in store for us.

With the premise set with a purposeful swiftness, the dynamic duo immediately turn their attention to getting a good handful of characters thrown into the mix – almost all of which are purposefully unlikeable individuals, showcasing a plethora of unfavourable traits that we’re all no doubt familiar with seeing spread about our modern day world.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out how the tale’s going to unfold from here.  These ugly ass sons of bitches are going to get their comeuppance soon enough – no doubt thanks to the Postal Execution Grant System in one way or another.

Although what you may not have expected is the imagination that Shaw and Park have put into all of their kills.  Irony and a sense of fucked-up poetic justice play a leading role in the majority of murders.  There are frigging loads of messed-up creative deaths in here, each and every one giving the ‘Saw’ or ‘Final Destination’ movies a damn good run for their money.  In fact, the guys even throw in a top ten list of executions, with each upping the ante of gruesome black comedy entertainment whilst proving that the Shaw/Park-train is now well-and-truly off the rails and its maniacal drivers just don’t care.

However, as you’ll so often see within both of these fine upstanding writers’ work, there’s also a sense of justice and – dare I say – carefully engineered social commentary embedded within.  The novella doesn’t push for a ‘feel good’ resolution in any way shape of form.  In fact, some of the unlikeable characters come out the other side smelling of cheapass imitation roses, even though they’re as rotten inside as those that got to meet their maker.  However, The Shark (that’s Shaw & Park melded into one Frankenstein’s Monster like being) know damn well the enjoyment we all get from seeing a dislikeable fucknut finally getting his just deserts.  It gives you an instant sense of satisfaction.  Like punching a Nazi.  It just feels so justifiably satisfying.

But it’s not all slaughter and devilishly deviant comeuppance frolicking between the blood red covers of this fiendish book.  Shark have also woven in a much-needed link back to humanity in the form of eighteen-year-old Postal Execution Grants customer service call centre representative – Janet.  She’s every bit a part of the modern world.  She takes the calls from those enquiring about the letters:- how the Lucky Thirteen are selected, offering suggestions of how a lucky letter owner can top their chosen victim, and every now and again, consoling a bereaved family member or two after their loved one was sliced and diced off this mortal coil.  You’d think the role would desensitise the young lass to it all.  And at first it looks like it has.  But then we start to see a glimmer of hope.  And if indeed there is hope in someone like Janet, who’s sitting at the very forefront of such a scheme, then there’s probably glimmers of hope elsewhere too.  Yeah, believe it or not but there’s more of that feel good factor pocking up out of the bubbling bloodbath.

Glorifying and sensualising the whole fucking thing is (of course) the good old reliably morally unscrupulous media, who lap up the deaths like there’s no tomorrow.  The murders now form the main part of the day’s news, with the anchors making the whole messed-up shebang into a gameshow-like affair.  Of course this is all in the name of tongue-in-cheek humour, whilst giving our overly-sensualised society a much needed dig.

At the end of the day there’s a lot of fun to be had in here.  It’s fast-paced and shovels in the blood-splattered goodness like a serial killer with a pitchfork in an all girl’s dormitory.  Over-the-top deaths take the front seat in this tongue-in-cheek ride through a distorted vision of our modern-day world.  It’s perverse and unashamedly brutal, but it’s all done with fucked-up good humour and a cheeky grin on the side, making it nothing short of addictive horror entertainment from start to its ‘stack-the-bodies-high’ ending.

“Would you like it to be a painless death or do you want some suffering involved?...and do you want the kill to be messy or clean?...Messy?  Oh good.”

The novella runs for a total of 120 pages.

© DLS Reviews

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