First published back in December of 2013, ‘Sixty-Five Stirrup Iron Road’ was the result of nine extreme horror authors coming together to co-write a nasty tale, with the profits going towards the medical bills of fellow horror author Tom Piccirilli who had been diagnosed with cancer.

The novel was the end result from the collective efforts of Brian Keene, Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee, J.F. Gonzalez, Bryan Smith, Wrath James White, Nate Southard, Ryan Harding, and Shane McKenzie – all of which are well known in the extreme horror genre. The book was first published in hardback format by Sinister Grin Press, and later rereleased in paperback and ebook formats by Deadite Press.

DLS Synopsis:
It all happened at Sixty-Five Stirrup Iron Road. Twenty-five-year-old Nicci Forrestal had been living in the property with her brother, Sam. It was only supposed to be a temporary living arrangement. Nicci just needed somewhere to live until she sorted out her own place. She had dribs and of drabs of cash coming in, mostly from the blowjobs she gave for rock-bottom-prices around the neighbourhood. She was good at it though. A veritable master of the art. So, demand was high.

Living with Sam wasn’t exactly comfortable. But at least it was a roof over her head. Of course, Nicci was aware of Sam’s habits for watching porn throughout the night. Not that Nicci could judge considering where her main source of income derived from. However, when she wakes one night to find the lingering taste of cum in her mouth and residues of it down her body, even for her that’s a step too far. The culprit had to be Sam. It was only the two of them in the house.

Of course, Sam denies it entirely. The evidence points to a bad dream. But that bad dream comes back to haunt Nicci. However, this time it materialises and unleashes a savage assault of depravity upon Sam. His entire body ripped apart, with the bloody pieces later found scattered around the house.

The police suspect Nicci. Because of her insane ramblings about the night, she’s sent to the locked dormitory unit at the state department of mental health. Meanwhile, the house where it all happened is left empty. No one willing to go near it.

Ten years later and what happened at Sixty-Five Stirrup Iron Road has been forgotten by many. The house comes on the market and is quickly purchased by a young couple – Chuck and Arrianne – who moved there from Brooklyn. They had been looking for a more rural place to live, and so this place, nestled amongst woodland, seemed ideal. And the price was an absolute steal.

However, they hadn’t been living there long before strange things started to happen in the house. First there was the pornography. Some of the most filthy and depraved acts imaginable had been appearing on their devices. Then there were the noises coming from the attic. Chuck thought they were chipmunks, although, they seemed to be getting louder by the day.

But the most worrying thing was the change in themselves. Since moving into their new home, Arrianne had been feeling increasingly driven by her libido. She was becoming insatiable. Constantly lusting after sex. However, it was what the stuff she wanted to do whilst in the throes of sexual desire that disturbed her the most. From out of nowhere she wanted to engage in the most depraved acts. Sexual deviancy for which she’d previously have thought utterly repulsive. But now she craved the filth.

There was undoubtedly something very wrong with Sixty-Five Stirrup Iron Road. Something as depraved as it is dangerous. Something that wanted to corrupt and devour anyone who stepped foot in the house. Including those who wrote about it…

DLS Review:
There are two things you need to know about this book before either purchasing a copy, or embarking upon the tale – firstly, it’s some downright nasty extreme horror, and by that I mean some absolutely filthy, perverted, depraved horror. Secondly, the novel doesn’t take itself seriously at all, and is in fact, more the creative output borne from a collection of ideas passed back-and-forth between the nine authors, with each trying to outdo the other. In fact, as I’ll detail later, the novel ends up becoming a piece of metafiction, whereby the authors actually write each other into the framework of the tale, at which point they start killing off the remaining characters.

Because of this, the novel is perhaps more for veteran readers of the extreme horror genre. Those already familiar with the authors and their work. Readers who’ll get a chuckle out of seeing Jack Ketchum popping up in the tale to murder a character he feels is just annoying.

However, this breaking of the fourth wall and turning the novel into a piece of metafiction, only really happens in the final handful of chapters. Prior to that, although author names are flung around here and there, the tale had pretty much stayed on track with delivering a gore-and-sex filled haunted house story.

Indeed, the first 150 pages or so are the work of a grimy and downright depraved piece of extreme haunted house horror – akin to Matheson’s ‘Hell House’ (1971) with the sex and violence ramped up a few thousand notches.

That said, the actual horror, or to be more precise, the violence and gore within the novel, isn’t actually that substantial. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of butter to fry your fish with. However, the real repulsion and delivery of extremity comes from the depths of perverted depravity that the authors are willing to plummet to and then depict throughout the length of the novel. We’re talking some true-to-god vile stuff, akin to something Marquis de Sade would conjure up if he’d spent the week wanking his way through the dark web.

We’ve got scenes of vile pornography that would be at home within the ‘MDPOPE’ (2013 – 2019) shockumentary films. Stuff involving Roman Showers, coprophilia, some pretty darn horrendous anal stuff, as well as scenes that makes ‘Bumfights’ (2002 – 2006) feel tame as hell. However, each of these scenes – as vile as the concept behind them is – aren’t delivered with the same stomach-churning repulsiveness as any of the scenes from something like Samuel R Delany’s ‘Hogg’ (1995), or from watching Pasolini’s film adaptation of ‘Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom’ (1975). Rather, these nasty snippets of perversion are delivered with an air of deviant glee from the authors, which comes through in a sort of colourful banter like way.

The repeated use of vomit throughout the tale is another aspect to mention. One of the authors has clearly put themselves through Lucifer Valentine’s ‘Vomit Gore Trilogy’ (2006 – 2010) prior to commencing this collaboration piece. Ergo the appalling influence that’s spewed out across the pages. Yeah, we have Roman Showers a-go-go here, as well as characters being forced to swallow down copious bouts of the chunky stuff. All pretty vile, but again, perhaps not delivered with the same nasty edge as the aforementioned trilogy of films.

Now then…onto that whole metafiction aspect I previously touched upon. This for me was a disappointing route for the novel to take. You can see how it happened. Nine authors all contributing. The WIP file being sent back-and-forth between them. Banter and joviality invariably starts to bleed into the novel. At first it was perhaps meant as a joke. Jack Ketchum wasn’t necessarily going to actually jump into the final version like he does. However, when they started throwing each other into the tale, they probably got such a kick from it, that it just continued. And then it became the thrust of how the whole thing concludes. That’s how I envisioned it all coming about when I read the book anyway.

In doing this the authors don’t just rip apart the characters in the book, they also start ripping apart the extreme horror genre as a whole. This is alongside digging into each other (clearly in a purely friendly and loving way). With this aspect it’s interesting to see who penned which chapter and therefore we see who’s writing about who, and indeed, who and how they describe themselves. You’ll find there’s a lot of witty self-deprecation and joviality that’s flung into these depictions. It’s all good banter, but not necessarily something a casual reader of the genre would likely get much out of.

Ultimately the novel is packed with as many flaws as it has grisly merits. It’s a wild and utterly over-the-top extreme horror novel, with perversity at the very forefront of all this extremity. It’s the culmination of nine extreme horror authors trying to outdo each other. Similar to Matt Shaw’s ‘The Devil’s Guests’ (2017), only with the levels of gore and perversion ramped up even higher. Not for everyone, especially with the metafiction ending, but for longstanding fans of the genre, maybe one to have a dabble with.

The novel runs for a total of 189 pages.

© DLS Reviews


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