First published back in November of 2018, ‘Splatterpunk Forever’ formed the third anthology to come from ‘Splatterpunk Zine’s creator Jack Bantry.  The collection was edited by Bantry along with British author Kit Power, with proceeds going to charity.

Introduction – Glenn Rolfe – 3 Pages
Opening the anthology, US author Glenn Rolfe offers up a short introduction, talking about the social climate that culminated in the birth of the Splatterpunk movement.  From here Rolfe cites Ketchum’s highly revered debut novel ‘Off Season’ (1980) as one of the first examples of a splatterpunk offering; praising the unrestrained and totally unadulterated brutality depicted in the novel.  Ketchum’s novel was undoubtedly an early extreme horror which crept out into the world some six years before the label ‘Splatterpunk’ was coined.  Although over the other side of the pond, British author James Herbert had already released ‘The Rats’ (1974) and ‘The Fog’ (1975), both of which were drenched from head to toe in blood and guts and contained that all-important angry social commentary that adds the ‘punk’ aspect to Splatterpunk.  However, regardless of the true birth of the movement, Rolfe’s introduction delivers a proper grin-inducing call-to-arms for Splatterheads alike.  It gets you ready.  It gets you pumped.  It’s the sort of introduction whose one job is to open the doors and welcome you in.  And Rolfe achieved that perfectly.

The Seacretor – Ryan Harding – 19 Pages
Ben knew full well the reason why Grant had taken Tanya and him out on his boat – The Seacretor.  Grant had an eye on Tanya and he wanted to show off his wealth to her.  He’d taken them out to an island with a mansion that had a view of the beach from almost every window.  But the relative thrill of such luxury soon became a tiresome, so it was time to up his game.  From there he’d taken them back out onto the Seacretor to get a taste of what the other islands had to offer.  That was how they discovered the unchartered island.  Although their excitement only lasted a few minutes, thanks to Grant’s lack of attention to the rocky shoreline.  Before they knew what was happening, the Seacretor had hit the sharp rocks alone the shoreline and sunk, leaving the trio marooned on the island with little other than a half-bottle of water and a great deal of regret.  Of course the drinking water didn’t last long.  Soon enough they were contemplating consuming their own urine.  That was until Grant persuaded Tanya to join him in drinking the sap that was dripping from a strange, hole-covered tree.  It was a decision that would lead to their undoing.  A fate of truly vile proportions…

Let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good ‘marooned on an uncharted island’ story?  The premise is rife with so much potential.  The urgency within the story is instantly accessible.  And there’s just so many different directions to take the tale along.  For his offering, US author Ryan Harding decides to go with a delightfully grotesque reimagining of a Lovecraftian style story, with the storyline plummeting down some truly bizarre depths of messed-up body horror, eventually culminating in an outlandish end-sequence, leaving you grinning with the fucked-up vileness of it all.  But it’s the comical delivery of the story, the numerous quick-witted remarks from our narrator – Ben – that ultimately makes the tale work so goddam well.  Indeed, the sheer lunacy of the situation is magnified to almost laugh-out-loud proportions by Ben’s reactions to everything.  Any bleakness is washed away by the fucked-up grotesqueness that we’re subjected to.  It’s a story for those that like their tales messed-up.  This one’s definitely one for all the splatter punks out there.

Garrote – Lydian Faust – 10 Pages
If it hadn’t been for Gabriel Mercado (aka mrkeyboardwarrior69), Mya would still be with us.  To make matters worse, the night Mya’s life was cut short, Selene was going to invite her into their band.  Mya’s beautiful vocals would undoubtedly have complimented their music perfectly.  Alas, it was not to be, thanks to this filthy rich bastard and his garrotte.  But Selene had ideas how to make it right.  Well, as close to right as they could get…

There’s some real oddballs out there, lurking on the internet, bragging about what they’ve done, what they’re gonna do, and how they’ll do it.  Of course, ninety-nine times out of a hundred it’s just bullshit.  Some sad wannabe pretending they’re the real deal.  A faux-nutjob.  But then there’s the real crazies.  The ones you really need to avoid at all costs.  For her short, US author Lydian Faust toys with the uncertainty of another internet bragger who’s claiming to be killing off dykes for the sheer hell of it.  It’s a strangely dislocated story that builds up an oddly constructed persona of our antagonist, through his internet bragging and a swiftly shovelled in backstory.  But the real weirdness comes along when Selena and her band arrive on the scene.  It’s from here that Faust flips the tale on its head time and time again, until bringing it to an abrupt end a good few miles from where you thought it would end up.  Original, inspired, and fucking strange.

Junkyard Shift – Ryan C Thomas – 8 Pages
It wasn’t exactly the most glamourous of jobs, but it paid okay, and it had other perks.  They called them storage facilitators.  Basically they dealt with peoples difficult leftovers.  As long as you had the stomach for it, the job wasn’t too bad.  Harry (or at least that’s the name he gave those in the business) took advantage of the protection such a job provided.  He’d been boasting about the hooker he killed.  He knew the pimp wouldn’t do anything.  He couldn’t.  The storage facilitators were untouchable.  But it wasn’t just disposal they dealt with.  They also delivered.  And today he had a bag full of severed heads to deal with…

US author Ryan C Thomas takes up the splatter-reins with a story that’s surprisingly devoid of much in the way of a properly definable plot.  Thomas paints a picture of the darkest avenues of organised crime, with the ‘storage facilitators’ sorting out another bag full of decapitated human heads.  To be honest, there’s not a huge amount else in the tale, other than the second aspect of the job role – the delivery.  You’re kind of anticipating a twist ending, or at the very least, a brutal gut-punch for a finale.  To be honest Thomas doesn’t exactly deliver either.  Nevertheless, it’s an entertaining and tightly delivered read.  Just missing that final headstamp to splatter our brains across the kerb with.

Cougars – Sisters of Slaughter – 8 Pages
The three Americans had already sunk a few beers and were now in a taxi and on the way to La Casa Del Gato.  Rusty, Brandon and David sat in the taxi, drinking whiskey from a flask and getting revved up for the pleasures to come.  They’d enquired where they could find the company of the wildest women in Mexico.  What they wanted was some cougars.  Older women who were experts in pleasure.  La Casa Del Gato, they were informed, was the place to go.  There they were told they’d have the night of their lives.  At La Casa Del Gato, the cougars knew exactly how to handle the men…

US author twins Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason (aka The Sisters of Slaughter) offer up a ‘From Dusk Til Dawn’ (1996) style horror, with a Mexican cathouse being the focal point for the relatively easy to foretell slaughter to come.  Yeah, the trap-in-waiting premise is pretty obvious and already quite well-trodden ground.  Nevertheless, the short tale is a damn entertaining read, due primarily to one point alone – the writing.  The Sisters of Slaughter don’t hold back on the grubby details of the three Americans antics within said brothel, nor indeed the suitably vulgar language the three use in the pre-amble to the big show.  It’s lowbrow, sexually-charged horror with plenty of filth under its nails to keep any good splatter connoisseur happy.

Guinea Pig Blues – Chad Lutzke – 10 Pages
Billy Walren hadn’t seen Nate in over a decade.  Not since their college days when Nate had been Billy’s roommate.  Now here he was again.  The same old Nate.  It didn’t take long to see that Nate hadn’t changed at all.  All the offhanded put downs Nate couldn’t help but slip in wherever possible.  Still as cynical and arrogant as he always had been.  Now he was dismissing Billy’s recent success with writing.  But what had Nate achieved in his own life?  He made out like he was a scientist, but it sounded more like he was still just doing the same old clinical trials.  Nothing more than a Guinea pig.  But there was something else about Nate that was even more off-putting than his personality.  With a wet plop, a fat leech dropped from the inside of his trouser leg, landing in a puddle of pus and other disgusting secretions dripping off Nate.  What the fuck was wrong with him?...

We’ve all had a so-called ‘mate’ at some point in our lives whose been little more than a dismissive, arrogant git, always wanting to belittle your achievements and put you down.  An individual whose sole intention seems to be to feed off any uncertainty you have in your endeavours.  A fucking leech.  US author Chad Lutzke visualises the epitome of this particular type of character in his grotesque story of karma heavy comeuppance.  With tongue firmly wedged in his cheek, Lutzke doesn’t exactly go for subtle symbolism with his physical representation of such a character, but instead wades in with a heavy fist, giving the disagreeable fuckwit everything he deserves and then some.  It’s more than enough to plaster a big fat grin on your face as the eventual karma hits home with all the visceral body horror intensity of an honest-to-god splatterpunk juggernaut.  Oh the joy.  Oh the fucking splatter-fuelled fun of it all.

Blood On The Walls – Saul Bailey – 19 Pages
FBI Agent Tom Wood had been having some pretty messed-up dreams of late.  He had no idea where they were coming from.  He’d wake feeling violated.  Revolted.  Disgusted with himself.  But I guess that’s to be expected if you dream you’re Richard Nixon sucking off J. Edgar Hoover in a sixty-niner, all of which is part of some fucked-up ungodly ritual.  It was unsettling to say the least.  But then things were also getting increasingly strange in his waking hours.  He’d noticed that there was blood splattered all over the toilet cubicle walls.  Who would leave such a mess?  And then there was that godawful smell that kept coming and going.  Something was decidedly off kilter in the FBI.  Something that troubled Wood immensely…

When a story starts out with a graphic depiction of Richard Nixon giving and receiving head from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, you know you’re in for one fucked up ride.  Once said vivid dream sequence is (thankfully) over, British author Saul Bailey doesn’t end there with the messed-up oddness.  Not by a long chalk.  Instead what follows is an off-the-wall tale of ritualistic sexual magic orchestrated by those in the highest echelons of power.  Yep, this is conspiracy theories gone completely fucking bonkers.  From such you’d think Bailey would inject a good couple of gallons of comedy into this wacky plot.  Surprisingly not!  Instead there’s almost an air of faux-seriousness about the whole thing.  Not that you’re supposed to take any of it seriously, of course.  But it’s a strange choice in delivery.  Makes you feel that little bit on edge.  Weird stuff boys n’ girls.  Weird, weird stuff.

Chum – Nathan Robinson – 18 Pages
Danny Crumb awoke to find that both his legs were missing.  He was on a small boat out at sea.  It was a boat he knew.  His soon-to-be father-in-law had taken the two of them out on a fishing trip.  It was this small boat he’d woken aboard, naked with his wrists cable-tied to the boat’s railings.  It appeared his girlfriend’s father was more than a little pissed with Danny.  In fact, he despised everything about Danny.  The way Danny lived his life.  The way he treated Lucy.  The shit she had to put up with.  Now Danny was at the mercy of this madman.  Naked, his legs amputated, and his wrists secured to the boat.  What’s more, things were about to get a hell of a lot worse…

From the man who brought us the lost-at-sea terror that was ‘Midway’ (2015), we have another gritty tale set in the vast expanse of the unforgiving ocean.  Think ‘Hostel’ (2005) meets ‘Open Water’ (2003), only with a pissed-off ex-veterinarian dishing out the elaborate torture – his absolute disgust at the ‘victim’ fuelling his murderous actions.  It’s monumentally over-the-top in an early Peter Jackson sort of way.  Despite the torture on show, it’s not so much harrowing as it is almost comical in its delivery.  And as the story progresses, inherent sympathy for Danny’s predicament is slowly whittled away, until there’s pretty much no obvious protagonist to side with.  What’s left is the very darkest of black comedies.  That and a nice big bucketful of fresh chum.

The Bearded Woman – Alessandro Manzetti – 8 Pages
Syrena was fed up with her husband – Armand – the dwarf donkey tamer.  It’d been some time since he’d shown her any real attention.  Forgetting the sweet potatoes was merely the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Syrena knew she could quite easily seek the attention she craved from Mr Skeleton.  Despite her bright red beard, he’d shown his keen interest in her on a number of occasions.  Armand’s days were numbered.  Unless there was a sizeable change in his attitude, Syrena would be spreading her thighs for Mr Skeleton, and giving Armand exactly what he deserved…

Italian author Alessandro Manzetti offers up a wacky short story that reads like a missing chapter from Katherine Dunn’s ‘Geek Love’ (1989) only with a last minute horror-twist-ending that feels almost shoehorned into the weirdly rambling story.  The tale is delivered via a maniacal scattergun of odd details which somehow end up painting an unexpectedly fathomable conclusion of comical sinisterness.  It’s all a bit odd, in a textbook bizzaro way, making you ponder what on earth the plot behind the story is until the concluding couple of pages pull together a vaguely accomplished ending.

Finger Paint – Robert Essig – 15 Pages
Fifteen-year-old Bradley Jenkins wasn’t exactly popular in school.  In fact, some would call him a bit of a loner.  But he didn’t mind that too much.  His lack of friends was just one of those things.  What got to him, what really tore him to pieces, was the bullying.  Josh Decker was the worst.  The absolute epitome of bullies.  And he had it in for Bradley big time.  But it was whilst Bradley was in the small toilet at the rear of the public park, cleaning himself up from the latest beating, that Bradley did something odd without thinking.  He didn’t know why he did it, why he dipped his finger into the blood leaking from his busted nose, or why he started to paint onto the dirty bathroom mirror with it.  When he was done he surprised himself with the bloody picture that stared back at him.  It was undoubtedly Josh Decker.  But it was the repercussions from this bloody painting that would be more of a shock to him…

Bullying is a vile, cowardly, senseless crime.  Reading about a child being bullied is always a difficult read.  It’s instantly emotive.  Makes your guts churn and anger bubble up inside you.  US author Robert Essig utilises this, drawing you into the painful short tale with the constant misery felt through this down beaten victim.  Of course, there’s more to the story than just a kid getting the shit kicked out of him day after day.  And it’s not long before we start to see the twist unfold.  The comeuppance we crave to see enacted.  The blood-drenched revenge.  No matter how brutal, to see the tables turned, it’s what we hunger for – rightly or wrongly so.  This is a high-adrenaline, gut-churning read, which gives you back every drop of blood that you hanker for.

Diamond In The Rough – J.R. Park – 11 Pages
Angel woke to find Diamond gone.  The transvestite had left without waking him, leaving nothing but a short note advising Angel to check out early.  He’d also taken his amulet.  The bastard.  Nevertheless, Angel knew to take Diamond’s warning seriously.  After all, he was on the run from the law and had been ever since he left England.  Although, wherever he goes next, whatever he decides to do, first he had to get the amulet back.  Check out of the motel and then track down that gorgeous transvestite.  If he didn’t do this, he knew all hell would break loose…

British author J.R. Park’s writing is going from strength to strength.  This short shows the absolute high calibre of his storytelling.  The pacing is fast and urgent, without skipping a beat.  The delivery is tight and to-the-point, whilst still setting the scene and sculpting vividly defined characters.  In a nutshell, due to the writing alone, the short story is a sheer joy to read.  And then we move on to the story itself.  What we have is a gritty (and what feels inherently grubby) short which follows a ‘rough’ supposed criminal-on-the-run after he’s spent a booze-fuelled night of debauchery with a transvestite and then had his precious amulet stolen.  From the outset the story takes on a noticeably Quentin Tarantino-esque tone, with the seedier sides of the urban underbelly producing the main supportive frame for the tale.  Park holds his nerve with delivering all the gritty details resulting from the brutal torture.  Nevertheless, it’s the wholly unpredictable twist that follows which ultimately gets you grinning.  That and the crude, but oh-so-witty, name for the story.

Virtue Of Stagnant Water – Monica O’Rourke – 14 Pages
Tommy Kirten had been dead, by lethal injection, for more than five years.  Now Nicole Beauchamp felt it was finally time she found closure.  Time for her to write the article she’d shied away from for so many years.  Of course it wouldn’t be easy to obtain all the details.  To wade through the speculation and titillation and the flat-out lies.  But being a reporter, she knew how to patch together the truth from the media jigsaw.  Although first Nicole knew she had to speak with some of those who survived the ordeal.  To get their account first hand.  To learn the truth, and match it up with the journals Tommy had written.  Including the one even the police knew nothing about…

US author Monica O’Rourke delivers a thick slab of serial killer extreme horror with a truly stomach-churning torture scene (google ‘Scaphism’ for a idea of the horrific Persian method of execution enacted in her short tale) as its undoubted focal point.  Be warned, this is extreme torture porn, with the aforementioned scene graphically depicted in gruesome visceral vividness.  In fact, said scene probably accounts for around a third of the short story’s entire length.  The rest being the initial set up for the story (being the reporter’s interview with Lisa – a victim who survived the depravities of Tommy Kirten), and a scene involving an abduction and rape that’s still not quite on the same level of repulsiveness as the dominating one to follow (but is of course nevertheless pretty damn brutal).  If you’re a fan of imaginative torture porn with absolutely no restraint applied, then this is a story you may find to your taste.  Outside of this, to be brutally honest, there’s not a huge amount else to it.  A bare-bones twist ending rounds off the story, with a tantalisingly sinister tone to sign it all off with.  Outside of this, the tale’s pretty much just brutal torture porn through and through.

The anthology runs for a total of 144 pages.

© DLS Reviews



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