Issue 2 (December 2012)
44 Pages (A5)

First published back in December of 2012, issue two of Jack Bantry’s ‘Splatterpunk Zine’ shrank down to an A5 sized black & white DIY publication.  The zine through its look, feel and content, harked back to the glorious days of DIY zines.  The zine was made available for purchase via the website where this second issue has since sold out.

Following a short introduction by editor Jack Bantry in which he explains the naming and nature of his DIY zine, Mark Sieber puts the spotlight on Philip José Farmer’s novel ‘The Image Of The Beast’ (1968).  The praise-filled examination provides a thorough synopsis, details its importance, its reception and the nature behind its graphic content.

After this Wayne Simmons offers up a scattering of quick-fire reviews on the slasher films ‘Stagefright’ (1987), ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’ (1984) and ‘The Bird With The Crystal Plumage’ (1970).

Finally, Jack Bantry returns with a close-to-the-action review of Alex Chandon’s film ‘Inbred’ (2011).

Fair Trade – Jeff Strand – 4 Pages
Nick hadn’t ever seen Heather look this angry.  They’d been married a good eight years, but this was the first time he’d seen her so enraged.  He couldn’t blame her though.  Through his ignorance on Facebook, he’d given away that he’d been cheating on her.  Now that his infidelity was out in the open, Heather wanted to even the score.  If they were to save their marriage, she wanted to sleep with Elizabeth too.  After all, it was a fair trade…

This is a superb little read.  Incredibly humorous, well-paced and excellent characterisation considering the shortness of the story.  Of course the short eventually delves into something on the brutal side.  This is ‘Splatterpunk Zine’ after all.  But it’s the witty take on the whole situation that really makes this short so damn entertaining.  And talk about a punchline at the end.  I’ll say it again…superb!

The story includes a full page illustration by Dan Henk.

Fat Slob – Shane Mckenzie – 11 Pages
Beth had had enough.  She’d finally reached the end of her tether.  Ever since their sixteen-year-old daughter, Lily, had died, Sam had just given up on life and let himself go.  Now he was nothing more than a fat slob; glistening with sweat and covered in bed sores.  Every time Beth looked at the mound of fat that her husband had become it disgusted her.  So she was leaving.  She was going off to live with her sister for a bit.  As she closed the door behind her, for Sam it felt like all that was left of his life had just walked out that door.  But after laying there for a while, alone and unable to move, Sam became aware of the muffled sounds of someone or something breaking in.  Arching the bulk of his upper body up enough to be able to see the doorway to the bedroom, Sam could just make out the outline of the intruder.  But what he sees makes no sense.  What would an infant be doing alone in his flat?  However as it moved into the light, Sam saw the true nature of what had come into his home, and he began to scream…

There really is something so utterly repulsive about the human form when it’s allowed to get so obese that such a gluttonous slob is unable to move without the help of others.  Shane Mckenzie knows this, and he knows all the nasty little things that accompany such bloated bodies.  Bed sores, rolls of sweat-soaked fat, the smell of fermenting body odour.  It makes you queasy just thinking about it.  Mckenzie uses this, and the utterly helpless ‘beached whale’ syndrome of our slobbish main character, to full effect.  The end result is a premise that’s pretty much perfect for a horror angle to waltz right in and have its evil way.  And that’s exactly what Mckenzie does.  What you get is something akin to a splatterpunk version of Stephen King’s ‘Thinner’ (1984).  It’s pretty nasty stuff.  And doesn’t half make you feel nauseous.  In fact it’s a short that would be perfectly at home within the World Horror Convention Gross-Out Contest.  Enough said.

The story includes a full page illustration by Glenn Chadbourne.

Room For One – Barry Hoffman – 4 Pages
Thea had gotten herself looking just right.  Short skirt and tight top – perfectly provocative.  It was just how her sister, Kira, had looked nineteen years ago.  In fact, if it hadn’t been for the nineteen years between them, most people would have thought they were twins.  But they weren’t.  And tonight Thea was going out to the same rundown housing estate where Kira had gone all those years ago.  She would revisit the same spots in the hope of getting lucky.  In the hope that she would get some of what Kira had gotten that fateful night…

Hoffman’s short is a sinister mix of gritty urban violence with a bubbling undercurrent of another element to it that’s equally as dark and menacing.  Hoffman toys with the reader’s inclination to assume.  Even within such a short page count he manages to throw in a host of bluffs and twists; ultimately concluding his downtrodden short on a perfectly sour note which complements the rest of the tale.  Don’t expect to smile much during this one.  It’s hard-boiled and hostile from the outset.  Ryan David Jahn’s ‘Acts Of Violence’ (2009) meets ‘I Spit On Your Grave’ (1978) in a grimy urban setting.

The story includes a full page illustration by Adam Hall.

The Jumping Sharks Of Dyer Island – Ronald Malfi – 11 Pages
Jay Conroy and his wife, Janet, were on another exotic holiday, thanks once again to Jay’s hard work and success in work.  However, Jay didn’t have the appetite for doing anything much, other than relaxing and taking in the scent of the washed-up and carved-up whale carcasses along the shore front.  Of course, Janet had other ideas.  She wanted to be out and about and seeing the sights around them.  Jay would have let her go off on her own.  The problem was she was such a beauty.  And his jealousy always got the better of him.  It was always there.  Smouldering away and so easy to reignite…

When you read a story involving people going out into shark infested waters, with the hope of glimpsing a Great White or two, you can’t help but think of Peter Benchley’s classic ‘Jaws’ (1974).  However, other than the use of these terrifying underwater beasts, there’s little else that connects the two stories.  In fact, rather than really focusing on the sharks, Ronald Malfi’s short is one that deals more with the character of Jay Conroy and his ‘issues’.  Malfi paints a loose picture of an increasingly jealous husband who only just manages to keep his emotions in check.  But you know there’s something else in there too.  Something’s not quite right about him.  And Malfi has a nice little twist up his sleeve to send this (otherwise quite staggered) story off with.  A good ending – but it takes just a tad too long to get there for a short story of this nature.

The story includes a small illustration by Graham Taylor.

Interview – Ray Garton – 3 Pages
Jack Bantry interviews splatter legend Ray Garton about what got him into horror fiction, why America seems to have embraced splatter so much, his characters appearing in multiple novels, horror in the publishing industry these days, the inspiration behind his novel ‘Shackled’ (1996), his current life, and the last book he couldn’t put down – ‘Black Dahlia Avenger’ (2003).  Ray’s responses are all interesting and reasonably in-depth, especially with regards to ‘Shackled’ (1996).  All in all, a very informative and interesting interview.

Book Reviews
– 2 Pages
It Spills Blood – JF Gonzalez
Autopsy 1: Flesh Of The Dead – Steve Gerlach
Infinity House – Shane McKenzie
Serpent Girl – Ray Garton
The Innswich Horror – Edward Lee

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