Monday, August 25, 2008

You can never quarantine the past

Like a ex-smoker turned into a hectoring prohibitionist, my over-indulgence in the world of horror novels as a youth makes me attack them, out of shame I suppose. I once combed low rent paperback exchanges in hopes of finding the likes of Guy Smiths Crab series, which as you might guess was about giant crabs attacking various coastal locales. The US cover was relatively benign, but the more lurid British cover makes a nod to the pervasive prurience which no doubt appealed to my adolescent mind.

I generally looked for the more bizarre books. I eagerly read the likes of James Herbert (I particularly liked the Fog,) and Graham Masterson. Masterson's Devils of D-Day was quite something. It involved the US Army using demon controlled tanks to defeat the Germans.

The undisputed master of the disturbing is Shaun Hutson. These books are the literary equivalent of Ilsa She-Wolf of the SS, or maybe even Salo, gleeful romps through torture, sadistic violence and sexual torment. Hutson is the sort of fellow who calls his blog "Shaun's Shit." His topics are wide-ranging from vampire zombie attack, killer slugs, druid evil, terrorists and so on. What sets him apart is his brutally vile depictions of death and destruction. I'd like to tell you that I was repelled in horror and went out and worked in a soup kitchen to repent. No, I gave it to friends who also ate them up. I can't really recommend these books to anyone unless you are a teen looking for something a bit (OK, quite a bit) more disturbing than usual.

Watch this Hutson interview (with a young Vinnie Jones) where he seems fairly normal.

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