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    “MUERTE CON CARNE” (Book Review)

    If you’re like me, you’ve probably been thinking “What the world needs right now is a book that’s like the literary equivalent of THE TEX-MEX CHAINSAW MASSACRE, with a creepy-ass Mexican cannibal family helping account for all those poor illegal immigrants who disappear trying to cross the border, and featuring a deranged maniac in a Luchador mask named El Gigante who likes to wrestle his prey to the mat in a grisly entertainment ritual of thrill-packed culinary prep.”

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    “SHOCK TOTEM 6″ (Book Review)

    SHOCK TOTEM is a genuine oddity in the horror/dark fiction field. Not quite a magazine, not quite an anthology series, but quite a bit of both, it’s published semi-regularly in gorgeously-designed trade paperback (and ebook) form. Which is to say, they don’t publish on a tight schedule. They only publish once they think it’s good enough to legitimately share.

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    “’68: JUNGLE JIM #1″ (Comic Review)

    ’68 has addressed the issues of war in a way many have refused to touch. Mixing the true terrors of the Vietnam battlefront with the inhumanity of the walking undead, the work has upped the horrors of death and isolation in a setting unfamiliar to this generation’s readers. Though it’s not uncommon to find zombies in WWI and WWII in both movies and comics, the Vietnam War seems to be one territory few ever tread; perhaps in respect to the still large population of Vietnam survivors or just in hushed reverence for the fallen troops.’68 takes no prisoners in its raw representation of a military conflict that still haunts many to this day, however. It’s a solid kick to the head to a market heavily saturated in zombie paraphernalia and reminds the reader that even though it’s a work of fiction, the stories it tells are a reflection of a time all too real.

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    “AS I KNEW HIM: MY DAD, ROD SERLING” (Book Review)

    When discussing classic sci-fi/horror/fantasy television, ardent fans of THE TWILIGHT ZONE almost always come up against the camp that see your ZONE and raise you an OUTER LIMITS. Some may even dare say they prefer ONE STEP BEYOND or even on the similar Rod Serling tip, NIGHT GALLERY. But true ZONE heads are such not just because of the silvery black and white photography, skin-crawling theme music, nor the assorted aliens, monsters, shape shifters, murderous dummies and devils that gave the program it’s hook. Rather, they hold the show high because of Serling’s pen, because of his philosophies, his morality and his humanity. Because of course, THE TWILIGHT ZONE was never really about those trappings or narrative twists, it was about the folly of man, the belief that people are fundamentally good and that human evil is a perversion of prejudice. It was about both the wit and the somewhat broken heart of the man who built the house that stood on CBS’ prime time hill between 1959 and 1964.

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    Barbie Wilde’s “THE VENUS COMPLEX” (Book Review)

    Serial killers are assholes, by and large. But that doesn’t mean they’re stupid. Intelligence is no defense against psychosis, after all. It just makes them potentially more interesting to listen to, as their minds yammer endlessly inside their brains.

    And so it goes with Michael Friday, the none-too-humble narrator of Barbie Wilde’s alarming first novel, The Venus Complex. The guy’s a total dick, and we’re stuck in his head. But the deeper we go, the more gripping it gets.

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    Looking back at the BOOK OF THE DEAD

    As famed writer, editor, musician and vanguard to the Splatterpunk literary movement John Skipp comes aboard the Fangoria terror team (with his new monthly column NIGHTMARE ROYALE – here), the occasion serves as a good excuse to assert Skipp’s credentials in the horror universe by celebrating the underappreciated and visionary zombie short story anthology he co-edited with Craig Spector, THE BOOK OF THE DEAD.

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    “VIDEO NIGHT” (Book Review)

    I’m gonna venture a little prediction here:Adam Cesare is a Fango superstar in the making. Of all the new writers busting out on the scene — and there are some great ones, without a doubt — Cesare’s the young guy with the greatest encyclopedic gorehound know-how, blistering cinematic pace, unquenchable love of both fiction and film, and hell-bent will to entertain.

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    “HELL’S MUSE” (Book Review)

    To avoid judging a book by its cover is accepted wisdom, but darn if the state of that cover unavoidably colors one’s perceptions. And Jack Wallen’s HELL’S MUSE (Autumnal Press) knocks on the reader’s door in a dishevelled tizzy, with bruises (editorial boo-boos like the phrase “his most perfect work” in the back cover blurb, or paragraphs of text accidentally printed twice in the author bio) and scars (blurry graphics and horrendous, confusing title typography).  Take heart, because the old axiom proves correct; HELL’S MUSE is better than its shabby outer appearance would suggest.

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    “THE FOX” (Book Review)

    For those who subscribe to the notion that horror fiction thrives on brevity, the recent proliferation of small presses offering shorter tales of the uncanny for the equivalent price of a newsstand magazine is a welcome development. UK publishers such as Nightjar and Spectral have dedicated themselves to the chapbook form, and their success in finding and commissioning quality material can be measured in the number of these stories that have subsequently gone on to be included within the array of ‘Year’s Best’ genre anthologies.

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    MESSAGES IN A BOTTLE: COMIC BOOK STORIES BY B. KRIGSTEIN (Comic Review)

    FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS’ latest in classic cartoonist anthologies celebrates the groundbreaking work of BERNIE KRIGSTEIN (1919-1990). Starting with some whimsical westerns, swashbuckling adventure yarns, and rather rote noire thrillers that he broke into the biz with and managed to elevate above the hack writing he was assigned, MESSAGES IN A BOTTLE winds down with quirkier fare he tried to infuse his innovative flare into before dropping out of the field entirely, to pursue fine art, weary of the restrictions put upon him by the industry. But the in-between stuff is where everything really clicks, particularly during his mid-century years at EC COMICS.

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    HELLBOY IN HELL #4 (Comic Review)

    There is a popular saying for those poor souls who, once passed on, have found that their worldly problems have followed them to the land beyond: “Death is only the beginning.” HELLBOY IN HELL is the very embodiment of that statement, as Hellboy now finds himself in the shallow pits of Hell and its city, Pandemonium. This comic marks the return of HELLBOY’s creator, Mike Mignola, who both writes and draws the new story arc. Since issue one dropped back in December, fans and critics alike have praised the sublimely dark series, recommending it to both new and seasoned readers. With a mix of heavy inks and a beautiful storytelling, this arc stays true to the HELLBOY mythos while adding another layer to already an epic tale.

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