Sunday, 14 February 2016
Book review - Extreme Horror - Matt Shaw
For Matt Shaw's latest, and potentially last black cover book, he brings us Extreme Horror. If his final intention was that the black books were going to go out with a bang. Boy, did he hit the mark.
The story follows the life and sordid interests of a man named Adam; a wannabe film maker. Adam is obsessed with the dark characters portrayed in horror movies such as Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Freddy Kreuger. The latter, he believes should be re-cast as Nicholas Cage, due to an unfortunate meeting that he had once with the actor; Robert Englund. This really is art imitating life, and the first of many moments of satire that are scattered thoroughly throughout the book.
Adam finds himself desperate to make his mark as a film maker, sending off screenplay after screenplay and being ignored, whilst scorned by his parents that a movie maker isn't a real career prospect. As time moved on, he decided upon making his own brand of horror movies; where the content is torture, played out whilst being filmed and the actors (victims) are actually killed. His intention; to send the DVD's out to a local news station, or eventually find a way of uploading them to the internet himself to instil his legacy.
His fascination with the darker side of humanity, heavily influenced by movie characters such as Norman Bates, Buffalo Bill and real life American body snatcher and serial killer - Ed Gein. Adam finds himself a new pen pal with a real life serial killer, currently serving time in prison; Art. A murderer that was made famous when his crimes were portrayed in a book written by two well known writers; Matt Shaw and Michael Bray. This is the first clever nod of Shaw referring to his own work throughout the story. Look out for other references of Don't read, and Peter Jenkins with his infamous Birds Eye ready meals.
As the madness moves forward, Adam becomes obsessed with becoming the most prolific serial killer within the UK. Scenes are interlaced within the main story, that have actually been written in the format of screenplays:
The Lawnmower Man.
Super 8 (inches)
From the Cutting Room Floor.
Mouth of Madness.
A Special Place in Hell.
These scenes are the parts of the story where the extreme horror is expertly crafted. Expect an obligatory sex scene with a difference, and various scenarios of torture that feature anything from a vice, acid, a chainsaw, scissors, pliers, a blowtorch, and even a car. If you can think of it, its likely to have been covered. In addition, there are least two scenes that are difficult to stomach, even for the most hardened of reader, and you definitely will not want to read whilst eating.
As the twisted tale begins to develop, one of Adam's captives; Michelle, labels him nothing but a copycat, shaking his confidence and making him question his motives. He decides to take an alternative direction, and make his final movie a romance, never to be forgotten. He needs Michelle's help, but first he must see to that potty mouth of hers.
So what did I think of it? I liked it. No, in fact, I loved it. It is utterly brutal in places, but unashamedly so. Shaw has obviously gone out of his way to make the reader feel uncomfortable and has pulled it off in abundance. Parts will truly make you consider empying the contents of your stomach, other parts will make you wince. All while Shaw keeps his undertones of humour flowing throughout. In this book, he has really proven that he is the master of the extreme. There are over twenty deaths played out throughout, and Shaw manages to pull it off in a mere 148 pages, without it feeling rushed; impressive? Definitely.
Now, once again, there is a warning on the front cover, and please, please adhere to it, because if you don't, and you're not the type of audience that this book is intended for, it is likely to make you ill, or worse. It won't be for you, and the author doesn't want to offend people unintentionally. Fans of extreme horror - go grab it.
My rating 5/5 - fantastic job.
In addition, look out for a unique brand of perfume, a strange use for a toothbrush, and some stress relievers that will put a smile on your face.