splatterlandsSplatterlands: Reawakening the Splatterpunk Revolution
Edited by Anthony Rivera & Sharon Lawson
Release Date:  October 21, 2013
Publisher:  Grey Matter Press
Reviewed by Matthew Scott Baker
In case you’re new to this sub-genre of horror, ‘splatterpunk’ is defined by Dictionary.com as “a form of fiction featuring extremely graphic violence”.  Obviously, films and books from this style are not for the faint of heart.  But if you can endure it, there are some excellent stories out there that fit this genre.  SPLATTERLANDS is a fantastic return to this long-lost art form.  Full of gruesome and gut-wrenching stories, this book will haunt you long after you’ve turned the last page.If you are not familiar with SPLATTERLANDS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Grey Matter Press:

SPLATTERLANDS reawakens and reimagines the hyperintensive writing style and controversial themes indicative of the original Splatterpunk movement. Containing the work of some of the freshest voices of our modern time, it is an anthology of deeply intelligent short stories whose extreme themes and graphic depictions of violence and terror are intended to have a lasting effect for years to come.

Splatterlands is a disturbing collection that is not for the weak of heart. It pushes the boundaries of horror while taking several giant leaps beyond senseless violence and simple gore for the sake of gore. Splatterlands is a collection of personal, subversive and intelligent horror that refuses to sugarcoat reality.

Exploring themes that include serial murder, personal betrayal and revenge, religious fanaticism, physical and mental abuse, the fragility of the human mind, societal corruption, corporate greed, sexual assault and more, Splatterlands reaches into your soul with an icy, steel claw and twists. You will never look at the world the same way again.

I was a huge fan of splatterpunk back in the day, and I guess I still am (although my tastes lean more towards traditional horror than anything).  I liked it so much that my parents considered sending me to a psychiatrist.  I guess a person has to be a little ‘off’ to enjoy something like this; but putting the subject matter aside, the authors in this collection are talented and are definitely worth watching for in the future.

The stories in SPLATTERLANDS are written well and most have intriguing plotlines.  I will confess there a couple of stories that I didn’t care for, but 10 winners out of 12 is still pretty good.

One of my favorite stories is the first one, “Heirloom” by Michael Laimo.  In this tale, a young woman uses a rifle that has been handed down in her family as a sick toy for fantasies.  Unfortunately, the fantasies she acts out have dire consequences for those involved.  This story is written very well and captivated me from the start.

My least favorite story in this collection is “Empty” by A. A. Garrison.  In this one, Cunt and Shit are two entities that raise children to sell into slavery; Shit runs out of fuel and Cunt has to travel into the city to beg the prophet for more.  The author literally inserts himself into the story, which completely took me out of my immersion into the tale.  As such, I finished this one with disappointment instead of satisfaction.

Still, SPLATTERLANDS, is a heck of a collection and one you should check out, BUT ONLY IF YOU ARE NOT EASILY OFFENDED.  These stories are full of things many people would find reprehensible and even blasphemous.  If you can look past that, however, you’re in for the ride of your life.

About Matthew Scott Baker

Matthew Scott Baker is a horror writer from Greenland, AR. His fiction has appeared in Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy, as well as a couple of anthology collections, including FIFTY SHADES OF DECAY, a zombie anthology published in 2013 by Angelic Knight Press. In addition to writing fiction, Matthew runs Shattered Ravings, a blog devoted to reviewing movies and books in the horror, science-fiction, and fantasy genres.

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