The Bad Box by Carlton Mellick III- Book Review

The Bad Box                                                                                
Carlton Mellick
Eraserhead Press (September 1, 2020)
eBook/ Trade Paperback/ 152 pp

I think we can all admit that the year 2020 has been a public display of one never-ending shit-show after another. But let’s try really hard to keep it positive here because the great godfather of Bizarro Fiction has dropped a new book on us back in September, and it’s quite honestly more than a lot of fun. It’s tons of fun and then some really if we’re going to be completely honest here. It’s a long walk in the park with hairy white goat legs. It’s x-ray vision. It’s kind of like shooting rainbows from out of your fingertips. It’s weird looming googly, ball-bearing eyes. It’s learning how to instantly speak Cantonese out of the deep blue. It’s also body moles, A.D.D., and wiggly wretched brown banana slug fingers. Like I said, TONS of fun and then some because it’s the bee’s $#@&!#% knees, folks.
 
“Little Benny isn’t very good at taking tests. It’s not that he’s a stupid kid or doesn’t pay attention in class. It’s just that he’s absolutely terrified of failure. It doesn’t matter how hard he studies. He gets so nervous that he freezes up and his mind goes blank, rarely even answering a single question before the time is up. This is especially difficult now that he’s in Mrs. Gustafson’s fifth grade class, where the punishment for failure is to draw a curse from the bad box—a magical device that permanently mutates children into horrific monsters.”

Benny Paulsen hates taking tests more than anything in the world and just can’t seem to pass any of them to save his life. He keeps having to reach his hands into that godforsaken bad box made of black steel, wrapped in barbed wire and chains, accompanied by a set of long drooling monstrous teeth. It hisses and growls in the Mrs. Gustafson’s hands, oozing a thick, dark fluid that smells like dead fish. It’s filled to the brim with dread and unease. It’s a very, very evil box. Benny just received his fifteenth punishment, and it might be worse than all the others, but, at this rate, only time will really tell. After hooking up with and becoming friends with Mika, a translucent blue slimeball (thanks to Mrs. Gustafson’s Bad Box) the two of them are now known as the Super Villains. So, what better time than now to team up and plot a devious bad box heist. But you will have to read the rest of the book to find out what really happens for yourself. This book is a lot of fun. The author manages to keep the reader heavily engaged in the storyline as the loveable (and well not-so-lovable) characters continue to keep getting weirder and weirder by the turn of every page, and the payoff in the end is exactly what we as the reader always wanted or needed. It’s also kinda/sorta like this overly cute, cuddly fun body horror story. Imagine a group of kids playing Candyland on the set of Hellraiser. Or, something like all hands on deck the Ouija planchette on a colorful playset with the Teletubbies.

Check it out!

Sabbath of the Fox-Devils by Sam Richard- Book Review

Sabbath of the Fox-Devils
Sam Richard
Weirdpunk Books (May 15, 2020)
eBook/Trade Paperback/ 158 pp

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“This sin that we have let infect every single aspect of society will not stop until it has claimed each and every child in this room until it has dismantled and destroyed the lives of their entire generation.”

Listen up, folks. I’m going to say two words. Well, two names… rather. A first name and a last name and I want you to shut the lights off as you whisper them into the closest mirror in the dark. Do this three times with your eyes closed and then go ahead and slowly open them while staring deep into the mirror to reveal some of the darkest secrets buried in your mind’s eye. Repeat after me, “Sam Richard.” Do you see it? Can you feel it? The looming shadows of weird fiction, bizarro author extraordinaire, who after the recent release of his debut collection, ‘To Wallow in Ash and Other Sorrows’ continues to shock and torment and amaze us as the reader by melting brainwaves with his highly unique and original prose. This time with a Bizarro Fiction story that pays dark homage to the small creature horror films of the 80s, jam-packed with the time’s darker bits of nostalgia. So, throw away the black and white checkered slap bracelets and the radical hot pink and fluorescent, lime green skateboards and say hello to the Satanic Panic of yesteryear with style and grace.

“I am my own undoing and try as I might, I cannot yet spit you from my mouth. Neither hot nor cold, you are lukewarm and useless to me. I have searched your Word for freedom from subjugation my entire life and found only more chains.”

“After learning about the existence of a powerful grimoire through a cartoon, 12-year-old Joe is determined to find it and change his lot in life. But in doing so, he’ll also uncover a local priest’s dark secret and how it may be connected to Joe’s brother abruptly leaving town five years ago. Part homage to the small-creature horror films of the 80s (GhouliesGremlinsThe Gate) and part Splatterpunk take on a Goosebumps book, Sabbath of the Fox-Devils is a weird, diabolical coming-of-age horror story of self-liberation in an oppressive religious environment set during the Satanic Panic. Prepare your soul to revel in the darkness.”

The author hits a dark and creative homerun on the turn of every page with this bizarre Splatterpunk tribute to the above-mentioned themes and imagery of yesteryear. With a dark and evil preacher lurking, hideously ferocious and violent but also somehow extremely loveable fox-like creatures wreaking havoc on an oppressed and abusive religious setting, chock full of enough satanic magic and occult ritual panic for days and days and days. This is one sure to leave more than the mark of the beast on your technicolored and tormented soul…. Hail Satan! 666.

Check it out!