Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Remember those Troma movies from the 80s? The ones that were done on the cheap, had weird monsters, were really gross, and full of gratuitous boob shots? They were not high art by any means, but we watched them over and over because....well, because of everything I just mentioned.

Such is the vibe of Vampire Guts in Nuke Town, a novel that prides itself on existing in grindhouse culture. It's equal parts violent, gross,and pornographic, all the while telling a pretty engaging story about a post-virus future where all humans have mutated in some way due to an atmosphere full of nuclear fallout. Most became vampires, and live in the shadows and underground tunnels. Some became Pogs, little frog men that can brave the sun and provide a unique experience for anyone willing to drink their blood. This blood drug is  Poog, and people take it because they think it might keep them immune from vampyrism, but really it just makes them high. And in the middle of all this is Guts, a man who's lost everything but know hows to fight back. With lots of guns. And well....with his guts....literally.

When we first meet Guts he's holed up in a seedy motel. A girl knocks on his door and asks for help. She's in the next room with her brother, who's sick. Guts knows this is not a good idea, because people don't just run around in the open air any more, and it could be a set up. But he chooses to help, and before long finds himself pulled through a hole in the motel floor, down into dark tunnels where vampire beasts, even bigger beasts, and even bigger weirder beasts try to kill him. Oh, and there's an office down there too, which is where the story gets a bit more interesting.

Suffice to say Guts has to fight his way through several more big baddies until he reaches his mega boss fight, but he must also try to unravel the mystery of what this new world means to him and why it's treating him like some kind of god. I won't give away the twist or the end, because if you like this kind of stuff you'll do yourself a favor to read it.

But therein lies the rub with Vampire Guts in Nuke Town--this is not for everyone. If you're a casual horror fan this might be a bit too much for you. Put it to you this way, there's enough violent graphic sex in this book that goes beyond about anything I've read before that I sort of think Mr. Strange needs some real therapy. Were it not for the fact the sex scenes are obviously dreamt up for shock value, I'd call the men in white coats to take him away. But I'm sure he knows that's a compliment. Case in point, I actually had to stop reading for a second after the scene where our hero orgasms into a girl's mouth as she is slowly decapitated by a man with a knife. I dunno...it certainly had an effect on me, and had I not grown up on Surf Nazis from Hell and similar films, I might have stopped reading.

But I'm glad I finished it. Kevin Strange knows his grindhouse mentality and the book achieves its goals. While his writing can be a bit wordy at times, it never lets up its pacing or insane imagery; it's easy to blow through this one laughing maniacally the whole time. Because if you can't find it in yourself to laugh at this one, you might miss the point.

Overall, this disturbing little book was a fun time and a gross-out experience I will recommend to people who think American Psycho is boring. (And if you are that type of person, be sure to check out the other books on Strange's imprint. With titles like Cannibal Fat Camp and Beer Run of The Dead, you can bet they're a blast. I, personally, would like to read more.) Get it here: http://www.strangehousebooks.com/

3.5 OUT OF 5 Worms.

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