Saturday, July 08, 2006

Books of Blood Volume Two by Clive Barker

More delicious horror! I’m really intrigued by the work Clive Barker has done in this genre. He has a certain grotesque cruelty in his work which seems to have been sanitized out of much of the mainstream pulp horror I’ve read. I’d really love to hear about any other books of horror shorts which pick up the conversation where Barker left off with Books of Blood. If anyone has any recommendations for horror that is… let’s use the phrase “hard core” in this fashion, I’d love to hear them. I think it would be a fun exercise, after I finish the historical epic I so foolishly threw myself into last year, to write a quick book of brutal horror shorts. An homage to Mr. Barker, and his fine work here.

This volume of Books of Blood is roughly equivalent to Volume One. It contains five horror shorts, dealing with various elements of the macabre, the violent, and the cruel. From “Dread”, which deals with the deranged experiments of a young philosopher is pushing his classmates beyond their psychological breaking points, to “New Murders in the Rue Morgue”, a twisted tip of the hat to Edgar Allen Poe’s tale of violent ape carnage, none of these stories are incredible, but each is entertaining.

I’ll note again here, as I did with the first volume, that some of this feels a little dated. It’s been twenty-six years since Barker penned Books of Blood. Time, language, culture, and some of our mores have moved on.

But these tales are still a great late night treat if you like vicious horror in short, mainlined doses.

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