Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hellbound Hearts: Part II

“Hellbound Hollywood” by Mick Garris, Pages 14: In a dark and twisted way this I found this story quite captivating and entertaining. The reader is introduced to the unsavory former film genius James, who is trying scrape together the remaining pieces of his reputation from his glorious days, when he enjoyed pleasures unsavory even for the sin infested movie industry. As he is scouting an abandoned and supposedly haunted house for a horror movie he meets with a Cenobite and perishes in a particularly cruel manner. I can say that this is not for those, who are grossed out easily, because the Cenobite is grotesque and is described in the smallest details. I have to give it to Garris though, because he managed to mix the uncomfortable with the sensual and erotic.

“Mechanisms” by Christopher Golden & Mike Mignola, Pages 25: One of the longer pieces in the anthology has to offer a lot in atmosphere. Gore-free and Cenobite-absent “Mechanisms” evokes authentic gothic ghost stories. Colin Radford is the protagonist as he returns from his studies at Oxford to search for his missing father in his desolate and haunted looking family house. Search parties have born no results and the only clue to his father’s disappearance is the strange machine left in the basement. Dread, paranoia and hollow still panic billow as the mystery progresses and the puzzle of the machine and the strange nocturne noises it produces unravels. Definitely a chiller, especially if you take into account the black and white illustrations by Mike Mignola, which are very fitting for the tone of the narrative.

“Every Wrong Turn” by Tim Lebbon, Pages 14: This one certainly counts as my favorite for a wide array of reasons. For starters it explores the ancient struggles that come with the human moral system as it counterbalances primal and dark urges and desires. Conscience and guilt face the temptation of the forbidden fruit and indulgence in and explicit sensations from the most obscene acts. The protagonist knows he is a monster, but knowledge is not acceptance and in his attempts to punish himself by finding the center of a haunted with the spirits of his past labyrinth, the Gardener has a different punishment in mind. Humans are known for their sadism as well as their charity and kindness and this story explores our dark nature that seems to be spinning out of control in this day and age.

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