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Publication Date: June 2009
Format: 6x9 Trade Paperback
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The Fisherman Brian Rosenberger
Fungoid Randy Chandler
Tenant’s Rights Sean Logan
Again Ramsey Campbell
Maggots Tim Curran
Going Green Stefan Pearson
Coquettrice Angel Leigh McCoy
The Fear in the Waiting C.J. Henderson
The Worm John Bruni
Sepsis Graham Masterton
What You Wish For Garry Bushell
The Devil Lives in Jersey Z.F. Kilgore
Rat King Jeffrey Thomas
The Caterpillar C. Dennis Moore
“Poor Brother Ed” or The Man Who Visited Ralph Greco, Jr.
Extreme tales of horror from Ramsey Campbell, Graham Masterton, C.J. Henderson, Randy Chandler, Tim Curran, Jeffrey Thomas . . .
COVER ART BY PHIL FENSTERER
Vile Things is the ultimate collection of extreme horror with 15 unspeakably gruesome, cringe-worthy, and sometimes disturbingly hilarious tales. and above all else an entertaining and damn good, fun read. The stories, most of which are previously unpublished, include a wide range of subjects: the Jersey Devil, zombies, sadistic Nazis, insatiable ghouls, perverted fishermen, a cult of Basilisk, tequila worms, and much more!
JOHN BRUNI, GARRY BUSHELL, RAMSEY CAMPBELL, RANDY CHANDLER, TIM CURRAN, RALPH GRECO, JR., C.J. HENDERSON, Z.F. KILGORE, SEAN LOGAN, GRAHAM MASTERTON, ANGEL LEIGH MCCOY, JEFFREY THOMAS, C. DENNIS MOORE, STEFAN PEARSON, BRIAN ROSENBERGER.
Friday, June 12, 2009 by Rebekah McKendry, Fangoria
Last week, I received a copy of VILE THINGS: EXTREME DEVIATIONS OF HORROR in the mail from Comet Press. The book is an anthology style collection of stories from a variety of writers including Ramsey Campbell, Graham Masterson, and CJ Henderson. I read horror almost everyday and very little actually disturbs me. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good, it just takes a lot to disturb me.
On Wednesday night, I was having my hair streaked purple. This is a long process that takes several hours, so before departing for my hair appointment, I grabbed the copy of VILE THINGS from my desk to peruse while I sat. I got to the salon, and as they started to turn my red locks to grape, I began reading VILE THINGS. This was not what I expected. This was intense.
Over the next few hours, I found myself cringing, shifting around uncomfortably in my chair, and even at times looking away to take a short break from the disturbing tales I was reading. This book is not just your basic horror stories. This is extreme shit.
Edited by Cheryl Mullenax, VILE THINGS: EXTREME DEVIATIONS OF HORROR is not for the light horror fan. The stories are not just extreme horror, but also extreme gore and sex…a triple threat of fun in my eyes. Some of the highlights for me were The Worm by John Bruni, which involved so much icky incest that I thought I was going to put down my book in exchange for a nice clean copy of hair-salon Cosmopolitan. The Rat King by Jeffery Thomas put a nice new twist on Nazi/ Holocaust horror. I also really enjoyed Fungoid by Randy Chandler, which rivaled a short story from Chuck Palahniuk’s Haunted as my most cringe-worthy reading material. Don’t read that one on a full stomach or if you are really sensitive about your genitals. Let’s just say when a monster fungus clogs up your "plumbing", you may have to "snake" your "snake".
The writers in the collection are a mix of award winning horror masters and some clearly up-and-coming writers. Quite a few of the authors are just starting their literary careers, and this immaturity sometimes glares through in the wording and structure. However, the intense story lines and disturbing plots shine over the sometimes awkward writing styles and occasional poor analogies.
This book is a definite for any extreme horror fan. Full of terror, sex, and gore, I don’t recommend this for the faint of heart or for a light read at a beauty salon.
VILE THINGS: EXTREME DEVIATIONS OF HORROR is published by Comet Press. It can be purchased from the Comet Press website for $14.95. Order before July 1st and shipping is free!
Review by Monster Librarian, January 15, 2010
Vile Things is one of the stronger horror anthologies I have come across in some time, its theme literally appears to be centered around creatures, topics, or situations that are so vile it would send a shiver down your spine. It includes stories from both established and newer horror authors, and some of the stories are more extreme than the usual fare. The standout story of the collection is Tim Curran’s "The Maggots", the tragic tale of a soldier during Napoleon's disastrous attempt to invade Russia. While there are a variety of stories, a few seem to have a the common theme along the theme of something taking over or taking control from within, in particular "The Fungoid", "The Maggots", and "The Worm". Most frustrating of the collection was C. Dennis Moore’s "The Caterpillar", in which a distant, out-of-work cousin finds himself living with a young gir deformed by thalidomide. Moore sucked me into his story but left me wanting more at the end. There is a story for almost everyone’s tastes, from a Lovecraftian tale by C.J. Henderson to Z.F. Kilgore’s take on The Jersey Devil. Finally, the "The Worm" that just didn’t do anything for me and actually found not to be horrifying in anyway just plain repulsive.
Librarians may want to note that the cover art and title may turn off potential readers that might otherwise enjoy some stories within. Regular horror genre readers won't have a problem picking up Vile Things but casual browsers would probably take a pass which is a shame because there is some wonderful writing within. I would say that while there are definitely some stronger and gorier stories in this collection than in other horror anthologies, Vile Things offers some excellent horror tales and is highly recommended for public libraries.
Review by Fatally Yours, Friday, August 7, 2009
Horror anthologies are the perfect bite-sized treats to discover new authors as well as appreciate established ones. Though it’s always nice to see a story by a “master of horror” I much rather like discovering new talent within a good horror anthology. Much to my delight, there was plenty of “fresh blood” to be found within the pages of the horror anthology Vile Things – Extreme Deviations of Horror.
Unlike some horror anthologies, there is no clear theme of zombies or vampires in Vile Things – just solid short stories from the likes of Ramsey Campbell, Graham Masterton, C.J. Henderson and many other horror authors, including some new names I’m now glad to be acquainted with. All of the stories are not for the faint of heart, as many times I found myself squirming and cringing at the disturbing and disgusting tales of horror held between the anthology’s pages. The title of Vile Things definitely says it all! In this fast-paced collection of 15 stories, I thought all were horrific, but a few stood out more than the rest.
My favorite short story was Maggots by Tim Curran. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, both on the killing fields as well as the main character’s hometown of Paris, Maggots is a grotesque tale of cannibalism and possession. Except that instead of a demon taking possession of the main character’s body, the host’s body is invaded and taken over by maggots that force him to eat the putrefied remains of humans. There is a lot of gore within this particular story, all made all the more disturbing in the detailed descriptions the author gives of the main character feasting on the bloated and rotting remains of corpses, all the while all too fully aware of the atrocities he is committing.
Another one of my favorites was Z.F. Kilgore’s tale, The Devil Lives in Jersey. I love Jersey Devil stories and this one definitely doesn’t disappoint. An ex-police detective moves to the Pine Barrens after inheriting a house from his deceased grandparents hoping to give himself and his son a fresh start. Soon, though, the town’s dark secrets involving a witch burning, mysterious disappearances and grisly murders come to the surface, and the ex-detective discovers his family is inexplicably linked to the town’s bloody past…and now it seems that something is killing again. This short story was extremely well-written, with heaps of disturbing imagery (characters eating baby corpses and a witch having sex with something otherworldly, among other graphic scenes) and felt like it had so much to offer that it would be better suited as its own book. I hear that Kilgore, a retired police detective himself, has more short stories planned around the main character, and I eagerly await them!
Other favorites included the cheeky Tenant’s Rights by Sean Logan, in which an off-kilter, nerdy tenant gets revenge on his playboy roommate/landlord, but with disastrous results. I loved seeing the arrogant landlord get his comeuppance, but it was also satisfying to watch the creepy roommate get his at the end of the story! I also enjoyed Coquettrice, by Angel Leigh McCoy, a disturbing look at a satanic cult hatching their very own cockatrice…and watching the main character change from innocent to deviant was pretty jarring as well! What You Wish For by Garry Bushell was an extremely satisfying tale as well, and much like Tenant’s Rights, we get to watch a vile character meet her bloody end.
I’ve only mentioned a few outstanding stories, but with few exceptions all the tales within Vile Things are marvelously macabre! They will make you feel nauseous (Fungoid by Randy Chandler), give you the creeps (The Worm by John Bruni) or just plain scare you (Again by Ramsey Campbell). The anthology’s stories contain incest, rape, deformities, abnormalities, the disabled, infestations, demons, monsters and plenty of graphic gore, blood and other bodily fluids that will have you wishing you read it on an empty stomach! The book definitely lives up to its title of Vile Things – Extreme Deviations of Horror so prepare to be disturbed and make sure you have a barf bag handy before reading!
Review by Jessa Sobczuk, Rue Morgue
Excerpt from magazine:
The most striking fiction is often rooted directly in reality, and this is especially true for the stories found in Vile Things. Most of these tales, collected by editor Cheryl Mullenax, begin with plausible, everyday situations and then darken quickly to trap the reader in twisted supernatural plotlines that teem with the imagination's most repulsive creations, including parasitic mutations, a spate of festering fungal rashes and many other rancid and, well, vile things.
But dismembered members aside, there are no cheap gross-outs here; even though the focus is clearly on the vile and unpalatable these don't feel like stories that were written with the sole purpose of being labeled "extreme horror" or to merely revel in their graphic, gory descriptions. Simply put, Vile Things is every deviant horror fan's wet dream.