Review: Rotten Little Animals by Kevin Shamel (Eraserhead Press; 2009)

14 Dec

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Filthy animals directing films take a break to be rotten little voyeurs. You see: humans used to know animals could talk but they forgot.

What proceeds is a wildly unpredictable, crass, violent, and odd novella with plenty of action.

After the wicked carnage following the completion of a film about the kidnapping of a human boy, revenge is taken. From there, this gross but goofy gem of a novella hallucination gets wackier and wackier. The traumatized boy getting swallowed by a whale puppet is another highlight.

68, 412 ants talk in unison through a megaphone as a skunk sits in a director’s chair. Car chases through Yellowstone will have you on the edge of your seat until the novella’s shocking, yet surprisingly happy, climax.

Shamel writes in a clipped noir style yet his imagination is boundless. His plotting is daring and unexpected. He also has an original sense of humor. Bizzaro is a fun genre. Sometimes I struggle to identify what exactly unifies its authors in terms of approach, but this is one of the stronger examples I’ve encountered.

This will be a special treat for those who enjoyed the cult film Meet The Feebles, although that is not to say this is at all riding on its coattails. This is an entirely different beast altogether, full of more mind-bending ideas in a short psychedelic punch to consciousness than a poisonous mushroom.

Check out Rotten Little Animals at Eraserhead Press.

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