Tag Archives: bizzaro

Review: Kitten by G. Arthur Brown (Eraserhead Press; 2012)

15 Dec


Kittens who are not kittens who throw up stamps are not as dangerous to one’s sanity as the cat lady living next door with over 20 imaginary cats defecating all over her house. Yet this dead girl who emerged from the trunk of their attic existed because of the grandfather’s experiments.

This whimsical novella is compact, tight, excellently written, and hugely inventive. It also features time travel and is consistently surreal, in the classical school of painters and filmmakers sense.

When a dead boy is used as a puppet on an island run by children, the goofiness that exploded like napalm in the previous 25 or so pages vanished and offered a brief respite and a ray of hope for the more sinister first section of Kitten. There was a medium modicum of darkness during an Alice in Wonderland-driven segue through riddles threatening cracks in comforting logic, the blanket of which we clutch ever so tightly as the moon erupts his warty smile.

There were some interesting quasi metafictional moments as well–an awareness of certain characters coupled with a near willingness to break the fourth wall as they compared the transpiring events to Guy Maddin and Gogol.

In the end, we ride a sleigh backwards and discover the frozen icicle fingers of the ghoul dangling just beside the sleigh’s bells.

Check out more mind-melting work from Arthur G. Brown.

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

14 Dec


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.