Tag Archives: Shane McKenzie

Review of Muerte Con Carne by Shane McKenzie (Deadite Press; 2013)

2 Oct


Muerte Con Carne presents us with an utterly ghastly premise: there’s a Texas-Chainsaw-Massacre-ish family living on the border between the U.S.A. and Mexico, waiting for tired/weary illegal adventurers into the land of the free…waiting for ingredients for their tacos. And, boy, their tacos sure are popular in the little wasteland of a border town where Felix and Marta stay before embarking on a suicidal documentary-making mission.

McKenzie has a real knack for painting believable characters with very urgent conflicts, no matter how bizarre the premise (read the unforgettable Pus Junkies and Toilet Baby for evidence of this). I particularly enjoyed Felix’s scenes, especially at the seedy bar and with the overweight Norman Bates-esque hotel clerk. This one contained a lot more grue than the other McKenzie books I read, and will be a special delight to torture-porn addicts. I guess I enjoy McKenzie’s work the most for its wacky humor intermixed with absolutely harrowing scenes that place you deep into the rapidly unfolding tale with his excellent use of sensory details and clipped/direct style.

I look forward to more of his books!

check out Muerte Con Carne here

Toilet Baby by Shane McKenzie (Eraserhead Press; 2014)

27 Sep


A weird, EXTREMELY DISGUSTING novella that reminded me of The Garbage Pail Kids film and cards in certain ways. Having said that, it still feels like a cartoon or even a romantic comedy in terms of its narrative structure and themes (Parenthood, Fitting-In, Family, etc.).

I despise reviews that summarize, so I’ll just say that McKenzie manages to make this unlikely/strange premise (toilet kids birthed from toilets) actually quite believable. I even found myself rooting for the characters and highly entertained as it moved seamlessly from one surprising/frightening scene to the next. Did I mention it was disgusting? If you found the film Street Trash funny, then you probably have a sick enough sense of humor to enjoy this–but also, like I said, it’s actually pretty heartwarming in the same way as a well-constructed RomCom. So, really, anyone can enjoy this quaint little tale called Toliet Baby in a joyous evening while roasting chestnuts over an open fire.

check it out

Pus Junkies by Shane McKenzie (Eraserhead Press; 2014) Review

24 May


This is possibly one of the grossest books you will ever read–if, that is, you can make it to the surreal and violent conclusion without burning the book with flammable hand sanitizer and running to the shower with a two gallon tub of soap and a three gallon bottle of shampoo. I read it in about two days.

The writing is precise and direct and the voice feels authentic, even though the premise is nightmarish and disturbingly disgusting: you see this kid Kip’s numerous zits contain a pus substance that is a highly addictive drug. And his blood? Well, I won’t spoil that surprise…but if you dig the imagery of Lovecraft at his most body-horror-ish, you will love this.

Reading it feels like watching a b-movie (as many books of the bizarro genre); so, while it is not exactly a literary masterpiece, it is pulpy, fast, and fun.

So what’s different about this bizarro stuff than your ordinary, run-of-the-mill police-procedural drivel that you can pick up at your local drugstore? Originality. This weird fever dream has never been written before.

Eraserhead Press
Buy Pus Junkies