It has been said that horror and erotica are closely related. Both deal with heightened emotions, passions and desires, and the all-too-important fluids that give each genre its own flavor. It’s little wonder, then, that many of the stories that are most popular combine aspects of both. However, when tastes tend to run a little closer to the extreme ends of both spectrums, there is the erotic-horror genre, in which the term “safe sex” is an oxymoron.
Raging Horrormones is a collection that appeals to the darkest desires of its audience. When passions run high, blood flows. Its pages can, within the span of a few words, make the reader squirm with excitement then squirm with discomfort. Contained herein are twenty-two stories that tap the hidden desires and perversions of the erotic-horror fan. Fetishes such as necrophilia, bestiality, sado-masochism, vampirism, and a few others I’m not sure there are names for are included, painted in vivid red on the pages, disturbing and exciting the readers, and disturbing them for their excitement. Also of important note, the stories do not dwell on a single sexual type but explore aggressives, passives, hetero and homosexual preferences, treating all with blood-soaked equality.
While a sparse few stories in this collection dance with cliché devices, the majority are well written. Among the best are Steve Berman’s “Path of Corruption,” a Lovecraftian tale about a boy who goes in search of freedom and finds something else entirely; Stephanie Simpson-Woods’ “Mistress Edie,” where the predator is not quite who you think; Lynne Jamneck’s “Joy to the Fishes in the Deep Blue Sea,” which is strangely reminiscent of Lovecraft’s “Shadow over Innsmouth;” and the fetish-defying “In the Cathedral of the Trees” by Shawn Francis.
The cover and interior art, provided by Robert Nagy, show a quirky style while still holding startling imagery that is, without a doubt, fun to look at. Though there are only three real illustrations in the whole book (the front, back, and one interior), they do make one wonder what the rest of Nagy’s artwork is like and wish there were more contained therein.
Perhaps the only shortcoming of Raging Horrormones is the editing. At several places in the book sentences are begun with periods, paragraphs begin in the middle of sentences, and entire phrases are doubled. However, these slips only distract slightly from the meat of the matter as the reader will hurry past to get to the next juicy moment.
While definitely not something a person would want his or her children or parents to find, Raging Horrormones is a good effort by all the authors involved – and a welcome addition to that special drawer in the nightstand.
Edited by Diana Bennett and Anthony Cane
Oxcart Press, 2004
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