I was first introduced to Jack Ketchum’s Off Season by a friend who’d noticed that I was reading books by Bentley Little, Edward Lee and Richard Laymon. He told me about Jack Ketchum and his early work titled Off Season. At the time I was told the book itself was out-of-print and used bookstores sold them at a premium. The moment I received word that Amazon started offering the novel again I was quick to order my copy. I thought I knew what extreme horror literature was all about. I had thought Lee’s Bighead was the epitome of extreme horror, but I was mistaken as soon as I began reading Ketchum’s debut novel.
Jack Ketchum’s Off Season uses the old Scottish folklore of the cannibalistic Sawney Beane Clan — who supposedly had terrorized the Scottish coasts during the 15th-century — and creates a survival horror tale that brings to mind such the zombie films of Romero and his successors not to mention some of John Carpenter’s earlier works. This was not the first time this infamous clan of inbred cannibals’ legend has been adapted for modern times. Wes Craven had used the same folklore to base his 70′s exploitation horror film The Hills Have Eyes. Ketchum’s Off Season is much closer to the legend of the Sawney Beane Clan and Ketchum describes in detail the violence and cannibalistic scenes by which the clan inflicts on vacationing and traveling strangers in the secluded and somewhat untamed coastal forest in the Northeast.
Ketchum pulls no punches and makes the reader believe that scene of carnage and horror inflicted on the characters Carla, her sister Marjie and the men of their small group. The horror is not just the one scene through the eyes of the cabin renters, but also those scenes within the clan’s coastal cave abode where children behave more like ravenous animals than civilized human beings. There’s also a brutal and frank description of the incestuous practice the clan has devolved to in order to propagate their clan’s numbers. It’s this attention to detail which helped give rise to the “splatterpunk” subgenre of horror that some have called horror pornography yet which continues to this day to be a place where one could still find great horror novels.
The novel itself is not without it’s flaws. Ketchum’s fast-paced narrative barely allows for the character he has established as the victims to feel fully developed. The character themselves almost became plot devicesin that they were there to be picked off one-by-one in a way to propel the story forward to it’s apocalyptic conclusion. While Ketchum allows for disgust and horror on what’s being done to these people to occur there’s no empathy to be had towards these victims until the very end and even then it’s mnore a reaction of enjoying violent retribution on those raides. Empathy is definitely not something this novel wants to evoke from it’s readers. It’s all about primal instincts and reactions and in that respect the novel succeeds on many levels.
In the end, Jack Ketchum’s Off Season was not a book for just anyone to read and enjoy (though for some it might just be something that they’d enjoy). In actuality, Off Season was not even a book to enjoy but more of a novel to survive through. I was barely able to get through the novel, not because it was badly written but due to its extreme nature. I would turn around and do what my friend did for me and recommend this harrowing, brutal and violent tale of survival, cannibalism and horror to fans who think they know what extreme horror is all about. They’ll be in for a shocking surprise if they ever pick up this book to try out.
I haven’t been as big a fan of Capcom’s Resident Evilsurvival horror game franchise (weird considering that zombie fiction and entertainment is like catnip to me), but the upcoming and latest entry in the series has me excited. Resident Evil 6looks to return the series to its zombie roots after spending the last two titles veering away from it.
While the gameplay still looks to be just something upgraded and tweaked from games past the story itself looks like something that I would find interesting as it moves the danger from being localized to something more global in scope. I’m really hoping that this title brings me back to the franchise which was great in the beginning then began to lose steam and ideas in it’s latest offerings.
This latest trailer takes a page out of the Halofranchise’s marketing book by making it live-action. It might be only 90 seconds but getting a glimpse of how a world reacts to the onset of a zombie apocalypse makes for a nice, brief piece of entertainment.
Resident Evil 6is set for an October 6 release for the Xbox 360, PS3 and Windows PC.
Another game which seem to have gotten a huge positive reaction from the pre-E3 pressers on Monday was Capcom’s latest entry in its very popular and lucrative survival-horror series, Resident Evil(Biohazard in Japan). This is a series that goes back over a decade and through several console lifetimes and still remains as popular now as when it first began.
The game looks to bring back several well-known faces from the previous games in the series like Leon S. Kennedy, Chris Redfield, Ada Wong and Sherry Birkin. One thing the latest game brings back that’s been missing in the last two games was the main antagonist that started it all and that’s the Umbrella Corporation. The game also looks to expand the locales where the game takes place in. In previous titles in the series the location tend to be very localized with some international jet-setting here and there, but from the looks of the trailer it seems that Resident Evil 6will be going global.
I haven’t played a Resident Evilgame in years, but it looks like this cold streak may just end with Resident Evil 6.
Resident Evil 6is set for an October 2, 2012 release date.
Just a little under four months ago the announcement trailer for the Techland and Deep Silver zombie survival horror title, Dead Island, premiered to much acclaim. The trailer was like a short film and really tugged at the emotions of those who saw it for the first time. The trailer itself didn’t show what the game was all about other than a paradise resort becoming the setting for a zombie survival horror game with open-world gameplay.
A couple more trailers using gameplay scenes came out since then, but it’s now E3 and gamers want more info on just how the game plays. Techland and Deep Silver didn’t disappoint. In addition to a new trailer made exclusively for this year’s E3, the game also was available in demo form for attendees to check out and play. The two-part video below is one such example of someone playing the demo.
From what I could tell from the gameplay demo this game seems to be a much more serious version of the campy and over-the-top Capcom zombie horror title Dead Rising. Weapons seem to be mostly melee types like machete, knives, steel bars and such with the random rifles and pistols to be found during the game. Dead Island looks great from what I could see from the demo. Hopefully, more details about the gameplay and the co-op multiplayer will be released between E3 and the game’s release.
Dead Island is set for a September 6, 2011 for the U.S. and September 9, 2011 for the rest of the world.