"Kill for Satan!" Book Review
Written by Gabino Iglesias
Published by Grindhouse Press
Written by Bryan Smith
2018, 144 pages, Fiction
Released on October 14th, 2018
Nothing compares to bloody, campy, over-the-top horror fiction. Throw in a bit of satanism, a touch of heavy metal pulpy goodness, and a tribute to classic horror movies and you have a winning combination. This is the case with Bryan Smith’s Kill for Satan!, a book that can only be described as unabashedly fun.
A satanic mass takes place deep in the woods of the small town of Littleburgh. After a virgin is sacrificed, those in attendance take part in a wild orgy and receive a message from the devil himself: they have to collect the souls of virgins for him during Halloween. The members of the congregation accept their task and prepare to kill as many virgins as they can the next day. To make matters easier, the Dark Lord allows them to see the skin of virgins glimmering. As a Halloween day horror movie marathon begins, so does the killing. What follows is a wild story of murder and survival where an entire town serves Satan and paints its streets at homes red with the blood of their sacrifices.
There is a couple, Micah and Sindie, at the core of this novel, but the chapters switch between them and other characters. Smith keeps things interesting and varied, even when the killing starts and readers get a sense of how the rest of the novel is going to develop. He also writes about killing people in a variety of ways. I know that sounds silly, but anyone who has been reading hardcore horror for two decades knows what I’m talking about. Furthermore, the satanic angle here is great because the author embraces it, has a tongue-in-cheek attitude about its relationship to the genre, and tips his hat to small-town satanic panic mayhem. The result of this is a wonderful mixture of gore, possession, fanaticism, and sexy, campy humor:
The priestess continued to hack away at the busty blonde beauty on the altar. Had he really thought she attacked the victim in a frenzied manner last time? Because after this he was going to have to reassess his definition of frenzied. The lady was going wild with that fucking dagger. She was like a beast. Like a thing possessed. At one point she leaned over the altar and ripped away a piece of bloody tit meat with her teeth. Micah watched in awe and appreciation as she swallowed the piece of flesh whole. After that she continued to hack away at the now definitely dead victim with wild abandon for several more minutes. By the time she stopped, the dead thing on the altar scarcely resembled anything human. Even the face had been mangled beyond recognition.
Few contemporary authors walk the line between humor and horror quite like Smith. There are scenes here that will make readers chuckle and other that will make horror fans nod their head in recognition. Then there are brutal scenes that include slashing a group of cheerleaders to pieces with machetes, a naked woman stomping a guy to death, and one outstanding scene of parents killing their daughter:
The heavy axe blade punched deep into her belly. The agony as the steel ripped through her organs was far beyond any level of pain she’d ever imagined. That pain doubled when her mother ripped the blade out again. Blood and pieces of shredded organs spilled out of the huge rent in her flesh. Her mother adjusted her grip on the axe and raised it again, this time high over her head. When she brought it down for the second and last time, the blade cleaved through the top of Libby Nicholson’s skull, killing her instantly.
Those familiar with Smith’s work probably know what he delivers: dark, hyperviolent horror with a wonderfully pulpy atmosphere and non-stop action. Those who haven’t read him yet have a perfect introduction in Kill for Satan! Something amazing happens when an author who loves horror writes wanting his or her readers to have fun. That’s exactly what you get when you read this book. It also happens to be a loving letter to the genre that mentions enough movies to get even those who only occasionally watch horror movies to nod their head in recognition. This book is all about evil, but if evil is this damn fun, I never want to be good.
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