Can They Save Horror?

That there? That’s two of the best living writers of small press horror and bizarro fiction, respectively. Brian Keene and Carlton Mellick. Grand Master of horror and the father of bizarro.

Trouble is, there’s barely a small press left. These two make up a sizable chunk of the whole pie. They’re the show. They steer the ship. Like it or not, they ARE small press horror and bizarro fiction.

And the ship is sinking. The small press has been infiltrated by the SJW cult. A cancer of culture. Progressivism demands forward movement of the host body. A walk of death for any subculture that heeds the whispers of the twisted matriarch of social justice.

This conversation took place at possibly the last BizarroCon ever. A conversation between maybe the only two people left with the power to rip the SJW parasite off the host body and return the small press to a place of health and prosperity.

These two men possess the talent, wisdom, industry clout and fanbase to turn the cultural tide away from “Yasss Kweeeeen!” male feminism, Trump derangement syndrome and transgender tokenism which sell nothing and alienate the real horror fanbase, back toward a merit-based focus on talent and excellence.

But that requires risk.

Our heroes Brian and Carlton would have to risk it all. Their social standing. Their reputations. Their financial stability. They would have to face SJW cultist shame swarms on social media. Unfair and biased criticism of their fiction. Lies and slander about their personal lives.

They’d have to risk losing decades-long friendships and relationships with those they believed to be true allies. They’d face the possibility of career ruin.

But the nasty truth? That’s all coming for them whether they continue to self-flagelate and pander to progressivism in the case of Brian or utterly ignore this grave social illness in the case of Carlton.

They are successful straight white males and no straight white male goes unpunished when the SJW cult assimilates a subculture.
Their reckoning is coming. But if they choose to attack first? If they deal the metaphorical death-blow to the tendrils of progressivism that even now wrap around their throats?

A small press renaissance awaits ALL writers of small press horror and bizarro fiction. There has always been and always will be an audience for dark and weird fiction. They’ve just been told for the past decade that they’re the wrong skin color, the wrong gender, the wrong political affiliation or the wrong sexuality.

Brian and Carlton can win that audience back. But it might cost them everything. Are they brave enough to do the right thing? 

Kevin Strange’s Top 6 Melt Movies

In honor of Calrton Mellick’s new novel BIO MELT (which you can pick up from Amazon right now!), I’ve decided to put together my top six favorite melt movies. The 80s and early 90s were THE decades for weird horror films, but while most people were watching slashers like Freddy and Jason carve up the silver screen, I was watching the weird home video shit. And one of my favorite genres was the melt movie. Lots of movies had meltdowns in that era. The Toxic Avenger, The Fly 2, and Robocop to name a few had some of the more memorable melting scenes. But a few movies took it upon themselves to theme the ENTIRE feature around melting. They’re all cool, but these six are my absolute favorites.

6. Bio CopBio-Cop-01

Bio-Cop is the reason this list is 6 movies instead of 5. While not actually a real movie, the mock trailer for Bio-Cop alone is brilliant enough to garner inclusion on this list. The story is, a beat cop has an accident in a lab, covering him in chemicals, turning him into a walking, talking slime monster. What makes this fake movie brilliant, is that ole Bio-Cop doesn’t take his transformation into a melt-man very well at all. Scene after scene in the trailer shows him deep in existential crisis. A poster for the film even has the tag line, “Why am I alive?”

 1373855248_75. Street Trash

Street Trash is a late 80s gem about a bunch of homeless people who get their hands on an alcoholic beverage called Viper. Problem is, when they drink it, they melt down into glorious technicolor puddles of goo. How this flick wasn’t produced by Troma is a mystery because it shares the same brash, low budget sleeze antics as Troma greats like The Toxic Avenger and Class of Nuke Em High. It also has one of the best posters in all of cult cinema.

TheStuffDVD4. The Stuff

The Stuff is a goofy, almost noir tale about an ex-FBI agent and a young boy trying to solve the mystery of a new yogurt-like food item on the market turning people into crazed, zombie addicts. The film runs long and doesn’t really focus too heavily on The Stuff in question on screen, but once it gets going there are some great melty goo shots that make this a definitive entry on my list of top melt flicks.

large_society_13_blu-ray_-e14320953701803. Society

Brian Yuzna of Empire Pictures fame brings us a rare non-Lovecraftian gem in his first feature film outing. Society is an allegory about wealthy secret societies. Unfortunately for our rich, young protagonist, this particular secret society is made up of hideous monsters with the ability to melt together and form ridiculously weird shapes out of their bodies. This flick is probably the most graphic of any of the entries on this list. Yuzna loves his slimy latex creatures, and the climax of Society might just be the coolest melt scene in cinema history.

Body_Melt_1993-Movie-72. Body Melt

Body Melt looks and feels a lot like Peter Jackson’s early works like Dead Alive and Bad Taste. That’s because this weird ass movie was also filmed in New Zealand. With its shoe string budget, wildly divergent story lines and absolutely wicked melt effects, Body Melt will keep your head spinning as you try to keep up with the plot, all while putting a huge smile on the face of any true melty movie fan. In essence, it’s the tale of a corporation monitoring the effects of a product on a small neighborhood totally unaware that they’re being watched. But that plot probably makes up less than half the run time of the movie. With hillbilly cannibals and all kinds of other crazy shit going on, Body Melt has something for every cult movie fanatic.

blob-19881. The Blob 1988

For me, The Blob 1988 is the holy grail of melt movies. Taking the basic premise of the original, a meteorite falls from space onto a small farm, only reveal a purple, translucent blob lurking inside hungry for human flesh. What the 88 version does is crank up the gore and slime FX to 11. There are so many awesome graphic, horrific shots of people suffering, melting and dying inside the blob. By the time the thing grows to the size of a building and decimates a small town during the film’s climax, any discerning melty movie fan should be howling with delight. This is the best of the bunch. The biggest budget melt movie of all time, I’d suspect. And it uses all of that money to gobble up and melt as many humans as possible during its run time. A true melt masterpiece.

Kevin Strange’s Top 3 Bizarro Books of 2014


Another year has come and gone, gang. 2014 was one of the more challenging years since I began writing fiction full time. But, even though the year was full of doubt, ended relationships, far too much isolation and second guessing decisions, there were many bright spots, many wonderful surprises and challenges overcome, lessons learned, and friendships built and solidified with the promise of great, powerful things to come in the future.

I moved into a new apartment. I started a vlog show. I released a short story collection and a double novella with Danger Slater. I started two more novels and wrote a dozen short stories. More than enough for another collection. I ended some toxic relationships. I saved a lot of money for a cross-country move to somewhere still not decided. I launched this website. I started a newsletter and released its first issue. I attended Bizarrocon for the first time.

I began the year full of doubt that anyone truly understood me or what my goals were in this fiction game, or even in my personal life. I end the year with the profound sense that I am understood. Maybe not always liked, and often disagreed with. But understood. And that’s all life is, in the end, isn’t it? A battle cry out into the emptiness of space. Hear me! Understand me! This is how I interpret the human condition! This is my sliver of the universe perceiving itself!

The calendar resetting doesn’t change who we are, fundamentally. But it gives us a moment of pause to assess where we came from and where we’re going. As long as we’re healthy enough, and have the piece of mind, we can take another step forward. Every journey in life, in love, and toward success starts with that first step every day, week, month, and year.

Here’s to that first step into the new year, gang. For all of us, let’s make it a good one.

-Kevin Strange


OK, with that nonsense out of the way, here are my top three bizarro books of 2014:



1. Fantastic Earth Destroyer Ultra Plus- Cameron Pierce and Jim Agpalza

This is, hands down, my favorite book of 2014 and one of the very best bizarro books I’ve ever read. It is sad. It is violent. It is bleak. It is full of the most beautiful imagery Jim has ever created. All of his strengths are at work here. Awkward looking gaunt characters with looks of profound sadness that only Jim can create. Lots of nudity, an Agpalza mainstay. But more than those things, he’s able to take Pierce’s ethereal, dreamlike prose, and just go with the flow. Mom is young and beautiful until she isn’t. The humans are real, until they’re puppets. Tetsuo grows a whale foot named Candle. Summer goes blind and becomes something less than human. Cameron has written his darkest, most bleak tale to date. Jim has created his finest, weirdest illustrations to date. This is a masterwork of bizarro fiction. I can’t wait to see these two giants of the weird collaborate again.

2. Wormjob- M.T. Granberry

Humor is extremely hard to pull off in fiction. Many brand new authors attempt humor because it feels safe. Like they’re not committing to much. Like they’re simply goofing off and if they fail, oh well, they weren’t taking themselves seriously anyway. Humor is often employed by those afraid to fail. The problem is, those people aren’t actually committing to much. They aren’t actually putting much thought toward their comedy. This is true for all art. Movies, music. A lot of brand new artists think starting by goofing off is the best way to test the waters before they plunge in with what they really have to say to the universe.

And that’s fine. Maybe that’s the way it should be. But most of the time, those jokes aren’t funny, and that humor is really bad. Not the case with M.T. Granberry’s Wormjob. This delicious body horror tale of a woman getting experimental breast implants full of, you guessed it, parasitic worms is an absurdist tale to be sure. But the humor is funny. The absurdity is the style in which we’re told these awful people’s story. And it works! It works so well it had me laughing out loud.

Fiction doesn’t have to be crafted with pompous, pretentious prose to be moving and tell a larger truth. Newspaper comics have been cutting right to the heart of truth with absurdist cartoons for more than a hundred years. And that’s what Wormjob is. A cartoon in prose attacking the absurdity of superficial, manufactured beauty. The plastic surgery industry. Consumerism. Religion. And it is done well!

Don’t let the silliness of Wormjob fool you, Mr. Granberry is a powerful voice in bizarro fiction. One that will create many more tales of the absurd that just might give you pause and make you think that maybe, it’s not his fiction that’s absurd, but the world around you instead.

3. Kill Ball-Carlton Mellick III

For an author with 40+ books in print, one might guess that Carlton Mellick III might be running out of things to say in his fiction. And while a lot of his books aren’t exactly making profound statements about the human condition, they are always weird, always heart-felt and typically do leave the reader with a few things to chew on after they’ve closed the book.

Kill Ball shows a true bizarro veteran’s ability to take just about any premise, and create characters and a plot around them that are both engaging and honest. When Kill Ball begins, we meet a young boy who wants to touch his ailing mother so badly, he crawls inside of her protective plastic bubble, only to see her melt before his eyes. Fast forward a decade, and everyone on earth lives inside mobile plastic bubbles lest they meet the same melty fate.

That’s the setup. That’s the world Carlton creates for us, and does so effortlessly. Within 15 pages, you’re immersed in bubble world not questioning for a second the ridiculous idea that an entire planet of people would bounce around inside plastic bubbles. That’s easy to do when reading a Mellick book, because he approaches these nonsense premises with absolute sincerity.

What follows is a classic Italian horror tale of a leather clad killer ball chasing down and murdering strippers. It gets really weird and takes several turns that you will not see coming. It’s a solid book with a crazy premise that works on every level. If this guy is still hitting homeruns at 40+ books, imagine what he’ll be writing when he gets close to triple digits? I, for one, can’t wait.