If you go down to the woods today then you are in for one freaking surprise, as the hills are alive with the sound of kitchen implements meeting the flesh of victims. Seems every deep dark wood harbours a psycho family of cannibals with a never ceasing supply of ready citizens to keep the larders fill and the lamps covered.
Frank Candiloro invites us to spend some quality time with the Kraven family, Mom, and sons Hanson and Gunnar. Naturally since there's a lake nearby face masks and machetes are the order of the day. However what happens when a psycho killer encounters pure innocence and changes are happening to their dark passenger? Let's kick it back big time in the woods.
There's something traditional about the mixing of the fairy tale with modern horror themes that recalls all those great tales coming out of Europe that the Brothers Grimm etc recorded for prosperity. Candiloro keeps the tradition alive with a tale that mixes your typical backwoods cannibal family with some Texas Chainsaw Massacre sensibilities, a dash of James Whale's Frankenstein, with good old fashion oral tale styling. It's a combination that will have most readers smiling, if only for the names Gunnar and Hanson. If you aren't catching the reference then check out The Texas Chainsaw Massacre next time you hit your local DVD rental place. Actually the family name "Kraven" is probably a reference to Wes Craven, but hey let's not hold that against Candiloro. We even get sort of gloves with razor blades ala Freddy, Craven's most notable character.
The plot line to Thicker than Water, great punch line coming at you there, covers your typical Hill Billy slaughtering crew, thankfully we don't get any squealing like a pig action going down, and then goes off in a direction that you probably won't see coming. While I'm down with the Friday the 13th movies and am a big fan of at least a couple of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre outings, normally I don't overly dig the sub-genre. The movies and books tend to simply cover the same ground in at best a number of variations that arrive at the same place with yet another group of teens or early twenty somethings sliced and diced. Candiloro throws something fresh at the page that should have most reader's high fiving their inbred ginger headed cousin in delight. As stated above Candiloro hits the innocence train ride with a pretty solid slice of Whale's Frankenstein sensibilities.
For those steeped in the sort of slasher movies your mother warned you about, and you ignored her didn't you? - there are a lot more references to pick up on. I tend to like referential texts myself, Stephen King is a master at self-referencing for example, there are a lot more to pick up on. For example Jason Voorhees' situation at the end of the seventh F13th movie, and the boy just wanted to love his mom as well which wasn't going to happen with Carrie making the scene. So anyways knock yourself out there and have a dicing good time.
I should point out that Candiloro with Thicker Than Water adds the gore that is normally not associated with his work. So if that sort of thing doesn't work for your sensibilities then you are probably not going to dig the book.
Guess I'm finished waffling on about the plot, did I mention it really is a sort of grime fairy tale? - but wanted to point out that Candiloro doesn't take anything where you would expect it to go, instead throwing a by now interesting spin on what has become a moribund sub-genre. You got to say, if an Aussie Comic writer can bring something new and interesting to the table, then what the hell are the Yank movie makers doing? If slightly jaded with the whole slash and rehash thing, then Thicker Than Water might just be the property to bring the shine back to your butcher's knife. Ki Ki Ki, Ma Ma Ma on that one yo!
Naturally the artwork is the sort of German expressionist approach that Frank Candiloro is renowned for. It's got the heavy dark lines, brooding atmosphere, and unexpected content that will make you want to keep checking out the panels. Flawless presentation of the concepts that are likely to win a lot of fans to the Candiloro campaign to being something new and different to the comic world.
Surprisingly Candiloro's approach with the pen is perfect for the subject matter, remembering we're talking a mix of fairy tale and good old backwoods massacre. There's a surreal feel to the book that will have you taking notice and wondering if you shouldn't invest in more Candiloro releases.
Recommending this one to both comic fans and those who like their dark genre full of kitchen implements dripping blood, there's something in there for you all. I had some fun times with the book, and didn't quite expect it to go where it went. For sure Thicker Than Water drops any attempt at humour and goes with a grime morality play feel, but it should have even the most jaded reader sitting up and taking notes. Check it out people, a modern fairy tale warning of the dangers of … well you are just going to have to read the book, knock yourself out get ready to rumble.
Thicker Than Water is available online from the official Frank Candiloro site for the remarkably cheap price of $5 plus $2 postage. Now considering you get 40 pages of mayhem that's a pretty solid deal in anyone's language.