"I think I'll become a fisher of men" - Minion
Issue 17 of Decay magazine duly arrived and as promised Editor Koziol has delivered unto the horror faithful the Ozploitation edition. For those who somehow don't get the whole concept of Ozploitation we're talking a lot of undressed ladies, violence to the max, and sick ideas. This book isn't for the faint of heart, or for those who believe horror lives only on isolated moors and in crumbling mansions. Besides two stories dealing with regular vampire lovelies "The Sisters", the rest of this release is pretty much focused on more down to earth horror, i.e. the non supernatural kind.
So what do we get to paw over you might ask, a blood soaked bumper edition folks. Besides five outstanding stories, there's also an interview with Greg McLean, do I even have to mention Wolf Creek, Sally from Oz Zombie doing the host thing, and the Sisters meeting Adolf Hitler. Everything is wrapped up in one chilling bundle by designer Mitchell Thompson. Nice one Thomo, was digging the issue mate. Right, let's rip into it and see what depraved ideas Editor DK has sent our way.
I'm going to review this edition in chronological order, cause that's how we roll, and there's a light on over at the Frankenstein place. So once again Decay has knocked my socks off with a glossy full colour cover that would be disturbing to wear on a Tee at your local Hill Song Sunday service. Tristan Tait has delivered one disturbing vision that involves a mad scientist, amputation, and a dark chilling atmosphere. This sort of stuff really shouldn't be allowed, or should at least be displayed prominently on magazine shelves around the Country so the moral majority know what sick perverted material kids are grooving too currently. Hey it carries a "Mature Readers" warning, even Christopher Pyne should be able to work out this one isn't going to feature Julie Andrews keeping the hills alive with music.
Following the editorial, apparently I'm in the minority when it comes to reading editorials - I want my full coin's worth friends and neighbours, we launch straight into the first tale of mayhem, The Ties That Bind. Script by DK and art by Steve Lehmann, a gruesome combination of talents. Actually this story does provide a public service, if you are on a sparsely travelled country road and have experienced two flat tyres don't accept rides from creepy looking strangers. Clearly our first victims of the evening never watch horror movies! Okay moving along the story is particular disturbing, in that body horror thang that David Cronenberg has made a career out of. DK's story makes The Human Centipede look like something you would allow tween chicks to check out at slumber parties! It's pretty gritty stuff with a real grunge flavour that should appease the gore hounds out there. Lehmann delivers pencilled panels that fit the atmosphere, providing a real nostalgic trip back to the early 1980s. Absolutely stunning way to kick off edition 17, folks this is going to be one gory hayride to Hades.
The second story in the book is a bit of a brainteaser to be honest, but hunker down kids it does present a number of intriguing possibilities. Cairo Road, based on a story by Emmet O'Cuana and panels by Paul Briske. It begins with some old dude, not named, taking tablets which I think are meant to be heart related medication, I say think as said pills are normally put under the tongue as opposed to on top of the tongue as portrayed. Anyways the old dude is present at a screening of the titular movie, which appears to be about outlaw psychotic bikers. During the movie the dude appears to be suffering a heart attack, which coincides with things going just a little freaky in the cinema. I leave it to the Reader to determine what happens from there, but as stated multiple interpretations available, knock yourself out.
Stuart Rumbel is in the saddle for both writing and drawing duties on the third yarn in the collection, the excellently titled Sisters vs The Nuns of the SS Gestapo. Naturally things are going to end up wet and wild with our three favourite vampires on the loose in a Nazi controlled Cathedral full of Nuns with strange ideas on purification. On the bright side we get a whole new specification for candled holders and who doesn't like to see Nazis going up against the supernatural. The story may not be the most intense in the collection but for sure it's a hoot and a holler.
Darren Koziol must have been in a particularly nasty mood when he came up with the script for The Bashed Man, the penultimate story in the collection. Helping out with artwork is Eduardo Cruz as Decay ventures into gorenography territory. I'm not going to give too much away on this one as the idea is simple with a strong twist in the tale, just how we like our nasty horror. You'll have a good time with this one if you can get past a few nasty shocks.
Rounding out our story line up is the Sisters in Dead Ahead, script and panels by Kurt Stone. This story ventures into the Australia outback to put Minion up against a team of inbreed psychopaths, naturally there can be only one winner, and it probably isn't going to be our Mick Taylor inspired team of deviants. While the story definitely has more than a little inspiration from Wolf Creek it still retains that special Sisters something, which naturally involves bloodshed and more than a few deaths in full glorious colour.
Speaking of Wolf Creek, which is flavour of the year in Downunder horror circles, Decay #17 closes out with a two page interview with Director/Writer Greg McLean. Australia's leading horror director has a few things to say about "ozploitation" amongst other things making the magazine a must have for McLean devotees.
I certainly had a good time with Decay the Ozploitation issue and have no problems recommending it to anyone reading. You get some decent horror vibes, good stories, and diverse but excellent artwork. I'm not going to say this magazine is for everyone, but if you dig Downunder horror then it's pretty much required reading material. Issue #17 might be slightly on the wet side of the horror equation, but wear an apron and have a good time.
You can get your own issue via the Dark Oz website. Expect to pay $11 AUD, which covers the purchase price plus P&H in Australia. Alternatively the book is carried by all good comic stores, ask them to order in if they don't currently stock copies. If ordering from Oz contact Dark Oz to arrange shipment etc.