Thursday, 5 July 2012

Review: Frightfeast by Mark K Allen

When this comic arrived in the post for me to review, I hovered over the envelope and froze, sensing a putrifying evil presence within....Dare I open this unholy Pandora's box (or rather, pandora's envelope)?

Of course I bloody did! ...First thing to assault my eyes was the psychedelic carnage that is the front cover; a warning to the faint of heart of just some of the twisted madness that lies within..."SLEAZE, GORE...NOTHIN' MORE!...SIGHTS SO HORRIBLE, YOU'LL HAVE FRIGHTMARES!".

I tentatively opened the book and was immediately greeted with maggot-ridden dementia; the narrating character is introduced; huddled by the bins of an alley, injecting substances into his rotten, pustule ridden flesh, recounting his past of the teacher who threw flaming shit at his face, and his cannibal parents who he blames for his own ghoulish behaviour...
He confides that his drug-addled psychotic mind is so twisted, that his body has rejected it, and a second brain has grown in his arse for the sole purpose of kicking himself in the head.... The story then morphs into another nightmare scenario; is this a drug hallucination of the narrator's fevered mind, or is he awakening from a nightmare into an even darker reality?...

The comic has now gone into the world of 70's exploitation horrors and 80's video nasties - the familiar terrain of the gorehound. A nazi scientist is conducting inhuman experiments on a tropical island somewhere; creating bloodthirsty zombies and hideous mutants to serve his twisted will. He sends his thug subordinates to look for fresh 'samples' as he has almost exhausted his supply of playthings

On another part of the island, a group of not very bright film makers and actors have arrived to make a movie, not realising the danger they are walking into...
Well, you don't have to be a rocket scientist (or a nazi one) to figure out what's on the cards....But who will survive the carnage, and what will happen when the scientist's creations develop a will of their own, and mutate in ways their creator could have never imagined?

Frightfeast is like going on a coach tour of gleeful sickness with a bunch of intoxicated cenobites; You'll either be in heaven or in hell, depending on your tastes.

For those of you who prefer complex, multi-layered stories, character development, high brow subtleties, and the serious, atmospheric build up approach to horror, then this probably won't be for you.

For those however who prefer to wade right in, enjoying all things splatter and the wantonly graphic, whose minds have been warped from many a late night orgy of shlocky, violent celluloid gorefest; then this will DEFINATELY be your cup of (bloody) tea.

Me, I like both (depending on my mood) and to my mind, the comic can be enjoyed on the level of visual experience and pitch-black humour alone. At moments it's disturbing and the next knowingly OTT and absurd; giving a knowing wink to the genre fans it is made for. It's almost like Allen's possessed, desensitised mind is not really concerned with a traditional plot, but rather exorcising itself onto the page, spewing up every gruesome influence that has crept it's way in there, mutating, and adding to a collage of warped and savage creativity which certainly has a morbid fascination to it.

Mark has an edgy and interesting art style; pages are often montages which have a natural fluidity and dynamism to them, and great use of contrast and motion.

There are references to the more obscure Italian and Grindhouse horrors, to classics like The Thing, Cannibal Holocaust, I Drink Your Blood, Evil Dead and Hellraiser II, with the humour of early Peter Jackson (Bad Taste/ Braindead) in places. Plus there's a nice little 'reality check' and twist at the end.

If you think you can stomach Frighfeast, then email Mark at Sweet dreams!

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