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Gorefest: An Extreme Horror Anthology Edited by K Trap Jones [Review]

The third anthology from The Evil Cookie Publishing (following the alcohol-infused extreme horror of ‘Brewtality’ and the Splatterpunk anthology ‘Bludgeon Tools’) skips the linking theme for this entry and delivers an eclectic mix of shorts with the emphasis on the gore. Collecting fifteen stories from some of hardcore horrors biggest names, readers can expect tales of;

  • A family hunting expedition where the hunters find the tables turned and a trip into the wilderness becomes a gruelling fight for survival
  • Two social media influencers whose latest live stream guest may well be their most popular (and messy) yet
  • A man with a fetish so extreme, that finding his ideal partner may be the death of him
  • Revenge, Romance and Russian Roulette, as a violent accident leads to blood-soaked retribution
  • A lot monitor at a local mall who takes his job a little too seriously, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake
  • A Grandfather and his grandson who really know how to hold a grudge
the Gorefest Book Cover

Editor K. Trap Jones never disappoints with his anthologies and Gorefest is no exception. The name of the game here is blood-drenched fun, each author trying to deliver the most grotesque, crazy and appalling stories they can amongst a sea of the best writers the genre has to offer. There isn’t a single story here that doesn’t work and the fact that there is no theme to this one gives the writers free rein to let their imaginations run wild, and it shows in the results.

The closest the book gets to a ‘serious’ story is Wrath James Whites poem, ‘Bloodsoaked Savior’, which tackles a grieving man’s anguish over the loss of a loved one to Covid-19. If that sounds melancholy and downbeat, it is. Sort of. It is also a Wrath James White piece, so it takes its socially relevant premise and wraps it in his trademark extreme horror, delivering one of the more grounded and gruesome stories in the anthology.

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Any story could well be anybody’s personal pick for the favourite of the collection. The beauty of Jone’s anthologies is that they are so relentlessly fun and over the top that every short is enjoyable and entertaining, making them the most cohesive and consistent horror anthologies out there. I would single out Patrick C. Harrison III’s ‘Don’t Go There’, a darkly funny story of a parking lot security guard gleefully doling out extreme punishments for customers minor infractions, and Jay Wilburn’s ‘Winner Digs the Grave’, which is basically an extended fight scene with Mad Max vibes, and one of the most unique stories of the bunch. My favourite, however, was the closing story by the editor himself. ‘Grudge Pipes’ is a weirdly heart-warming story of a grandfather bonding with his grandson over a shared hobby. What that hobby turns out to be isn’t something I’ll spoil here, but it is memorable, disgusting and hilarious. A special shout-out must also go to Donnie Goodman, whose story ‘Influencers’ genuinely made me nauseous. 

Extreme horror fans not familiar with The Evil Cookie Publishing’s line of anthologies are missing out. Three books in and they never fail to deliver pure guilty entertainment on every page. If you’ve read K. Trap Jone’s anthologies before, you’re in safe hands with ‘Gorefest’, which is every bit as good as you’d expect it to be. If this is your first time, and you have a strong stomach, then you’re in for a treat.

Richard Martin

Richard Martin

Reviewer

Richard Martin started reading horror books at a young age, starting with R L Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Point Horror’ series. He traumatized himself at the age of twelve when he read Stephen King’s ‘IT’, and never looked back. He is currently based in the UK, where he lives with his partner and an inappropriate amount of books. 

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