Ten ways to review Off Season, a book about cannibals!!
1. Let's go to the movies with Jack Ketchum
Some Like them Hot
Stir the Right One In
The Incr Edibles
Bringing Up Baby
The Best Ears of Our Lives
The Green Bile
No Recipe for Old Men
(this could go on)
2. Off Season, the Musical
He Will Tear us Apart (sung by Laura)
Everybody Spurts (sung by the chief cannibal)
Stir it Up (sung by his female companion)
Oops! I Did it Again! (sung by the chief cannibal)
All I have to Eat is Spleen (an old Everly Brothers song, sung by the grumpy cannibal teenager)
This Arm Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us (sung by the grumpy cannibal children)
3. The Really Rough Guide to Maine
Off Season is The Rough Guide to Maine as written by Jeffrey Dahmer. It's a wild and gruesome envelope pushing ride, indeed, the envelope is pushed so far you can no longer see it, it's just a dim memory, er, was that thing an envelope? I can't remember, maybe there was an envelope once, but not any more (etc etc)
4. At the tutorial
I see by the amount of green in your faces that only some of you have made the time to read Off Season. This is of course the unexpurgated edition of a novel which has been heralded as er er er..a founding text of splatterpunk. So how, we may ask, hmm, does it stand up, post-Saw, post-Hostel, and post, indeed indeed, hmm hmm, yes, splatterpunk itself? (etc etc)
5. i don't know anymore
Think of Off Season as something Dr Hannibal Lecter would have woke up screaming from. Mainely because of the pedestrian writing, the dubious psychology, the atrocities-by-rote, and the desperate lack of any decent chianti.
6. Ah those fanboys
Strictly for gorehounds and unless they're as degenerate as the kutthroat krew of krazed kannibals with which we which who how, then their cup will be running over with human brains, ha ha ha! (Etc etc)
[sorry about that. I think I was drunk when I wrote that. i don't know what it means.]
7. on and on and on
Off Season is the 1980s version of the Sawney Bean legend or to put it another way a rewrite of The Hills Have Eyes (1977). You know the score, every other horror movie has the same plot. But this is not the right stick to beat them with. If you take blues or doo wop music, the same rigid structures are in place for every blues or doo wop song. A tiny variation here, a nuance there. This is genre, and the appreciation of genre lies in your relish of the variations and the nuances of the same thing endlessly cycling round. (Etc etc)
8. nearly over now
Off Season presents us with the very unlikely idea of a tribe of degenerate cannibals living undetected in the USA of the 1980s. Okay, they're descended from people who'd been trapped on an island, but anthropologically speaking this novel is all over the place, it has no theoretical underpinnings, Ketchum is clearly making it up as he goes along. He clearly knows nothing about clan structure and language patterns. The tribe is still in the hunter-gatherer stage and yet they have a fully formed English grammar. What Margaret Mead or Levi-Strauss would have made of Ketchum's cannibals one shudders to think. (Etc etc)
9. the personal note
I wonder why I read the occasional horror book & watch the occasional horror movie – what is it about these sadistic fantasies that draws me in – why only the other day I laid aside my copy of Edna O'Brien's delicate coming-of-age novel about two 14 years olds in rural Ireland in the 1950s to watch Shuttle, the critically reviled horror flick from 2008 (mumble mumble etc etc)
10. How very ironic!
Of course you could review this penny dreadful horror novel in a lightly humorous ten-different-ways-to-review-the-unreviewable way and then in the last section you could satirise your own desire to write wacky reviews, which would be the perfect way to end, don't you think?
Chief cannibal : Not if I've got anything to do with it, mate! (Speaking bizarrely in perfect English even though in every other way he epitomises human degeneracy and extreme lack of manners).
Sound effect : Crunch! Munch!
P Bryant: Aaarh! arrgh! How can I write reviews without any fingers??
Chief cannibal (speaking with his mouth full, as usual) : You could dictate.