Gutts Curzon's Reviews > Guillozine

Guillozine by K.M. Claude
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really liked it

I read the digital copy first, but I’m ordering a physical version as soon as I can because Guillozine is the kind of zine that deserves to be held and poured over. It’s well designed, the layout is pleasing, and the colour choices for the cover add a depth of motion while drawing the eye. The cover art has so many little details I’m still noticing new things I like about it. The font is easy to read and spaced well. It’s clear that a lot of thought went into the creation of the zine itself as well as the content.

K.M. Claude’s best works are a potent mix of dreamy surrealism, gore, and sacrilege, and the illustrations he’s done in Guillozine are an excellent example. The first piece inside, Γολγοθᾶ, conjures pain immediately but lust is fast on its heels, and the expression of the figure reminds me more of a shark than a human being- there is something alien and cold about the wet inky stare the reader is fixed with. Bāsium Vīrōsum, two disembodied heads trailing blood and spit between them, was so visceral and yet I still wanted to coo over them (which I did), and touch them (which I obviously could not). Each drawing carries on this tight-rope walk between attraction and repulsion that Claude refines more and more each time he puts out new content.

The artwork done by R.E. Hellinger has an intense emotional weight and I found myself staring into the eyes of the knife-wielding, strange creature in Absolution for quite some time. Their other piece, a skull with what looks like lavender shoots, is a beautifully simple design that resonated with some things that live deep down in my chest. I’m excited to see where they go from here as an artist, and I hope to see more of their art in future Two Dead Queers publications.

Hellinger’s prose is gripping. It’s horror that shares veins with Guillermo del Toro’s body of work, with folktales that warn against stepping off the trail or looking in the forbidden room. I have less familiarity with their compositions than Claude’s but what I saw here shows a formidable sense of pacing, tension, and impact- the last lines not only neatly tie up each story but serve to intensify the horror.

A Brief Education in Violence, while brief indeed, is powerful in both it’s concept and execution. I loved the style the speech of the protagonist was written in; it immediately them gave a distinct voice and cadence, which can be difficult to portray in such a short amount of space. The priest was similarly well characterized right from his introduction and so was his skeevy relationship to the protagonist.

Carnal Bodies is nothing short of wicked. By the second page, I was on the edge of my seat and completely wrapped up in the web Hellinger was weaving. The writing is so vivid I was able to see the estate, the blackberry brambles, the horrible cellar, clearly in my mind- the scene in the bathtub sent chills up my spine. Heath and Hawthorne’s taboo dynamic is delicious, and while we didn’t get much in the way of characterization for Hawthorne, Heath is a wonderfully slimy prat.

A review is not complete without considering the things you disliked as well as the things you do, but I have very little to say in the way of things I wasn’t as pleased with. My only critique of Guillozine is perhaps based in greed- I wanted more of Heath and Hawthorne’s world, more information about the fungus, more about what exactly was in the cellar, more about Hawthorne’s special abilities, etc. Claude and Hellinger invited me to a dinner party with Guillozine and I got a series of amuse-bouche dishes that, while delectable, didn’t quite satisfy my hunger. That being said, the story may very well be better in this bite-sized state than my wanting for a larger portion. Either way, the next time Two Dead Queers invites me to their table, I’ll be turning up eagerly with my appetite and a good Merlot.

In closing, if a nightmare and a wet dream had a morbid lovechild, it would be this zine. It made me say ‘oh no’ out loud, it was lurid and eerie and darkly whimsical. It’s disgusting, and I say that with nothing but love. If you’re a squeamish sort you may want to quit while you’re ahead, but for those who delight in the macabre, read Guillozine- the executioner’s blade has never been more enticing.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
June 8, 2018 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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message 1: by K.M. (new)

K.M. Claude I know I'd mentioned on tumblr but ever since I even saw it on, I wanted and still want to say thank you for your thorough and delightful review! Sincerely -- it delighted both R. E. and I beyond belief (I know they were tickled by the dinner party comparison.)

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