Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Book Review: Rock And Roll Reform School Zombies (Deadite Press, 2010) by Bryan Smith, 118 pages.

Alan M. Clark deserves a word here as his cover art is extraordinary. Just from the cover illustration alone of a young and busty guitar playing rock and roll zombie; the reader gets a glimpse of the wild ride about to be taken.

The story itself is simple and essentially an amalgamation of 1950s to 1980s style horror and titillation clichés: rock and roll, wayward girls, wayward school girls in school uniforms, hookers, not too bright boyfriends, evil adults, flesh eating zombies, guns, knives and the meteorite big bang that starts it all. Don’t you dare blink as the action and dialogue moves fast and faster against the framework of a classic B-movie premise: imagine “High School Confidential” meshed with “Night of the Living Dead”, with ample doses of raw sex and gore thrown into the mix.

The plot is rooted in the Southern Illinois Music Re-Education Center; a school founded by the forces of the Right to de-metal adolescents and turn them into young Republicans. Here, run by the sadistic and a-moral Sybil Huffington, this is the epicenter of Hell for all the young girls entrusted in her care.

Enter comely Melissa Campbell who, after enduring enough earthly terror at the loins of the staff, plans her escape aided by her boyfriend Wayne and his sidekick Steve. But there is no simple escape for this threesome, as they run headlong into waves of unearthly undead terrors they could never have previously imagined.

This is an entertaining, if predictable, read, that very successfully combines camp with horror. The action is tight; descriptions clean and vivid. The prose rocks throughout: echoing the chapter titles that also double as famous and even infamous song titles. Bryan Smith is certainly talented in bringing forth all the Rock and Roll imagery drenched in spilled bodily fluids without ever slipping on them.

While I am personally disappointed with the ending – it wraps up too quickly and neatly for my tastes, Rock and Roll Reform School Zombies is still a fun, quick, weekend read.

Buy it here.


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