BOOK REVIEW: POP THE CLUTCH edited by Eric J. Guignard

Review copy provided courtesy of the editor.

Hot rods! Monsters! Greasers! This anthology features a collection of rockabilly horror inspired by the 50’s.

I’ve had my eye on this anthology for what feels like forever. A horror anthology inspired by the 1950’s with it’s hot rods and classic monster movies? Sounds like a slam dunk right? Well, unfortunately many of the stories didn’t connect with me (timing/mood likely caused a bit of hindrance) but the stories that did stick with me, stuck hard.

Universal Monster by Duane Swierczynski an employee of a Hollywood studio is tasked with taking a new, unreleased horror film to be secretly buried in the middle of the desert so it may never be seen. The hardboiled main character gave the story a little hint of noir, while the monster gave me something a little Lovecraftian, and I enjoyed all the vibes this one had to offer.

And then Jeff Strand provides a much needed bizarro element with Lab Experiment Turf War, which is exactly what the title implies. West Side Story got really ducking weird, and I adored it!

While as a whole the anthology really didn't do it for me, it'seems not bad by any means, in fact, I think most fans of darkish fiction would have a blast reading it. I think I was just hoping for something a bit more subversive and transgressive. I mean, the 50'same have always been painted as America's Golden Age, when everything was hunky dory and wholesome (even though it was nothing of the sort) and I wish more stories had dived fully into the hidden darkness, rather than dip a toe at the edge of the shadow.

Of course, that's the personal preference of one individual reader, so ultimately, if rockabilly inspired horror sounds at all like a good time to you, definitely check it out!