“Sorry babe, Underage Vomit Porn are playing at Starbutts tonight.”
“Oh, the are so cool!” said lame friend. “I downloaded Prolapsed Uteral Asphyxiation!”
Oh, the slashers of the 80s. What a wonderful time to have been alive…and not running from some crazed maniac. I cut my teeth on Jason’s machete and Cropsy’s hedge cutter. As a man going on half a decade wandering this planet, I tend to crave those comforts of my youth. When I saw that honorary Final Guy Stephen Barnard had published a novella, I knew I had to get off my keister and grab a copy. When I realized it was an ode to the slashers of my youth, I leapt from my lounger and did some quick Kindling.
To my delight, I quickly realized this was no ordinary slasher, kids-in-peril-in-the-woods tale. You see, a horror sub-genre I truly enjoy is bizarro fiction. The grand poobag of bizarro is Carlton Mellick III, with titles like Apeshit, The Menstruating Mall and The Morbidly Obese Ninja. These are way out there books that challenge convention and put a devilish smile on my face. I decided to open this review with the quote at the start to establish what we’re stepping into – hysterical wordplay and outlandish characters and situations. And since I once tried to start a band called Painful Rectal Itch, I instantly knew that Barnard and I were long lost brothers, our leaves falling from the same demented tree.
So, what is Meathead? Better yet, who is Meathead. Our titular character is a hulking mass of a man living in a barn in the woods on the outskirts of society. Oh, and he has no meat on his head, kinda like The Red Skull, Captain America’s arch enemy. Meathead is a terrific new, er, face, in the pantheon of slashers. He’s hideous and menacing and just a wee bit crazy. What sets this slasher monster apart from the others is the fact that he has an accomplice, a dwarf brother named Harold who wears the pants in the wacko family. It seems the two have been making so many hikers and campers disappear that the legend of the mysterious Meathead has become a kind of a big thing. Meathead is as elusive and intriguing as Bigfoot (and I loved how he was tied into the world of cryptids). People talk about him like the Boogeyman of the forest. Others seek him out, hoping for some evidence beyond a grainy photo that he exists.
The ball really gets rolling when a group of dumb schmucks take a vacation to the family cabin in the woods. We all know that they are bags of meat, hanging on the precipice of the grinder. And a few of them are true assholes, the very people we’d like to see turned into ground chuck. I’m not going to vomit out the blow by blows of the book because that would rob you of the experience. Let’s just say that if you miss Jason Voorhees, you’ll get a sick thrill out of your visit with Meathead. Once the story starts, it never lets up on the gas. Some real laughs are peppered throughout, making for a fun rollercoaster ride through Barnard’s imagination.
My advice? Get your eyeballs on Meathead. Hell, it’s only a buck. Most things at the dollar store suck. Meathead ain’t no dollar store book.
Hunter Shea is the product of a misspent childhood watching scary movies, reading forbidden books and wishing Bigfoot would walk past his house. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. Hunter’s novels can even be found on display at the International Cryptozoology Museum. His video podcast, Monster Men, is one of the most watched horror podcasts in the world. He’s a bestselling author of over 13 (lucky number!) books, all of them written with the express desire to quicken heartbeats and make spines tingle. Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to gobble down Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits.