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August 4, 2013

Book Review: All You Can Eat (Deadite Press)

Cannibalism is the new undead.

Bear with me, here. Since reanimated corpses are, in all honesty, a new species, a bunch of zombies munching down on hapless humans isn’t really cannibalism at all. They’ve changed and, therefore, are not eating their own species, right? That’s the argument I’m working with here. Make no mistake about it, Shane McKenzie’s All You Can Eat has nothing to do with zombies, but everything to do with morbidly obese cannibals and, if you know me, then you know I have a well-marbled soft spot for morbidly obese cannibals. All I’m saying that a few books into his fledgling hardcore horror authorship and McKenzie has helped to kick start a new phase in the anthropophagus sub-genre. All You Can Eat is a rollicking ride from one side of a Chinese buffet to the other and we get to sample it all.

Buy All You Can Eat HERE.

 All You Can Eat, from Deadite Press (a preeminent independent publisher of extreme horror, and an imprint of Eraserhead Press), is a novella. The author, Shane McKenzie, has burst on the scene, literally (evidenced by all the distended stomachs and breached intestinal walls in this story). In a few short volumes he has positioned himself to be in that glorious pantheon of extreme horror scribes like Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee and Rex Miller, part of the New Splatterpunk, for lack of a better term.

The story itself follows a few well-worn paths, but it is the sum total of the parts that is truly disgusting. The story, briefly, crab rangoon-style, is as follows: A Chinese buffet has used a special, ancient recipe that causes the restaurant’s patrons to go on an incredible eating binge. The hefty hogs crave the Mu Shu Pork, sesame chicken, General Tso’s ball sacks, etc. When they cannot get their new addiction they, of course, resort to cannibalism. On the scene, trying to wade their way through the grue are Juan, an illegal Mexican bus boy at the restaurant, and Lola, a psychologically fractured cop whose own obese father would perform ungodly acts on her person while munching away on greasy, heart-attack-inducing foods. Mix, stir, repeat.

That is the beauty of McKenzie’s work, though. Each of these elements, on its own, isn’t enough to carry a piece of short fiction, but combining them allows him to take this one note joke and work it into a, pun-intended, pot boiler.

Best of all, McKenzie is a wordsmith. It takes a deft hand to be able to pull off viscerally-told tales like this without seeming redundant and he zips us through All You Can Eat at a breakneck pace. I am looking forward to the next volume and works coming out of McKenzie’s own Sinister Grin Press (with extreme luminaries like Wrath James Wright and Ray Garton providing work, that should be no problem).

Visit Deadite Press HERE.

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