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“VOICES OF THE DAMNED” (Book Review)

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Where to begin? Barbie Wilde has had a… well, pretty wild life. She’s danced professionally at clubs around the world, supported artists like Gary Numan, Ultravox, Depeche Mode, and Adam and the Ants with her group Shock, and has acted in films such as DEATH WISH 3 and played the lone “Female Cenobite” in Clive Barker’s classic, HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II. You may not know that she was wrote and presented several music and film review TV shows in the ‘80s and ‘90s, interviewing Iggy Pop, The Sisters of Mercy, The B-52s and Johnny Rotten, as well as actors Nicolas Cage and Hugh Grant.

Along the way, Wilde got an itch for the writing life; her debut novel, THE VENUS COMPLEX, featured an art professor/serial killer who reviewers have compared to Hannibal Lecter. But before writing that novel, she contributed stories to 14 horror or crime anthologies and publications, and now, these stories are gathered into one visceral, smoldering, badass collection in VOICES OF THE DAMNED.

Raised from the dead, this phantasmagoria of tales offers well-written mini-nightmares that will traumatize, titillate, and stick in your mind long after you’ve closed the book. The “Cilice” trilogy — “Sister Cilice,” “The Cilicium Pandoric,” and “The Cilicium Rebellion” — imagine the beginnings and further adventures of Wilde’s “Female Cenobite” character. She’s given a name, her own agency, and like Julia in the first two HELLRAISER films, has a vicious streak feed by suffering, pleasure, and power. In fact, Barbie Wilde’s imagination rivals Clive Barker himself.

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“Zulu Zombies” brings the great old Amicus and Hammer anthology films to mind, albeit in a darkly sexual vein; “Valeska” offers warring vampire clans that live among humans and like the “Cilice” trilogy, features a female character so incredibly empowered that she seeks to overthrow the all-powerful male creator; “Gaia” is insane and tells the tale of a woman made so by the world, but who’s also murderously resourceful; “American Mutant” delves into evangelicals and their spirited hold on the South with a few equally vile twists; “Polyp” could have been the strangely hilarious story from which BAD MILO was adopted; “The Alpdrücke” and its tennis-loving demon is both creepy and funny as hell; “Botophobia” recalls the atomic, sci-fi films of the ‘50s in a ghastly bent; and finally, “Writer’s Block” has a Faustian bargain for a has-been author.

Wilde’s tales are brought to life by full-color illustrations from some of the most sickly talented award-winning artists alive. The book cover features infernally regal art by none other than Clive Barker; additional art by Barker, Nick Percival, Steve McGinnis, Eric Gross, Daniele Serra, Tara Bush, Vincent Sammy, and Ben Baldwin lay within the pages of Voices. Additionally, FANGORIA’s own Chris Alexander wrote the foreword to VOICES, and AMERICAN MARY directors Jen & Sylvia Soska wrote the afterword. Highly recommended.

While the book won’t be available until October 31 (fitting), you can pre-order this 224-page hardcover tome direct from the publisher here. The first 100 trade hardcover copies sold direct from SST Publication will be SIGNED by Barbie Wilde and by three of collection’s contributing artists: Nick Percival, Tara Bush, and Ben Baldwin.

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About the author
Michele "Izzy" Galgana
Michele “Izzy” Galgana is a freelance writer (Rue Morgue Magazine, Diabolique) and film festival programmer living in Boston, MA. She was seduced by the velvety voice of Vincent Price during her toddler years and has been addicted to horror films ever since. She was also the Marketing Director for the Viscera Organization and has curated films for the Boston Underground Film Festival, Boston Science Fiction Film Festival, and All Things Horror Online screening nights.
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