An anthology of Clown Horror
Edited by Alex S. Johnson and John Ledger
J. Ellington Ashton Press
Frightened of clowns? You should be. When you read this dark collection of tales, you may just be. Eye will never look at clowns in any other way after reading this! To get the carnival underway, the book already scored a 5 star rating with me just by reading the introduction by Magan “Lovey” Rodriguez, herself, a professional clown. Giving a brief but detailed history of the clown and its origins, she succeeds in instilling the coulrophobia that lurks somewhere within most of us…
Then it begins. One of only two poetry inclusions starts the festivities. Every Nine and Twenty by Mary Genevieve Fortier brings the carnival to town with morbid style. A rolling, rhyming danse macabre, that flows along wildly like a possessed carousel. As the fleeting, dizzying ride comes to a halt, you step off into the nightmare world of Jonas and his alter ego, Jonolo. Written by Thomas M. Malafarina, you enter the psychotic mind of a killer clown as he goes about his business. The battle for dominance between the two personalities is played out in this story, as the more rational of the two… the clown, keeps loose cannon Jonas in line, but in who’s mind is that line drawn?
The insanity is only just rolling out and the nightmare continues. Nightmare Clowns by Jeff O’Brien tells the story of a man driven to the extreme when he is being followed and tormented by clowns everywhere he goes. With a surprising and disturbing twist at the end, we are now taking a plunge into darker shadows.
The Church of the Divine Greasepaint by Michael Fisher is a tent you don’t want to stumble into. Things have just gotten bizarre, and by this point, the carnival of darkness is beginning to take hold. A man is approached by a fellow in the street who wants to talk to him about ‘Jebus’. The man humours him but hurries off after taking a pamphlet. After an incident in his home, he awakens inside the horrific Church of the Divine Greasepaint, to find they plan to make him one of them. The description of his transformation is nothing short of divine(ly) demented.
The tales of coulrophobic mayhem continue to get crazier and more unhinged as the anthology continues. Eye could write a novel about how much eye loved this ride, and it’s beginning to look that way. At this point eye couldn’t get the warbled tunes of the calliope out of my head. This really had pulled me in! Not to take away from any of the other author contributors to this demented anthology, let’s just say, every story and poem in this book leaves a bitter cotton candy taste in your mouth, and will make you think twice next time the circus comes to town.
As space permits, eye must skip to the end to the final two tents in this dark carnival. Jim Goforth delivers an imaginative and as always, colourfully descriptive, clown take on a werewolf style myth. Under A Clown Moon tells the story of the town of Laraman and its residents transforming into hideous psychotic clowns under the mysterious and rare Clown Moon. Given with his usual brutal punch, Jim takes you on a whirlwind carny ride, with plenty of sex, violence and gore. This brings us to the end. The Apocalypse.
The Clownpocalypse. A post clownpocalyptic vision by Roger Cowin. Steeped in occult over and undertones, the adventures of Solomon and Ari is as fun as it is terrifying. Eye really hope Roger writes some kind of a follow up. Masterfully written, it is the perfect ending to the wicked carnival tour.
So there you have it. My sincere apologies to the authors whose stories aren’t in this review. Rest assured, anyone who reads Floppy Shoes Apocalypse will agree with me. Every story and both poems, are killer!
Review by Toneye Eyenot