Book Review: Voices of the Damned by Barbie Wilde

“Incredible storytelling garnished with some stunning artwork make Barbie Wilde’s Voices of the Damned one story collection you don’t want to miss.”

VotD-FRONT-CVR-e1443433059535It’s probably best to get this out of the way first…this collection will tear your soul apart.

For the uninitiated, Barbie Wilde (The Venus Complex) is a name all fans of horror should know. Especially fans of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser films, specifically Hellraiser II: Hellbound. Playing the role of Female Cenobite, Barbie joined the ranks of Pinhead, Chatterer, and Butterball as one of the most recognizable faces in horror. For many, discovering that Barbie also writes horror fiction might feel like some kind of added bonus.

She’s a cenobite, AND she writes horror too.

Oh yes, she writes, and she has such sights to show you.

All puns aside, Barbie Wilde’s short fiction will soon be up for display in a stunning collection called Voices of the Damned. Featuring eleven stories, three of which tell the tale of Sister Cilice, a female cenobite navigating the corridors of Hell, and all of them showcasing Wilde’s flair for erotic-tinged horror. The unconnected tales are equally erotic, disturbing, and gruesomely descriptive, drawing deep notes of unbridled bloodlust with healthy doses of dark humour.

The collection kicks off with ‘Sister Cilice’, an origin tale of the female cenobite. From there, we head into Zulu Zombiessomewhat familiar territory with ‘Zulu Zombies’, which is probably one the most erotic zombie tales ever conceived, and sets the mood for the rest of the collection quite nicely. ‘American Mutant’ is a tele-evangelical nightmare, taking faith healing to a completely new level, while ‘The Alpdrücke’ features a tennis-loving demon with an insatiable lust. ‘Valeska’ is a vampire too busy to worry about the war that’s been building up, so she takes matters into her own hands in a bloody, spectacular fashion, determined to make her own choices. We return to ‘The Cilicium Pandoric’, where we find our newly christened cenobite Cilice consulting a certain toymaker about puzzle boxes, then we turn the pages to ‘Gaia’, a gruesome tale about a home invasion gone really wrong. ‘Polyp’ is one of the bloodiest tales of the bunch, and will sit on your mind for days and turn your trips to the restroom into a living nightmare. ‘Botophobia’, the fear of cellars, shows why you should never go into the cellar, and proves to be one very claustrophobic, mind-bending story of paranoia. In ‘Writer’s Block’, a jaded writer encounters his ‘biggest fan’, making Paul Sheldon’s adventures in Stephen King’s Misery seem like child’s play. Finally, the collection closes with ‘The Cilicium Rebellion’, bringing our blood-crazed cenobite’s tale to an unpredictable yet satisfying conclusion.

American MutantThough her connections to Clive Barker make it very easy to say she’s following in the master’s footsteps, after reading this collection you will come to realize that Barbie Wilde is definitely not a chip off the old block. While maintaining an old-school horror sensibility, she deftly grasps the genre with her strong authoritative voice and vibrant characters, presenting us with fresh perspectives of familiar territories that transcend her influences into a style all her own. With each story, she creates a personal mythology for the characters, blending history and style with careful details and flourishes, setting her hooks deep so that when the chains begin to tug, you must keep reading. These are characters you won’t soon forget, and when you read what horrors she has in store for them, those memories will be cemented in your mind forever.

With a foreword by Chris Alexander, former editor-in-chief of Fangoria, and an afterword by the Soska Sisters, these eleven tales are evenly punctuated by fantastic artwork by some of the best in the business: Clive Barker, Nick Percival, Vincent Sammy, Ben Baldwin, Daniele Serra, Eric Goss, Steve McGinnis and Tara Bush. Due to the beautiful nature of this book, it is not a collection for any kind of dedicated e-reader…you will want this one in print. Incredible storytelling garnished with some stunning artwork make Barbie Wilde’s Voices of the Damned one story collection you don’t want to miss.

No more teasing…it’s time to play.


Publisher: SST Publications
Release Date: 31 October 2015

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