My brain is heading into horror. Halloween is around the corner and it's the holiday for me. That means horror books and movies. So, get ready for that True Believers! Horror paperback collecting is a true minefield of high costs and hard-to-find titles. You can still squeak out a lot of deals on Men's Adventure, but book sellers all seem to think everything is a "Paperback from Hell" and price accordingly. And, hell, I end up paying them.
"Slimer" by Harry Adam Knight or actually John Brosnan and Roy Kettle is one of those expensive ones. It also had a good reputation past having a bitchin' cover, supposedly the book actually delivered. I was intrigued. Now, "Slimer" has been republished and is quite easy to pick up in trade-paperback or as an eBook. But that just wouldn't do for a paperback weirdo for me. With a little patience I tracked down a "reasonably priced" Star books copy from England. In hindsight, I'm very glad I did. There's something intangible to reading a slightly batted mass-market sized book, especially in the sleazy action or horror variety. It's like seeing "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" at the drive-in, it's in its natural environment.
So, "Slimer" is not about the Ghostbusters pet ghost. A triple-set of couples are stranded on a lifeboat in the ocean after a problem with attempted drug smuggling plan. They end up on a deserted oil rig...that doesn't pump oil but is actually a genetic research facility trying to come up with a cure for radiation poisoning. But since this is a horror novel, they've obviously made a MONSTER. Brosnan and Kettle DELVIERED, man. This was a rollicking horror tale that rarely gets done these days. Horror writers/filmmakers in the striving to "legitimize" the genre often forget that horror is supposed to be FUN. Screaming in terror is the flip side to uproarious laughter, after all.
The characters are stock-jobs. There's an evil guy, a leader guy, a weak guy and then their girlfriends who are all sort of interchangeable. This being an 80s horror paperback the women have it rough. Once they all get to the oil rig, the story unravels like a lot of awesome movies mashed together and dripping with slime. There's "Alien" in there. "The Thing" is mixed in, plus some "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "The Blob" for good measure. And some Shark action. BOOM, all that means flame-thrower and M-16 action, gnarly kills, goo, shaky science, drugs and desperate plays.
It all really shouldn't work, but the authors roll it all together and comes out like a tasty horror-burrito. It's a perfect horror B-Movie on the page and that's not an easy thing to pull off. I'm very happy that I have another "Knight" book "The Fungus" to tackle before too long. If you go in expecting "The Stand" or "It" you might be disappointed, but just roll with the punches and have a good time with brain half-way off and I imagine any horror-hound would enjoy "Slimer."