Cemetery Dance Publications
October, 2012; $19.99
John Skipp is a somewhat legendary figure in the horror fiction genre. Part of the writing duo of Skipp and Spector (Craig Spector, that is, for the latter) back in the mid-eighties to mid-nineties, John helped define a movement called “Splatterpunk” (which fellow “punk” David J. Schow coined) – an extreme, visceral form of fiction that pushed the boundaries and didn’t shy away from showing the gushy stuff. John and Craig were (along with their buddy Schow) leather-bound, metal-head looking guys who looked more like Rock Stars than writers. (The elbow patches were certainly nowhere to be found on these chaps). After John and Craig parted ways, John seemed to disappear for a while. Eventually he resurfaced with a couple of his stronger writing efforts, Conscience and The Emerald Burrito of Oz – a crazy, bizarro take on the classic kids series co-written by Marc Levinthal (and recently seeing the light of day again with Eraserhead Press). John also took on another writing partner for some of his recent horror and apocalyptic novel efforts, the wonderfully weird and creative Cody Goodfellow. And on the film side, John wrote for the movies (novelizations of Fright Night and scripts for Nightmare on Elm Street part 4 amongst others) and directed a couple as well (including a porno musical). So he knows a thing or two about scripts and movies.
Cody himself is present here with an interview with John both leading off the proceedings as well as surrounding the three scripts contained in Sick Chick Flicks. This gives some insights into the stories and also provides a nice post follow-up.
The first is “Afterparty”, a modern ghost story set in one of Hollywood’s typical celebrity-style bohemian parties. This reminded me a little bit of William F. Nolan’s classic story, “The Party” – especially in the scenes about midway through. The lead character is Marcia, and she is the first of three strong female characters in this book. Don’t be fooled that this one is a quiet horror tale though. John definitely doesn’t shy away from the sex & violence here.
The second script is “The Legend of Honey Love” and I dare you not to fall in love with the title ingénue. Honey is a tough, beautiful woman who is intelligent and quick-witted. When she saves herself and a couple friends from a psycho, she unwittingly becomes a star and also becomes the target of just about every other crazy out there. This reminded me of Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers except with a much more likable lead (and a good one rather than an anti-hero). It has some of that feel and vibe though and is a biting commentary and how society creates celebrities out of tragedy oftentimes.
The last tale is “Rose”, which is now being made into a movie as I write this I believe (John has spent a while now heading up a successful kickstarter project to helm this one himself). Rose is a smart, kind of crazy young woman who with the help of her puppets broadcasts her own public access TV show during a zombie apocalypse. This is an amusing story with a lot of heart and a bit of an homage to the Muppets as well. Having seen the trailer and followed the project, I was interested to read the script. I’m happy to say I enjoyed it a lot and look forward to the movie. It should be a lot of fun!
I think John created three cool, strong women and really got into their heads. Some folks aren’t the biggest fans of scripts, but I found these ones fast-paced and easy to follow. John is very good at characterization and I think these could easily make good prose stories as well as good scripts and movies.
– Reviewed by Trever Nordgren