The Year's Best Hardcore Horror Vol 1 - Edited By Randy Chandler & Cheryl Mullenax 3 out of of stars


      When it comes to hardcore horror or splatterpunk there are two distinct types. The first goes straight for the gross out without any thought to plot, and the second layers the gore into the story sort of like a literary cake. A lot of anthologies like this either lean too far to one side and favor the gore while sacrificing the plot which tends to alienate readers. Hardcore isn't just another anthology it's boastful and wants to be different. It wants people to feel comfortable in the fact that it's the best of the best. There may be anthologies like it, but this one far different. It's a valiant effort and for the most part it just falls a little short in places. A lot of anthologies sometimes do. It's not because of the writers and more the editors trying to fit in different styles that cater to a wider audience of readers.

      To be fair there is a lot to like about The Year's Best Hardcore horror. There are some really talented writers here that really are the best. Not just the best of the year, but of all time. They bring something interesting to the table and as shocking or as different as they may be they really elevate the boasts of the anthology. Monica J O'Rourke is one such writer. that takes the feeling of loss, and helplessness and puts one hell of a spin on it. It's a shocking story not because of the gore but the twist at the end. This is what I look for in my splatterpunk. I want the gore, I want the violence, but I also want a great story and Exposed truly delivers. You also have guys like Robert Essig And Jack Bantry, Scott Emerson, Jeff Strand, David James Keaton, and Lilith Morgan that truly keep this anthology from falling apart. It's not that any of the stories were bad, they just weren't my style.

      If you're a fan of horror and looking for something extreme this is a decent collection to check out. There are quite a few gems here that make it a good solid read and shows that splatterpunk is still going strong. It makes a bold claim but only sort of delivers. It happens in books like these. When Volume 2 rolls out I'll definitely check it out because it's great exposure for writers waiting to be discovered and for those that are just on the brink of breaking out. The Year's Best Hardcore Horror comes close being perfect but it just falls a little flat in places.