Hinnom maissue 002, p.17
Hinnom Magazine Issue 002, page 17
Riders pinned down her arms and legs. Bad Bob crooked a massive arm around her head and pinned her jaws shut. Pothunter took out his Bowie knife with the sixteen-inch blade. He slit the woman's shirt open, bared her soft, unmuscled gut. Tiny's eyes went wide with joy. He loved nothing better than a gangbang.
Pothunter raised the knife high over his head. The woman's eyes went wide with fear. She tried to break free, but half a dozen bikers held her down hard.
"Now you're going to pay for your fucking disrespect, cunt."
"No, Prez, no," Tiny bellowed. "Not in front of witnesses."
Pothunter's knife stabbed down, deep into the woman's stomach, just below the sternum.
The scream that poured through her clenched teeth deafened everyone in the clubhouse, a horrible, mortal wail of pain. Pothunter nonetheless dug the cruel blade in deeper, wrenched her stomach open into a gaping wound.
"We're gonna worship the idol the real way, the Aztec way."
Deep into shock, her eyes rolled back into her head. Her body thrashed uncontrollably. Beer gutted bikers could barely hold her down. Pothunter jammed his right hand into the open wound. He fished around for a moment, grunted with satisfaction when he found what he wanted, and with one, awful, tearing wrench, yanked her heart loose from its main strings.
The screams ended. The woman lay still, quite dead. Covered with gore, Pothunter stood tall and proud. In his bloodstained hand, to the Riders' awe and terror, a still beating heart. Black blood oozed from ventricles.
"This is just like the Aztec priests did it, brothers. Good enough for them, good enough for us. This is going to change our luck forever."
He took the heart and held it high before the idol.
"Accept our sacrifice."
Pothunter smeared the idol with the heart. Blood stained the idol's face. Pothunter smiled widely, drunkenly, well pleased with his handiwork.
There was an awful thunderclap, a crash of doom like the last trump. The lights went out.
"What the fuck happened?"
A grotesque figure appeared before them. A skeletal corpse cladded in another man’s flayed hide crouched before them, the idol brought to life. Internal organs dangled from his open chest cavity, lungs, liver, and beating heart. The god’s unsmiling mouth protruded slightly from the splayed lips of the expertly-skinned face that covered his own. Vertical stripes ran down the mask. The flayed man’s hands hung loose by his wrists. Long tassels hung down his back from his elaborate, green-feathered headdress. Beneath the flayed garments, yellow skin was painted red. Blood and pus seeped to the floor from the abscesses and open sores that covered his body. The smell of rotting flesh was unbearable. Blue flames burned in the flayed mask’s eyeholes, the only light in the otherwise black clubhouse.
Pothunter smiled broadly. He pointed to the bizarre apparition and gestured widely to his brothers.
"Do you see this shit? It fucking works. Everybody get down on your knees and bow."
Addled with drugs and adrenaline, caught up in the moment, the Riders automatically did as their Prez bid. They got down on their knees and bowed low to their mascot made flesh. Pothunter even made so bold as to approach the idol and present the heart to the idol, thick blood caked on his hand.
The apparition's face split wide in a soundless roar. So did the flayed skin of the victim’s face. The skin ripped into pieces to reveal the wearer’s broad-nosed, cat-mouthed face, only to have that split wide as well. With a great gush of blood and splintered bone, the face destroyed itself to show a new one. The tiny, fine-haired head of a squalling infant screamed for his mother’s dug only to also split wide with a violent wrench of flesh and bone to show a handsome, young man, red face smooth and unlined. The handsome face seamed down the middle and ripped in twain. There in its place stood the withered, drooling countenance of an incredibly old man, only to have the hoary face crack in turn to show the grinning skull that lurks under every human face.
Bits of bloody flesh and fragments of shattered bone spattered Pothunter's face. Slack-jawed with fear, eyes fixed on the exploding head despite the endless spray of gore, Pothunter managed to scream at last, a long and low, pitiful wail like a small animal about to die.
The idol stuck his long nails like daggers into Pothunter, ripped him to literal shreds before the other Riders like an angry child with a newspaper.
"Shit. Run for it."
Riders ran for the door, but it was padlocked shut and the lock wouldn't turn. A few men had enough nerve to pull their pieces and fire at the monster. Bullets riddled the walking corpse, but it just kept on coming, a trail of gore and lymph behind it. Grim face indifferent to their misery behind his flayed mask, he inflicted the same fate on each man, tore them into bloody gobbets of meat, rent them asunder limb from limb. Brave men who'd sworn never to crumble or bend the knee, each begged for mercy in his turn, called out for his mother, only to be tortured to death, maimed and savaged until he died with a last, despairing cry.
Tiny found himself outside the compound with no idea how he got there. His right arm hung useless and shattered by his side. Blood streamed from the ruins of his left eye socket. In the distance, he could hear a siren's wail, a police car or an ambulance. Tiny stumbled toward the approaching siren, his only hope for survival.
"And that's the straight and narrow of it, swear to God on a stack of Bibles before my mother's grave, every last word of it. Only thing I can't figure out is why I was the only one to get out of it, even if it wasn't in one piece."
"Because you told your Prez to stop before he killed the woman," Pilgrim said.
Tiny considered this, then shrugged.
"Maybe so, but it's still about the Goddamnedest thing I ever saw. Think you wanna stand me another beer, man? Just one bro helping another, you know?"
Pilgrim pulled out his trucker's wallet and put three twenties down on the bar.
"Keep the change," he told the bartender.
He headed toward the door only to have a painfully thin blonde woman intercept him. One even more than passably pretty, her delicate features were ravaged and gaunt from hard living.
"You didn't believe that line of bullshit he was handing out, did you?" she said with a conspiratorial grin, teeth blackened from meth abuse. "He just blew himself up cooking meth, that's all. You ain't headed to Kingman, are you? I'm not too proud to slut a ride, if you know what I mean. You got any meth on you?"
"Sorry. I ride alone."
Pilgrim went through the batwing doors, outside into heat that smothered him like a funeral pall. He saddled his Indian, kick started the engine, and drove off into the night.
Mark Mellon is a novelist who supports his family by working as an attorney. Short fiction by Mark has recently appeared in Suspense Magazine, Yellow Mama, and Thuglit. Four novels and over fifty short stories have been published in the USA, UK, and Ireland. A novella, Escape From Byzantium, won the 2010 Independent Publisher Silver Medal for F/SF.
OATS STUDIOS: Volume 1— “Rakka,” “Firebase,” and, “Zygote”
A Gehenna Post Review
(Originally Published in the Gehenna Post)
PART 1: Rakka
Greetings from the Nether Realm,
Director Neill Blomkamp has proven himself time and again as an innovative director, bringing to life such films as District 9 (2009), Elysium (2013), and Chappie (2015). It was rumored a few years ago that Blomkamp was working on an Alien (1979) film that would continue the franchise directly picking up where James Cameron’s Aliens (1986) left off. Such characters as Michael Biehn’s Corporal Hicks and Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley were due to reprise their roles. However, after the considerable backlash and critical polarization concerning Elysium and Chappie, it seemed that the Alien project was all but lost in developmental hell.
When OATS Studios was announced, and it was confirmed that Neill Blomkamp would be directing several short horror and science fiction films, many moviegoers and fans alike were thrilled to see what the p
The first chapter of the first volume for OATS Studios is a short titled, “Rakka,” starring, you guessed it, Sigourney Weaver. It follows humanity’s resistance to an alien invasion, where the extra-terrestrial beings experiment and torture humans in ways that are both grotesque and enthralling. Blomkamp’s signature direction is at play here, housing many fantastic and nail-biting sequences while also never finding reluctance in showing brutal imagery that can make viewers of a weaker stomach queasy.
The feelings of hopelessness and chaos ensue rather quickly, as we delve deeper into the makings of these monsters. Several events occur that prelude to a sequel in Volume 2, as is the uniform occurrence in each short. The CGI is fantastic in this short film, the aliens never short of seeming authentic and terrifying. “Rakka” brings a whole new level of fear for alien invasion to the screen, making it difficult to imagine how our species could ever survive against such vile and disgusting creatures.
The practical effects that Blomkamp is known for, and his propensity for realistic gore, are both on display here. The visceral nature of the violence compliments the director’s previous work, once more emphasizing the director’s knack for combining beautiful cinematography with unsettling events onscreen. The plot is interesting enough and definitely keeps the viewers anxious and excited for the next installment.
OUR RATING: 4/5 STARS
PART 2: Firebase
Based during the Vietnam War, this short film revolves around a soldier who is hunting a supernatural being named the River God. We won’t dive too deep into what or who the River God is, but between this monster’s invulnerability and apparent loss of humanity, there is something deep about the villain of “Firebase” that makes it difficult to take sides. When the creature’s origin is finally revealed, it forebodes a sense of karma and justice for the atrocities that were the Vietnam War.
Blomkamp cleverly mashes sickening sequences of grotesque gore with mind-numbing and hallucinogenic moments that will also lend a sensational drug-induced stupor to the viewer. The CGI is once again masterful, never rendering the story unbelievable or flimsy. “Firebase” launches with dread from the opening sequence, and unlike its predecessor and successor, this short is a slow burning match that culminates to yet another cliffhanger, making us beg for more.
The methodically-paced grimness that encompasses “Firebase” is complimentary to the setting and topic of the Vietnam War. Blomkamp utilizes many interesting techniques to make the short feel “vintage” in a way. These moments, coupled with believable characters and dialogue, strike a certain chord with our notions of this dark era in the United States. Despite having a few plot points that are either cliched or lacking of genuine creativity, Blomkamp compensates with illustrious scenery and cinematography, an impending sense of doom, melancholy, and tense sequences that will jar your stomach for days to come.
Whereas “Rakka” implemented a survivalist nature with its human characters, “Firebase” focuses on the deep, underlining guilt that plagues the topic of the Vietnam War. The philosophy in “Firebase” is handled well, while also combining mythological themes with authentic locations and events. Blomkamp has never been afraid to tread waters that most would find daunting, and he proves to have made the right decision in challenging himself to present such a multi-faceted and morose tale of guilt and retribution.
OUR RATING: 4/5 STARS
PART 3: ZYGOTE
The last installment of our review series on director Neill Blomkamp’s OATS Studios short films–at least until a new short releases–will revolve around “Zygote.” An abomination of John Carpenter’s The Thing and the video game franchise Dead Space, with a dabble of Event Horizon, “Zygote” is horrifying and grotesque in the most perfect of ways. Blomkamp yet again secures and executes an interesting idea and in doing so, maintains a consistent level of quality to be expected from his passion project.
“Zygote” follows two humans on a terraforming station who are trying to survive from the pursuit of an otherworldy creature that not only absorbs all knowledge from each person it encounters, but it also literally absorbs and combines every human it kills, making its physical appearance disturbing and visceral. Audiences are kind of thrown into the mix, initially unaware, and we have to listen to everything the two characters say in order to grasp a better understanding of the universe and environment. Blomkamp has stated that this storyline was originally thought up to be a full length film, which makes sense if you consider how deep this storyline actually runs.
Where the film could drastically fail, considering its lack of setup, Blomkamp masterfully keeps the audience engaged with exposition scenes that cohesively fill the absences in narrative. Once the short picks up, and once we see the Zygote (and hear it) for the first time, the film is nonstop terror from then on. The creature is frightening and jarring in its unnatural resemblance to humans alone. The CGI could have gone terribly wrong with this concept, but surprisingly, the Zygote looks better in this level of quality CGI than it would have in practical effects, which is an enormous compliment to the crew who worked on this film.
The Carpenter and Cronenberg themes culminate into a tense and horrific ending that does not disappoint, even with our clamoring to see a prelude to these events. This was a very interesting theme and concept to see Blomkamp tackle, as his work has primarily been in the realms of hard science fiction. Seeing him so flawlessly execute a sci-fi/horror like “Zygote” is impressive in its determinations of his skill alone. Not only does Blomkamp deliver with a gripping short, but he also crafts what is the best short film in OATS Studios Volume 1 thus far. “Zygote” is exactly what it needs to be, never failing to remember its purpose or design.
OUR RATING: 5/5 STARS
COMING IN FEBRUARY OF 2018
From T.E. Grau
“Dark Fiction’s most promising young voice.”
–The Gehenna Post
Preorder it from Lethepressbooks.com today!
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Look out for our releases in 2017!
June 30th, 2017
Hinnom Magazine Issue 001
August 31st, 2017
Hinnom Magazine Issue 002
September 30th, 2017
Year’s Best Body Horror 2017 Anthology
October 31st, 2017
Hinnom Magazine Issue 003
November 30th, 2017
Year’s Best Transhuman SF 2017 Anthology
December 31st, 2017
Hinnom Magazine Issue 004
C.P. Dunphey, Hinnom Magazine Issue 002
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