Death Obsessed by Robert Essig
Back when he was a teenager, Calvin was into the morbid stuff. He thought he outgrew it, but he’s only a video clip away from becoming obsessed, and what’s Ronnie going to think about that? She’s not the kind of girl who digs cemeteries and dead things. But Hazel, she’s something else altogether, and oh how persuasive is a woman who knows what she wants.
Drawn back to a place Calvin had forgotten about, and lured by the baritone drawl of Mr. Ghastly, who promises the much sought-after death scenes classic known as Death’s Door, Calvin trips down one hell of a rabbit hole, and everything is at stake. Can he leave his nine-to-five life in the dust for some real action, or will he be left sick, all alone, and death obsessed?
"For anyone who dared picked up Faces of Death at the video store as a teenager or perused the atrocities of early internet shock sites like Rotten.com, Death Obsessed is a nightmarish trip down a rabbit hole slick with corpse slime and grave dirt. It's a supernatural glimpse at the deranged world behind execution videos and crime scene photos and the people who enjoy them." -- Mike Lombardo, writer/director of I'm Dreaming of a White Doomsday
"Death Obsessed is a brutal tribute to the gory VHS tapes of yore, yet it blends a story of warning into the mix which makes the audience become attached to his characters. The essence of Splatterpunk and old school horror is an alluring and deadly combination that is pulled off perfectly. Essig's writing made me feel nostalgic for those old Faces of Death videos but reminded me that my stomach probably couldn’t handle them anymore. The cover art is also a thing of morbid beauty that any horror writer would kill for! Loved it!" -- Michelle Garza, author of Mayan Blue, Those Who Follow and Kingdom of Teeth
A Rabbit Hole Of A Book
This one is written by a gorehound, for gorehounds. Right from the beginning I was transported back to the early days of finding out about the dark corners of the web, where death and obscene violence dwell. Sites like bestgore, r/spacedicks, 4chan, liveleaks, etc. came to mind as the protagonist started back down the rabbit hole of watching people being slaughtered, destroyed, disemboweled, and burned alive. It’s one of those things many people in my generation just sort of find while leaving the safety of Facebook. Someone shows you one video, then you end up staying up all night chasing notorious video after notorious video. Whoops, went on a bit of a tangent! Death Obsessed is what it claims to be, an obsession of death. Slowly losing interest in every other facet of life until nothing g else matters except watching the light dim in strangers eyes. The book itself felt like one of those rabbit holes. The more I read, the more I thought about it, and the worse things got in the story. It was hard to look away from, no matter what ended up happening. And that’s the beauty of this book. Robert Essig took his own experiences with real death videos and captured that experience in this book. What o felt while reading this is exactly like how I felt as a young, impressionable teenager when I myself found out about this sort of thing. Part of that may be why I’m so fond of this book, but the writing is definitely a major factor too. Multiple storylines intertwine flawlessly, characters are flawed and feel real, and the overall unsettling vibe the book gives off kept me on my toes. I’m late to the party with this one, but there is not a better time to pick this one up. It’s free on godless.com as of the time of this review, making it a must try.
Death on VHS
Oh those halcyon days of the 'forbidden' VHS tapes. We all heard of things like 'Faces of Death', and knew that kid that who had the bootleg copy of it. This story harkens back to those days, but doesn't steep itself into nostalgia. It's an engaging and highly entertaining story. As Calvin is drawn deeper into his morbid interests, the interplay of the characters around him, and his own internal struggles were well done. The story also had a great gore to plot ratio. Not so gory you needed a squeegy afterwards, but plenty to really get your hands into. This one is certainly worth checking out.