cover image The Haunted Forest Tour

The Haunted Forest Tour

James A. Moore, Jeff Strand, . . Earthling, $45 (285pp) ISBN 978-0-9795054-2-3

Underplotted and overstuffed with grisly mayhem, this extreme horror extravaganza unfolds like an exhibit at the supernatural theme park in which it's set. The Haunted Forest, a giant woodland that's home to otherworldly demons and monsters, has become a major tourist attraction in Cromay, N.Mex., thanks to an armored train tour that a shady cryptozoology business runs through it. One Halloween, two tour trains collide, stranding dozens of vulnerable tourists in the heart of the forest and sparking a splattery feeding frenzy among the ravenous monsters. Moore (Blood Red ) and Strand (Mandibles ) devote considerable effort and energy to ghoulishly inventive descriptions of dismemberment, disembowelment and death, but the relentlessness of the carnage and the casualness with which the monsters dispose of even major characters quickly pall. A belated plot thread concerning a businessman's deal with the monsters sealed with the sacrifice of human lives only underscores how much this story is intended primarily to be a simple bloody monster mash. (Nov.)