Sunday, February 7, 2016

Testing the limits

Mother F'ing Black Skull of Death

By Kenneth Vaughn

Publisher: MorbidbookS

Pub. Date: November 27, 2015

Rating: 3 & 1/2 out of 5 stars.

I am going to start out by saying something a little weird here. It may be taken as a criticism but it really isn't. Please stick around as I explain. Matthew Vaughn's Mother F'ing Black Skull of Death (MFBSoD) reads like a Young Adult novel; a young adult novel with lots of sex, perverted actions that would make Jean Genet and John Waters blush, lots of very explicit violence and gore that would make Hershel Gordon Lewis proud, and silliness that would cause Lloyd Kaufman to be envious. It reads like a Young Adult novel that I would never ever give to anyone under 18 and would card even senior citizens, and request a maturity test, if they attempted to buy it. Ever heard the saying, "If it walk like a duck and quacks like a duck?" MFBSoD walks and quacks like a duck but it f'king hell isn't a duck!

If we look at the plot (the PG-13 version) it may get clearer. Shelbyville, Kentucky is getting a tainted batch of a really messed up power drink called Mother F'ing Black Skull of Death (I guess Sumofabitch Red Bull was taken). It is the favorite drink of a nasty bully Vince and his cohorts who seem to push around anyone they want. The drink is doing some weird things to their bodies and is making them more perverted and cruel than they were before. Stevie, who has a hard time standing up for himself, is one of the guys they pick on a lot. He is forced by Vince to drink the stuff but it is affecting him differently. Stevie must get the courage to stand up to Vince and save the town. His only support is Janet (Dammit!), a girl he has a serious crush on. But she has her own issues with her only method of emotional support is talking to her doll and stuffed bear. And they talk back.

I streamlined the beginning of the plot and left out a lot of weird stuff but I hope you get the picture. When you remove the X rated stuff you get a typical plot and theme of much YA. So where does that leave us? In my opinion, and strictly my opinion, what we end of with is a crazy and hilarious satire of Young Adult fiction. It is this that makes this crude and wild book work for me. Matthew Vaughn is a hell of a writer and takes us on a messy but exhilarating ride through oversexed baddies, talking dolls and teddy bears, Hulk-modified good guys and basically every sexual crime and dismemberment known to man. It reminds me of some of the Heavy Metal punk sci-fi installments, if they had the nerve to take it over the limit. The prologue also reminds me a little of the beginning of the film Return of the Living Dead which may mildly clue you into the type of mayhem the novel dwells on.

But there really isn't much social import here. MFBSoD is a roller coaster ride for those who can handle the extremes . And here is my quibble. The intense extremes sometimes take away from the story. I find myself wondering how far the author will go rather than getting into the dilemma and caring about the characters. A little more control would have been nice. But I realized while reading it that the author was fully aware of his boundary pushing and was taking it to where he wanted it to to go. Vaughn has all the makings of a successful if taboo punching author. It certainly makes me want to go out and grab his other novel, The ADHD Vampire. The bottom line is, if you have a iron man stomach for extreme sex and violence and you appreciate good but over-the-top writing , you will like this. I liked it even if it tested my limits. But this is one of those books I would only recommend to the right people and I don't know all that many right people. I'm 65, Dammit!. Get this, read this, enjoy it, but if you are offended, don't complain to me. I'm only the f'ing messenger!

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