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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Book Review - Attack of the Melonheads by Solon Tsangaras and Gary Lee Vincent from a Screenplay by Bob Gray

Throwback Thursday!
Welcome to my first Throwback Thursday here at the blog. I’ve been writing reviews and other such nonsense for almost twenty years now. My submissions have gone to websites, fanzines, and even a magazine! Some of them got used and some didn’t. Sadly many of those that got used ended up on dead projects including my own website. Some of the work I’m very proud of or more importantly what I was covering is something that I want people to know about. With that in mind I’ve decided to dig into my archives and give them a home here. The first is a book review that I did for a website called Screamzine.

I love the horror movies of the ‘70s and ‘80s.  With first the drive-in market and then the video store boom there was an outlet for a lot of independent horror flicks to be shown.  Sadly, as things got “corporate” those outlets dried up and with them the funds available to the creative minds behind them.  You might be wondering what this has to do with the book review of Melonheads, well read on and find out. 

The story opens years before the main events of the book as we are given a flashback to a creepy doctor/scientist type named Crowe that is picking up some children from a hospital.  These unfortunate children suffer from Hydrocephalus (water on the brain) that causes their craniums to become large and misshapen.  It becomes clear that Crowe is spiriting the children away under mysterious and probably not legitimate circumstances.  But what is he up to?  The story jumps to the present where we are introduced to the main cast of characters including the local football coach, his recently graduated son (and slacker!), as well as the attractive new lady doctor!  Oh and of course the Melonheads who are hiding out in the woods.  When one of them is killed they decide to come to town and get some revenge. Of course, all hell breaks loose!

I’ve kept things purposefully vague in my plot synopsis.  I did this so as to not spoil any of the fun.  After getting off to a slow start the book really picks up and is a blast.  I stayed up way too late to finish and paid for it the next day (totally worth it!).  Maybe because it was based on a screenplay or perhaps just because of the subject matter as I was reading Melonheads it played out in my head like a cheesy and fun horror movie.  It has a definite Castle Freak/Return of the Living Dead vibe to it that I was really digging.  The characters are familiar while still being fun.  We get bits of humor scattered throughout, some of it really juvenile and just to be clear I consider this to be a good thing.  Of course, there are some gruesome kills as well.  Like I said it feels like a horror movie that I would have rented on VHS back in my younger days.

Modern horror likes to go for the throat.  That is true of both the movies and the short stories/novels.  That isn’t a bad thing and some of it I enjoy.  But a book like Melonheads is what I love.  Give me a body count and gore, but don’t forget the laughs.  Anytime that I can be reminded of what makes Horror great it is a good thing.  Melonheads does that and is something we should all support.  Consider it highly recommended.

While working on this review I was in contact with Bob Gray who wrote the screenplay that this book was based on.  It looks like they are going to make the movie and better yet it will be shot in Ohio!  Pardon me while I do a little dance in front of my keyboard…

© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer

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