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The Horror Show

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A Nobel Prize-winning poet has been missing for several years, along with his wife and child. Suffering from narcolepsy and amnesia, the poet wanders the same back-alleys he terrorized as a teenager. He's being carefully watched by Doctor Humphrey, whose unique treatment plan is driven by a higher power that wants a cure for mental instability to produce the ultimate war m A Nobel Prize-winning poet has been missing for several years, along with his wife and child. Suffering from narcolepsy and amnesia, the poet wanders the same back-alleys he terrorized as a teenager. He's being carefully watched by Doctor Humphrey, whose unique treatment plan is driven by a higher power that wants a cure for mental instability to produce the ultimate war machines. At the mercy of his derangements and the ghosts of his fragmented past, the poet's descent into the darkest reaches of his soul reveals a blood-soaked past which threatens to repeat itself. While Doctor Humphrey collects data from his experiment with madness, he devises a plan to satisfy his own terrifying vision for the future


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A Nobel Prize-winning poet has been missing for several years, along with his wife and child. Suffering from narcolepsy and amnesia, the poet wanders the same back-alleys he terrorized as a teenager. He's being carefully watched by Doctor Humphrey, whose unique treatment plan is driven by a higher power that wants a cure for mental instability to produce the ultimate war m A Nobel Prize-winning poet has been missing for several years, along with his wife and child. Suffering from narcolepsy and amnesia, the poet wanders the same back-alleys he terrorized as a teenager. He's being carefully watched by Doctor Humphrey, whose unique treatment plan is driven by a higher power that wants a cure for mental instability to produce the ultimate war machines. At the mercy of his derangements and the ghosts of his fragmented past, the poet's descent into the darkest reaches of his soul reveals a blood-soaked past which threatens to repeat itself. While Doctor Humphrey collects data from his experiment with madness, he devises a plan to satisfy his own terrifying vision for the future

30 review for The Horror Show

  1. 5 out of 5

    Benoit Lelièvre

    So, this is basically Vincenzo Bilof's first novel and it's a POETRY novel, meaning it's a series of poems of various forms that when collected makes coherent overarching story. It's not just a thematic collection, the poems follow one another pretty closely. Is it cool? Pretty cool if you're already familiar with Bilof's thematic obsession of drawing parallels between art, violence and death. I was already familiar with it from THE VIOLATORS and VAMPIRE STRIPPERS FROM SATURN, which are slightly So, this is basically Vincenzo Bilof's first novel and it's a POETRY novel, meaning it's a series of poems of various forms that when collected makes coherent overarching story. It's not just a thematic collection, the poems follow one another pretty closely. Is it cool? Pretty cool if you're already familiar with Bilof's thematic obsession of drawing parallels between art, violence and death. I was already familiar with it from THE VIOLATORS and VAMPIRE STRIPPERS FROM SATURN, which are slightly more polished and confident. Is it gimmicky? A tiny bit, Bilof does a good job at keeping a slippery point of view and keeping you guessing who is actually writing the poems. The poet IN the story or the poet WRITING the story. Fans of new, transgressive literature might enjoy this even more than his subsequent work. Quite bold.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    This not your typical horror novel. This a surreal book that will either piss you off because it doesn't seem to make any sense, or you'll be able to follow the story even when the poems appear to make zero sense and you forget what the book is supposed to even be about. Horror Show takes all the rules that apply to horror and promptly throws them out the window. While everyone is following the latest trends this is a book that is different and at times quite violent. This is one those novels This not your typical horror novel. This a surreal book that will either piss you off because it doesn't seem to make any sense, or you'll be able to follow the story even when the poems appear to make zero sense and you forget what the book is supposed to even be about. Horror Show takes all the rules that apply to horror and promptly throws them out the window. While everyone is following the latest trends this is a book that is different and at times quite violent. This is one those novels that you have to read for yourself and yes, it's weird, it's surreal but it's also a book that you need to read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Max III

    I struggle here, trying to review this book. The Horror Show is a collection of poetry, and poetry is always a challenge to review. It's more difficult than prose. With prose, everything is laid out for you. But poetry, it's not exactly that simple. Sure, in prose, a lot is up for interpretation - depending on what kind of story you're reading - but with poetry, every single word choice is up for debate. Everything can be interpreted differently, depending who the reader is and what kind of mood I struggle here, trying to review this book. The Horror Show is a collection of poetry, and poetry is always a challenge to review. It's more difficult than prose. With prose, everything is laid out for you. But poetry, it's not exactly that simple. Sure, in prose, a lot is up for interpretation - depending on what kind of story you're reading - but with poetry, every single word choice is up for debate. Everything can be interpreted differently, depending who the reader is and what kind of mood the reader is in. I will say this, though. I read this book very quickly. it sucked me in and did not let me go. This is not just a random collection of poems. This is something special; something surreal. You must read these poems in order, in one sitting. Do not get up to use the restroom until you've finished. Do not do anything but read the poems. Then read them out of order. Read them backwards. Let Bilof's madness consume you whole. Because that's what The Horror Show is --it's utter madness. It's a child conceived by the nasty love making of John Carpenter and David Lynch. This is Eraserhead trapped in a Sutter Cane novel. I don't care if you're a fan of poetry or not. Pick this one up.

  4. 4 out of 5

    M.P. Johnson

    Psycho Epic Poetry Before this, my exposure to horror poetry was limited. Now I'm scarred for life. This is an epic journey into madness and murder. Do not think for a second that, because this is poetry, this is light on gore and violence. Oh no, there is plenty of wholesome intestine wearing action. If you're reading on Kindle, make sure that you see the author's note in the description section, or your experience is going to be even weirder.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marvin

    Here is the bare bones plot: A Nobel prize winning poet and his family has been missing for a while. The poet wanders dark streets and is friended only by a psychiatrist and a woman named Lorraine. The poet may have a murderous past and shows the symptoms of a severe psychosis. The doctor is caring for him but possibly has sinister motives himself. As the doctor delves deeper into the mind, the poet becomes more fragmented and dangerous. But it is not the plot that is important when reading The H Here is the bare bones plot: A Nobel prize winning poet and his family has been missing for a while. The poet wanders dark streets and is friended only by a psychiatrist and a woman named Lorraine. The poet may have a murderous past and shows the symptoms of a severe psychosis. The doctor is caring for him but possibly has sinister motives himself. As the doctor delves deeper into the mind, the poet becomes more fragmented and dangerous. But it is not the plot that is important when reading The Horror Show by Vincenzo Bilof. The author has created a novel in the form of a poetry collection. This is not the first time I’ve read a poetic horror novel. Toby Barlow’s Sharp Teeth uses free verse to tell its tale but it is fairly straightforward in its narration. The Horror Show is more of a conceptual experience. When I first started the book I went to my usual first instinct with poetry and read a few at random before reading it from start to finish. The poems work amazingly well this way but I don’t think this is how the author meant for them to be read. They are best read from beginning to end as you would a novel. Considering the emotional power of the poems when taken as a group I would recommend reading them one after the other in long sessions, if not all at once, to get the feel of the narration in this unsettling book. In fact, it is best not to try to follow the plot but to let the poems take you into whatever feelings that are elicited. In other words, go with the flow. This may be one of those very few novels where style successfully trumps plot. Bilof seems to be intentionally disorienting the reader and telling them that not even the pages of this book is necessarily a safe place for your mind. Some of the adjectives that came to mind while reading these uncomfortably beautiful poems included “psychedelic”, “creepy”, and “exquisitely psychotic”. It should also be noted that the author doesn’t flinch on the violence and gore. This is first and foremost a horror novel and a fairly extreme one at that. Bilof’s conceptual experiment does not dilute the power and terror of its story. The three main characters come out quite real and developed considering they are immersed in poetry full of fragmented imagery and their thoughts expressed in a stream of consciousness. Inner thoughts and external reality become entwined adding to the reader’s feelings of confusion and terror, not unlike the ones our literary protagonists are experiencing. This is the type of novel that may not appeal to those who like their scares external and well explained, presented in a straight narration, and then safely tucked in at night. But if you like poetry and do not mind being dragged around in a literary soup of angst and dread then Bilof may have written your kind of nightmare. Note: This review also appears at Hellnotes

  6. 5 out of 5

    William Cook

    5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry Sucker Punch Death Hit - Dos and Don'ts January 23, 2014, Verified Purchase This review is from: The Horror Show (Kindle Edition) This superb verse novelette blew me away. Bilof deftly handles his words like a pro and creates a surreal and bizarre world full of violence, broken dreams and redemption. At times, the verse and the expert handling of the narrative structure and the inline dialogue/monologue sequences remind me of Dorothy Porter's 'The Monkey's Mask' and/or Jo 5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry Sucker Punch Death Hit - Dos and Don'ts January 23, 2014, Verified Purchase This review is from: The Horror Show (Kindle Edition) This superb verse novelette blew me away. Bilof deftly handles his words like a pro and creates a surreal and bizarre world full of violence, broken dreams and redemption. At times, the verse and the expert handling of the narrative structure and the inline dialogue/monologue sequences remind me of Dorothy Porter's 'The Monkey's Mask' and/or John Tranters - 'The Floor of Heaven' - it's that good. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this wonderfully disturbing collection. Do buy a copy. Do read it cover to cover for full effect. Do expect violence, horror, death, mayhem, fantastical flights of imagination and gore. Do expect to be challenged. Do expect to read 'between the lines'. Do read as a literary, and oftentimes surreal' work of art (think W.S. Burrounghs, Bunuel, Gyson etc). Do expect metaphor, simile, poetic license and profundity of thought. Don't pass this one by. Don't forget to check out his other work - I've read some of his titles and they're good.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Payne

    A Nobel Prize-winning poet has been missing for several years, along with his wife and child. Suffering from narcolepsy and amnesia, the poet wanders the same back-alleys he terrorized as a teenager. He's being carefully watched by Doctor Humphrey, whose unique treatment plan is driven by a higher power that wants a cure for mental instability to produce the ultimate war machines. At the mercy of his derangements and the ghosts of his fragmented past, the poet's descent into the darkest reaches A Nobel Prize-winning poet has been missing for several years, along with his wife and child. Suffering from narcolepsy and amnesia, the poet wanders the same back-alleys he terrorized as a teenager. He's being carefully watched by Doctor Humphrey, whose unique treatment plan is driven by a higher power that wants a cure for mental instability to produce the ultimate war machines. At the mercy of his derangements and the ghosts of his fragmented past, the poet's descent into the darkest reaches of his soul reveals a blood-soaked past which threatens to repeat itself. While Doctor Humphrey collects data from his experiment with madness, he devises a plan to satisfy his own terrifying vision for the future

  8. 5 out of 5

    Donald Armfield

    Vincent Bilof a HWA Member opens the curtains for his Horror Show. Open the book and read, you'll walk away with many questions, but glad you read. A surreal twist on horror with a coming of age effect on a man/poet's life. Who later takes murder into his own hands and faces the trials and shrink visits that follow. Told in chapter-ed poems Bilof's work is horror of a different breed. You may not understand what the hell you are reading, (I felt that ways at times) but it ties together at the end Vincent Bilof a HWA Member opens the curtains for his Horror Show. Open the book and read, you'll walk away with many questions, but glad you read. A surreal twist on horror with a coming of age effect on a man/poet's life. Who later takes murder into his own hands and faces the trials and shrink visits that follow. Told in chapter-ed poems Bilof's work is horror of a different breed. You may not understand what the hell you are reading, (I felt that ways at times) but it ties together at the end. So get some popcorn, extra buttery. And turn the pages with the other hand you are about to read "The Horror Show." Some of my stand out chapters/poems and quotes I will scribe below, but you may find some word candy yourself. "Although I am not really here. At least, that's what the people say before they start running. But let's not get into that. It probably had something to do with the chainsaw accident at birth." -Pretty Girls -Caged-Tunnel Lucidity -An Honest Review (top favorite) -Echoes of a Child's Mirage -Reactionaries -Free Money -Loading the Years (top favorite) "....birds trapped inside of bricks. a resurrection of green roses and blue rabbits, furry ones, dripping in vomit of men who sleep where the moon hides." -Razor Blurred (top favorite) To name a few, but you should get a copy of this book, I will treasure mine. I'll end this with another quote, that has a smooth ending to it. "HIS FIRST NIGHTMARE WAS ABOUT A STORM. HE WAS A CHILD AND THEN A TEENAGER AND THEN A MAN. HE WAS AFRAID AND WE KNOW THE STORM CANNOT END. IT CANNOT BE OVERCOME. THE STORM PERSISTS."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    I received a copy of this book through a GoodReads First Reads giveaway. (Thanks for the personalized signature!) The Horror Show is a very interesting book. A collection of dark poetry that all connects to form a loose overall narrative. I have never been much of a poetry reader outside some of Lovecraft's stuff. I recently had asked my friend who does read a lot of poetry to recommend me some horror themed poetry so it was rather good timing that I won this bad boy! The book focuses on a few dif I received a copy of this book through a GoodReads First Reads giveaway. (Thanks for the personalized signature!) The Horror Show is a very interesting book. A collection of dark poetry that all connects to form a loose overall narrative. I have never been much of a poetry reader outside some of Lovecraft's stuff. I recently had asked my friend who does read a lot of poetry to recommend me some horror themed poetry so it was rather good timing that I won this bad boy! The book focuses on a few different characters and their interactions. The poems jump from being in their heads to telling the story. All of the poems in here stir up a lot of dark imagery and violence. They earn the stamp of Bizarro press. The Horror Show filled that void for poetry that I was looking for in my book reading. I look forward to checking out more work by Bilof. This is very original collection of poetry, and I highly recommend to anyone looking for something different.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

    Reminiscent at times of both Beat poetry and surrealism, the poems here generally work well due to powerful (often visceral) imagery and effective economy of language. Yet do these poems combine to create a novel, as the description of the book promises? Well…sort of. Certainly there’s a plot. The major characters emerge as distinctive and real due to their own stream-of-consciousness musings and the protagonist’s take on them. There is not a great deal in terms of environment except perhaps the Reminiscent at times of both Beat poetry and surrealism, the poems here generally work well due to powerful (often visceral) imagery and effective economy of language. Yet do these poems combine to create a novel, as the description of the book promises? Well…sort of. Certainly there’s a plot. The major characters emerge as distinctive and real due to their own stream-of-consciousness musings and the protagonist’s take on them. There is not a great deal in terms of environment except perhaps the brutality and trauma of the contemporary world. Yet the one significant thing The Horror Show lacks compared to traditional novels is a narrative tension: the complete story is revealed early on while the body of the book explores its facets in great detail. An interesting experiment that for the most part succeeds. And a fascinating read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shaun Meeks

    Let's start this one off to say that I am not a big fan of poetry. I think for the most part, poems are like art...I never get it and think it's just a whole lot of over inflated crap that thinks its more important than it really is. That being said, I really enjoyed this book. Never thought I would, but as I know of Mr. Bilof's work in the Bizarro fiction genre, I thought I would give this a shot. So glad I did. Is it poetry? Yes. Is it weird? Yes. Is it good? Better than I could have hoped. Th Let's start this one off to say that I am not a big fan of poetry. I think for the most part, poems are like art...I never get it and think it's just a whole lot of over inflated crap that thinks its more important than it really is. That being said, I really enjoyed this book. Never thought I would, but as I know of Mr. Bilof's work in the Bizarro fiction genre, I thought I would give this a shot. So glad I did. Is it poetry? Yes. Is it weird? Yes. Is it good? Better than I could have hoped. The way the poems play out on a singular level and as a whole is great. I highly recommend this to people looking for something new and interesting.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rena Mason

    THE HORROR SHOW is an intellectual, well-crafted, mind twist in a world of fragmented madness. It is visually poetic as well as rhythmic. One small way to describe this work would be if the movie MEMENTO were written in poetry form and the main character occasionally interacted with a psychiatrist, or at least thought he did. There are many more elements and layers to the works that make up the entire story that is THE HORROR SHOW to explain in the review. I suggest getting it and reading it all THE HORROR SHOW is an intellectual, well-crafted, mind twist in a world of fragmented madness. It is visually poetic as well as rhythmic. One small way to describe this work would be if the movie MEMENTO were written in poetry form and the main character occasionally interacted with a psychiatrist, or at least thought he did. There are many more elements and layers to the works that make up the entire story that is THE HORROR SHOW to explain in the review. I suggest getting it and reading it all the way through.

  13. 4 out of 5

    P.A. Douglas

    Weird.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alan Spencer

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez

  16. 4 out of 5

    Travis

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gary Long

  18. 5 out of 5

    Philip

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tristan

  20. 4 out of 5

    Harley Claes

  21. 5 out of 5

    Faisal

  22. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  23. 4 out of 5

    sherry

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lawanna

  25. 5 out of 5

    Will Smith

  26. 4 out of 5

    Deborah J. Neve

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anna Devine

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alucard sarabia sarabia

  29. 5 out of 5

    Oliver Gemmel

  30. 4 out of 5

    Juanito

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