THE BUTCHER BRIDE - 2009
By Vince Churchill
Publisher: Black Bed Sheets Books
TPB - 296 pages
The haunted house tale in the horror world has become a genre in itself. From Sheridan Le Fanu’s pre-Victorian UNCLE SILAS, to Shirley Jackson’s HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, and on to Stephen King’s THE SHINING, they all rocked the haunted house genre and helped make it what it is today. While Vince Churchill’s THE BUTCHER BRIDE doesn’t loom as large as some of those classics, it is still one hell of an entertaining read.
The novel opens in the late 70’s and gives a very vivid picture of what created the Butcher Bride. During a Halloween party filled with debauchery, young Marlie is gang raped by a group of party-goers. Marlie then goes on a rampage, killing most of her oppressors before she is shot dead.
Thirty years later, the house and the town have become a phenomenon much like Salem is today. Children are afraid of the old house, while some local business owners see it as an opportunity to cash in. Other deadly incidents continue to erupt at the old place and the whole mess is usually blamed on the long dead bride. Every year the town holds a festival and people show up from all over the world dressed in bloody wedding dresses.
Stu and Evie are two Hollywood types that go out of their way to spend the weekend of the festival inside the house. They discover all kinds of creepy things, including the fact the bride’s mother lives in a guest house right on the estate. It isn’t long before all hell literally breaks loose.
To give away too much of the plot after this I feel would take away from the enjoyment of this book. Let’s just saw Churchill has an almost De Sadeian eye for sex and gore. If you like your horror filled with vivid, almost sadistic details of bloodshed than this novel is for you.
What stands out about this novel is it’s pacing and level of detail. Churchill has a gift in putting violence on the page - even the most cynical and jaded horror enthusiasts should squirm a little. While there are some times where the novel becomes mired in been-there-seen-that type of clichés, Churchill manages through the use of storytelling to rise above it all and create a page turner. For example, I love the way the police act once they realize that they are up against a genuine ghost. I recommend this one, folks, especially if you’re in the mood for a good ghost story.
This review copyright 2010 E.C.McMullen Jr.
Return to Story Time