Red Room: Issue 1 #BookReview

Title: Red Room: Magazine of Extreme Horror and Hardcore Dark Crime | Editors: Cheryl Mullenax and Randy Chandler Publisher: Comet Press | Pub. Date: 10/06/2017 | Pages: 70 | ISBN13: 9781936964062 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Racist talk, abortion jokes,  ( both only in one particular story and it’s called, literally, Sick Jokes) | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: Received from editor for review consideration

Red Room: Issue 1

Red Room is a magazine of extreme horror and hardcore dark crime, 8×11 in full color and fully illustrated.

Jack Ketchum, Meg Elison, Tim Waggoner, David James Keaton, Larry Hinkle, Tom Barlow, Nick Manzolillo, Josh Scott Wilson, and Gil Valle.

“The Phantom Video Stream” by Nick Manzolillo sets the tone with red-room atmospherics in the story of a man who discovers a hidden channel streaming from what may be another reality.

Tim Waggoner’s “Are You Crazy?” answers its own question in shocking Waggoner style.

Larry Hinkle’s “Meat Cute” opens with “Stop staring at her tits!” and ends with a coldblooded revelation. Short and not so sweet.

Tom Barlow’s “Selfie” demonstrates that two heads aren’t always better than one, not when they’re spitting images.

Meg Elison’s “The Middle Child” takes an unflinching look at fame and greed and the mania underlying video virality.

In “Sick Jokes” Josh Scott Wilson takes political incorrectness to new heights–and depths.

David James Keaton, aka DJK, takes us for a ride into brutal biker mayhem that hits like a jackhammer in “The Flowery.” Some tattoos ain’t cool.

Jack Ketchum reprises “Megan’s Law,” a disturbing look at what can happen when a child molester moves into a concerned dad’s neighborhood. If you’ve never read this classic, you’re in for a creepy treat, and if you have then you know it’s definitely worth rereading.

Plus, an exclusive excerpt from the NYPD’s “Cannibal Cop” Gil Valle’s upcoming Comet Press release of his first novel A Gathering of Evil, which parallels the message-board fantasies that landed him in jail.


Duane Bradley takes an irresistible look at the Video Nasties and the uproar those “obscene” video cassettes caused in the UK back in the 1980s. Ben Arzate reviews a formerly out-of-print classic horror novel, which is making a howling comeback. Patrick King reviews one of the best of the recent horror movie releases.

Red Room interviews the phenomenal Meg Elison, and David L. Tamarin interviews Gil Valle, getting him to open up about his incarceration by the “thought police.”

Red Room regular Barfly Bob taste-tests the World’s Most F**ked Up adult beverages.

A surreal, behind the scenes glimpse at the Red Room headquarters with rogue reporter Brian J. McCarthy.

I went into Red Room not really knowing what to expect. I was thinking it would be either a cheaply done or pushing too hard to live up to the ‘extreme’ in the title and just be gross. I owe them an apology because this was a fantastic magazine. I have the kindle version but with the art and everything I’m seriously considering getting the physical copy as well.

Don’t misunderstand me, though. The kindle copy is great as well. The pictures and art look great and the formatting is on point as well. They didn’t cheap out anywhere. The art fit the stories perfectly and the stories? They were awesome. I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite. There is a variety of authors, styles and topics that I’m sure anyone would find at least something to their taste. I loved the idea behind “The Phantom Video Stream” by Nick Manzolilo and it’s execution (hehe) was just as good. Tim Waggoner’s (a name I’m sure you’re familiar with from the Horrors! posts) story “Are You Crazy?” had its shockers to it but in the end was actually a very sympathetic piece. 

If I was going to warn anyone about a particular story in Red Room it would be “Sick Jokes” because it is sick. I didn’t care for it but some of the more ‘extreme’ horror lovers might. Which, to be fair, is right in the title. of the magazine. That’s ok. I’m not one to rave about stories that gross me out just to prove how ‘horror hardcore’ I am. I’m not really putting down the story because it’s twisty-turniness did keep me reading it but I did want to say that it’s not going to be for everyone.

The features in Red Room were well-done and have a great variety to them as well. It’s not bogged down with too many interviews or too many reviews. There’s a great balance to it. I loved the segment called Barfly Bob’s Highballs and Lowballs. There were some…interesting drinks in there.

I really can’t say enough about Red Room, honestly. I hope this magazine succeeds and I will be looking forward to more issues in the future. 

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