Written by: Matthew J. Barbour
Horror Erotica is incredibly popular at the moment with horror writers pushing to add more sexual content and erotica writers pushing towards more edgy horror oriented themes. Selena Kitt is part of the latter group. Most of her writing can clearly be defined as erotic. As purveyor of the sexually explicit tale, Kitt has been extraordinarily successful with several dozen full length books.
Shivers is an anthology of previously published short stories written by Kitt. Thematically the stories are tied together for their use of both horror and erotica in their narratives. However, the level of sexual and fear-inspiring content varies widely between the individual works.
Stories presented in the collection include:
The Laundry Chute
The Gingerbread Man
The Velvet Choker
Hunting Season (co-written with Blake Crouch)
The narratives utilize suspense more than violence to bring horror into the situation and sexual acts depicted in the tales are written more to arouse than disgust the reader. This lies in stark contrast to the splatterpunk and hardcore horror subgenres where graphic depictions of both violence and carnal desires are used to shock and disturb the reader.
Most of the stories, presented in Shivers, focus on a female protagonist. Each is fully-fleshed out, unique, and appropriate to the story being told. It is a refreshing breath of fresh air in a genre known for cookie-cutter characters and blatant use of general stereotypes.
Two of the most notable tales from a horror perspective are “The Ride” and “Hunting Season”. Both read almost as scripts to the long defunct HBO series Tales from the Crypt with twist endings, you may or may not see coming.
“The Ride” follows a young hitchhiker. She is picked up by a driver. The girl cannot understand why he is so resistant to her feminine wiles. Is he gay? No. He is a vampire and he isn’t as resistant as she would like to think he is.
Sometimes the quiet ones are the people you have to watch out for. This is certainly the case in “Hunting Season” where the roles of hunter and prey are reversed. Of all the stories in the collection, “Hunting Season” is by far and away the least erotic and probably most similar to traditional horror. It is a love story of sorts. Only instead of chocolates and roses, our heroine is wooed with a meat cleaver.
The major problem with the collection is as follows: For those who love erotica, there will not be enough sex. For those who enjoy horror, there will not be enough terror. It does a little bit of both, but fails to do either extremely well.
This isn’t cheap vampire or werewolf sex. Selena Kitt is better than that. Her talent for telling a story is obvious in all of the works she presents, but the path she is trying to walk in Shivers is a difficult one. At points, it almost feels as if she is holding back, so as not to alienate her erotic fan base. As a result, the works suffers as a horror collection.
You can check this one out right here.