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Ryan Harding ‘Genital Grinder’ Review


Written by: Matthew J. Barbour

Genital Grinder is a collection of short stories written by Ryan Harding. While Harding’s name may not be instantly recognizable among the hardcore horror authors of the 21st century, it probably should be. Both Edward Lee and Brian Keene have praised the author for his uncompromising style. There are few works that hold up to the gore and sexual perversion presented in Genital Grinder.

The collection includes:

Enjoy the Gang Rape (an introduction by Edward Lee)

Damaged Goods

Sharing Needles

Genital Grinder: A Snuff Film in Five Acts

Development

Emissary

Genital Grinder II: Dis-Membered

First Indications

Aftermath (summary with notes on each tale)

While each story is a standalone narrative, the characters, events, and setting carry over from tale to tale. The two primary protagonists are Greg and Von. Taking on an almost Beavis and Butthead like role, the necrophilia-loving morons show up in three of the seven tales and their exploits are mentioned in several others. The boys’ behavior is offensive and often inappropriately humorous.

In “Damaged Goods,” Greg and Von find the corpse of a hit and run victim. Our duo take the body home for a little fun only to find out to late that the victim is Von’s cousin, Sarah Pensie.  Von ponders whether his sexual acts are incestuous, while Greg finds a use for Pensie’s full bladder.

Then in “Genital Grinder: A Snuff Film in Five Acts,” Greg and Von take the plunge into murder. They capture several celebrities including a porn star and news reporter in an effort to make a snuff film. The boys believe this is their ticket to becoming celebrities themselves. They are not just going to kill them. To make the moment special, they have brought some toys including a cheese grater and a screwdriver.

The duo return in “Genital Grinder II: Dis-Membered” with a get rich quick scheme. This time ransom is the ticket, but what to capture? A man treasures his penis above all things. They decide that is what they will take. If that doesn’t work, he will pay for his girlfriend, right? Hijinks ensue as Greg finds things to eat more disgusting than an aborted fetus.

Genital Grinder is an ode to the splatterpunk of the 1980s and early 1990s taken to even more extreme and absurd levels. It clear that Harding was inspired by Brite, Ketchum, Laymon, Lee, and Skipp among others. He has decided to do his best to upstage them. It is debatable as to whether or not he accomplishes this task. Certainly, the violence and sex is there, but the complexity and underlying narrative is not.

There are no heroes or morals here. These tales are exploitive. They are acts of evil meant to delight an audience wanting to laugh at the misfortune of others. The true horror is in the fact that Ryan Harding succeeds. You will smile throughout the collection at both the shock and hilarity of the situations.

However, the absence of a moral compass ultimately causes the long-term impact of these tales to falter. Harding isn’t so much pointing out societal ills, but rather embracing them. Genital Grinder is an entertaining escape with an unmatched level of depravity, not a classic.

Order it right here.

Rating: 3/5

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About The Overseer (1669 Articles)
Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies.

2 Comments on Ryan Harding ‘Genital Grinder’ Review

  1. Vitina Molgaard // August 11, 2014 at 4:06 am // Reply

    Matthew J. Barbour, My goodness after reading this review I thought absolutely not…no…no way at all. The titles are enough to back me off but then you give some examples of these works and I know I am done. Good to read a review that lays out a truly horrifying image for me. I am sure there are those who will find something to enjoy here, as we are all different but as for me I am going to go with a simple Thanks but no thanks. Just me…Vitina Molgaard

    Like

  2. Matthew Barbour // August 15, 2014 at 7:45 pm // Reply

    This delivers something that is nasty but the lack of anything substantive really let me down. An alternative that brings the same punch with a little bit of moral fiber attached is Wrath James White. The stuff will my cringe and your stomach uneasy, but at the end of the day it will also make you think.

    However, if you do not like gore, you should probably stay away from Deadite press in general. They publish both authors and publish a ton of hardcore horror. Hardcore isn’t always my thing but I have been reading a lot of boundary pushing stuff recently.

    The problem is when you read it in public. I took genital grinder to read while I waited for my daughter outside ballet class. I got a couple dirty looks for that one.

    Like

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