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Wrath James White ‘Like Porno for Psychos’ Review


Written by: Matthew J. Barbour

While African American protagonists in horror literature are not that uncommon, there are few African American writers dedicated to the genre. One of the most notable is Wrath James White. His writing hits like a sledgehammer to the face. It is filled with both the macabre and erotic, often interwoven with humor and the most disturbing social commentary imaginable.

However, to stereotype White as a man writing horror only for African Americans or only about African Americans or, even, about people in the inner city is completely off-base. White depicts characters of all ethnicities, genders, and sexual preferences. Settings are similarly varied as are the stories told in them. What distinguishes White from the crowd is the unique perspective he brings to the stories. It is unclear if this is due to his African American ethnicity, his athletic background, or his life in Texas, but it exists nonetheless.

A great example of Wrath James White’s writing prowess is the collection of short stories, poetry, and flash fiction entitled: Like Porno for Psychos. While this collection is relatively short, at only 87 pages in length, the assortment of 12 stories presented in the anthology is some of the best hardcore horror on the market today.

These pieces include:

Sex and Slaughter

Like Peyote for Pimps

Joy

Kids

Feeding Time

Rottweiler

Nothing Better to Do

House Cleaning

Fatter

The Strange Lusts of Hypocrites

After the Cure

Make Love to Me

All of these tales could warrant in-depth discussion. Not all of the stories are explicitly violent or explicitly sexual. Nor can any one piece be used to exemplify the collection as a whole. Some of the tales are rooted in reality, while others contain strong supernatural components. There is everything here from a transgender demon to a housewife with a serious case of obsessive compulsive disorder.

Perhaps the most bizarre of the tales is “Feeding Time.”  It follows Sandy, a middle-aged housewife with a disintegrating marriage. Every day Sandy goes to the zoo. There, she fantasizes about lions devouring her husband while ravaging her. Over time, she begins an affair with a zookeeper while her husband carries on his own affair with the neighbor. Both relationships deteriorate, as the couple delves ever deeper into debauchery. Then, the day comes when Sandy’s fantasy is finally realized.

If there is any overarching theme in the collection, it is that victims need to stand up to for themselves. The only way to stop the oppressor is for the oppressed to rise up. “Rottweiler” expresses this theme quite clearly when a young boy channels the strength of his dog to halt a would-be pedophile from preying upon him (again). In “Joy,” a stripper gets revenge on the man who raped her as a child.

The greatest blow against the collection is its length. At 87 pages, Like Porno for Psychos is an incredibly fast read. It will leave you wanting more. At 87 pages, you expect more and it isn’t there.

It is seems out of place to criticize a book for its length. After all, shouldn’t the true measure of literature be its content, not the number of words? However, that only goes so far. One could double the amount of stories in the collection and the book would still only rate a novella in length.

This criticism aside, Like Porno for Psychos is a must read for anyone interested in extreme horror. What Wrath James White manages to capture in these limited pages is more than most authors do in a lifetime.

Order it here.

Rating: 4/5

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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 Wrath James White ‘Like Porno for Psychos’ Review

  1. Vitina Molgaard // August 24, 2014 at 3:03 am // Reply

    Wow…I am honestly impressed here…sounds like something not for the weak. Great review of a book with plenty of promise…Vitina

    Like

  2. Matt Barbour // August 25, 2014 at 1:19 pm // Reply

    Interestingly, White does a good job writing strong female leads and I would recommend this book to women. He actually shoots himself in the foot a little with the title. Many people will be turned off by a book with porno in the title, but the book has more depth than you might expect.

    Like

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