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The Other Side of the Closet: A Queer Horror Collection

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30 review for The Other Side of the Closet: A Queer Horror Collection

  1. 5 out of 5

    Steve Tannuzzo

    Here’s a collection sent to me by the author. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but what I got was a series of taut psychological and body horror stories that were surprisingly creepy and generous on the gore. And no, before you ask, I’ve never read a story about the ghost of a drag queen haunting (and attacking) the patrons of a bar called The Rabbit’s Hole, but it’s in this collection and it’s one of several surprises that await the reader.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Entazis

    Well, this was one fun and gory book! I love queer horror so this was a no-brainer buy for me. The stories in this collection explore different sexualities and living situations, from closeted to openly out characters. Some depictions of horror in this collection stems from the real life horrors of living in the homophobic and transphobic world (Local Queen was such a hard read), some are just pure fun concepts (The Boy and the Bear! I laughed out loud reading it, it was such a great erotic horro Well, this was one fun and gory book! I love queer horror so this was a no-brainer buy for me. The stories in this collection explore different sexualities and living situations, from closeted to openly out characters. Some depictions of horror in this collection stems from the real life horrors of living in the homophobic and transphobic world (Local Queen was such a hard read), some are just pure fun concepts (The Boy and the Bear! I laughed out loud reading it, it was such a great erotic horror comedy!) and some even talk about intercomunity problems (reading Meat Up was such a punch in the gut after following all the "no kink at pride" discourse most recently). So yeah, I would definitely recommend it to those who are interested in queer horror. It's gory, brutal, funny, hungry, emotional and hard.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    LGBTQ+ horror is a subgenre that has been around for quite some time; some theorists believe that horror itself is a genre that has always been homoerotic, if not outright queer in nature. In the last decade, dark fiction has pushed itself even further out of the closet, and what better way to show this but with The Other Side of the Closet: A Queer Horror Collection? Author Patrick J. Kane's slim but spooky compilation offers up eight stories ranging in focus from the grotesque to the cerebral. LGBTQ+ horror is a subgenre that has been around for quite some time; some theorists believe that horror itself is a genre that has always been homoerotic, if not outright queer in nature. In the last decade, dark fiction has pushed itself even further out of the closet, and what better way to show this but with The Other Side of the Closet: A Queer Horror Collection? Author Patrick J. Kane's slim but spooky compilation offers up eight stories ranging in focus from the grotesque to the cerebral. The collection opens with a strange tale, one that is part bizarro fiction, part waking nightmare. “Manicure,” on its surface, follows an unnamed narrator as s/he tries to free him/herself from confinement. Metaphorically, the story reads like an allegory of coming out: the fierce desperate will to be oneself battling the pain, self-consciousness, and worry that keeps one hostage. The imagery is powerful here, but there were four other stories that I liked even better. In “Big Spoon, Little Spoon,” partners Sameera and Lily wake up one morning literally fused together: an unsettling thought for anyone who has passed the honeymoon stage of a relationship, never mind anyone claustrophobic. The real fright occurs when the two women try to dislodge themselves from each other. Delightfully graphic squeamishness ensues. There is a similar level of body horror buried in the middle of “Redux,” but it is just as effective. In this closing story, when he is unable to find a shelter, Raeden stumbles upon a building site under construction. Inside of it lies not just any abandoned structure but a house that is sickeningly familiar. The story is full of Outer Limits-creepiness, but in addition, it presents a heartfelt rendition of the nightmare one encounters when rejected by the people who are supposed to accept and love you the most. In the ghost story “Local Queen,” it’s soon after Kieran’s first night working at The Rabbit Hole bar that they learn about the fate of Scarlet, a drag queen whose victimization in a homophobia-spurred attack resulted in her ghastly suicide. Unfortunately for Kieran, Scarlet never really left the scene of her demise, and her wronged spirit is hungry for a new muse. My favorite tale in the bunch, hands-down, is “Circuit.” Zahir’s first foray into the circuit party world starts off erotic and exciting, but he soon learns the secret meaning of the event’s title and the word stamped on his hand by the bouncer when he enters. Kane’s dark romp reminded me of one of my favorite opening movie scenes: the rave in 1998’s Blade. I suspected where it might be going, and I loved every step forward. Kane warns his readers in his forward, “Grab your heels, tighten your strap-on, and reapply your lip gloss, sweetie. This is the moment to embrace your queerest form.” Horror fans will appreciate Kane’s frightful descriptions and unique story arcs, no matter where on gender and sexuality spectrum they might fall.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Phoebe

    While reading The Other Side Of The Closet I felt like I should be sitting in on a Literature course to help me dissect the meaning of the stories. After reading each story, you have to write down your impressions of what the story might really be about other wise it is just a gory snippet or a mind fuck adventure you are reading. Looking at the cover I am thinking that it is a human searching for their identity whether they are transitioning, finding themself, or in a bad relationship (this las While reading The Other Side Of The Closet I felt like I should be sitting in on a Literature course to help me dissect the meaning of the stories. After reading each story, you have to write down your impressions of what the story might really be about other wise it is just a gory snippet or a mind fuck adventure you are reading. Looking at the cover I am thinking that it is a human searching for their identity whether they are transitioning, finding themself, or in a bad relationship (this last one is from the hint in the synopsis). I kind of figured out Manicure but that was only because of how the scene is set up. I totally did not figure Big Spoon, Little Spoon. Quote: “Lily stared straight up at the ceiling, gagging on her own maroon spill, yet she somehow managed a simple smile across her face before the night took her away.” (Loc 211, Big Spoon, Little Spoon”. Kane has a fantastic use of language to describe actions. Circuit had me squirming so much my cat slapped me. Kane would be delirious to know that they made me squirm and be all, “No, No, No….” Yet I kept reading thinking at one point Zahir is going to wake up, get away...freaking something. I will confess that I have an aversion to horror stories with piercings because you know it is only going to go one way. Still shaking my head “No” (laugh). I think Redux surprised me the most as it is completely opposite in style as the rest of the collection. It is an emotional trauma piece which you realize can’t be true and I think that makes it sadder because there is no happily-ever-after. You just experience the trauma with no relief. There is one story that started to make me cry. Local Queen could be a recounting of an event that actually happened. I am getting all emotional and thinking poor Scarlet. Kane is now thinking, “Sucker!” Yeah...holy sugar! Do not get sucked in because this is a gross dark one rainbows. I thought Kiernan was going to be cleaning my vomit next. (laugh) I don’t know if I would read The Other Side Of The Closet in one sitting like I did. I was still saying, “ewwww” to one story and then jumping into Kane’s next story without taking a break (laugh). This book would actually make a great horror discussion marathon with everyone voicing what they think the truth is behind the horror. Enjoy this #FrightNight addition. I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tim Byrne

    Don’t Say He Didn’t Warn You! This short story collection begins with an author’s warning that “[t]he following works contain imagery, language, and actions that may be deemed as vile, demented, and grotesque” and that some content may be triggering. It’s a fair warning. The concept of “a queer horror collection” piqued my interest and the book definitely highlights a range of identities and experiences. Reading these thematically and stylistically varied stories, it occurs to me that there’s an i Don’t Say He Didn’t Warn You! This short story collection begins with an author’s warning that “[t]he following works contain imagery, language, and actions that may be deemed as vile, demented, and grotesque” and that some content may be triggering. It’s a fair warning. The concept of “a queer horror collection” piqued my interest and the book definitely highlights a range of identities and experiences. Reading these thematically and stylistically varied stories, it occurs to me that there’s an inherent challenge in creating horror narratives involving LGBTQ characters; many of us have experienced violence or threats thereof, or simply feelings of dread related to societal marginalization. Turning that into entertainment requires a certain level of disassociation from the empathy we quite naturally feel for the characters with whom we might identify. There’s also the challenge of horror in a short story vs. a novel. The novel ideally gets us to identify with the protagonist(s) and become invested in their struggle; we don’t know how it will end, but we kind of hope the protagonists will survive and possibly vanquish the source of the horror. In short stories, we’re given less time to get to know the protagonist, let alone identify with them. And the structure of these particular stories is such that when the turning point comes and the protagonist learns what they’re up against, they are pretty much doomed. All this is by way of saying that Kane (and the reader) face certain challenges from the outset and your enjoyment may depend, in part, on your personal tolerance for gruesome, make-believe horrors that bump up against everyday societal pressures. The stories, despite fantastical and supernatural elements, take place (mostly) in a recognizable social reality. Coming out and living your truth involves familiar trepidations along with unexpected (and frightening) supernatural ones. Kane uses absurdist horror tropes to investigate real-world social phenomena. One thing that comes through is the author’s storytelling skill and intellect; telling you just enough up front to set the stage and keep you curious about what’s coming, then slowly, carefully introducing the elements that comprise the horror (at which point, there is no return for the characters). If you’re looking for something to disturb your sleep and send chills up your spine, this collection will do that. I look forward to future works by the author where the well-drawn characters get to chart a future that isn’t pre-ordained against them.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Clarissa

    *I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*. Let it be known from the start that gory horror is not my jam, so the Author's note at the beginning of this collection should have turned me away. However, I hadn't really found much LGBTQ+ horror before, so I wanted to give it a go. Here are my brutally honest thoughts on the experience. The book starts off with a bang with Manicure. That story punched me in the gut and took me back to a time before coming out that I hadn't *I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*. Let it be known from the start that gory horror is not my jam, so the Author's note at the beginning of this collection should have turned me away. However, I hadn't really found much LGBTQ+ horror before, so I wanted to give it a go. Here are my brutally honest thoughts on the experience. The book starts off with a bang with Manicure. That story punched me in the gut and took me back to a time before coming out that I hadn't visited in a while. While definitely physically horrifying in some ways, this story does not belie the stomach-churning imagery that it is to come in later stories. Big Spoon, Little Spoon, Circuit and Meat Up are the goriest of the lot, with Circuit in particular leaving me nauseated hours after reading. If you have reservations about the bloodletting side of horror, maybe skip/skim those. That said, those stories also included a bit of insider knowledge to the queer scene that I really appreciated. Made me slightly nostalgic, in a way. My ratings for each individual story would be : Manicure - 4.5 stars Big Spoon, Little Spoon - 3.5 stars Circuit - 2 stars I Watched Her - 4 stars The Boy and the Bear - 1 star Local Queen - 4.75 stars Meat Up - 3.75 stars Redux - 4.5 stars Some of these are rated lower simply because the gore factor was so hard to stomach, even though the stories in concept were good (Circuit, Meat Up). The Boy and the Bear was hard to read simply because of the repetition of saying the characters' names at the start of every sentence. All of them are rated lower than they might otherwise have been because of editing mistakes (several misspellings or typos). Overall, I give this collection 3.5 stars. Patrick J. Kane definitely knows how to make his readers feel something. Whether that's terror or glee is up to you.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    The stories in this collection are like broken, twisted fingers that reach out and, with surprising strength, wrap around your heart and your brain and squeeze... squeeze... squeeze... long after you have stopped reading them. Covering a range of subjects, and with a refreshing array of protagonists, the stories in this collection are beautifully crafted little gems written with spare prose that yet manages to paint graphic, lush scenes of unsettling dread and outright horror. From frenetic danc The stories in this collection are like broken, twisted fingers that reach out and, with surprising strength, wrap around your heart and your brain and squeeze... squeeze... squeeze... long after you have stopped reading them. Covering a range of subjects, and with a refreshing array of protagonists, the stories in this collection are beautifully crafted little gems written with spare prose that yet manages to paint graphic, lush scenes of unsettling dread and outright horror. From frenetic dance parties to intimate bedrooms, there will be a story in this collection that will ruin moments of normal life for the majority of readers... I will never again attend a circuit party; I now wake in the night and feel my lover's arm around me, hot and heavy, and have to fight the urge to push him away from me. I tend to shy away from short stories because I am always left wanting more, feeling like I am just getting into the world of the story when it comes to an end. This is a collection where the writer does such a good job of evoking dread and horror that the stories are just the right length - when they finish, it is almost a relief. And I certainly couldn't read more than one of these stories in a sitting, and they really shouldn't be read quickly - these are stories to be savoured and thought about long after the reader has put them aside. When you're doing the dishes, or lying in bed, or taking out the trash, or standing in a darkened doorway... that's when these stories will creep into your consciousness and that is what makes them such sweet, horrible delights. Fans of early Stephen King short stories will feel right at home in this horrific collection, and if I am left wanting more it is more from this author that I want.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Martins

    I think that by now it's safe to say that LGBT+ is one of my favorite book genres, so I wanted to venture myself into reading new and not so well known books in it. That being said I'm presented by a horror themed LGBT+ book! I don't usually read horror books, mostly because the ones I've read until now haven't had the type of horror I'm looking for: the type that make your neck hair stand up, makes you squirm in your seat and look behind your back to make sure no one's there... but here it is! Lik I think that by now it's safe to say that LGBT+ is one of my favorite book genres, so I wanted to venture myself into reading new and not so well known books in it. That being said I'm presented by a horror themed LGBT+ book! I don't usually read horror books, mostly because the ones I've read until now haven't had the type of horror I'm looking for: the type that make your neck hair stand up, makes you squirm in your seat and look behind your back to make sure no one's there... but here it is! Like it says in the title, this is a collection of small stories, being that the book is only 100 and a few pages, so it's a pretty fast read. In the begining you're greeted with an Author's Warning, because yes, this book is VERY EXPLICIT. Even with the warning I wasn't really prepared for what I read right from the begining: sexual situations, swearing and so much gore. And I LOVED IT. It was everything I was hoping for! You have eight stories that tell queer topics or issues in a creative and twisted way, entertaining but also making you think about what is being talked about. My favorite is, without a doubt number six: "Local Queen", about a zombie Drag Queen that haunts the bar where she used to perform. It's the creepiest of them all, kinda like a story told around a fire in a camping trip. Just amazing! I've also loved the diversity all around the book. In "Local Queen" one of the main characters has they/them as pronouns, which was a first for me. You also have gays, lesbians, drag queens, transgender folks, he's and she's. Just an all around great concoction of characters, which makes me very happy! Thank you again so much Patrick for giving me the eBook to review, it was an amazing read and over all great experience in a world I knew very little about!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    I’ll keep this spoiler free. OMFG I loved this book! I am a gay man and I looove horror. But there are few horror books catered to our community. Especially well written and unflinchingly raw books. Clive Barker is one of the few LGBTQ+ horror authors that come to mind (who I love btw). This book reminded me of Barker’s Books of Blood. Short, nasty, well written and ranging from terrifying to heartbreaking. While not every story works. The first one was a bit too metaphorical. They all conjured I’ll keep this spoiler free. OMFG I loved this book! I am a gay man and I looove horror. But there are few horror books catered to our community. Especially well written and unflinchingly raw books. Clive Barker is one of the few LGBTQ+ horror authors that come to mind (who I love btw). This book reminded me of Barker’s Books of Blood. Short, nasty, well written and ranging from terrifying to heartbreaking. While not every story works. The first one was a bit too metaphorical. They all conjured the feelings of being in this community so well. It felt like reading the fears I had growing up gay, but to a terrifying extreme. The detail in these story is downright disgusting. In a good way. It takes a lot to make me cringe in horror and this def did it. But it also had characters I cared for, rooted for, which made their demise all the more painful. I also loved how inclusive this was. Showing all the different types of people that make up our beautiful rainbow. God I would love to see these as movies/shorts. The visuals were just so well written. I would go deeper into the stories themselves, but I don’t want to ruin anymore than what the synopsis gives. This book is short and nasty. A wonderful gift from the insanely talented new writer Patrick J. Kane to the horror lovers in his community. I’ve got my eyes on you Mr. Kane. Can’t wait to read whatever else you have coming!

  10. 5 out of 5

    ~Cyanide Latte~

    While I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that this collection is for, I'm not one of them. I appreciated the first and last stories in here well enough, but beyond that, none of these stories really clicked with me. I'm a little disappointed, because I'd hoped that I would at least enjoy most of them enough to hang onto this collection, but alas, it would appear that isn't going to be the case. For whatever reason, GoodReads has this only listed as an ebook, but I do in fact have a phy While I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that this collection is for, I'm not one of them. I appreciated the first and last stories in here well enough, but beyond that, none of these stories really clicked with me. I'm a little disappointed, because I'd hoped that I would at least enjoy most of them enough to hang onto this collection, but alas, it would appear that isn't going to be the case. For whatever reason, GoodReads has this only listed as an ebook, but I do in fact have a physical copy. I won't be listing it as owned however. I'm either going to sell this or give it away. Again, just wasn't really one where anything clicked with me or I really...felt anything, I guess.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This is a perfect read just in time for Halloween! It is extremely vivid and terrifying, but the gore and gruesomeness of it all holds deeper symbolic purpose, so it doesn't seem gratuitous. The book held my attention all the way through, and I managed to finish the whole thing in one sitting. Patrick explores feelings of darkness that are universal; and given that it is a horror, it is satisfying to see these fears and issues taken to an extreme. Highly recommend!! This is a perfect read just in time for Halloween! It is extremely vivid and terrifying, but the gore and gruesomeness of it all holds deeper symbolic purpose, so it doesn't seem gratuitous. The book held my attention all the way through, and I managed to finish the whole thing in one sitting. Patrick explores feelings of darkness that are universal; and given that it is a horror, it is satisfying to see these fears and issues taken to an extreme. Highly recommend!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    This is some of the most gory horror I've read. So disturbing, but I liked it and couldn't put it down. From the very first page, these stories caused such visceral reactions from me. I had chills, I squirmed with discomfort, and at times, was totally grossed out. This is some of the most gory horror I've read. So disturbing, but I liked it and couldn't put it down. From the very first page, these stories caused such visceral reactions from me. I had chills, I squirmed with discomfort, and at times, was totally grossed out.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Robin Bonne

    Bizarro fiction at its finest. All the stories in this collection were good, but Local Queen stood out as great. In my youth, I spent a lot of time in a queer bar like the Rabbit Hole and so could vividly picture the story. This was a story I won’t forget any time soon.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ash Mackay

  15. 5 out of 5

    John Noonan

  16. 4 out of 5

    Abraham Phillips

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tom O'Brien

  18. 5 out of 5

    Charles

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ben Fye

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jason Barnes

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marisa

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joey Vichio

  23. 4 out of 5

    Josh

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Branchini

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  26. 5 out of 5

    Greg Poole

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tiernan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rodrigo Binkowski

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rachael

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

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