SHAPESHIFTING BIZARRO TIKI PORN DEATH TRIP: INSIDE THE VERY WARPED MIND OF WILL VIHARO

 
 

This review was first published on an earlier incarnation of this blog. Viharo's novel—then published singly as Freaks That Carry Your Luggage Up to the Room—was my first exposure to Viharo's writing. A little while later the novel was republished by Craig McNeely's Double Life Press. I'll never have the chance to read this book for the first time again, though sometimes I wish it were possible.


 
People who checked into L’Hotel du Frisson always checked each other out, too.
— Will Viharo
 

WELCOME TO L'HOTEL DU FRISSON

If the words “fevered imagination” mean anything to you, you’ll have to re-understand them after you read Freaks That Carry Your Luggage Up to the Room, the second half of Will Viharo's Thrillville Pulp Fiction Collection Vol. 1 Double Feature. Tiki Bizarro probably doesn’t work to categorize this strange, fluid-gushing book. Not even Shapeshifting Tiki Bizarro Porn Death Trip would prepare you for Freaks.

After a shaky opening chapter—there was a lot of information crammed into the first few pages—I couldn’t stop reading, and I’m still not sure why. It wasn’t because I liked the characters. You weren’t supposed to. It wasn’t because the sentences made you gasp.

I guess what it was was a little like being trapped inside what I’d always imagined my own demented brain might look like. Except Viharo’s brain was leaking out onto the pages. He was actually writing it down. What it was was a liberation. A beautiful, filthy fucking liberation.

After that first chapter, when you’re dropped headfirst and naked into the weirdness, the novella picks up at a reckless pace with the demented plot lines sort of self-propagating seamlessly. The story just gets weirder, and the weirder it gets, the more sense it makes. It glues itself together like all the jizz and blood sticking to the sheets of L’ Hotel du Frisson.

The overall effect is, indeed, as the subtitle suggests: a nightmare. A seedy, self-imploding, funhouse nightmare.

Plus all your old favorites: Mexican porn queens, Chet Baker, Art Pepper, grindhouse movies, old horror movies, heart-shaped asses.

And cock-sucking vampires and weregirls who transform upon orgasm.

And don’t forget the Mantis Man, a voodoo priest and an old friend of John Cassavetes.

Oh, and a dwarf. Of course, a goddamn diabolical dwarf with a warty penis!

The list could go on, and does. Somewhere in the back of my head, now a permanent inmate of L’ Hotel du Frisson.

I loved this book, and would read it again in a second. If I do, I’ll make sure to put on Yma Sumac and prepare a two-foot-tall Martini.

Max Sheridan

Nicosia, Cyprus

I’m a writer of pulp fiction and the director of Write CY, a community creative writing platform in Nicosia, Cyprus. I also do copywriting, proofreading and translating at Storyline Creatives, a boutique writing consultancy with a focus on storytelling.