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Crabs on the Rampage – Guy N. Smith

26 Sep

CrabsWi'MonkOnThey had come back

One man only saw them and him they killed, hunted him down through the dense reed bed, trapped him, drove him mad with terror before they pulled him to pieces and ate every bloodied shred of his body.

And then it was quiet again for a little while.

Until they came ashore again, in their hundreds, their bodies reeking with a malignant cancerous disease that was within them.  The disease that was driving them mad with pain, mad to kill, t wipe out every living thing in their path.

On that beach were hundreds of men, women and children. Food.

The awkwardness of the blurb both grammatically and in decency is just part of the charm of this series and I have missed getting my fix of those cunning crustaceans that are as big as sheep, cows or horses depending on which book you happen to be face deep in.

My hankering for the resilient sea life started whilst watching Independence Day: Resurgence, which was a terrible sequel.  Adding to that a conversation about a lot of film series having their fourth installments set in space like Critters, Hellraiser and Leprechaun (all of which I enjoyed coincidentally), it was in vain anticipation that I turned to Crabs on the Rampage which I hoped would be (however implausably) set in the infinite black depths.

Being a pulpy horror, it is perhaps not such an outlandish hope but sadly it came to be set in 1980’s Britain where it seems everybody is pretty mean-spirited or downtrodden or wanting sex for the most part.  To this setting, the crabs come to put people out of their misery with gory and somewhat repetitious disembowelling revenge, a lot is repeated from other books of the series but newcomers need not be put off as this installment works well by itself.

The over the top first chapter – which is pretty much the blurb – says it all really and this is the level of profundity you can expect from the rest of the book as well.  If you enjoy character development this is not the book for you, with the huge body count it puts Game of Thrones to shame for wiping people out, although these deaths are all predictable and set up to be so.  Not that returning characters get to develop either, plot is king in this book.

Flimsy at best is the way I would describe the plot but that may be giving it more credit than it deserves.  For your money you essentially get a bunch of scenes with plenty of butchery and panic, there is little build up or tension to these set pieces, they serve to further the plot vaguely and highlight how stupid people in horror stories and films are.  Don’t tempt fate and never have sex anywhere that isn’t an impregnable fortress otherwise you are doomed to put it simply.

The lack of a convincing denouement is a bit disappointing and yet I found myself thinking ‘fair enough, that’s was acceptable’, which is odd but makes the book more memorable, or at least memorable at any rate.  Having read books one, three and five and six previously, this added little apart from another gruesome festival of marine surgery but it is gleefully grotesque for those of you who enjoy cheesy horror and especially the films of the genre.

I enjoyed the 80’s vibe with all it’s out of date sexism and rubbish cars but there isn’t much left to explore where the crabs are concerned, they have little depth apart from those they retreat to after another killing spree.  They are just the usual indefatigable nemesis with diminishing returns seen in multitude elsewhere in horror and sci-fi.

Predictably though it won’t stop me getting the last two books that I haven’t read yet mainly because these are decent short reads that require nothing more than a vague attention span.  Unlike James Herbert’s The Rats, there is a sense of these books being more tongue in cheek and for that I appreciate them more.  I firmly believe it is a benefit to own such pulpy works in one’s collection, they allow the more serious books time to settle in your brain and are good for a laugh.

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27 Comments

Posted by on 26/09/2016 in Horror

 

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27 responses to “Crabs on the Rampage – Guy N. Smith

  1. Jill Weatherholt

    26/09/2016 at 18:33

    Yikes! That’s a scary thought…hundreds of crabs coming ashore. This would not only keep me out of the water, like Jaws did, but off the beach as well. Great review, Ste J!

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    • Ste J

      26/09/2016 at 18:45

      In this instalment it isn’t just the people’s of the coast who have to be weary either. Jaws was a great film, proper enjoyed that, perhaps I should go on a literary sea life murder tour.

      Liked by 2 people

       
  2. Alastair Savage

    26/09/2016 at 18:46

    Hysterical! I cannot believe you shelled out for another one. But how exactly do the crabs drive their victims mad before disembowelling them? Surely there isn’t time.

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    • Ste J

      26/09/2016 at 18:58

      Ha, nicely punned. The crabs are just themselves and it is the people who go insane because they still haven’t come to terms with such abominations. These people obviously don’t pay attention to the news.

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      • Alastair Savage

        26/09/2016 at 19:15

        It sounds like their victims deserved to be torn limb from limb though. These novels sound like a touching and bittersweet portrayal of what happens when giant crustaceans run amok.

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        • Ste J

          26/09/2016 at 19:26

          I think the crabs are just misunderstood, it’s like a messed up Star Trek IV, ironically a fourth film usually set in space but wasn’t that time for the most part.

          Liked by 1 person

           
  3. shadowoperator

    26/09/2016 at 19:13

    Hey, Ste J! If you like this “cheesy horror” book, which seems to have little to redeem it, then chances are that you would really enjoy “Kraken,” which is not only based on cheesy horror books, but also is a verifiable quality read in literary terms. I may have reviewed it or recommended it already, my memory is a little spotty lately due to summertime sleep deficits. But the fall weather is now upon us, and I am feeling a bit more energetic already! I hope you get to read “Kraken” soon, if you and I haven’t in fact already exchanged opinions about it (which, for some reason, I seem to feel we may have done).

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    • Ste J

      26/09/2016 at 19:21

      You certainly did recommend it and I tried but couldn’t get into it which made us both sad. The Autumnal happenings don’t seem to be happening here yet as the weather is still decent which means it will hit with force when it does start. Avalanches of leaves changing colour as they smite everything in their paths…a bit like the crabs.

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      • shadowoperator

        26/09/2016 at 23:49

        All right, I can see you have a one-track mind right now…go back to your crabs (and why not enjoy some crabs’ legs dipped in butter, as the appropriate accompaniment to the fiction?).

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        • Ste J

          27/09/2016 at 18:27

          If it helps I did enjoy The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham. I’ve never tried crab before and I bet somewhere is a crab saying the exact same thing about humans, maybe one day I will.

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          • shadowoperator

            28/09/2016 at 10:52

            Whatever you do, don’t get canned crab unless you are a whiz chef–it’s horrible! If you can get to a good Chinese restaurant, crab Rangoon well-made is one of the best appetizers (a bit pricey, though). Still, that’s mostly cream cheese, and if you want the true flavor of a good crab dish, a crab cake or two (also on the upscale price list) is better. I’ve never eaten crabs’ legs, dipped in butter or not, and they frankly look luke too much effort for too little return, sort of like lobster (though I do like lobster, too). What can you do about “Lobsters on thet Rampage”?

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            • Ste J

              28/09/2016 at 18:49

              I wonder if Lobsters on the Rampage would be more formidable, they would be rubbish at camouflage if they were red, still it would be great to have a series of those culminating in a Godzilla style fight between the two franchises. I think I will give the seafood a miss though, just in case it comes back to bite me…

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  4. clarepooley33

    27/09/2016 at 01:15

    We all need to read something cheesy now and again and if we can have a laugh as well, all the better!

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    • Ste J

      27/09/2016 at 18:23

      I like to save stuff like this for when I finish a particularly challenging or thought provoking book, I can focus my thoughts as the book unfolds and there is nothing to miss. Plus the crabs are helping bring down the world’s overpopulation so maybe it is just propaganda that they really are the baddies…

      Liked by 1 person

       
  5. Lyn

    27/09/2016 at 06:56

    My goodness! Think I’ll give that one a miss 😮 I value my peaceful sleep far too much.

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    • Ste J

      27/09/2016 at 18:20

      The highly ridiculous nature of it would put to bed any vague fears this may conjure up, although that weitrd sideways walk is horrible in the same way a spider’s gait is too.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  6. Gitanjali Singh Cherian

    27/09/2016 at 12:12

    Haha! Sounds like a riot of a read! 🙂

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    • Ste J

      27/09/2016 at 18:18

      It is fun to play spot the cliché as well. This is certainly one for the lighter moments in life.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  7. Lucy

    27/09/2016 at 19:38

    Yay for the cars! I hope men made escapes in Cortinas, their wives in Novas, and their grans in Allegros, ‘cos that’s how we roll 80s styleee!

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    • Ste J

      28/09/2016 at 19:00

      Crikey, they would have had to have some money for three cars although maybe not so much with those three. I miss the humble Nova and the tank that was the Ford Granada, I like to think the tanks mentioned in the Crabs books are actually just Granadas with a gun Pritt sticked on.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  8. Jessica

    29/09/2016 at 01:47

    Haha, this doesn’t seem like something that I would ever want to read, but I can completely understand the urge to read some sort of pulpy fun fiction. Have you ever heard of Ryu Murakami (haha the other Murakami?). I read his book “In The Miso Soup” which might intrigue you. 🙂

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    • Ste J

      29/09/2016 at 15:07

      I shall check it out, I read the mire well known Murakami but can’t say that I get all the hype about him, unless I read some of his lesser works. I do love some pulp but normally I tend to the more literary of such like Raymond Chandler, still if I can read Crabs books so you don’t have to then I have done a good thing.

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  9. Andrea Stephenson

    03/10/2016 at 13:04

    I guess you get what you’d expect in this book, but the over the top blurb makes me want to read it anyway 🙂

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    • Ste J

      04/10/2016 at 11:40

      Like a cheesy 80’s horror film, the bar can be set low and then the inventiveness of the set pieces can elevate opinion. I enjoy this sort of stuff though, it’s a welcome bit of fun in my world all too serious literature.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  10. Resa

    04/10/2016 at 21:49

    Luv cheesy horror! It’s a laff start to finish.
    Perhaps the Crabs will meet their doom at the hands of a Crab Fisherman who cans them & gets rich. LOL!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      05/10/2016 at 12:56

      That would have to be one big fisherman, I like that madcap idea, it would probably fit in perfectly with the books though!

      Like

       

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