My first introductions to punk rock were exactly as Tim Murr described them, “pink mohawked parodies on TV shows like Mama’s Family.” Or perhaps it was a young Johnny Depp “Speaker Diving” to Agent Orange on 21 Jump Street. The fascination with these cartoon portrayals led me to seek out other punks on film. Low budget movies with actual bands performing punk rock soundtracks and even real punkers as extras.
Anyone with a special devotion to punksploitation has a story of the influence it had on their life. Return of The Living Dead took place on the day I was born, and I’ve sampled many lines from Repo Man for mixtapes, over the years. Tim Marr shares the same love for the subgenre that I do. Curating a small collection of original short stories inspired by classics of the 80s like Suburbia and Dudes. St Rooster Books released the (hopefully the 1st of many) anthology, Kids of the Black Hole.
Sarah Miner’s “Black Thunder” is a fast-paced tale of mad science. Flesh crazed Gipper clones terrorize a dive on the outskirts of town. A band of punks on tour deliver a splatter fest with excellent one-liner cheese. Chris Hallock continues the theme of surreal tour life with “Urchins”. A punkrock girl finds her true voice after a gig. Facing off with Nazi skin heads as newly crowned queen of the Philly CHUDs. Paul Lubsczewski’s “I Love Livin’ in the City” is a hard-boiled fleece. A punk gang prowls through strange city streets, ready to pounce on poseurs for a good time. But amid the flames and dead bodies, who is hunting who? “Skate or Die” by Jeremy Lowe is a demonic cumming-of-age nightmare. Weird kids gotta stick together and take back their power when friendships are threatened. Even if it means unleashing hell on your hometown with Satanic skateboard Droogs! Tim Murr concludes the anthology with “What We Do Is Secret”. A spooky crush drags a musician into the middle of necromancer feud. Caught between a swamp witch and a death cult, this story proves that sometimes punk rock can save your life.
I certainly hope to see more volumes of punksploitation anthologies from St Rooster Books in the future. The title, Kids of The Black Hole was taken from a song of the same name off the Adolescents’ blue album, as a tribute to the late bassist, Frank Soto. It’s sloppy good fun for lovers of weird fiction and the horror show of subculture.