My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There once lived a very wise old woman who’d spoken to another wise woman—of her kinship—the following words:
‘When people die and go to Heaven, they don’t want to come back to the land of the living; but when people die and go to Hell, they can’t come back to the land of the living.’
Are you familiar with Apollyon? If not, my fellow reader, allow me to share a bit of knowledge with you concerning this particular spiritual being of otherworldly existence.
During my teenage years, as a high school student, I had been what’s called a headbanger. No, not THAT kind of headbanger (get your dirty mind straight — laughs), but a metal head … A fan of heavy metal music, respectively. And though I loved metal in general, I took a special liking to its subgenre of thrash metal in particular: Metallica, Slayer (especially Slayer as I owned all of the band’s albums), Necrophagia, Megadeth, Helloween, Anthrax, Exodus (they did some really great touring with Slayer back in the day), Overkill, Testament, Celtic Frost, and Venom, just to name a small bundle. Now, the last band mentioned, Venom, is the main focus of my witness. As I had been a thrash metal junkie, Venom, a band whose first album I purchased back in 1986 and spent a great deal of time listening to and studying, creatively, had its drummer in a man named Anthony Bray, whose stage name had been “Abaddon.” And fascinated by the strange moniker, I earnestly set forth to research its meaning, in order to obtain an understanding of its origin. In my private investigation of the name “Abaddon,” I also came upon the name “Apollyon”—one of Abaddon’s Greek equivalents—and studied it thoroughly as well, securing a full understanding of the foredoomed spiritual being to whom both names applied. This study was extremely arousing to my curiosity and only served to intensify my childhood fascination with learning throughout those bygone years.
Identified in the New Testament Book of Revalation (Revelation 9:11), the angel of the bottomless pit has his name in two translations: Abaddon in Hebrew, and Apollyon in Greek. And it is he who reigns as king over the locusts that have been commanded to ascend from the bottomless pit at the sound of the fifth angel’s trumpet — which is to be emitted accordingly after the Seventh Seal is opened in Heaven and Jehovah God’s fierce wrath is poured out upon the face of the Earth.
Ironically, that same extensive fieldwork, done by me 31 years ago, lays the foundation for my brief analysis of the petrifying horror fiction that is The Apollyon Game.
Penned by new horror scribe, Clive Reznor, this 80-page occultic prose of mesmerizing fright orbits around a bullied outcast named Portia, a hopeless and abominably hateful girl who plays human host to the Legion, and embarks on a ghastly revenge mission against those of her fiendishly deplorable foes.
Heavily reminding me of the Cenobite Pinhead, otherwise known as Hell Priest from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser franchise, Portia has sold her soul to the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places in exchange for the otherworldly power to exact her hellish veangance on others, resulting from her own bitterly miserable life of seclusion and derision. Five unfortunate individuals who, after having shown themselves disapproved, fall prey to both the ill-omened Portia and a startling test of truth or dare that the mysteriously dreadful potagonist so chillingly refers to as The Apollyon Game. Terrifying as the pit of Hell itself, to contradict that The Apollyon Game is anything save blood-curdling would be to deprive the effort of its evident merit.
Distinctly inspired by some of the genre’s greatest masters like King, Barker, Carpenter, Craven, and Lovecraft, Clive Reznor’s The Apollyon Game is an especially applaudable narrative of scapel-sharp, unrelenting horror. And it is not a transitory prose that I would counsel any unfeigned connoisseur of fictional trepidation to deprive themselves of.
Five fire and brimstone stars.
Thank you, AOE Studios, for the complimentary copy.
Congratulations, Clive. Great success to you.