David Hine and Mark Stafford unleash LIPHOOK. Set in a fictional town, it sees two fugitives enter a smog enveloped town called Lip Hook. One is a sweaty, skeletal wounded by a gunshot. The other is a beautiful woman with a dark secret. The two find themselves among people disfigured physically by the smog, emitted from the local insect cultivation plant. They are also emotionally disfigured, as the suspending of access into the town has distanced everyone from the outside world. Securing a room in a local pub, the two now have to treat the town with caution. But the town must also tread carefully. There is something bewitching about the woman. Something strangely hypnotic. She wants to take and not give, she wants to add a new note to the towns desire. Her audience is willing but will it cause an uproar?
Notes on LIPHOOK mention it is inspired by M R James, which I could not see at all. It is also inspired by British Gothic horror cinema. Films like The Wicker Man and Blood on Satan’s Claw. Which in truth is all over this work. From the Pagan deities, the physical images of femininity that surround the town and the power of female sexuality. This all mixes into a story about a town in rapture.You could also say ecological horror from Britain in the shape of The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue manifests itself here. Finally you could even say that the writers choose to introduce the exotic and multicultural in an Indian character, married to the local lord no less. This all infuses the piece with a note of diversity but also British thematic devices. Faith and Pagan ancestry. Small town and insularity. The power of new religions to covert by offering alternatives (Films like The Wicker Man are often all about the power of Satanism to offer an easier alternative). This LIP HOOK intelligently positions in a familiar construct. Asking the reader when normalcy is undermined by alternatives, what replaces it can often be just as absurd.
What sharply improves LIP HOOK is its visualisation. Deformed , delirious and magnetic. Its colour defused panels are heightened to B movie.The images of physical forms seemingly melt into each other.The body parts of those affected are warn down with acidic horror. So much of this feels cinematic. It feels modern and classical. Fused together like the bodies in SOCIETY (an 80s horror film from American about capitalism).