Slept-on horror author Jon Athan brings back the good-ol’ gore and terror of the cannibal exploitation films of the 1970s.
Many hardcore horror fans go into nostalgia from the good-ol’-days of the raunchy, campy horror films made in the 1970s and 1980s. They strike fear and blood-curdling horror with unrestrained brutality, under a tight budget. Horror author Jon Athan takes the best elements of the cannibal exploitation genre for a new generation of horror fans to experience a taste of this largely forgotten niche.
The story opens to a heartwarming scene with our protagonist saying goodbye to his loving wife and child at the airport. The rest is downhill from there.
I won’t spoil anything else from the story, but I am happy to say that Jon Athan knows his stuff. Visceral descriptions of bodies mutilated and being torn apart are plenty. However, you’ll also find a cliche or cringy description every now and then. These add to the cinematic B-horror feel of the overall story.
“Rifle rounds hit the rest of her body from several angles, making her dance–a Harlem Shake.”
What surprises me most about this book is what the author wrote AFTER the story is over.
Cannibal exploitation films have a dark history of mistreating and misrepresenting the indigenous people. Suffice to say that the directors of these films weren’t kind to the locals they hired.
Luckily, Jon Athan has taken a different approach to this subject. After the story ends, the author dedicates pages to his experience researching the locations and peoples of the Amazon rainforest. He makes sure the reader knows that he has no intention to portray real indigenous people as less than human. This acknowledgment is a much-appreciated step forward. Jon Athan makes sure the characters are aware of the threats the indigenous Amazonians constantly face: drug cartels, illegal loggers, and mercenaries who continue hunting them for profit.
“Clarke said some of the tribe members spotted them with the dead body. . . . that’s why they’re torturing us.”
Jon Athan is becoming America’s next best extreme horror author. I highly recommend Cannibal Jungle for fans of the niche film genre and for new readers of extreme horror fiction.