Long-infected with the genes of the vyrmin–an evil, werewolf-type race–the townsfolk of Harpersville run wild when the Dark Time arrives, and the leadership of the menace will fall to one of the two Norris brothers.
Werewolf stories are dime-a-dozen.
Werewolves (and vampires, and zombies) are so overdone that most horror outlets specifically say “hey don’t send us anything with werewolves, vampires or zombies in it” when you look at their submission guidelines.
So what makes Vyrmin stand out in a sea of lycanthrope also-rans?
Simple. It’s weird.
Originally published in 1992, Gene Lazuta’s Vyrmin is the story of a small Ohio town that harbors a terrible curse. It’s the epicenter of an awakening. The awakening of a long-dormant cosmic evil.
Does this sound like H.P. Lovecraft? Good. Because that’s exactly what it is like.
At the center of this awakening are the Norris brothers, one of whom will inherit the title of “Blood Prince” and oversee the return of the “Dark Times”. These Dark Times are essentially a return to hell-on-Earth when a demonic force turns everyone into werewolf-like creatures that go bonkers and murder everything.
Vyrmin is a strange book. It’s definitely NOT the standard “bitten by a werewolf and the old gypsy said BEWARE” plot line. Lazuta mixes the aofrementioned ‘Lovecraftian’ elements in with the lycanthropes, and some absolutely surreal action.
Seriously, the action sequences are like batsh*t crazy fever dreams. They really shine with excellent description and prose, but are extremely jarring if you’re not ready for them, because they are written in a different tone than the rest of the story.
Insane action sequences aside, my major gripe with Vyrmin was its slow middle. The book starts off strong, ends strong, but like so many novels it has kind of a saggy middle where not a lot happens. There are sequences of action followed by long lulls of exposition. That said, it didn’t keep me from finishing the book.
While not for everyone, I could definitely recommend Vyrmin to any fans of werewolf horror who are looking for something outside of the same old plot lines.
Side note: This is the 2nd re-issue I’ve read from Bloodshot Books. The other, The Breeze Horror, will be an upcoming review. Editor Pete Kahle is doing the Lord’s work over there, resurrecting all these lesser-known but interesting horror novels from the 80’s and 90’s in ebook format with new cover art. It’s really cool to see someone making some more obscure horror stories available again in a convenient and affordable way.
What I Liked:
- Weird werewolves with human-skin belts
- Whacked out, almost psychedelic, action sequences
- Sheriff Conway
What I Didn’t Like:
- Saggy middle
- Peaks and valleys of action versus massive expository dialogue
- Some of those cool action sequences felt like they were from another book/story