Blood Farm, Sam Siciliano, 1988
My favorite quote: It isn’t a quote from the book itself, but I just love that Blood Farm calls itself “an Iowa Gothic” on the cover. I mean, what is an Iowa Gothic? And do we need Iowa Gothics?
Notable characters: Mike Michaels, the tortured Viet Nam vet; Angela Rosalba, the hitchhiker, Dr. Blut, the creepy owner of Blut Farm; Ursula, his beautiful, nasty daughter
Most memorable scene: Sam Siciliano knows how to write some gory — and thus, memorable — stuff — and there are a lot of scenes in Blood Farm jumping out at me right now — but I’m going to have to go with this one: a dude being eaten by pigs …
Greatest strengths: Blood Farm has fantastic atmosphere. Not even kidding. While I was reading this, I could feel the winter cold in my bones. I’ve since read several more of Sam Siciliano’s books and they all have the ability to really bring the setting to life
Standout achievements: Blood Farm is extremely visceral. It spares the reader no tawdry detail and for that, I must admit, I like it. Thank you, Sam Siciliano. It’s almost like you know me. Blood Farm is true balls-to-wall 80s horror at its finest. And it has vampires!
Fun Facts: Blood Farm is now out of print and considered rare. The last time I looked it up there were a few places charging outrageous prices for it. I hope that changes. If not, well, I’m glad I got my copy when I did. I really love Blood Farm
Other media: There’s no way they could make Blood Farm into a movie without butchering it. They’d have to cut out so much sex and violence that it just wouldn’t be Blood Farm anymore. That said, Sam Siciliano has a few other books out there that would probably make pretty excellent movies
What it taught me: Sam Siciliano is one of the authors who taught me the power of great imagery — and Blood Farm has it in spades. When it comes to horror, reviewers often say things like, “Blood Farm will make your skin crawl!” Or, “Sam Siciliano will make you sleep with the lights on!” In this case, it’s actually true, though. Your skin will crawl, and you won’t want to be in the dark. It’s just a creepy damned book
How it inspired me: I read Blood Farm twenty-some years ago when I was longing to be a writer myself, but not sure how to go about it, and it was this book (and a couple of others by Sam Siciliano and a small handful of other writers) that deepened my need to find a way to make it happen. So as cheesy as this book is, and as differently as I may do things from Sam Siciliano, Blood Farm helped set my course. It just goes to show that you never know what might change your life.
Additional thoughts: In a technical sense, Blood Farm isn’t a great book. I realize that. It head-hops, over-describes, repeats itself, and the plot is pretty thin. Even so, this book is special to me — and I’m grateful to Sam Siciliano for writing it
Haunt me: alistaircross.com
Read Blood Farm