Scary Stories to Tingle Your Butt by Chuck Tingle

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[This is the text of the book review from episode 66.]

This episode’s book is Scary Stories to Tingle Your Butt: 7 Tales of Gay Terror by Chuck Tingle. I’m not sure where to start, here. If you’re familiar with this author you’ll know why.

I’ve wanted to review something of Chuck Tingle’s for awhile—because I wanted to read something of his and don’t have time to read for fun. So if I want to read something I have to make time to review it..

But the man is prolific. He has… a LOT of erotica. Making a decision on what to read was difficult.

Then I spied this book—he has two collections of scary stories—and I thought, ‘Great!’ Here’s as good of an excuse/opportunity as any.

Now. How to describe what I read.

It’s erotica and comedy and science fiction, at times. Some of it was very thought-provoking.

The author’s characters are sometimes straight (or they think so) but their latent homosexuality manifests itself in unusual ways. Like, as ghosts.

The actual sex is very explicit and gay, but ultimately samey—no matter who or what the protagonist is having gay sex with, the order of the sex tends to be the same, they do this act and then this act and then this act, but I suppose we all have our likes and dislikes in that way. That’s not the point of the pieces, though. Because everything else is different. From each story but also from anything else you’ve ever read. So, you know, who gives a shit.

That’s not to say the explicit, gay sex is boring. There are orgies and facials and blow jobs and anal and double penetration. It’s just often, a similar dance. One, two, three, blowie, one, two three, anal, one, two, three, facial…

A couple of the stories feature Bigfeet. (That’s the plural of Bigfoot.) Because in the world of Chuck Tingle, Bigfeet have been assimilated into human culture and have jobs and things. There are some prejudices, just as you’d expect, but, some people are cool and some people find them super sexy. Ahem.

And, you know, a human man and a male Bigfoot isn’t gay. Ahem.

Unicorns are also a thing. Big, sexy, masculine unicorns. And the ghosts of unicorns that were generals during the Civil War. A lot of this takes place in an alternate universe that I’m kinda into. I don’t know if it has a name. The Tingleverse?

Before you go into one of Chuck’s books you have to know that anything can happen. Except maybe hetero sex.
Body parts get haunted in two stories. A Bigfoot pirate haunts his balls in one and his dead unicorn lover haunts his ass in another. This is accepted as something that can happen in the Tingleverse—there is no, ‘Are you off your meds, where is your data for that?’ Which, I have to say, is a fucking blast.

‘Yup, your testicles are haunted by the most fearsome Bigfoot pirate ghost in all the land.’

‘Well, okay. Now what, doc?’

‘Shrug. Ghosts generally want to finish some unfinished business. Good luck.’

Another type of story Tingle likes to write are about inanimate objects that … are animate. The second story is ‘Vampire Night Bus Pounds My Butt’.

It’s about the Night Bus (there are sentient buses and, you know, that’s cool, but someone says this one is a vampire and the narrator is all, ‘vampires don’t exist!’ Because be serious.)

He has to stay late at work one night, though, and, wouldn’t you know… winds up on the vampire night bus. They have the wild gay sex—that’s not really a spoiler, I don’t think,—but I won’t tell you what else happens.

You might need to read the title of this next one a couple times to parse it. Ready?

‘Angry Man Pounded by the Fear of His Latent Gayness Over a Dinosaur Transitioning into a Unicorn’.

Oh yeah, dinosaurs are still a thing in the Tingleverse, too.

It’s about this ‘straight’ guy who is checking out a total babe of a unicorn and it turns out that unicorn used to be a well-known athletic dinosaur. He runs out to a unicorn strip club to watch a bunch of (male) unicorn strippers—they’re still unicorns so it’s not gay—and has a whole mental breakdown that turns into… something absolutely incredible.

No matter what you think happens—you’re wrong. I’ll say that. If anyone is attempting to copy this man they are failing. I feel confident that his mind is unique in the best ways.

Sometimes you just have to go with the flow… don’t ask ‘but how…’ questions. Another story is ‘The State of California Stalks My Gay Butthole’.

The entire state. Of California. Moves to another state to stalk a dude. You know what? It works in the story. You just have to trust the guy.

Then, there’s a super meta one called ‘Reamed by My Reaction to the Title of This Book’ which is about… I’m not sure how to describe it, but I loved it. It’d make a great Black Mirror episode… Well, an extremely NSFW Black Mirror episode. I can’t tell you anything about it without ruining it, so, sorry, but it was very cinematic. And it addresses the one complaint I have about his writing, which are the spelling errors or typos. There are numerous. But at this point, it’s just a feature. It’s probably part of him publishing so much.

The book has a bonus story ‘Space Raptor Butt Invasion’, which is a genuinely-creepy-for-a-moment space story. Then it’s just gay sex everywhere again. Between a human and a Raptor. A space raptor. It makes sense in the story.

No one can write a Chuck Tingle book but Chuck Tingle.

And the dialogue! Sweet heavens, the dialogue. Everything about the writing is singular.

If you’re looking for anything resembling realism, keep moving. If you are looking for creativity like you’ve perhaps not seen before, well, here you go. I can’t even take off a point for the typos because it sort of became part of the appeal. If you’re into what I’ve described—this is unmissable. If graphic gay sex and… complete unpredictability aren’t your bag then this won’t work for you.

I gave it a 5/5, but it will be highly subjective.

The Cell

How to Make an Entrance 101 (source)

How to Make an Muthafukkin Entrance 101 (source)

Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez) is a child psychologist who has been working with a comatose boy for several months. She ‘works’ with him by going inside his mind–into his dreams, sort of. Look, this is science fiction and you’re just going to have to work with us if you want to get to the fetishwear, okay? This film is about the fetishwear and the cool visuals. The plot and the dialogue… just… go with it.

So she goes in and does therapy with the boy inside his dreams. That’s how we learn what she does and how it works. Dylan Baker–it doesn’t matter what his character’s name is–he’s awesome in everything, believe me, you’ve seen him in at least three things–explains part of what’s happening. Marianne Jean-Baptiste (why is she in this?) explains the other half. (She’s in Broadchurch. Go watch that.)

Her character is Dr Miriam Kent and she’d tried co-in-dream therapy but, darn it, she just wasn’t as good as that plucky, young-un, C.De or whatever her name is. So there’s still a third table in there, just in case they need it again later. :cough:Chekhov’s third table:cough:

Focus on the fetishwear, not the gaping plotholes or terrible dialogue.

Meanwhile, we get to see a dude (Vincent D’Onofrio) doing some things to a woman. He then (somehow) self-suspends himself above her.

I need to know how he got himself up there on his own. (source)

Like so. I need to know how he got himself up there on his own. (source)

It’s also intimated that he has some ‘quality time’ with himself while in this position. Is that possible? [I rewatched this film because I’m doing a body suspension next weekend and I will NOT be attempting that. It’s also only two points of suspension.]

The cops find the woman’s body and the FBI (Vince Vaughn) are there, too, as it’s a serial case. It takes the FBI roughly 5.2 seconds to find suspendo boy up there because the point of the film is the pretty visuals.

Also, when they get to his house he’s in a coma.

Because he’s got some super-rare form of schizophrenia that kicked off at just the right second. That’s conven…

Focus.

So. C.De is now in talks about what could happen if she goes into his head to do some therapy. See, he’s already taken another woman and she’s in this automated cell, which seems weird. Why wouldn’t he want to be there…

Focus. Not the point.

Catherine has to find out where this woman is before she dies. Dear god, this dialogue. You may be tempted to bash on the acting, but nobody could work with these lines.

Dream therapist goes in and she’s in a Nine Inch Nails video. Seriously. I immediately thought that, then I was looking at the Wikipedia page when writing this review and the director, Tarsem Singh, took inspiration from ‘Closer’ and ‘The Perfect Drug’. I really dig both of those so it worked for me big time.

Apparently Singh was also influenced by ‘Bedtime Story’ by Madonna and Marilyn Manson videos.

Lots of fetish and industrial looking things. Sort of Silent Hill-like, too.

Then this happens:

I *know* this is someone's fetish. (source)

I *know* this is someone’s fetish. (source)

Totally Someone’s Fetish lady puts Dream Therapist down in a big room and dude from way at the top of the page makes the best entrance of all time and wants to know why a new person has arrived in his head. Fair dues.

She wakes herself up. She has a chat with FBI guy about why he no longer practices law. He had a Bad Case. It was Super Traumatic. Then she decides to go back in.

At some point someone explained that it could be really dangerous if Dream Therapist started to believe the world inside Mr Self-Suspender’s head was real because she wouldn’t know to bring herself out or something.

So guess what happens.

Luckily, we have Chekhov’s third table. [This is not a spoiler. If you have three brain cells you’ll work this out and the point of this film is all the kinky fetish stuff to look at. Everything else that happens is to facilitate those moments.]

So then we have two people in the mind of schizophrenic guy–one trained and one so-very-not. But it’s still gorgeous to look at and the scenes could have gone on longer.

Oh, will they find the woman in time? Gee, do they ever in big, Hollywood films?

The make up, costumes and effects are worth it. (source)

The make up, costumes and effects are worth it. (source)

I know I’ve been snarking pretty hard on this film, but … it’s kinda terrible. But it’s also kinda great. It was released in 2000 and the visuals are still impressive, which isn’t something you can usually say. ‘Lush’ is an appropriate word.

It’s the sort of film you can put on in the background and look up at when it gets to the part you actually want to see. You know, the video game parts. Except a really well-rendered, never lagging kind of video game.

The Cell reminds me of lucid dreaming–if you can lucid dream it’s pretty awesome. But then you wake up and everything is a cliche and predictable. Oh god. It’s more like real life than I thought.

There are lots of high quality screen caps here if you’d like to see more.

It’s difficult to rate this one. I’m going to give it a four and say maybe watch it on mute.

4/5