Diabolical Plots #68, October 2020
“A Complete Transcript of [REDACTED]’s Video Channel, In Order of Upload” by Rhiannon Rasmussen
“Are You Being Severed?” by Rhys Hughes
Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf
Two strange and frightening tales appear in this month’s issue of this online magazine.
As its title indicates, “A Complete Transcript of [REDACTED]’s Video Channel, In Order of Upload” by Rhiannon Rasmussen takes the form of a series of descriptions of homemade videos. Innocent activities such as cooking and repairing a window take on sinister meanings. The narrator, seen only as hands, is very confused, probably insane, and, as one scene implies, possibly inhuman. A final, shocking scene adds a gruesome touch.
The author creates an effectively creepy mood, more through glimpses of the unnerving than overt horrors. The last section is an exception to this subtle technique. Readers may find it both predictable, given certain hints early in the story, and too blatant.
In “Are You Being Severed?” by Rhys Hughes, a man finds himself in a place that sells only guillotines, in a wide variety of forms. He is pressured into testing one of the deadly devices, and seeks a way to escape both death and the store.
The author shows great imagination in the many bizarre guillotines described in the story. The narrative is full of unusual metaphors. Some of these are appropriate, others seem like examples of overwriting. After we find out whether or not the man survives, the story continues, with a conclusion whose meaning is unclear.
Victoria Silverwolf thinks these stories might give her nightmares.