June 9th, 2011 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Graphic Novels & Comics |

Lullabies from Hell by Hideshi Hino

by Ghastly McNasty

Lullabies from HellHideshi Hino is a well respected manga artist who burst on to the scene during the 70’s. As well as writing novels and directing movies he is best known for his horror manga including such delights as Hell Baby & The Bug Boy along with over 400 books! Often referred to as the ‘Master of Horror’ Hideshi’s artistic style deliberately side steps the standardized manga visuals, which many have come to love/hate, where it wallows in his own unique and twisted version of manga that perfectly suit the disturbing stories he has to tell.

Lullabies from Hell is an excellent place to start if you’re looking to delve into the deranged world of Hideshi Hino. The novel comprises of 4 short stories beginning with the semi-autobiographical ‘Lullabies from Hell’ in which the author introduces himself to the reader and to his psychotic imagination. In this fantastically dark story we meet a young Hideshi, neglected and abused by his family, his sick childhood fantasies are laid bare on the pages inviting us to understand just how low the human imagination can stoop when a person is unloved and uncared for. If some of the elements in this story are true it’s no wonder the author has such a twisted imagination. It really makes you feel for the poor kid.

The cutely drawn panels suit the childish nature of the story and the grotesque sweet little bug-eyed Hideshi is freakishly likeable/pitiable. At the end of the story we catch up with the adult Hideshi Hino who has grown to become a master of horror and a ruthless killer. He addresses the reader directly and informs us that after reading the story we are destined to die in 3 days. It’s a classy end to a brilliant story and quite chilling, especially as the panel in which we see him threaten us directly is the one used on the cover of the book. For the next few days I had the author pointing at me whenever I looked at where the book was lying!

In the second story, entitled Unusual Fetus: My Baby the author takes on a story that most parents would avoid even thinking about; what if your unborn child turned out to be a monster? It’s a bold move to go where few other authors would dare to go and solidifies your belief that this guy really is a fruitcake!

The remaining 2 stories retain the themes of solitude, alienation and terror that this small collection of stories wears on its sleeve, although none as powerful as the first story we were treated to. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this excellent work of horror manga and would be more than happy to see what else the author has to offer.

by Ghastly McNasty

Theatre of Terror



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