Friday, October 15, 2021

Jesus Christ, Slasher Star: I Know What You Did Last Supper (2013)

I Know What You Did Last Supper
Author: Wayne Williams and Darren Allan
Publication Year: 2013
Chapters: 73 Including Epilogue
Rating: ****1/2

I first read about this book a year or so before I graduated college, the same time in my life where I had a religious crisis and ultimately changed from a Catholic to a proud religious skeptic. It was also the time I was rediscovering my love for slasher movies, old and new, so needless to say it was a match made in "heaven" and I fell in love with the daringness of this book's concept. I didn't get the chance to read it until very recently, however, and let me tell you all that it was a decade-long wait worth it!

In its pages, I Know What You Did last Supper follows the infamous apostle who betrayed Jesus Christ to the Romans for thirty pieces of silver, Judas Iscariot, though painted in a more sympathetic light; after learning that his uncle Gideon got himself in a spot of gambling trouble and now owes a sizable sum to a brutal ex-Gladiator, Judas decided to secretly meet up with Caiaphas, a Sanhedrin high priest who just so happens to be willing to pay silver in exchange of Jesus' whereabouts. Believing his friend and teacher can easily escape capture considering the godly miracles he performed, Judas uneasily agrees with Caiaphas' terms and leads the high priest and his men to Jesus.

Only Jesus didn't fend off his captors and, long story short, he got whisked away to a gruesome trial where he is tortured, humiliated and eventually crucified, dying no soon after.

Horrified of what he have done, Judas tries to reason his guilt away with the matter that he did it to save a loved one. However, much to his further distress, it turns out his betrayal was all for nothing when upon meeting his uncle, he discovers that the man was able to pay off his gambling debts by selling some of his own belongings. With his mentor dead from his own actions and his fellow apostles suspecting him as the one responsible for Christ's capture, Judas has nowhere to go but back to his friends and family, some grew estranged from him after he became a follower of Christ, others just glad to have their beloved companion back.

No matter where the guilty Iscariot goes, unfortunately, torment will follow him and, soon, his loved ones as well; one by one, they will all fall victim to the hands of a madman. A madman with a vicious streak and a lust for carnage. A madman who believes in the words "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth". A madman who knows what Judas did last supper...

I Know What You Did Last Supper is, frankly, the net result if you cross a somewhat accurate and consistent historical fiction set in Biblical times with the gory offerings of a modern day slasher exploitation and even a bit of murder mystery thriller. While it took some liberties in its portrayal of ancient Jerusalem as it more or less transpositions slasher and horror cliches to its period, it does bring out some creative and intriguing perspectives as to how some Biblical characters would've reacted and felt after the death of Christ which, in turn, leads to a lot of interesting characterization and development. 

Judas, for one, is portrayed here as actually proud to be one of Jesus' disciples and sincerely believes in the man's teachings, which makes his regrets and forlornness understandable and relatable. For a decent amount of chapters, we pretty much follow the Iscariot stressing over the fact he technically sentenced the Son of God, his closest friend, to death and that his only means of possible solace could be to just run away from it all. Add in a lively and colorful set of characters from Judas' circle of friends, family and foes and we practically have a good line-up for a bloody misadventure once the first two kills jump-start the very meat of the plot.   

As a slasher literature, the book delivers and then some; with selected chapters dedicated to a murder or two (or three), it racks up a nice bodycount and quite a build-up for each. The writing goes carnally descriptive with its violence, though there are a few that were ironic for that taste of dark humor while others benefit from being as gruesome and harrowing at how extreme and torturous they can get. And, as the title implies, there's a mystery regarding the identity of the killer who announces their knowledge of Judas' secret through ominous writing in blood and a few suspects do get thrown around; some of these eventually become red herrings as any good twisty mystery would and a great deal of suspicion falls on very interesting possible culprits including the high priest who gave Judas his thirty silver (and apparently has a very dark secret he is willing to do anything to keep quiet about) and Jesus Christ himself. (Yes, they went there)

Up until the last act, I Know What You Did Last Supper makes all the smart and fun moves, each twists and turns leading to a shocking surprise and splatter-filled slayings. It's around the finale where the novel kinda falters a bit as we get a reveal that's somewhat fascinating, only to be downgraded by yet another curveball that would have been good if it didn't read like a last minute addition. Thankfully, this is really just a small smudge in an otherwise thrilling roller coaster of a horror fiction that wonderfully blends exploitative mayhem with earnest yet curious Biblical world-building. With rich characters, insane horror set-pieces and engaging whodunit plotting, I say, fellow slasher fans, give this one a read if you get the chance to pick it up, for God's sake!  

Bodycount: 21
Notable Kill: Oh Lord, there are plenty: We have a steamhouse massacre involving fellows getting cooked in boiling pools, their necks broken or have themselves pushed into furnaces. There's an unsettling break-in wherein a mother and a daughter gets attacked, one repeatedly cut while the other gets forced-fed with blood until they choke. And then there's that darkly hilarious dental appointment involving "tooth worms", a hammer and a knifed hand.

Oh, and we have a case of literal "co├»tus interruptus" that got a bit too woody. Can't forget a staple slasher trope!

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