The Book of Unremitting Horror presents to fans of horror and GMs alike a collection of horrific creatures designed for use in a mature RPG setting (ideally modern, but could probably be adapted to suit most eras and genres). The layout provides monster descriptions and stats/abilities along with introductory notes in the form of short and entertaining fictional works. These are useful inspirations for plot hooks and scenario ideas if you intend to use any of the monsters in your own game.
Intelligently presented, refreshing and remorselessly frank, this oft gut-wrenching PDF is, nevertheless, definitely not for the faint of heart or the easily offended. Great emphasis is placed on occultism and popular concepts of demonology are explored beyond the level of lay-person, suggesting the author has a certain knowledge of horror (and indeed occultism) beyond that of mere movies and fiction. That said, certain mainstream horror influences are also obvious as has been noted by previous reviewers.
Great care has been taken to maintain a clever balance between extreme and fanciful horror and realistic occultism, which deserves recognition. This works well in most cases and makes the monsters frighteningly believable without relying on mundanity or tried and tested templates. Some creatures, such as the Kooks or the Outsiders, are symbolic and will introduce an intelligent maturity to your game. Others are more visceral and suited only to those games where players and GM are happy with plenty of arterial blood, spilled guts and maimed limbs. The odd few (the Blossomer for example) teeter on the fringe of the pornographic and may be entirely unsuitable for any kind of game.
Most commendable is the high level of originality injected into some of the creations. Here are monsters you have never seen before, nor imagined even in your worst nightmares. In these days of repeated themes and recycled ideas, that, alone, is quite an accomplishment. Witness the Snuff Demon, the Sisterite and the Organ Grinder (if you dare!). Names likely to conjure many expectations, all of which will be surpassed in the reading.
Some creatures will be more familiar to seasoned veterans of horror, and may have origins in the now defunct betamax gorefests once glorified in Fangoria magazine (which itself gets a mention) or more recently in TV shows like the X-Files. The odd few are patently bland or guilty of repetition. Most of these fall into the 'mistakenly summoned demon' category, where some foul construct from the abyss punches its way into the physical realm and tears the summoner to pieces. These tend to be variations on a theme, multi-fanged, horrific in appearance and bloodthirsty. While nowhere near as original as the more inspired creations, these are nonetheless entertaining additions and will provide frights aplenty for your player group.
In conclusion, BoUH is about as black as it gets but highly useable and extremely well executed. The ideas are rich and most readers will find plenty to admire in both the fiction and the application of game mechanics. A piece most definitely deserving of its Ennie nominations and its Silver Pick status.
[5 of 5 Stars!]