Parlor of Horror’s Book Reviews
From Classic to Modern, Gothic to Pulp, here’s some book reviews so you can choose your winter reading enjoyment.
Click on a book cover to read a review:
parlor of horror – book reviews
Directed by Alexandre Aja
I usually like movies based on a good book, even if some aspects are different. I realize the events of a book that takes over a month to read are not going to fit into a two hour film. I know that inner thoughts from the main character are not going to be translated well to the screen and little asides that add depth to characters will not work well in a film. Things will be changed to visual aspects of story telling and some parts will be left out. This film is adapted from the book of the same name by Joe Hill.
Iggy Parrish wakes up one day to find his girlfriend, the love of his life, was murdered. He is accused of killing her, but evidence is lost making prosecution near impossible. He then wakes with horns growing out of his head which gives everyone he meets the desire to confess their greatest sins to him. He has gained some powers of the devil, where he can lead people into temptation among other things. It’s kinda’ like the opposite of Bruce Almighty 🙂
This is not a typical horror film. Despite the strange, horror-like occurrences in the story, the real horrors are the true to life aspects. The break-up in the diner was a scenario we’ve probably all lived through. I once had a situation where everyone thought I did something wrong (something went missing in the store I worked at) and no matter what I said, no one believed me. I was later vindicated but too many bad things were said and it had cost me several relationships. There are other aspects to this film that are excruciating but lean more toward drama, the horror of real life or in the classical sense, the comedy, which in early opera and plays meant the painful irony of life. Iggy is laughed at, scoffed at, and wrongly accused in this film. False accusations and ridicule are painful parts of life many of us have probably dealt with in our own existence.
It’s not until the third act that this film (and the book) resembles a true horror story. Ig sharpens his horns (so to speak) and the horrors begins. The ending is dismal but there is also a reconciliation aspect to it. In the book, the final showdown between Iggy and his best friend, Lee, is much bigger. I do think Alexandre Aja delivered a good adaptation of the book. I’m not sure if that translates to a good watch for those who have not read the book. I’m sure some of my enjoyment came from re-living parts of the book I liked so much. It’s not a frightening story. It is a great horror story nevertheless, one that I think can be enjoyed by not only horror fans, but a wider general audience.
A tragic story that keeps you glued to the screen for its mystery and murder aspects and mesmerized by the strange affliction of the main character, Iggy Parrish.
I give it 4.0 sinful confessions out of 5 on the scale of guilty, gluttonous lies for selfish deeds and self preservation needs
Read my book review here: Joe Hill – Horns
I don’t know if any of you reading this have ever owned a motorcycle, but this story brought back some memories. I haven’t rode a bike in many years but parts of this tale really captured the feeling of an open throttle on an open road. Sons of Anarchy is starting it’s final season in a few days, so I figured this would be a good time to review Throttle.
This is a Kindle single, a novelette of approximately 50 pages, by a father and son team about, among other things, a relationship between father and son. The very first page of the story makes an interesting acknowledgement; A story inspired by Duel by Richard Matheson. The difference here is, it’s a gang of bikers on the run that are being chased and crushed by a crazy trucker.
If anyone has not read any of Joe Hill’s fiction, I would strongly recommend it. He captures some of the best qualities of his father without going off on a tangent in the middle like so many of King’s stories. Hill also has the advantage of a younger person’s views and tapping into the mindset of younger generations. Possibly even better than the two authors separate stories is when they work together. Throttle is a fast and tense story that will get your heart racing. It’s the kind of story that is hard to put down once you’ve started and you may find yourself finishing it in one sitting. You’ll be thrilled by every point of action and every reveal of secrets held by this band of bikers known as, The Tribe.
If you are into bikes, the open desert road, and maniacal truckers hell-bent on murder, this story will hit all the entertaining sweet spots. It’s a short but engaging read.
This was first released in a commemorative anthology honoring Richard Matheson in 2009 along with a dozen A-list authors such as Ramsey Campbell, F. Paul Wilson, William F. Nolan and Joe R Lansdale. The book was titled, He is Legend and each story in the book is based on a Matheson original. Then it was in the Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, edited by Stephen Jones. Then in 2012, it was adapted into a Comic Book by IDW Publishing as Road Rage and seems to have at least 4 issues.
I definitely intend to purchase and review He is Legend in the near future.
Throttle Kindle Single – http://www.amazon.com/Throttle-Kindle-Single-Joe-Hill-ebook/dp/B007QXV9S6
People often wake up with problems on their mind but not like this. Iggy Perrish wakes one morning to an unusual dilemma, overnight he has grown horns out of his head, just above his temples. What makes it worse; the horns make anyone in his presence need to confess their darkest secrets, subconscious desires, and most horrible sins. Would you really want your friends and family telling you these things? To complicate matters further, Iggy’s long time girlfreind, Merrin, had been murdered recently and although Ig was cleared of wrongdoing legally, he can now see (and hear) that everyone thinks he is guilty.
Ig soon realizes that, even with concrete proof of his innocence, the town’s people are not going to change their opinion of him; in their eyes he is a murderer. Ig decides he will find Merrin’s killer for her sake and for his own satisfaction. He begins to burn bridges and step on toes in town with no care about his own outcome. However, the murderer does not want to be exposed and aggressively counters Ig’s efforts with a special talent of his own.This is a very interesting concept and angle in horror fiction. It brings up some serious questions about family and religion without being preachy. It is an intriguing story with strong characters, one of the best horror fiction books I’ve read this year.
We will be treated to the film version of Horns, later this year.
Directed by Alexandre Aja and starring Daniel Radcliffe as Ig Perrish, IMDb reports that the movie is in post-production with an October 2013 release date.
Radcliffe will play Ig Perrish in the upcoming film, HORNS!
In The Tall Grass
Stephen King and Joe Hill
This is a kindle short, a novella, by King and his son, Joe Hill. What I like most about this tale is, after a few pages of set up, the story is almost all in the here & now – no flashbacks, no back-stories.
A brother and sister, on a cross-country road-trip from NH to San Diego, take an unexpected detour. While traversing the open land and big sky of Kansas, they hear a cry for help. They pull off the road, into an abandoned church parking lot. They clearly hear the cries of a young boy from the field of tall reeds that stretch to the horizon. They enter the field to help find the boy and lead him to safety but soon find themselves lost. From inside the field, direction is incomprehensible, sound travels at different angles and positions seem to change, even when nobody is moving. As the hours fly by and hopes are dashed, young Cal is determined to save his pregnant sister and her unborn child. Cal soon discovers the lost boy holds the secret to their salvation.
This story is like a fuse. Once lit, it burns quickly and brightly until its end. I had trouble putting it down and often found myself walking around my house with the Kindle raised before my eyes, so as not to delay the story’s finale. It’s a great tale with a disturbing ending. It is a fun and enjoyable read for any fan of horror, even for those who don’t read much. I recommend it highly.
20th Century Ghosts – Joe Hill
William Morrow/Harper Collins Publishing
I believe this is Hill’s first published book of horror-fiction, short-stories. Because of the title, I had expected actual ghost stories but there is only one traditional ghost story within these pages, which shares the same title as the book. The collection varies from visceral horror, to thriller, to weird fiction. It starts splendidly with the brutal tale, “Best New Horror” where a fiction editor picks a violent tale for inclusion in a year-end anthology despite its rawer writing style. Unable to contact the author, he travels by car to the rural home of the writer, only to find, the story may not have been fiction after-all. Next up is the story, 20th Century Ghost, which is a twist on the traditional ghost story, set in a movie theater of a small town. From there we have strange tales which include a modernized, visceral homage to Kafka’s Metamorphosis, a story involving the descendants of Van Helsing, a train riding Hobo, a plastic balloon shaped like a real boy, and others. Hill often shows a sense of humor within his tales, through the character’s actions and twists of fate that mirror the unexpected ironies in real life. 20th Century Ghosts is an interestingly diverse collection of strange tales that will keep you reading through the night, sometimes with the lights on, sometimes with a smirk, and occasionally with a teary eye and a heavy heart.