28. Night Film – Marisha Pessl
I had some level of trepidation coming in to reading this book. I noticed a bit of hype about it and there was some award winning and hype about her first novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics (which I haven’t read) and to be frank, hype and the lack of horror indicated in her first novel’s title made me wary. Whenever non-horror people write horror, there are usually narrative problems that super annoy me because I am a total horror person. I’m not a total horror snob, but I get a bristly feeling when it seems like someone’s dabbling and they keep giving you cliché after cliché that they would know were clichés if they knew the horror genre better. Also, I’ve had a lot of bad and somewhat angry feelings after Ryan Murphy decided that he invented the horror comedy genre that effect my interest in possible dabblers. What an asshole, he definitely had his head up his ass when he said that. Calling it “comedy horror” just trips the tongue and does not make it a new genre. And I’ve liked more than one season of American Horror Story because it was so batshit, but, that has a lot to do with the fact that he’s not the only one writing the episodes and the fact that it’s batshit camp. Maybe if he had done some research, I wouldn’t have to blame him for wasting New Orleans as a location or being incapable of sustaining a reasonable seasonal story arc that sorts out and uses all the random moments instead of just throwing them at the audience and never using anything, or anyone (Angela Bassett could have had so much more to do. SO much more to do.) properly. It is more than possible to coalesce batshit elements into beautiful garbage. Like Doomsday. Or Gremlins II, which is really just beautiful, and it could have been more beautiful if somebody was a tad nicer to Gizmo.
I ended up liking this book quite a bit. It was definitely not as horror themed as I thought it would be, in fact, I ended up getting more of a Lars Von Trier meets the seventies vibe from the descriptions of the movies, the whole thing was much more suspense thriller, which is totally fine. There was a smattering of horror elements and they weren’t overplayed to me, it was actually a bit like reading Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon; if you know the tropes you’ll end up amused but not necessarily surprised at the outcome. There was even a genuinely scary moment in there for me, so good show.