Gideon, a mysterious magician, boasts incredible powers and is hugely successful until a girl he makes disappear on stage never returns. He repeats the trick years later, causing a number of audience members to disappear and come back with their body parts mixed up. His great powers have come at a cost. He’s unleashed something, and his magical possessions are cursed by evil. He tries to destroy them all, but fails to destroy his film projector. Following Gideon’s demise, his nephew, Andy Ryerson, inherits the house and all its contents including the film projector. For a film school project, Andy has to watch and comment on a bunch of forgotten horror movies. Each movie he runs through the cursed projector brings the film’s characters to life, with dire consequences for the town of Anderson Mills.
This is a fun book with an interesting back story, but it really comes into its own when the movie monsters come to life. The premise is great for bringing a wide variety of antagonists to play all in one book. At times you’re in a slasher, a zombie movie, and a creature feature. There are lots of movies shown on the projector and you get an introduction to each one as what’s happening on the screen is relayed to the reader, giving a taste of what’s to come in the real world. A good few of these would have been movies I’d like to see. My favourites were Jorg the Butcher, the vampire sirens, and the flesh-eating locusts. The only drawback is wanting to see more of a particular monster, but before you know it the focus switches to another. It has gore galore, with so many different killers each with a different modus operandi. It feels a bit like when Cabin in The Woods got awesome at the end and left most people begging for more. (I hasten to add that this book came out first).
There is something for all horror fans tastes, and a body count to satisfy the most blood thirsty. The locusts stripping flesh to the bone was delightful. Yes, these are B-movie monsters but they all have a uniqueness to them, and none of them felt too generic. I have to say the zombies in this book are not typical. They are high-functioning enough to use power tools!
We get lots of set pieces where local townsfolk are killed. There aren’t many characters that we get to know well other than Andy, his Uncle Ned, and the farmer’s daughter Mary-Sue. The only characters that we really need to know are the smorgasbord of monsters who rampage through town. All in all, a quick and enjoyable read. It’s not going to keep you up at night, but it’s entertaining and fun as a B-movie should be. There is a sequel to this book, B-Movie Attack, that looks like more of the same, and I’ll check that out down the line.
Reviewed by Andrew Tadman. @thebooksofblood