Thursday, February 07, 2008

Honourable Mentions: Out are the Lights

The Blurb: “The vampire movie came first – the girl died in a welter of blood as the vampire bit clean through her jugular… the Inquisition came next – the victim confessed all as the spider crawled over her naked body… Then came the story of the axeman…

“This was the horror movie series to end them all. Cinema buffs particularly admired the grainy, amateurish camera work – it suggested that the action was the real thing. But it couldn’t be – could it?”

The Mention: Whilst I haven’t read a lot of his work I must admit to quite liking Richard Laymon’s books. In the main I have read his three vampire novels. Bite was okay, The Stake was really very interesting and The Travelling Vampire Show was simply excellent. I admire the way that his horror books are often something else, for example the Travelling Vampire Show is much more a coming of age novel than a horror and yet it still maintains the horror (and vampire) theme.

When I noticed this book the lure of the word vampire in the blurb was too much to resist and, once again, I found Laymon to be a good read. Actually there are two stories here. One is a thriller packed with betrayal and murder and the other, which the blurb concerns itself with, is horror. The two stories converge at the end, and though the convergence happened at a rapid pace it doesn’t seem to me that there was any other way of doing it. The book also has some Laymon short stories at the end.

The reason for the honourable mention is the vampire movie mentioned in the blurb. Movies are being made using real victims and starring Schreck (now, where have I heard that name before). In the case of the vampire movie it is clear that the victims believe themselves under attack by an undead foe. The footage is then re-dubbed and shown as a horror short at a cinema – and the shorts are gaining cult status.

Whilst there isn’t really a vampire there, the quality of the prose through that section lends this to gaining an honourable mention.

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