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UCS Hellmaker
Mar 29, 2008

mega. milk.

Toilet Rascal

Fire Safety Doug posted:

I’d give Barron’s short story collections a shot before writing him off, X’s For Eyes really isn’t a great starting point or all that great in general.

My Cabin at the End of the World trip report: if you liked the previous Tremblay books, I don’t see why this would be much different. The (attn: spoiler, kind of) same element of is-it-real-or-not ambiguity is present once again. A Head Full of Ghosts remains my favorite though.
I am not liking cabin. I don't know why but it just isn't grabbing me at all and feels kinda samey or similar to other stuff. It just doesn't have the grab devil's rock did or head of ghosts did. Agree that a head full of ghosts is his best book so far.

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Stick Figure Mafia
Dec 11, 2004



sicDaniel posted:

Ritual - Graham Masterson: This one was just great fun. It's about a restaurant critic and his son, they don't have a good relationship, and then the son joins a cult of people who believe that you get closer to God if you eat parts of yourself. Because, you know, the body of christ and actually humans are made in god's image, so it makes perfect sense, doesn't it? The novel takes a while to get going but the final third is the most insane stuff I've ever read. Trashy, gory, horribly sexist at times - it felt like a pen&paper campaign with a really sadistic GM. If you don't mind detailed descriptions of self-cannibalism, pick it up.

I just finished Last Days by Adam Nevill and I can't believe I'm gonna read another book about a cult that cuts parts of their bodies off to get closer to god.

Edit: Sorry I meant Last Days by Brian Evenson.

Stick Figure Mafia fucked around with this message at 07:45 on Jul 25, 2018

Relevant Tangent
Nov 18, 2016

Tangentially Relevant



Last Days is so good. Spooky cultists? No fucker, it's hell-spawn bird monsters time! :unsmith:

Drunken Baker
Feb 3, 2015

VODKA STYLE DRINK


Relevant Tangent posted:

Last Days is so good. Spooky cultists? No fucker, it's hell-spawn bird monsters time! :unsmith:

I said this in the Cosmic Horror thread, but it's hilarious how the book builds up this sense of dread and then turns into Aliens at the end.

Robot Wendigo
Jul 8, 2013



I had to tap out on House of Leaves. I hit the poetry and couldn't do it anymore. I started Blackwater and that's more my jam.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give



Stick Figure Mafia posted:

I just finished Last Days by Adam Nevill and I can't believe I'm gonna read another book about a cult that cuts parts of their bodies off to get closer to god.

If you want to go for the trifecta, Katherine Dunn's Geek Love fits on your Very Specific Reading List, although it's not quite horror (just magical realism with body-horror themes).

Fire Safety Doug
Sep 3, 2006

99 % caffeine free is 99 % not my kinda thing

Not strictly one for this thread but if you dig Laird Barron you should check out his crime debut Blood Standard - itís got that tough-guy feel of his early stuff and some of the cosmic horror elements as well, and writing for a bigger audience has helped cut down on those interminable descriptions of inchoate howling voids of cyclopean encyclopedias.

God Of Paradise
Jan 23, 2012
You know, I'd be less worried about my 16 year old daughter dating a successful 40 year old cartoonist than dating a 16 year old loser.

I mean, Jesus, kid, at least date a motherfucker with abortion money and house to have sex at where your mother and I don't have to hear it. Also, if he treats her poorly, boom, that asshole's gonna catch a statch charge.

Please, John K. Date my daughter... Save her from dating smelly dropouts who wanna-be Soundcloud rappers.


All of Barron's characters are the same guy. The same can be said for Poe, Lovecraft, or Ligotti. But Baird's author stand ins are cringeworthy.

sicDaniel
May 10, 2009


So I just finished A Head full of Ghosts. Loved it! I'm a sucker for unreliable narrators and cross-media references. I was so happy when a character appeared with the same name as the protagonist of my favourite horror novel.
Ending discussion / spoilers:

The common theory online is that Merry was actually the one possessed by the demon. This is supported by a lot of things in the story, but why not go a step further? I think it's a Fight Club situation. Merry and Marjorie are the same.
Whenever Marjorie spoke to Merry, it was actually the demon. Most of what we read about the actual events is told by Merry, who is also blogging under a pseudonym, analyzing the reality tv show produced in her family home. Merry using a pseudonym here is the first hint, the second is that she admits at the very beginning how watching the show / all the other horror films influences how she remembers the actual story.
Another thing: At first, she (can't remember right now if it's actual Merry or the blogger persona) explains how actors are used as stand-ins for the family members in several scenes. But these are never mentioned again, in Merry's story or the blog posts. Is it possible that Merry was possessed / mentally ill, resulting in her killing her parents after the exorcism scene, and the TV people added a younger sister to make the story more entertaining, so now Merry uses that character as her own voice when she tells her memories to Rachel?

I know, in the end, everything is possible because it's an entirely unreliable narrator. But I really expected that to be the ending halfway through the novel and was a bit disappointed when it suddenly ended without an actual explanation.

UCS Hellmaker
Mar 29, 2008

mega. milk.

Toilet Rascal

I honestly never got that impression and felt that it was more majorie and her inner issues as the thing at fault. Never got many of the inferances you have but would love to know how you got there

Thing to remember also is Mary was what 4 years old? Have to look it up but she was very young. That's one reason she's an unreliable narrator because her memories of that time are from a very young and undevoloped mind that will over time gloss over or try and make false memories to rationalize what happened as she gets older so she can move past it.

UCS Hellmaker fucked around with this message at 18:20 on Jul 26, 2018

sicDaniel
May 10, 2009


She's eight, yes, of course that also factors into the 'distortion' of her memories, apart from her watching/reading so many popular horror stories.

TOOT BOOT
May 25, 2010



I finished Skullcrack City last night and it was pretty decent. The only thing I can compare it to is John Dies At The End except with less emphasis on comedy and more emphasis on the cosmic horror.

I think my main complaint is that it was a little TOO similar to JDatE.

Len
Jan 21, 2008

Pouches, bandages, shoulderpad, cyber-eye...

Bitchin'!




I finally finished Hex today. It started out pretty neat and then it just got bad.

What I liked:

The setting. I like the idea of just stiff upper lipping through a haunting.

What I disliked:

The ending. It just went into grimdark 2 edgy territory

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Len posted:

I finally finished Hex today. It started out pretty neat and then it just got bad.

What I liked:

The setting. I like the idea of just stiff upper lipping through a haunting.

What I disliked:

The ending. It just went into grimdark 2 edgy territory

So I love Hex, probably more than it deserves, but I'll agree 100% on the ending. Amazingly the original ending kind of sounded even worse to me.

I like what he was going for with the ending given that a lot of horror authors seem to back down from everything just loving falling apart and everyone dying horrifically at the end but the delivery wasn't great.

But yeah the whole idea of the witch just hanging out in the town and everybody kind of being used to it is a fantastic conceit.

chernobyl kinsman
Mar 18, 2007

a friend of the friendly atom



Soiled Meat

everything after the kid committing suicide sucked

everything before that ruled

the duality of man

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





It is kind of amazing how the book turns on a dime after that moment. It felt like the author had a fantastic idea for a book but got horrific writer's block when it came to how to end it.

Which is like, line 3 of horrornovels.txt

Len
Jan 21, 2008

Pouches, bandages, shoulderpad, cyber-eye...

Bitchin'!




That's how I felt. Everything up to that point had this undercurrent of horror. And then that happens and it does the 180 from subtle background to what actually happens.

And then it has a monkey's paw style twist where he doesn't want to see what he actually got back after sacrificing his family and the entire town.

I went looking for a good summary of the original ending and instead got a lot of think pieces because he sacrificed the gay son for the straight son even though I didn't notice that being in the reasoning at all.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Somebody posted a summary of the original ending in either this or the Cosmic Horror thread, not sure which. I'm phoneposting or I'd do a quick search, otherwise I'm sure someone will pop in and offer it sooner or later.

Ornamented Death
Jan 25, 2006

Pew pew!



It was me.

Ornamented Death posted:

I found this posted in the comment section of a review from three months ago. I do not know how accurate it is.

Okay. So. The ending! MASSIVE SPOILERS ALL AROUND of course.
This is slightly complicated, since apparently he's changed the names, as well?

The ending is kind of long, I'd say it starts when the youngest son is admitted. But skipping to the end of the ending: it turns into into an orgy of torture like an Hieronymus Bosch painting of Hell. This is, of course, imagery we are all more or less familiar with over here, since the guy was Dutch and we all learned about him in
school. Nice echo of the 'just a village like all those you know so well'-horror trope.

The dad is led through all these horrors and recognizes each of them as a mirror image of things the villagers did
to the witch (I thought this was a bit far fetched at times, your mileage may vary). In the end, he realises that he must choose the thing he loves most. He runs between dozens of pot holes filled with people while it rains burning coals, carrying a single pot hole cover, finds wife + youngest son but jumps in the seemingly empty hole next to them, because we've know which son he would choose since chapter two or so.

He then wakes up in his own house to someone thumping the front door, and doesn't open it, because he knows that even if it is the person he wants it to be, it wouldn't end well.

And then the author apologizes for throwing us into a pit of despair.

chernobyl kinsman
Mar 18, 2007

a friend of the friendly atom



Soiled Meat

Yeah that sucks

Drunken Baker
Feb 3, 2015

VODKA STYLE DRINK


Horror fans were born to suffer weak endings.

Ornamented Death
Jan 25, 2006

Pew pew!



Drunken Baker posted:

Horror fans were born to suffer weak endings.

Sad, but true.

Drunken Baker
Feb 3, 2015

VODKA STYLE DRINK


I was going to ask, as a topic of general discussion, what everyone's favourite horror ending was. But the damnedest thing is my mind has gone completely blank.

I can think of loads of great books that had amicable endings, but trying to think of one that really left me reeling, or just stuck with me and I can't do it.

Most of the ones that pop up are from shorts, like King's "The Jaunt" which I think everyone loves. I also loved a lot of the endings in Barker's Books of Blood (which Seth "Family Guy, not Spawn" McFarlane is turning into a TV show?!). But I feel a lot of short story endings are "zingers" compared to satisfying conclusions to a proper story, if you know what I mean?

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

If it wasn't for disappointment
I wouldn't have any appointment



Grimey Drawer

I remember being conflicted about the ending to "The Boy Who Drew Monsters" by Keith Donohue. I won't go into detail, since it spoils the bulk of the book's mystery, but I remember being frustrated despite it being the only way the book could have ended. I guess maybe because it was because it was predictable, but it really spoiled the overall experience for me.

A few endings that I think stick the landing:

Something Wicked This Way Comes
Firestarter
The Thief of Always
The Troop
The Haunting of Hill House
Pet Sematary
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Frankenstein

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





I'd have to ponder this for a bit, but I wholeheartedly agree with all of the ones I've read in Franchescanado's list (which is just the last four). And for King being notoriously bad at endings, I remember the endings to The Shining and From a Buick 8 both being pretty satisfying, or at least not deeply disappointing.

That said, the "deeply disappointing" endings are by far easier to list. The Terror springs to mind as one that still makes me angry to this day, though I feel like the book prepares the reader for it a bit by getting progressively more awful in the back half.

Spite
Jul 27, 2001

Small chance of that...


I thought the ending to The Fisherman was effective.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



Just digging back through my kindle recents:

Skullcrack City had an excellent ending. Schow's The Shaft had a great ending, as did everything by Cassandra Khaw that I've ever read. Horrorstor's was good, though not as good as the Mieville short story with the same premise, and Keene's Earthworm Gods worked well at the end.

avshalemon
Jun 28, 2018



horror authors seem to have the same drive toward a happy ending as non-horror authors, but horror is a genre where unqualified happy endings just don't work. usually the whole narrative loses its thrust if the protagonist group doesn't end up 95% dead/dying/mad/suffering eternal torment and damnation. there can be one or two survivors who learnt to make the right choices and were rewarded with relative good fortune, but that's it.

i bought the fisherman online a few weeks ago and it's taking ages to turn up, i want to read it now :argh:

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



avshalemon posted:

horror authors seem to have the same drive toward a happy ending as non-horror authors, but horror is a genre where unqualified happy endings just don't work. usually the whole narrative loses its thrust if the protagonist group doesn't end up 95% dead/dying/mad/suffering eternal torment and damnation. there can be one or two survivors who learnt to make the right choices and were rewarded with relative good fortune, but that's it.

The Shaft is exceptional about this, and the last act is incredibly surprising. The survivors aren't nearly who you'd expect.

Also, so much cocaine. The author loves the gently caress out some cocaine.

drrockso20
May 6, 2013

Has Not Actually Done Cocaine


avshalemon posted:

horror authors seem to have the same drive toward a happy ending as non-horror authors, but horror is a genre where unqualified happy endings just don't work. usually the whole narrative loses its thrust if the protagonist group doesn't end up 95% dead/dying/mad/suffering eternal torment and damnation. there can be one or two survivors who learnt to make the right choices and were rewarded with relative good fortune, but that's it.

i bought the fisherman online a few weeks ago and it's taking ages to turn up, i want to read it now :argh:

That's definitely one area where I heavily disagree on, but then I'm one of those people who can't stand bad endings

avshalemon
Jun 28, 2018



drrockso20 posted:

That's definitely one area where I heavily disagree on, but then I'm one of those people who can't stand bad endings
what are some happy endings in horror that you've been satisfied by? (genuine question!)

i hate happiness and joy, all denouements must be bleak and full of grief or i'm just not buying it lol

drrockso20
May 6, 2013

Has Not Actually Done Cocaine


avshalemon posted:

what are some happy endings in horror that you've been satisfied by? (genuine question!)

i hate happiness and joy, all denouements must be bleak and full of grief or i'm just not buying it lol

That's unfortunately an issue I have with Horror as a genre, very few of them have endings I like

Ornamented Death
Jan 25, 2006

Pew pew!



drrockso20 posted:

That's definitely one area where I heavily disagree on, but then I'm one of those people who can't stand bad endings

drrockso20 posted:

That's unfortunately an issue I have with Horror as a genre, very few of them have endings I like

I'm not trying to be a dick or anything, but you can't find horror stories with endings you like because they don't exist, because happy endings fundamentally do not work in horror stories.

You can't write a story about all kinds of horrible things happening to people and then end on a happy note, it rings hollow and readers recognize that pretty much instantly. A kind of neutral, "we killed the monster but a lot of our friends/family/neighbors died and we are emotionally destroyed" ending is really the "happiest" horror stories should aim for.

Drunken Baker
Feb 3, 2015

VODKA STYLE DRINK


I had a quick glance at my bookshelf on the way out this morning and the only book that jumped out at me as having a real good ending was Blood Meridian. Whether its considered a horror though is another matter.

As for happy endings, like Ornamented Death said, I think the best you can aim for is a sense of melancholy. Hey, it's better than being dead... or worse!

Fire Safety Doug
Sep 3, 2006

99 % caffeine free is 99 % not my kinda thing

I canít even remember the end of Kingís original The Mist novella but I hated the Darabont filmís ending.

TOOT BOOT
May 25, 2010



In general I like how 80s horror movies end though I think that style of ending would feel abrupt in a book.

Len
Jan 21, 2008

Pouches, bandages, shoulderpad, cyber-eye...

Bitchin'!




Fire Safety Doug posted:

I can’t even remember the end of King’s original The Mist novella but I hated the Darabont film’s ending.


He puts his journal down and drives into the mist hoping to find safety

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



I just finished Curran's Dead Sea. It started pretty strong, but it overstays its welcome by quite a few pages, and the last act is pretty dumb.

scary ghost dog
Aug 5, 2007


skullcrack city was hack garbage lol

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this broken hill
Apr 10, 2018

by Lowtax


the fisherman is really terrible help me lord. i regret this purchase

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