Witching Hour Theatre by Jonathan Janz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Larry Wilson lives for the Witching Hour Theatre, the all-night horror triple feature at the Starlight Theatre. But will he escape with his life and sanity intact when the horror becomes all too real?
After Children of the Dark, I knew I had to read more Jonathan Janz. This one was only nintey-nine cents and I'm a cheap bastard.
Witching Hour Theatre is a retooling of Jonathan Janz' first published work, a chapbook published under his real name. While there's a Richard Laymon feel to things, it's clear young Janz knew what he was doing, even back then.
The story is pretty simple. During a horror movie marathon, the crowd starts thinning out and it's soon clear something sinister is happening. Larry Wilson, horror movie fan and sub-average Joe, has to deal with something far beyond his experience. And a lot of people get hacked to squishy bits.
After being thoroughly impressed by Children of the Dark, it was interesting to see Janz' work in its more or less embryonic form. All the things I like about his work are present, some hidden beneath a fine layer of gore. I liked Larry quite a bit, having much more in common with him than the action heroes that populate a lot of books. The ordeal he went through was brutal yet believable. Oddly enough, the afterword may have been my favorite part, talking about Janz' road to publication and his love for Stephen King.
Witching Hour Theatre is a fun, suspenseful gorefest, the written equivalent of a slasher flick. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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