CABIN TERROR BY SARAH JANE HUNTINGTON
You know all those movies that are constantly saying they are made to be throwbacks to the ’80s? They never quite capture that feel for them? It’s like something is missing. Something crucial to the filmmaking of that era that you can’t quite put your finger on, but it just doesn’t feel the same.
It’s a trend that has been going on in horror for a few years, not just in the theater but in the printed word as well. I will say, horror writers, seem to mimic that feel a lot better than the films do. Maybe it’s because we’re reading and visualizing these stories as an 80’s horror film? I don’t know, but I dig it, Maaaaannnnnn.
Oooey-gooey, cults, monsters, and a bad-ass old lady.
What’s not to love?
Cabin Terror by Sarah Jane Huntington is a book that takes a little different route. The debut novel from the writer of some tremendous short story collections, my personal favorite being Between Shadow and Light, manages to capture the feel of horror from that era, but not the movies. Cabin Terror feels and reads like a novel you would have found in a thrift store; a cool monster painting on the cover, pages are faded and kind of smelly from age, the cover has one of those sweet-ass cutouts. The writing style in this book flows along at a great pace like Richard Laymon in his prime— without the weird bits! — while telling a story that I have dubbed a “Cosmic Slasher.”
Throughout reading I found myself visualizing all the gore and creature moments as a movie with some Tom Savini style practical effects. The writing forces the reader to visualize the story as they’re experiencing it.
This is where I’m going to attempt to type out the plot without getting overly excited and spoiling it, stay tuned.
Opening with a background featuring a cult summoning an other-dimensional nasty, the book kicks off in all the best ways. I felt like I was transported to the world of Stuart Gordon directed Lovecraft adaptations. The dialogue flows as smoothly as the gore and creature descriptions.
Next, you’re introduced to an elderly woman named Kathleen who has a bit of a history with an other-dimensional creature, the creature is a bit of an asshole and she’s pretty tired of its nonsense. Kathleen is hard as nails and lets the world know it. I really want her to live next door to me so I could sleep easier at night and not worry so much about that darn werewolf I keep hearing.
We’re introduced to three characters after the introductory portion who become our main characters. I had a ton of fun with this chunk of the book, one of the characters has convinced the others to come explore the myths surrounding Cabin Terror and film their experiences as a found footage film. What follows is a night of twists, creepy-ass knocking, some ooey-gooey scenes, strong moral themes, and a ton of fun for the reader.
Cabin Terror is a treat in every way, if you’re a lover of pulp horror from the paperback craze of the ’80s and a fan of modern horror, this book is a great combination of the two. A paperback from hell for the modern age.
Damien Casey is a writer, or author, whatever you prefer who has spent too much time with monster movies, professional wrestling, and soda; he likes to think his writing reflects this. If it does not, he wants to apologize immensely and encourage you to tell him how he's let you down.