Halloween's right around the corner, so I thought I'd talk about a couple chillers I read over the summer. I should probably admit that both book choices were actually motivated by having seen the movies. That might be a little bit sad, but hey, it's just the truth.
The Ruins by Scott Smith. OK, saw I saw the movie in the theater and for only the second time ever in my long history of horror movie fandom, thought I was going to be physically ill at one point. I also worried that somebody behind me might get ill, which would be really unpleasant, too. I couldn't believe I had a serious wave of nausea! (The other time was Blair Witch Project, which was mostly from the nauseating camera work and a full stomach from sushi dinner, as opposed to anything I saw, obviously.) Anyway, the movie didn't quite make a whole lot of sense -- like, what's up with these vines, anyway? -- and the book did a much better job of explaining, and also added some extras that they didn't bother to include in the movie, and also had far better character development. The movie seemed to me much more of an excuse for gore (no shocker, I know). I don't know, maybe the movie was just an ad for the book, although making you nauseous might not be a real selling point for too many people.
The Mist by Stephen King. I went through a major Stephen King phase in high school but eventually got burned out by his stuff, which I think I'm safe to say isn't the exception to the rule. However, I saw the movie -- which I liked -- but also thought, "Hmm, I don't remember the novella ending this way." So I went ahead and reread it. Sure enough, the ending was different (although the use of Dead Can Dance in The Mist's soundtrack was a nice touch). Anyway, I enjoyed it, and it reminded me that King on a good day is pretty good, in fact better than I recalled.
Unfortunately, I guess neither of these are strong Halloween choices, unless you take the tact that as long as it's scary, it fits. And both are more pop than high literature, but hey, again, it's Halloween time.
Keep on reading...