The book is written in a semi-documentary style, recounting the occurrence and aftermath of a zombie outbreak. The source of the outbreak was the screening of Tobe Hooper’s long forgotten (fictional) debut feature, Destiny Express, at the Texas SXSW festival. Everyone who sat through the film become a sex-obsessed undead psychopath. And from there on in things got weird.
This fast-paced comedy horror (think Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) is written from multiple first-person perspectives by characters retelling their story to an interviewer who remains unnamed until the very end. Blogs, tweets, personal papers and news reports give us further information. It’s over the top, irreverent, and reads in parts like a cheesy 80s horror flick that probably went straight to video. The writing style is breezy and casual and often very funny. If you’ve read John Dies At The End you’ll have a good idea of what to expect.
You’ll also be just a little bit disappointed.
It is quite funny, but not laugh-out-loud hilarious. It is gory, but cartoonishly so. The characters are scared, but never terrified- and neither are we. Worse, large parts of it make absolutely no sense. It simply isn’t inventive enough to get away with skirting around huge plot holes such as never explaining the 9:33 thing, which has no connection to anything else in the story; or how the virus/whatever was spread via the film; or why remaking the film should undo the virus; or why and how the cure reached those who didn’t watch the reworked film... I could go on.
I enjoyed the format in which Hooper chose to tell his story. But, having reached the end, it feels now more like a collection of ideas he thought might have been cool to throw on the page, rather than a fully-formed novel. It strikes me that the editor should have had a stronger hand in the book’s production, but I guess the lure of having a big-name horror brand like Tobe Hooper was too much. I can’t imagine an unknown author being allowed to get away with releasing such a half-formed novel.
The two pounds I paid for this was a fair price. It killed some time, but now it’s going to the charity shop.