I originally read the novel Demon Theory by Stephen Graham Jones about a decade ago. I recently re-read the book and even enjoyed it more the second time around.
Here is my book review that appeared in ESOTERIA-LAND by Michael McCarty, which is unfortunately out of print.
by Stephen Graham Jones, MacAdams/Cage, 440 pgs., $24, 2005
Take a tribute to dozens of horror movies, a group of young doctors in love, a ton of footnotes, a strong sense of humor, witty dialogue, gargoyle-like demons, the living dead, a creepy atmosphere, and some flying body parts; throw all of that in a blender, grind it into tasty chunks, and you’ll come out with something like Stephen Graham Jones’ novel, Demon Theory.
On Halloween, protagonist Hale gets a disturbing call from his diabetic mother. Mom asks him to come home immediately – to the place where his sister mysteriously disappeared years ago. Hale and a half-dozen of his fellow medical students return to the rural homestead, but end up stranded there because of a blizzard. They must then survive the long night ahead.
The story line is basically Stephen King’s The Shining (the book, the movie and the TV movie) melded with such films as Night of the Demons, Night of the Demons 2, Scream, Scream 2, Scream 3, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Black Christmas (both the original and the remake), The Haunting (ditto), Storm of the Century (another of King’s works), and The Legend of Hell House.
And yet, this book is both original and unique. It is written as a literary film treatment, a three-part novelization of the feature film trilogy, The Devil Inside. With footnotes and pop-culture kitsch on almost every page, the novel feels like a movie within a movie inside of a book. It’s like channel-surfing late-night TV with the best horror films on the tube.
One suggestion – be sure to pay very close attention as you read, because the complex plot and footnotes will require your total focus. Even so, it’s a fun read, so it’s definitely worth the effort.
Demon Theory is intellectual horror with blood and guts thrown into the mix. Scary, sexy, surreal, and smart – a hell of a fine read!
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