Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This day anything goes

Like Joe Schreiber (nice Lovecraftian blog post here) , Norman Partridge proves that it is possible to write good horror stories. His Dark Harvest is a tale of quiet Midwestern farm town with a unpleasant means of testing its youth. Each year on Halloween, the male teens must hunt and slay the October Boy, with the killer's family getting great rewards. With a ritual as odd as this one, you can suspect there is something peculiar about this town.

Like other great horror writers, Partridge doesn't explain everything. The ending is left a tad unclear, the source of the ritual is hinted but not explained. It reminded me a bit of the ending of Russo's Ship of Fools, where something disturbing and difficult to understand is happening and the only real choice is to run. Partridge handles the balance between mystery and revelation nicely.

On the downside, the book is really quite short. It is a novella rather than a novel, so it is pricey for its length. On the plus side, it could make a really enjoyable film.


Anonymous said...

Ooh, good review. I really liked "Dark Harvest." And I myself will always pay more for having something be shorter and better than just plain longer--I always feel cheated, personally, when romantic comedies and most other films are longer than 90 minutes, usually because it just ends up to be wasted time. Novellas forever!

And yes, a film of DH might be good--although one of the early episodes of Supernatural was eerily familiar to the storyline. As long as they could keep a movie version to 90 minutes, of course...

Tripp said...


I agree that short is generally better than long. Editing is nearly always great. I also think that this book is just the right length for what it is. People should know they are getting an evening's entertainment out of it is all. Speaking of novellas and forever, my fave King tale is probably the Mist, an assertion I need to test by re-reading.

And I SO agree about movie length. I appreciate when directors cut and cut down to the basic story.

My main worry about DH as a film is that the bad guy would be played quite cheesily and the hero would like a 50s/early 60s tough guy out of Grease. Other that than, there are plenty of great creepy images to savor.