Upon the death of horror movie genius Ezra Houghton, writer Zane Beloc inherits Houghton’s private Horror Island, where Houghton had developed intricate movie sets and had planned a horror theme park. Excited to explore the island, Beloc assembles a crack team of hunters, security experts, engineers, and film crew and sets off to spend time on the island.
Cut off from the outside world, Beloc and his crew discover more than they’d bargained for: horrifying scenes of torture, eerie buildings, grotesque creatures, and a seemingly unstoppable monster. The crew must fight for their survival against overwhelming odds.
Theme of the Book
The struggle for survival is at the heart of this novel. Characters must face their greatest fears and try to overcome them. It is the story of every man’s nightmares come to life and the courage and daring required to survive.
What I Liked About the Story
Mr. Hammott has a real talent for creating an eerie and threatening atmosphere. Near the beginning of Horror Island, he describes the three hunters’ exploration of the “village” set up on the island. These descriptions of desolate, abandoned buildings, of dark forests and swampy ground, of the silence and menace in the atmosphere will bring chills to the reader’s spine. The animosity that exists between the hunters foreshadows the dangers and threats all will face. When characters begin to explore either the forest, the buildings, or the dark tunnels of Houghton’s creation, the reader will already be shouting, “Don’t go in there!”
Some of the most frightening scenes come when characters, exploring buildings, come across horrific scenes and creatures. Many times these turn out to be animatronic creations designed as part of Houghton’s movie sets and theme park. The fact that they are not real does not lessen the fear of the characters. In fact, it establishes a tension in which explorers are always on edge. Since they do not know what is real and what is not, there is no chance to lessen the fear they feel as they explore.
Mr. Hammott has succeeded in writing some truly scary scenes in Horror Island which is to be commended as this is not easy.
What I Didn’t Like About the Story
To me, the best horror fiction requires identification with the characters. The characters in this book are a little one-dimensional and therefore I found it difficult to care about any one of them. The most sympathetic character in Horror Island is the alien Queen who, after all, is simply trying to perpetuate her race.
The plot moves from frantic action scenes to slow-moving narrative. In places I found it a little too predictable. Readers know immediately that as soon as a character opens an always squeaking door, he/she/they will find frightening animatronics or one of the monsters and either fight or flight will ensue.
I’m sure this book will appeal to a subsection of readers who enjoy the many variations of Jurassic Park and similar films.