"Kill Hill Carnage" Book Review
Written by Tony Jones
Published by Sinister Grin Press
Written Tim Meyer
2018, 286 pages, Fiction
Released on July 15th, 2018
Tim Meyer’s Kill Hill Carnage is an enjoyable homage to the endless cycle of slasher movies many of us feasted upon back in the home-video days. Most of them had negligible plotlines, with the horny teenage audience hoping to see a combination of naked flesh and outlandish kill scenes. This fun novel has the same spirit of many of these films and is even set in the number one location of the slasher flick; the summer campsite. Never taking itself too seriously, Kill Hill Carnage delivers upon the promise of its title with a succession of over-the-top murders, ultimately though, this brand of horror is probably better suited to the screen than the book form. Tim Meyer makes a pretty good stab at proving me wrong though and had me reminiscing for the good old of browsing the new releases in the video store of the 1980s.
Most of the novel is set in 2016, with numerous flashbacks to 1991, where the origins of the story lie. This includes the opening sequence with a little kid hiding in a closet watching two camp counsellors getting naked, but just as things are really getting serious, a huge figure bursts into the room and brutally murders everyone. Not long after this killing rampage, Camp Christopher is closed for good and the abandoned site becomes one of local folklore and is nicknamed ‘Kill Hill’, becoming a place to avoid. The numerous flashbacks to 1991 give the author the opportunity for multiple over-the-top kill scenes, including one featuring a dildo, not something you’re going to read every day.
The majority of the characters in Kill Hill Carnage would not have been out of place in one of the 1980s horror films I have already referenced. Most are fairly one-dimensional stereotypes and you’ll quickly get a feel for who is going to meet an unpleasant end. In true slasher territory, a group of friends and hangers on head out for a dodgy weekend of beer drinking and fooling around at the old Camp Christopher site, or Kill Hill, where you know things are not going to end well.
Jenna is our main character and is strong-armed by her friends Fiona and Warren to join the trip; she has recently dumped by Troy and would rather stay at home and watch Netflix. The group also includes Seth and David; Seth has had a crush on Jenna for years and obnoxious jock David has his sights set on Jenna. Not straying very far from the teen horror plotline, Fiona hopes Jenna gets over Troy and pairs up with someone new. Does nice guy David have a shot? There is also tension in the air, as David and Seth were once best friends, but now David is more predatory sleaze-ball than friend. Upon arrival at the camp, everything kicks off when David heads into the forest for a pee and does not return. Even a five-year-old should be able to figure out who’s for the meatgrinder, so suspense is not one of the stronger elements of the book, even if fun levels are high.
Also throw into a mix: a down on his luck hit-man; the sinister Tokugama Corporation; a mad scientist; spillage from an old chemical plant; a lot of killing and screaming and you have an enjoyable literary equivalent of a B-movie. Just don’t expect any subtleties, character development or complex plot twists, it’s not that kind of horror novel. Once it gets going it is full throttle all the way and the second half is non-stop action and it does to an extent move away from its slasher roots.
Right from the moment the kids get in the car, any knowledgeable reader will realise Jenna is going to be our final girl, and she does her job well; a plucky and gutsy heroine who you will care for just enough to want to see her pull through. If you’re after a violent and in-your-face type of read, then Kill Hill Carnage is bloody good value, but if your choice is a subtler brand of horror, look elsewhere.