I love 80s nostalgia. The first I experienced of this was with Brian Keene’s Ghoul. Who knew that so many years after that book’s release that the 80s would storm into modern popular culture to the point where people are bitching that they’re tired of it?
Those people obviously didn’t grow up in that decade. But I did, and I hope that this look back to how things were done 30 years ago remains a thing for a long time.
Before Stranger Things, or It Follows, Adam Cesare also had a book set in the 80s, and ode to a time when hunting for the freakiest, goriest movies was sometimes a real struggle. There was no Internet, no Netflix, no Amazon dot com. Back then you had to be patient. Or, like Billy and Tom, you watched the same damn movie over and over again because you’ve seen the entire horror section at your video rental store.
In Video Night, that’s what our heroes do when we meet them. Friday nights are video night at Billy’s that takes place in his parents basement where they have a VHS player and a rare large screen television. But in the background, there is an alien species bent on taking over the world by infecting humans and using their bodies to breed.
I don’t want to go too deep into the plot for fear of spoilers, but what follows is basically an 80s horror film in book format with certain tropes intact and very well done. The characters were real, the prose was well-written with great flow and fun to read, and the monster was interesting. The only real issues I had was with the monster, actually. Although fun to watch, they didn’t seem alien enough to me.
I think this book is perfect for the generation X audience. As we head into our mid-forties, it’s fun to take a look back at where we come from and the adventures we had in our day. But I would recommend this one to anyone interested in the pop culture boom of the 80s, especially how it helped to shape modern horror movies and books.