Recently I watched Horns staring Daniel Radcliffe, I won’t go into plot specifics but I found the movie decent at best but couldn’t help to think that the book would be so much better. The necessity for plot development required a cohesion of character insight and elaboration to better appreciate the structure of the story, in which only a book could accomplish.
Many books I find are like that, where the characters are so intricate that the transfer to the big screen doesn’t manifest well. After doing some research on the book I discovered the writer Joe Hill is none other then the son of Stephen King (his author biography doesn’t reveal this information, I obtained it from an online review).
Many of King’s books I feel don’t get proper treatment in movies. Direct interpretations fail since there is always intense characters with internal struggles that are difficult to express accurately on film. Without a passionate Director translation they usually are bland and missing that “umami” of King flavor.
After searching through many of Hill’s books I found NOS4A2, (a vanity plate for Nos-for-Ah-To) an old European possibly Romanian word for vampire. This is not necessarily a vampire book even though the main antagonist has a vampyr method. I found this novel more of a sinister fairy tale with a modernized boogeyman at its helm.
Joe HIll has successfully broke out on his own and possibly established himself as the new man in horror literature. He has created a group of gifted individuals with the power to break reality and bring the world of imagination into a physical plane. Though with great power rises great evil and one of them has more monstrous intentions. Hill creates a demigod who is comparable to Robert Gray AKA Pennywise the Clown in scope of evil, I know to some that may be considered blasphemy but the tale that Hill spins is one that is not to be trifled with.
The protagonist is a young girl whom while discovering a gift that she does not fully understand crosses paths with this monster, and her life and the people she cares for are never the same. She is someone you sympathize with at the same time hate due to the terrible choices she makes and the dire consequences on the people she love.
Her tormentor will haunt your dreams even after you finish the book but also you want more because you have never come across a character like him before. This evil has created a realm called Christmasland where he steels the souls of children, utilizing their life force to gain power and immortality. Each time he crosses from our world into his he becomes more evil losing a piece of his humanity and evolving into something more terrible than the last.
His characters jump off the page and tear through your imagination as they break through the fabric of their own reality head first without knowledge of where they are heading and what thy may encounter. The families of those involved are the true victims dealing with the aftermath of the book after the smoke clears and the dead in the end are truly the lucky ones.
I was so amazed by this book that I went and purchased it through Kindle for my father and we both agreed it is one that you can not put down. I look forward to HIll’s future work and if they do decide to turn NOS4A2 into a movie that they treat it with the respect for imaginative beauty that it deserves.