Be it late night excursions where the glow of the television was the only clue alerting our parents that we were once again sneaking a peak at the weekend’s horror flick or Saturday morning’s installment of the campy vampire Sir Graves Ghastly showing off our adolescent artwork during a break from another classic yet cheesy shocker movie that only a kid could love, this is what geekdom was all about.
Decades later, we still crave that cheesy fright that stirred our imagination and entertained us for hours. To fulfill that thirst, Magpie Press brings us the aptly titled fun novel Creature Feature: A Horrid Comedy by the Scribe Award winning author Steven Paul Leiva. The voice of the intuitive blog, The Emotional Rationalist, Leiva does not hold back his noted wit and playful banter in this story that reads like a Hollywood script gone rogue…in a weird, creepy kind of way that that is a pure joy to read.
Kathy Anderson is a small-town girl who makes it big, well as big as WAGO-TV in Chicago where she plays the late-night shock hostess of Vivacia’s House of Horrors. Fed up playing the clichéd vampire mistress and yearning to put her theatrical skills to a more practical use, she storms out of the studio and returns home to stay with her parents while she contemplates her next career move.
This is when the oddity really starts. Her parents are not who they seem to be. The town of Placidville, Illinois has evolved into an isolated region of emotionless citizens sleepwalking through their daily routines. The mystery continues to unwind until Kathy inevitably runs into the nerdy fellow Gerald who explains that he accidentally opened a rift into another dimension and freed demons who have replicated the townsfolk with the intention of taking over the world.
Creature Feature reads like a comedy, has the weirdness of a Twilight Zone episode, and just enough monsters and mayhem to keep the readers on their toes and eager to turn the page. Where the author truly shines is in the comfortable dialog between both primary and secondary characters. Often flirting with but never breaking the fourth wall, it is a joy to see characters who seem to recognize the silliness of their own archetypical roles but shrug it off and encourage the reader to tag along for the fun.
So, curl up on the sofa, and dim the lights and pull the blanket up close because it’s going to be a chilling ride. Steven Paul Leiva’s fast paced Creature Feature: A Horrid Comedy will take you back to those late-night fright fests with just enough humor to appreciate the writing while remaining loyal to the horrors we grew up with and expect.