HOT SPLICES features eight interwoven tales about the Film Addicts, the flicker freaks, the Cinephages – they devour film for the high, to connect to the art on the granular level…the bleeding perforations in their skin is just part of the game.
There are five forbidden films, when run together, can induce madness, or release the Dark Gods that created them, speaking through the psychopathic director.
There is a man on the run, with a lost movie that others would kill to obtain. He barely escaped with his life.
There is a tower, once housing for students, now a crumbling, rotting monument to film history, and the men and women who returned to the tower, to die watching their favorite films.
Beneath the tower, there lies something made of light and shadow. It does not love its worshipers…
If you do not love film…
If you do not wish to devour it as it devours you…
If all you seek from film is entertainment…
…This is not the book for you.
Title: Hot Splices | Author: Mike Watt | Publisher: Happy Cloud Publishing | Pub. Date: 17 September 2018 | Pages: 332 | ASIN: B0818B7YBV | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Starred Review: No | Source: Received from publisher for review consideration.
Hot Splices Review
Full disclosure, I don’t think I was quite the right audience for Hot Splices. That’s not to say that I disliked it (I didn’t! I thought it was a really unique and largely enjoyable idea), but a LOT of the references went over my head. Obviously I knew going in there were going to be copious film references, but these are some very, very deep cuts.
The idea here definitely piqued my interest. A group of former film students, burned by the industry, return to their college dorm (now owned by one of the former students who experienced a modicum of success before burning out). The book follows their separate paths, but all within the setting of this dorm and all tying back in with the allegedly cursed, impossible to find films of The Divine Heresy.
This definitely reads more like a novel with side-quests rather than fully independent but interwoven stories. The point of views and timelines shift multiple times within each chapter, which I found a bit off-putting at first, but as the novel went on, I enjoyed seeing the differences in the same events experienced by different characters, and it kept the tension up to have the scenes cut away at high-stakes moments. The tone of this novel was probably the best part for me. It’s dark, brooding, and uncomfortable to read, but in a good way. I also really liked the whole concept of flixing – essentially treating frames of film as drugs, sucking the emulsion off to get high on the movie the frame is cut from. The whole thing was extremely unsettling, especially as it began to bleed into the overall climax of the story.
I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing out juuuust a bit by not being enough of a cinephile to catch all the references. The book reads as a bit pretentious and elitist – intentionally so, I think, to show that the characters feel superior even though they’ve ultimately amounted to nothing – but unfortunately that did leave me as a reader in the dark. Especially with the blend of real and fictional film, I sometimes wasn’t able to spot the difference without stopping to look things up which, given the sheer number of films referenced here, was not happening if I wanted to keep up with the plot. But again, that’s really down to my personal experience with the book rather than anything *wrong* with the book itself.
Hot Splices takes an interesting concept, blends a few different styles and genres, and turns it into something very unique. While it didn’t completely work for me, I could see this being a hit with someone who lives and breathes cinema of all genres and periods. There’s a lot of info to process, but at its core, this novel brings the discomfort and unease I look for in my horror, even if the finer details were lost on me.
About the Author
Mike Watt is a writer, journalist and screenwriter. He has written for such publications as Fangoria, Film Threat, The Dark Side, the late Frederick Clarke’s Cinefantastique, Femme Fatales and served as editor for the RAK Media Group’s resurrection of Sirens of Cinema.
Through the production company, Happy Cloud Pictures, he has written and produced or directed the award-winning feature film The Resurrection Game, as well as Splatter Movie: The Director’s Cut, A Feast of Flesh, Demon Divas and the Lanes of Damnation and the award-winning Razor Days.
He is the author of the short fiction collection, Phobophobia, the novels The Resurrection Game and Suicide Machine, and from McFarland Publishing: Fervid Filmmaking: 66 Cult Pictures of Vision, Verve and No Self-Restraint. In 2014, he launched the acclaimed Movie Outlaw book series, focusing on “underseen cinema”. He is also the editor-in-chief of the bi-annual publication, Exploitation Nation.
Through Happy Cloud Media, LLC, he edits and publishes 42nd Street Pete’s Grindhouse Purgatory Magazine, as well as Pete’s autobiography, “A Whole Bag of Crazy”.
In 2017, he edited the NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD novelization by John Russo, and the 40th Anniversary printing of Paul Schrader’s TAXI DRIVER screenplay, featuring a new interview with Robert De Niro, published in 2018 by Gauntlet Press.
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