Skip to content

Midnight Horror Show by Ben Lathrop #BookReview

Set against the pastoral fields and crumbling meat packing plants of South Eastern Iowa during the fall of 1985, Midnight Horror Show is a Midwestern Gothic Horror story of fairytale shadows, drive-in shocks and VHS era splatter. It’s a story that begins with murder performed for an adoring audience and ends with a young outsider transformed into the monster he thought he wanted to be.

Title: Midnight Horror Show | Author: Ben Lathrop | Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing | Pub. Date: September 25th, 2020 | Pages: 214 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Source: Received from the publisher for review consideration | Starred Review

Page break indicator for Sci-Fi & Scary

Midnight Horror Show Review

Midnight Horror Show is set in a rural town in the eighties when the horror hosts reigned supreme. Carlson is the weary cop with a divorce and drinking problem. He’s on good terms with his captain but not so much the rest of the force. It’s a trope that’s been pretty well used but Carlson has some personality that brings it up a notch. He’s an interesting character.

James is the other major player – a young kid with a goth aesthetic who doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the kids. A kid who’s into horror and wants to revive the live hosted horror show that used to be popular in the town until the host took it too far and ended up dead.

Having watched Elvira often as a kid (mostly reruns because I came along a tad after she did) and having felt the way James has in a small town I really liked him a lot. Especially his dream of being a horror host and expanding the horror section of the local VHS rental.

I love the characters’ progression throughout the book. I don’t want to say too much because they go in directions that I didn’t expect them, too.

The nostalgia is strong with this book but it’s also very laid-back. That sounds contradictory but I’ll explain. It felt like a thread winding its way through the atmosphere and character of the town but it never beats you over the head with it.

I liked that the bad guys in the book were different. Especially Mel/Boris Orloff. I liked the evolution of his personality, even though much of it was told in backstory. My only real complaint was that it wasn’t really clear on what exactly they were. I don’t mind some degree of vagueness but at the same time when you leave that much room then the powers aren’t defined. You can literally make your characters able to do anything because their powers are as limited or unlimited as you want them to be.

Fortunately the powers on display were restrained and just enough to furnish a tolerable guess at what they might be.

I loved the drive-in as an ominous setting. They are always something to pique my interest when used as a dark setting for horror. It’s built up as this outcast and derelict place that slowly revives as the evil does, culminating in one hell of a climax.

All in all, I really liked it. It was sufficiently creepy for me and the settings and characters were great.

You can find Midnight Horror Show via its Goodreads links and if you’d like to support literacy programs, Better World Books

Published inHorror Book ReviewsStarred Reviews

One Comment

  1. I like everything about this.

    The drive-in element and the characters name of Orloff remind me of a late sixties Boris Karloff film: ‘Targets’. {Highly recommended}

    Happy Trails!

Comments are closed.

©Sci-Fi & Scary 2019
%d bloggers like this: