Written by: Matt Molgaard
I’m not even certain I’ve ever read a horror spoof. But that’s essentially what Dan West’s, The House That Dripped Gore is; it’s a spoof. What are we spoofing here? Shirley Jackson’s, The Haunting of Hill House. Does it work, you ask? Oh yes, it works. It works in a wonderful, memorable, outrageous way.
First and foremost it must be noted that West’s, The House That Dripped Gore is a technically sound, highly refined piece of fiction from an artist who’s worked his craft long enough to achieve full refinement. If you’re tired of amateur writing, this novel will not let down, not in the slightest. West is smooth as silk on a super model, in fact. And while you may find a typo here and there, West is just too polished to make many mistakes, and within 10 pages readers will know to abandon the search for deficiencies. It’s a breath of fresh air and it’s exactly what I needed – even if I didn’t know it.
As is the case with The Haunting of Hill House, a group of field experts venture into a supposedly haunted mansion. Stanley Matheson leads the charge. He’s an author of the dark nature, and he’s gotten the call to step up and investigate this notorious construct. Why not churn the ingredients of creativity, right? Wrong. All goes south, and Matheson and his group of diverse misfits is about to learn exactly what happens when you fool with the paranormal.
Beyond the fact that this is a triumphant success on technical fronts, West can give himself a pat on the back for producing a wildly hilarious tale (seriously, just check out this really quick tidbit you’ll run into early in the book and understand that it is completely haphazard in its relevance to the story, After paying a mysterious, Laotian, Pre-op transsexual prostitute named Chicky for a grocery list of sexual favors that I had absolutely no recollection of either soliciting or receiving, I sat down to examine the Hull case file in depth. When you get those little treasures inside of 15 pages, you can rest assured you’re going to do just fine on your journey) that keeps the LOL moments pouring in. Dan literally aims to give you a big punch in every paragraph. Of course there are sequences which must be played with some level of seriousness, but for a solid 80 percent of this one, you get a quality joke. And these jokes are quality. They’re random, offbeat and completely ludicrous, and they work like a charm. Dan West isn’t an author/aspiring comedian, he’s an author/comedian.
I don’t want this review to feel like a load of hyperbole, and that’s already the impression I’m getting as I skim through and do a quick catchup. Let it be known folks, that I do not know West. We aren’t friends, we aren’t associates. We’re complete strangers doing vastly different jobs in the same area of profession. I didn’t finance the project, I’ve got nothing invested. So what I tell you is the absolute truth as I see it. When I tell you Dan West is a comic genius, I mean it to be true. The House That Dripped Gore deserves to sit alongside the year’s best, like King’s, Joyland, Hill’s, NOS4A2 and Adams’, Deadbeat. It’s a remarkably entertaining piece of fiction that immediately yanks you right into the fold. It’s hard to escape.
Don’t do yourself an injustice by skimming over this review and shrugging my opinion off. This is a great investment, and it can be made right here.