Thursday, February 25, 2016

Slasher Camp For Nerd Dorks - A Review

Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks - Christoph Paul

I'm not the biggest fan of slasher films, let's start by saying that. I've seen the First Nightmare on Elmstreet, Halloween, Pyscho, Candyman, Hellraiser, but none of those films large amount of sequels. I've never even seen Friday the 13th. I'm more of a monster movie kind of guy – give me a guy in a big rubber suit and I'm a happy bunny. I am familiar with all the characters from slasher films, we do have the internet after all. So, with that in mind, my delightfully delusional delinquents, I picked up Christoph Paul's Slasher Camp For Nerd Dorks.

So, this is the story of Jason Voorheesberg, a teenaged slasher with major anxiety. He is sent, by his mother to a summer camp in an effort to become a better slasher – slashing having been made legal in a twisted US system. There he is mercilessly bullied by the more confident jock slashers, and also picked on by the camp councillors (basically Predators). He does managed to form a burgeoning love interest with Rachel, a Slazer from a neighbouring camp (Slazers are the protagonists of slasher films who survive and kill the slasher).

I gotta say, I enjoyed this book a lot. The chapters are zippy and short and move the story along at a nice bright pace. The characters are good and although not especially deep, seem right for the genre Christoph is riffing on – slasher films have never been paragons of character development.

The main point is, this book is funny, it's Christoph's main strength. The novella zips along with a fun, Revenge of the Nerds feel. And there are many things to love in here. I especially liked the Pred's battle cry of “YOLO”, because most of the character's Christoph is mimicking don't live only once, but come back every film. And the whole thing is great and fun for the first two acts, as far as it goes.

And then, in the final act, Christoph switches gears on us, and gone is the fun zippy, tongue-in-cheek, parody and instead we get a different beast. And Christoph takes off his Marx Brother's glasses and sets about giving us some hard questions to think about. This was the part that I really liked. What is Jason Voorheesberg really made of? Are monster's born or raised? Is it nature or nurture? Is it fate or do we have a choice? These are good solid questions to be asking, and Christoph will leave you to decide.

Excellent work, Christoph. A good romp, followed by a sharp kick in the emotions. YOLO!


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