This made us canter on all four hooves. My thanks Jonathan Oliver!
“Everybody loves a good monster movie, but when it comes to horror novels, a good monster is harder to pull off. Erm… so to speak. Certainly, one cannot underestimate the influence of the works of H.P. Lovecraft on monsters in fiction. You can barely move for tentacles these days. But to make monsters scary in literature is actually no mean feat.
Adam Nevill is a modern master of terror (and also a model of a modern major general)* and when it comes to ‘proper’ horror Adam cannot be beat. He brings a brutal sensibility to his books, an uncompromising vision of gruelling terror, touched with a lyrical and spiritual sensibility worthy of writers such as Robert Aickman or Arthur Machen. The Ritual is, for me, one of Adam’s best books.
Four friends go on a hiking holiday in Scandinavia, and things go from bad to worse as they stumble across a site of terrible occult power. Nevill builds the tension brilliantly and the pay-off is one of my favourite ‘big horror’ moments of recent years.
Also, there’s a terrifying scene in an attic which will stay with me forever. It’s incredibly grim and gritty stuff, though while Nevill may be riffling on modern horror movies and the trope of the terrifying cult, this vision is uniquely his.
And what have we learnt from this? Go for the beach holiday next year instead. Adventure holidays only end up in being eaten.
*May have made that up.
The Hunger by Whitley Streiber
The Nightwalker by Thomas Tessier
Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer
Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite
IT by Stephen King”