On Halloween night, following an unnerving phone call from his diabetic mother, Hale and six of his med-school classmates return to the house where his sister disappeared years ago. And while there’s no sign of his mother, something is waiting for them there, has been waiting a long time. Written as a literary film treatment littered with footnotes like breadcrumbs, Demon Theory is even parts camp and terror, combining glib dialogue, fascinating pop culture references and an intricate subtext as it pursues the events of a haunting movie trilogy too real to dismiss. When it was released in December 1996, Scream, in the words of director John Carpenter, “A recast horror for a very cynical, postmodern generation of young kids,” thus revitalizing a genre that had nearly become obsolete. Since then, movie audiences have whole-heartedly embraced the intelligent horror movies that pay homage to Scream—including The Sixth Sense, The Ring, and, most recently The Grudge—and a similar phenomenon has emerged among book readers, as evidenced by the success of House of Leaves and Neil Gaiman’s eerie graphic novels. Stephen Graham Jones’ Demon Theory is a refreshing and occasionally shocking addition to this growing tradition. There are movies about books and books about movies, and there’s Demon Theory, that one finger of light from the back of the auditorium, pointing simply up. The pages are stained with popcorn, yes, but something darker too, something you can’t wash away.
Stephen Graham Jones is the author of All the Beautiful Sinners, The Bird Is Gone: A Manifesto, The Fast Red Road: A Plainsong, and Bleed into Me: A Book of Stories. He is an associate professor of English at Texas Tech University.
“Jones, an unapologetic pop-culture savant, seizes the opportunity to recast thriller clichés into a madly entertaining landmark of literary horror…Demon Theory is subversive and indispensable – there is genius at work here.”
— Texas Monthly
Publication Date: October 12, 2007
trim size: 9 x 6 x 1.6