Kill Creek – Scott Thomas, 2017.
Four wildly different horror writers, each slipping in their popularity, take a lucrative offer to get back in the spotlight: $100,000 for an intimate interview livestreamed from a famously haunted house.
Their destination: the house on Kill Creek. Site of the brutal murder of a mixed-race couple during the Civil War and more recently, the former home of two mysterious, disturbingly reclusive sisters.
Halloween night finds the authors, their interviewer, and one camerawoman alone in the ominous house. Somewhat to their disappointment, nothing supernatural seems to happen. No orbs, no rattling chains or wisps of ectoplasm. But… something does happen. The real horror begins when each author returns home.
Kill Creek is a deliciously creepy tale. Thomas revitalizes the classic haunted house theme with vividly atmospheric writing and finely-honed tension. Small, subtle terrors give the reader satisfying shivers and ramp up the suspense. Top things off with a nail-biting, gory finale and a quiet, sharp little dig at the end, and you’ve got wickedly good novel.
The characters as much as the house make the story great. Sam, an author of small-town horror struggles with writer’s block. Moore’s violent, hard-core, sex-laden books are too extreme for mainstream fans. Daniel, who makes his living on Christian teen scare novels, is losing his base. Sebastian, king of the classic ghost story finds his writing relegated to the older generation. The house will use each of their weaknesses.
Under all the terror, Thomas conveys a poignancy in each character’s desperate craving for relevance: In the need to balance their drive for self-expression with the desire to maintain personal space outside of their writing. Deep down, Kill Creek is also a story about the bittersweet nature of the creative act of writing. But mostly, it’s a treat of a horror story. Nicely done, Mr. Thomas.