Camp Ghoul Mountain Part VI is something I’ve rarely encountered in my years of reviewing books: a horror comedy that works. Better still, it’s a horror comedy that focuses on slasher movies and specifically a transparent send-up of the Friday the 13th movies.
As a longstanding fan of slasher movies, I have devoted years of my life to movies that are almost universally stupid. Indeed, the most fascinating parts of slasher movies tend to be the behind-the-scenes stories about them. This book combines both with a well-written slasher movie plot combined with an entirely fiction history behind its production.
Jonathan Raab fictionalizes himself as the author hired to do the official novelization of Camp Ghoul Mountain Part VI. In-universe, Camp Ghoul Mountain is a controversial entry into a long-running brainless horror franchise that was derivative of already derivative movies. The director, a psychadelic-addicted conspiracy theory, turns it into a movie about Hollywood Satanism as well as a screed against the Vietnam War.
The movie studio, having financial troubles, must release the movie as is to critical failure. However, the movie gradually starts picking up a fandom due to the moral guardians cracking down it as well as the heroic efforts of the Camp Ghoul Mountain franchise creator. The director and he conflict over whether they’re making art or mindless entertainment but combine efforts to save the film.
This story is interspersed with the novelization of the fictional movie itself. Surprisingly, Jonathan Raab resists the urge to make the actual slasher portion of the novel perfunctory. Camp Ghoul Mountain Part VI is an exceptionally well-written B-movie with the characters both believable as well as likable. Yes, it’s just another story of horny teens going up to an isolated location to be killed but they are dealing with much more sinister forces than the animal mask-wearing Henry the Horror.
Grimdark fans will love the dark and twisted take on the slasher genre that applies its weird principles to political satire. It’s a decent enough horror movie that I would have enjoyed watching it in the real world. Part of what makes slasher movies entertaining is that they really are the nadir of writing with rare exceptions.
It’s not the writing that people come to see, anyway, but the special effects and fanservice. Jonathan Raab understands that and inserts numerous sly comments like his fictional avatar commenting on scenes where the “movie” objectifies its female stars. The fact the in-universe author often tries to justify it all in the name of high art makes it even funnier.
Camp Ghoul Mountain Part VI is a solid piece of entertainment and actually has a few interesting things to say. I think horror fans, especially slasher movie fans, will get more out of it than others. It’s definitely a recommendation for those who love the genre and probably those who have only a cursory examination of it too.
Buy Camp Ghoul Mountain Part VI