Who knows more about fighting a monster invasion than a group of teenage horror fans?
Billy Rile is smart, adept at Nintendo and has a killer Hi-Fi setup. Life is good. But he has no idea that an alien life form has infected his town, a creature that overtakes and transforms its host.
It could be inside anyone: a classmate, a pizza delivery man, even the girl next door. When Billy’s weekly movie night is crashed by this otherworldly menace, he and his best friend and their dates will have to summon their courage and call upon all their horror movie knowledge if they’re going to make it through Video Night alive.
There’s nothing quite like an awesome 80′s teen movie, whether it’s every John Hughes classic from The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, or other favourites such as Weird Science, Back to the Future, and even Adventures in Babysitting. But even better still is the 80′s teen horror movie, which brings back images of the most famous of the bunch, The Lost Boys. Starring Jason Patric, the two Corey’s (Haim and Feldman), and Kiefer Sutherland, it represents the perfect blend of a the two genres of teen and horror movies.
No movie since has really captured the same magic that made The Lost Boys so wonderful. There have been plenty of attempts and feeble imitations. A hidden gem from that wonderful era when video stores still existed, before the advent of Netflix and streaming, if someone asked a clerk at such a shop at the time what they should watch after The Lost Boys, there aren’t a whole lot of recommendations she or he could have made. There’s Fright Night (the 1985 original, of course), and maybe Carrie, and some straight-up teen comedies like Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but that’s about it.
If you’ve ever found yourself wishing for the next thing to watch after The Lost Boys but never really having found it, you may not find it where you normally browse for films, but the good news is that Adam Cesare’s second novel, Video Night, will bring back all those good nostalgic feelings, and provide you with a story that’s so much more than your usual “alien invasion” tale.
Things start off with a couple getting busy in a van, Rhonda and Jake, when out of nowhere, he grows something out of his neck, and a creature emerges Aliens-style. Unfortunately for Rhonda, it gets her, too, and wastes little time burying her psyche underneath its own directives, yet using all her knowledge so that the new host, an alien, can survive. She’s semi-aware of what’s going on, but can’t fight back in any way as the alien overwhelms her system.
As one might expect, through trickery, deceit, and ambushes, the alien inside Rhonda manages to create more aliens that spawn and multiply in a vivid and vicious manner. The alien wants to overtake the town and use the resident humans as hosts so they can keep multiplying and overtake the world eventually.
The only thing standing against them is a motley group of teens, led by BFFs Billy and Tom, the quintessential 80′s best friends, who are more than meets the eye. Billy is a gamer and obsessed with movies, hosting ‘movie nights’ with Tom, whereas his friend is more concerned with his girlfriend, the loud-mouthed Darcy, who has a nasal and annoying Long Island accent that called to mind images of Fran Drescher from The Nanny. Darcy’s BFF is Rhonda’s little sister, who functions as the good-looking girl who is not supposed to be interested in the geek, Billy, but finds herself liking him, something that will have to wait as they fight to defeat the aliens.
Of course, in a book like this, there are only so many victories that can be had, and it can’t all be ‘clean cut’ in the sense that everything just fits into a neat little box and the good guys win, period, no further questions, no mess to clean up after that, which I found a welcome addition to the common ‘invasion’ story tropes, which often feature unrealistic endings.
If you love and miss 80′s teen movies, and especially if some of those are horror flicks, you should definitely consider picking up a copy of Video Night by Adam Cesare, one of horror’s up-and-coming superstars.