Dario Heyward knows one thing: He’s never going back to Moldavia Studios, the iconic castle that served as the set, studio, and home to the cast and crew of dozens of cult classic B-horror movies. It’s been three years since Dario’s even seen the place, after getting legally emancipated from his father, the infamous director of Moldavia’s creature features.
But then Dario’s brother invites him home to a mysterious ceremony involving his father and a tribute to his first film—The Curse of the Mummy’s Tongue. Dario swears his homecoming will be a one-time visit. A way for him to get closure on his past—and reunite with Hayley, his first love and costar of Zombie Children of the Harvest Sun, a production fraught with real-life tragedy—and say good-bye for good. But the unthinkable happens—Dario gets sucked back into the twisted world of Moldavia and the horrors, both real and imagined, he’s left there.
With only months to rescue the sinking studio and everyone who has built their lives there, Dario must confront the demons of his past—and the uncertainties of his future. But can he escape the place that’s haunted him his whole life?
I absolutely loved the setting. Eastern European old castle. Old studio horror films with old studio actors living in said castle. There are a lot of references to the classic horror Italian film directors and their movies. So great setting. There are some fun characters that seem unreal and are a hoot. Like Dario's brother who's supposed to be in his late 20s but seems like he's 15 or the father who decides to be buried alive for his funeral.
But the story was clunky and not edited well. The story felt more like an actual screenplay turned into a novel. It makes me wonder if Milman wrote the screenplay first and tried to get it sold but then went with a novelization. Scenes sped by like I was watching it on a movie which for a movie is great but not so much when you're reading a book.
Overall, I liked it but it wasn't as good as I was hoping.
*read for R.I.P. XIII and FrightFall challenges.