A missing French inventor and his lost feature film take center stage with this dark debut of a novel by Jonathan Skariton.
The early history of motion pictures is plagued with controversy, including vicious patent wars between the United States and Europe.
In 1888, French inventor Louis Le Prince was granted an American patent on a 16-lens camera that combined motion picture with a projector. Although Le Prince mostly wanted a single-lens patent, he was not granted one. In October of the same year, Le Prince filmed Roundhay Garden Scene, which is known today as one of the only surviving pieces of the earliest production of a film. Le Prince planned to present his successful invention in Manhattan at a public exposition, and he is considered by many to be the true father of motion pictures.
The Camp Crystal Lake murders of Friday the 13th. Michael Myers' small-town homicidal spree in Halloween. The frightening Leatherface of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. These are prime examples of classic horror movies depicting maniacs chasing down innocent teenagers. In the end, there's always one survivor. Friday the 13th had Alice; Halloween had Laurie; Texas Chainsaw had Sally. These individuals are commonly known to horror movie fans as the Final Girls. But these examples are from Hollywood. What if it happened in real life?
Life in small town Nevada, Iowa, in the late 1990s has never promised much. Everything is pretty much a stone's throw away from the residents' houses, including the popular Video Hut. Although a brand-spanking-new Hollywood Video nearby is threatening Video Hut's profits, it seems to still have its regular flow of customers. A job at the Video Hut is good enough for 22-year-old Jeremy, who lives with his father, an independent contractor. Both work endless hours to avoid painful thoughts of Mom, who died six years before in a car accident.
But, things are not what they seem in Nevada, Iowa. Not at all.
Howard Phillips Lovecraft ("H.P.") is known as one of America's greatest horror writers. Writing terrifying epics such as The Call of Cthulhu and At the Mountains of Madness, he was Influenced by another horror great, Edgar Allan Poe. Lovecraft himself has influenced bestselling authors such as Stephen King, provided inspiration for modern-day novels (John Dies at the End) and movies (Re-Animator, The Evil Dead) as well as television shows. Lovecraft was also a hermit and a xenophobic, choosing to spend most of his life in his native Rhode Island. However, there were a few rumors circulated that Lovecraft took the occasional trip to see devoted fans.
Johnny Truant is an L.A. tattoo artist looking for a new apartment. His friend says an elderly blind man who lived in his apartment complex recently passed away. Traunt figures it wouldn't hurt to check out the apartment. Inside, Traunt discovers the man, Zampanò, has been meticulously studying a documentary film, The Navidson Record, about photojournalist Will Navidson. When Traunt goes to look up the documentary, there isn't a record of the film ever being made.
So begins Traunt's descent into the madness of Zampanò.