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Demon Theory

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3.5  ·  Rating details ·  403 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews

A psychological tale of cinematic horror.

On Halloween night, following an unnerving phone call from his diabetic mother, Hale and six of his med school classmates return to the house where his sister disappeared years ago. While there is no sign of his mother, something is waiting for them there, and has been waiting a long time.

Written as a literary film treatment littere

...more
ebook, 0 pages
Published April 13th 2006 by M P Publishing Ltd.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Steve
Apr 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, horror
Stephen Graham Jones' Demon Theory initially seemed a hard book to rate. As a "novel," it's an experiment in form. It's much easier to read than the other (highly praised) horror experiment, House of Leaves (which I've never been able to finish). It's structure is three-panelled, with each section representing a sequel for a horror film (1970s - 1980s). Before reading this book, I was somewhat prepared -- or fortified, by watching on Netflix streaming, The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film. (I'm ...more
Henrik
Apr 09, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Henrik by: Amazon.com newsletter
Shelves: horror
Sorry, I just didn't like this book. That is--the first 100 pages. I decided to call it quits, and go for other books waiting for me. I did consider rating it 2 stars, but seeing that 2 stars here on GoodReads means "It was OK," well, I just couldn't.

Those who have read my other reviews here on GoodReads will know that I rarely, if ever, stop reading a book before finishing it, and that I rarely, if ever, rate a book 1 star. The latter is to me especially troublesome, since I haven't read all of
...more
Bandit
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is interesting really. I like horror books, I like horror films, I like horror books about horror films and horror films about horror books. But seems that I do not care for horror books written to read like horror movies, which is precisely what this was. Jones is clever, he wants you to know it, he's the erudite genre nerd extraordinaire and he's written a book to prove it. Demon Theory is a sizeable volume resplendent with enough information, both pertaining directly to the script (since ...more
Simon West-Bulford
I was very close to rating this as 4 star. In the end I settled for 5, but one particular aspect drove me crazy and nearly made me cut that final star. And it's a silly aspect, I admit, but it did spoil an otherwise excellent read for me. When I read a book - I. Must. Have. Chapters. I go slightly insane if the book doesn't say, "okay, put me down for a bit". But that's just my weird OCD. Pay no attention!

But the overall concept? This book is amazing. The narrative is incredibly unique, and the
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Gordon
Jan 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Take every slasher horror convention you've ever seen on screen and deconstruct it on the page, with characters who are somewhat aware that they are part of the genre. The book is at once familiar and wholly original. It's sort of the literary equivalent of Scream (in its time, anyway). Told as a trilogy, each "part" actually reads like a movie sequel (except that the third part is the best of the three). At first I thought some of the dialogue was a bit stale, but it's totally in service to the ...more
Orrin Grey
Mar 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably the best thing I can say about Demon Theory is that I was barely twenty pages in before I started wishing I'd written the book myself. I don't know if Stephen Graham Jones actually invented a new approach to novel-writing here (the film-treatment-for-fictional-movies-as-novel), but it certainly feels like he did, and the footnotes not only contextualize what's happening in the story, but add another dimension to it, transform it from a simple horror story to myth-building, giving the de ...more
Jesse Bullington
A postmodern, whip smart novel that manages to simultaneously be a homage to literally hundreds of horror films while still maintaining its own original, at times satirical, vibe. Styled as an annotated script for a trilogy of horror films (based on a doctor's true accounts, of course) the experience of reading Demon Theory is a unique one, and indispensable for horror movie aficionados who don't mind an experimental approach to fiction. Personally, I would have preferred footnotes to endnotes, ...more
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
This started out really good, but then kind of fizzled towards the middle and never got it's mojo back. Bummer.
Matt Spaulding
Mar 08, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hate to even shelve this one as "read" since I really didn't get very far into it. I don't often give up on books, but one of the most valuable skills a reader can have is knowing when it's appropriate to do so. This was one of those cases.

The book itself is a strange experiment in style and the author writes this novel as though it were a screenplay then packs it full of footnotes. It just didn't work for me. I found it incredibly tedious. Which is too bad since the story showed some potentia
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Megan
Oct 22, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
(Re-posted from http://theturnedbrain.blogspot.com/)

The problem with loving an unconventional book is that it's so hard to find other books like it. This is the problem with me and Mark Z. Danielewski's 'House of Leaves' (which I swear I'm going to review one day...). I feel like I'm on a constant quest to find books that move in the same circles as 'House of Leaves,' and what books I do find rarely come close. Like Stephen Graham Jones' 'Demon Theory,' for example.

I had really high hopes for th
...more
Michael
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm going to have to read this one again.

I realize now that I care more about how a story is told than the story itself. Take this book, for example; the story is about demons, or it might have been monsters, or even movies, or murder, or suicide...oh, geez. Let's try again. The story follows five, or eight, or four protagonists who might be doctors at some point or else mental patients, or possibly paramedics... Yeah, no. Honestly, I'm not sure what the story was really about, or who the main c
...more
Robert Pierce
Aug 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do not expect the hand holding pulp of Stephen King or Dean Koontz with obscene amounts of character development, Jones uses horror movie archetypes. Do not expect Chuck Palahniuk's minimalist formulaic nihilism (arguably existentialism). "Demon Theory" is a unique experience.

The only book I have read that I can compare this to is "Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell" and the similarities end at the huge number of footnotes. The biggest challenge for me was picturing the work as a movie and using t
...more
Sergio
Jul 27, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one who enjoys reading
Recommended to Sergio by: Amazon
Shelves: horror, fiction
One word, Terrible. First you should be aware that I am deployed and don't have much to do to pass the time. So when I got this book I received it with an open mind, and with out much else to do but read it. Having said that, it was one of the worst books I have ever read. I plowed through the first half dozen chapters until I couldn't stomach it anymore. I threw it down in disgust. I would recommend this book to anyone who thought Scarey Movie was a serious cinematic experience and who is so ob ...more
Andrew
Feb 28, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: absurd, lit, pomo
I got 70 Pages in. I enjoyed the format but other reading overwhelmed it and I had to return it to the library. It's one I'd like to go back to. The footnotes that overwhelm the actually story were great.
Logan
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A (fictional) novelization of three films that were adapted from a book that was inspired by case notes that were recorded as a series of interviews held at a mental institute.

Already confused?

Yeah.

This is in three parts (a trilogy), as a prosaic movie-style, film treatment, complete with camera direction, screen fades, etc. But it's also like an academic thesis, as it sports copious amounts of footnotes, almost entirely, though, noting some pop culture film reference.

It's an interesting idea
...more
Paul
Aug 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As far as plots go, this one is fairly straight forward: on Halloween, a med school student a several classmates leave a booze-soaked party to pile into a van and head into the country to check on his mother in her remote home in the woods. Let it suffice to say (as in most horror yarns) that things swiftly go awry.



If your first reaction upon reading the above was to yawn, I don't blame you; it's the sort of framework that's launched a thousand direct-to-video ships. What sets "Demon Theory" apa
...more
Chris Cangiano
May 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written and with a unique (not necessarily original as Mr. Jones would be the first to concede and in fact does in later footnotes) spin, Stephen Graham Jones' Demon Theory combines the ethos of the modern horror film with a healthy dose of post-modern meta-fiction and shakes it up into a cocktail sure to please the MLA crowd and horror community. The book is presented in three parts, and purports to be a novelization of a horror movie trilogy which was in turn adapted from a best-seller in ...more
Karl
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a deep brilliance in this book. Not simply an exploration of slasher movies as well as a conglomeration of all that have come before it, this book looks at the layers of the collective unconscious that ride below these movies in a single, cohesive psychological narrative. It's a narrative that, by the end of each movie/part, the reminder of the premise underlying these stories was that much more impacting: "Part _ of a three-part novelization of the feature film trilogy The Devil Inside, ...more
Vince Liaguno
Aug 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If Stephen Graham Jones’ wickedly clever Demon Theory were to ever be made into an actual film, the witty tagline might go something like this: Someone has taken his love of MLA too far. Culled from the fictional case notes of the fictional Dr. Neider at the equally imaginary Owl Creek Mental Facilities, Demon Theory is presented as a three-part novelization of the movie trilogy The Devil Inside, based on the (you guessed it) fictional best-selling novel inspired by said notes. Part literary fil ...more
Chris
Jan 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book that I've ever "Not wanted to put down." The first part of this book simply sucked me in, sank it's gargoyle fangs into my neck, and wouldn't let me stop reading until I reached Part 2. After that, though, the feeling lessened.

Even if things slowed down a bit after that first portion, this is an excellent tribute/homage to all the classics--cult and otherwise--of horror films. The film nerd in me was giddy with all the references and explanations, while the book nerd in me
...more
Autumn
Nov 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: weird-tales
Is it three novellas, or one long novel? Is it a screenplay, a transcript, or a novel? Demon Theory is a lot of things, and all of those things are good. I read the Kindle verison, which I really have to recommend because Demon Theory is packed with reference notes and on the Kindle you can quickly bounce to the note and then back to the story.
I've been having a hard time describing the plot of Demon Theory. There are med students, an old creepy house, gargoyles, drugs, childhood mysteries, gho
...more
April (The Steadfast Reader)
I don't really know how I feel about this book. Uneasy? Irate? Exuberant?

At points I felt bitterly disappointed after Stephen Graham Jones' brilliant collection of short stories that I read first.

In one way, the most interesting part about it are the copious footnotes so packed full of pop-culture references it can make a person dizzy.

The main story(ies) are written almost as a treatment for a screenplay - or perhaps a book for a musical. I'm note sure if it's intentional or not, but there wer
...more
Blair
Jan 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Demons. A quintessential "Michael Myers/Jason Voorhees" type killer. A ghost story. A psychological whodunnit. This story takes these threads and weaves what could quite possibly the most all-encompassing horror story ever put down on paper. At first the screenplay style prose seemed daunting. In retrospect, fleshing this story out in a narrative would (oddly enough) take away from the realism of the interaction between all of the elements that make this novel unique. Writing "Demon Theory" as a ...more
Gwen
May 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could split this review into 2.

I LOVED the first Part of the Book (and it can stand alone, as the book is written as a Trilogy.) I could not put down the first Horror story and read the book til 3am to finish it. So fun, and well written. After you sigh at the grand finale of this fun horror/slasher story--I recommend you stop reading.

Part 2 and Part 3... Too Many characters, Too off the wall, Too hard to follow. I couldn't understand the shifting POVs that would happen mid paragraph,
...more
Josh Hancock
Apr 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a lifelong horror junkie, I could not wait to get my hands on this book as soon as I heard about it. Though I agree with a lot of the other reviews here--for example, the footnotes are occasionally overlong and distracting--I thoroughly enjoyed Jones' experimental style and near-constant film references throughout. If you know what you're getting into, and you're a fan of horror and pop culture in general, you'll probably get a big kick out of it. I found it much more accessible than Danielew ...more
Jason Boog
One of the most gripping & befuddling reading experiences I had last year. And it is a great horror story too.

QUOTE: "'Ganzfeld,' Seri pronounces finally, in defeat, as if in explanation. Then talks down to them: 'It’s a German term. G-A-N-Z-feld. A documented, psychological phenomenon. When you’re deprived of sensory input for too long—say, institutionalized?—you begin to hallucinate ... see connections where there are none ... come up with theories for your personal demons, which you want
...more
Loretta
this is the retelling of the movie and, as I have not seen the movie, it was a bit tedious and almost felt like I was sitting in a theater with a commentator telling me what my eyes are seeing ensconced at my right shoulder. A horrifying story, true, but the tediousness of the "retelling" knocked my opinion down to about 3 stars. maybe a bit under 3 stars. If you like the retelling of a movie script, then this is for you. Otherwise, all the details and information surrounding the actions of the ...more
Stefanie
sigh. a really intriguing story that kept kicking you out because of the style. every time i thought i was fully in, comfortable and ready to flow, i would get bumped out - whether because the footnotes (which were interesting and begged to be read) were all in the back, or because i would somehow want more visual input than i was getting, despite the script treatment. this was a frustrating read all the way around. despite that, there's a really good story in here, and i'm probably going to che ...more
Derek Pennycuff
I couldn't finish this one. I got about half way through the 2nd section and realized there's nothing that can happen on the next page that can possibly muster a response from me — positive or negative. I just don't give a damn about any of the characters. Which, to be fair, is genre convention for what the author is doing. But it tends to suck the enjoyment out of a book for me as a reader. I found the deeply nested footnotes mildly amusing in a self parody sort of way. But I've got far too man ...more
Benjamin
I had to sit down to read the whole book at once. How the book is written like a movie happening is very original, which could make it hard for certain people to read. I enjoyed how the plot line went like a horror movie happening and I felt like I was in the movie. The characters were the average individuals that you would see in the movie. I have recommended friends to read this book out of entertainment sake.
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Stephen Graham Jones is the author of fifteen novels and six collections. He really likes werewolves and slashers. Favorite novels change daily, but Valis and Love Medicine and Lonesome Dove and It and The Things They Carried are all usually up there somewhere. Stephen lives in Boulder, Colorado. It's a big change from the West Texas he grew up in. He's married with a couple kids, and probably one ...more
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