cover image Memento Mori: The Fathomless Shadows

Memento Mori: The Fathomless Shadows

Brian Hauser. Word Horde, $16.99 trade paper (252p) ISBN 978-1-939905-48-2

Hauser delivers an engrossing, baffling horror debut that veers hard into the weird, its disturbing aspects enhanced by its faux-nonfictional structure. Hauser’s in-depth study of underground horror film visionary Tina Mori—which is so realistic that readers may start looking for the fictional Mori’s Wikipedia entry—begins tangentially with a glance into the life of teen horror fan Billie Jacobs. Through excerpts from the unreleased final issue of Jacobs’s horror fanzine; a memoir penned by Mori’s college roommate and inspiration, C.C. Waite; and a mysterious note sent from Waite to Jacobs, Hauser recounts the strange, chaotic time between the birth of Mori’s cinematic obsession and her unexplained disappearance. Although Waite’s memoir is primarily concerned with the women’s coming of age, Hauser expertly entwines the chronicle of their growth with an undercurrent of strangeness and horror in the world around them, increasingly reflected by the disturbing power of Mori’s art. Fans of the uncanny (and especially of Robert W. Chambers’s The King in Yellow, to which this work alludes ) will find much to love and laud, but those unfamiliar with the genre are likely to be left bewildered by the story’s ominous final turn. (June)