The Horror Zine Review
Night Things: Dracula vs. Frankenstein
by Terry M. West
Night Things: Dracula Versus Frankenstein
By Terry M. West
Review by Angela Valdes
Terry M. West’s Night Things: Dracula Versus Frankenstein uses two of the most recognizable and popular monsters in literary history to pull readers into their worlds once again.
In this book Frankenstein is discovered by Dracula hiding out in a cave, away from civilization, and Dracula renames him Primul. They end up becoming enemies and Primul renames himself a second time to Johnny Stucke.
Stucke (Frankenstein) serves as the main protagonist throughout the book. The name changes are somewhat jarring and confusing for the reader, but West draws from each character to bring them into the modern world set in New York City.
The world seems to have become a melting pot of every monster imaginable and laws have been put in place by humans in an attempt to control the situation. Johnny Stucke has become a mobster who delved into the business of monster pornography films. Gary Hack, a human film pornographer who directs monster smut for Stucke, becomes a central point to the story when Dracula returns, planning to kill Stucke and to continue building his army to wipe out humans.
What the author does well is make the reader feel close to Johnny Stucke. He gives him more human qualities by making him care for peace between humans and monsters. Stucke also protects various humans at pivotal points in the book that make the reader connect and see him as a sort of hero seeking redemption for what he did in his past.
The author succeeds in making the novel very gritty, sometimes grotesque but eloquent because of descriptions like: “Suddenly zombie faces pierced her light, rushing in at her quickly like snakes from a can. They hissed and cursed at her” (113) or “The body convulsed and Dracula’s dark blood boiled on the floor” (140).
Additionally, the author uses a factual historical figure to provide context of how old Johnny Stucke is. For example, in conversation, he mentions the Lizzie Borden trial involving axe murders that occurred in 1892 in the United States.
The story shifts back and forth between past and present and involves various characters. The shifts between past and present between Dracula and Stucke is a welcome shift that breaks up the story and reads as if watching a film that floats from scene to scene.
However, Chapter 11 is in present day focusing on the kidnapping of Gary Hack’s daughter, whereas Chapter 12 shifts back twenty-five years prior to Haiti and the backstory is confusing and jarring. There are also a lot of minor characters that appear with their backstories at the beginning of the book which does not serve any particular purpose or drive the plot forward.
The reader doesn’t find out what caused Stucke and Dracula to become enemies until halfway through the book. The plot would have been better served if the fight between Johnny Stucke and Dracula was in the opening of the book. It is also unclear how Dracula finds Johnny Stucke again since he has no powers to lure or read Stucke’s mind.
Despite these minor details, this book is a good read for adults looking for a work of horror fiction that is grotesque and macabre, and one which packs in as many monsters as possible. The fight between the good (that seems to linger in Johnny Stucke) along with the hatred (Dracula holds for humans) keeps the suspense going that is to be continued at the end of the book.
The sheer grittiness of the novel is one of its most endearing qualities for those that like pulp fiction. It is especially interesting that West gives Johnny Stucke an empathetic quality toward humans in the midst of the grotesque because readers can then connect to him as a character and hope he wins the fight eventually.
You can buy the book HERE
About the Author
Terry M. West
Terry M. West is an American horror author. His best known works: What Price Gory, Car Nex, Dreg and his Night Things series. He is also the managing editor of the Halloween/horror website, Halloween Forevermore. He was a finalist for 2 International Horror Guild Awards and he was featured on the TV Guide Sci-Fi hot list for his YA graphic novel series, Confessions of a Teenage Vampire. Terry was born in Texas, lived in New York for two decades and he currently hangs his hat in California.
About the Reviewer
Angela Valdes earned a Master of Arts in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. She enjoys writing dystopian fiction, non-fiction, and poetry with a horror twist. Angela’s work has appeared in The Horror Zine, and the Mused BellaOnline Literary Review.
She enjoys spending time at home with her husband and two dogs, Shadow and Corbin. To draw inspiration in her writing, she enjoys using realist situations as well as observances from the world around her to spin her work into something emotional and meaningful.