I’m sure most of you are familiar by now with Mark Pellegrini as writer of the smash hit comic series Kamen America. But we also hope that you’re familiar with him as a Cirsova contributor and horror writer of Don’t Open the Door and She Saw it Creeping Up the Stairs [and tomorrow, Channel 121 After Midnight.]
In addition to his comic accolades, Mark Pellegrini may well be the rising King of Gen Y Horror.
Gen Y was a narrow band that spent its early childhood in a largely analog world. There were video games, sure, but they were not ubiquitous. Few families had computers, and the internet was some weird thing you read about in scifi books [where it was usually called the Interweb] and maybe saw on TV, but nobody you knew had or used it. We played outside, because cable only gave you 50 or channels to watch.
This was the world that people Mark’s and my age grew up in, and he captures it fantastically in his horror writing, down to the decade-old shag carpets and wood paneling you see in those “ackshually, if you grew in up the 80s” memes.
Mark’s horror takes you back to that time when you were young, the world around you was uncanny and on the verge of changing in ways you could not possibly comprehend–inevitable; inescapable.
And there is no story that captures that more than his They’ll Get You.
Kevin lives with his mom in a suburban neighborhood, goes to a “good” school, has a handful of friends, and is living a fairly normal lifestyle for a kid in the early-mid-90s. But all is not as it seems. Those strange things we sometimes fancied and hyperfocused on as children–those monsters in the drain pipes, the weird houses that didn’t seem quite right, the school janitors who seemed off, and the “big kids” who were such jerks they might as well not even be human–well, for Kevin, these may be more than just the hyperactive imagination of a child.
They’ll Get You has amazing detail and presence of place–it’s so easy to not only visualize but grasp the entire world in which Kevin lives, and is trapped. It’s an incredibly visceral horror story that will resonate with anyone who lived through those times, and hopefully give people who didn’t an idea of the kind of nightmares we had as kids in a pre-digital world.
They’ll Get You is a touch on the long side, but it is surprising how well Mark is able to keep up the tension across so many scenarios as the story builds towards its endgame. There’s not a lot to criticize, and my few qualms [aside from formatting; bro, justify both sides of the text!] would include spoilers which I really would not want to give away…
But speaking of give away, tomorrow we’ll be doing a give-away of a copy of They’ll Get You on Twitter!