If you were to toss Silent Hill, Event Horizon, The Shining, Office Space, House on Haunted Hill (the 1998 remake), and an IKEA catalog in to blender what would come out is probably very similar to Horrorstör. Less like a novel and more like a movie, this horror-adventure is fast paced, funny, scary and disturbing. Also a heck of a lot of fun! If you are a fan of the movies and games listed above than seek this one out immediately.
Amy is an aimless 24 year old college dropout wasting her life away working retail for an IKEA knockoff called ORSK in Ohio. Strange things have been happening in the store overnight so the manager convinces Amy and other co-workers to stay overnight with him to patrol the store and investigate. As soon as the last customers exit the store strange events start occurring. A homeless man is found in the store, bizarre graffiti has been etched in to every wall of a bathroom, and the layout of the store seems to be changing on its own making the already labyrinthine sales floor almost impossible to navigate. However this is nothing compared to the bloody chaos that ensues after a séance is performed to make contact and leaves everyone desperate to survive the night.
In the beginning chapters Hendrix disarms you a bit with humor so when the terror comes full force it’s almost hard to comprehend what’s happening. The first act of violence was so sudden and bloody it was shocking. Make no mistake, this is a scary book throughout and while it is always amusing it portrays the events as deadly serious. You can expect to be up late trying to finish it, desperate to know what happens next.
The IKEA parody angle is mined for all its worth. Hendrix’s slyest observations are presented without comment. The book itself looks like a catalog, and before every chapter is a description and drawing of an ORSK piece of furniture. Also interspersed throughout are employee evaluations, ORSK promotional information, maps, and other pieces of information that help add detail to the story. The ORSK store is exactly like an IKEA, there are only 2 ways in to the Showroom floor and you must follow a winding path through all the different sections before you can get back to the front of the store again. Commentary on the design of the store, the psychology behind it, the cult of corporations, and what it means to be an hourly employee barely making ends meet are just as much an element to the story as the horror. Only towards the end does the subtext become a bit to on the nose when one of the characters literally states the symbolism of the entire story. It’s self aware and a bit meta but by spelling it out Hendrix shows he doesn’t quite trust his readers to draw the obvious conclusion themselves.
I love haunted house and isolation horror and Horrorstör is a terrific addition to the genre. The first half of the book is a bit slow but the second is non-stop until the ending and never lets up on the reader. Narrow escapes, bloody deaths, a horrifying secret, revenge from beyond, and a nightmare without end are what’s in store for the trapped employees over one unforgettable night.
Care to join them?