Cover Image: The Remaking

The Remaking

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Member Reviews

I love a good ghost story, but this was not it. Despite a promising first chapter, The Remaking was a a miss for me due to writing and plot. 2.5/5.
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WOW!!! This book was gooood!!! Creepy but not scary. I recommended it to a friend and she loved it. Thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for the ARC of this book in return for my honest review. Receiving the book in this manner had no bearing on this review.
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I'm so disappointed in myself for taking so long to get to reading this book! I always love any kind of horror book, but ghost and witch stories are probably my favorite! The Remaking is a good old-fashioned, burn-witches-at-the-stake who then take revenge as ghosts story! I whipped through it in a day and a half because I just had to know what Jessica and her mother, Ella Louise, were going to do next! The town of Pilot's Creek burned Ella Louise and Jessica at the stake, claiming that Ella Louise was at fault for the death of a townsperson--and they believed that Jessica was even more powerful. Skip ahead in time and young Amber Pendleton is selected to play Jessica in a movie about the two. But something goes really wrong on the set and Amber's life is changed forever. This was such a crazy, spooky ride, and I cannot wait to read more by Clay McLeod Chapman!
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A quirky an interesting horror. Very visual, you can practically SEE the scenes playing out in front of you.
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I loved almost this entire book, but the ending sure did throw me for a whole entire loop! The format of the story was great - the way the story was split up was easy to digest, and kept me engaged and involved throughout. However, toward the end, the story seemed to start losing steam. I'm not sure if this was the original, intended ending, or if the author just got a bit confused toward the end, but I'm not sure what actually happened there.

That said, the majority of the rest of this was super fun, and I had a great time with the story!!
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This was like nothing I had read before. The back and forth of time was enthralling and the character development was great. Though the ending was a tad rushed I still felt the conclusion was amazing and kept me wanting more.
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I received a copy from Netgalley - a granted wished for title. 

And I loved it. I have a horror movie addiction – particularly for 60s/70s/80s style movies. Usually the remakings of movies from these eras are never as good as the originals. This story is about the making of a movie in the 70s, a town with an ancient horrible legend about a woman and her daughter who were burned as witches and supposedly still haunt the town. 

The novel takes us through the making of the original movie from the POV of the director with the vision, and the little girl who plays the daughter of the burned witch. (Along with her hideous overbearing helicopter mother). It’s addictive as the horror of the original story comes into play, and from the point of view of a young child trying to digest what’s going on around her as she has her makeup done for a very frightening scene. And before long things start going horribly wrong and something terrible happens to the little girl. 

Skip to the 90s and the little girl has grown up. A horror movie icon from this one film she did, she has become something of a prescription pill addicted recluse. The movie from the 70s gained a notoriety cult following. Sometimes the actress does horror conventions but seems to be rather disgusted by them. Before long someone is remaking the 70s movie and now want to cast her as the mother. Of course things start going hideously wrong. 

None of these characters are particularly likeable, but there is something terrible and compelling about the narrative that makes it impossible to put down. Just like a movie where you might not like the plot or the people involved but you just have to know what’s going to happen. 

It’s unsettling and uncomfortable and a brilliant read. I will definitely be reading more from this author.
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I just keep blaming 2020 for my lateness in getting to everything I wanted to read this year, and I’ll continue to do so well into 2021, or until I’m caught up (which might take forever). I am pretty confident that this book will be my last of 2020, and I think I chose an excellent one to end the year on.

In the 1930s, The men in the town of Pilot’s Creek, Virginia burned witch Ella Louise on a homemade stake. They never intended for her daughter to burn with her. Thus, a local legend of the ghosts of witches was born. In the golden age of Grindhouse, a B-horror movie crew shows up to film a horror flick about this legend, and a troup of hippies who stumble on the haunted ground. Star Amber Pendleton’s life will never be the same. In the 90s, a film nerd wants to remake the 70s film and revive the legend of the little ghost witch and her mother. Tragedy on set dooms the film and its maker and pushes Amber further into isolation. Late 2010s, journalist Nate Denison is on the hunt for Amber and what really happened at Pilot’s Creek over the course of twenty, well actually eighty-five years, and he’s determined to debunk the whole thing.

This book moves surprisingly fast for covering so much ground. It’s interesting, it’s meta, and it studies the forms of horror storytelling that we keep revisiting no matter the medium. Campire tales, horror films, podcasts, they are all mediums of passing a story along, and I love not only the creepy, ghostly elements of the story, but also the in-depth look at horror. I’ve always believed you can tell a lot about a generation from the horror story it tells. Through the medium of storytelling, we can examine our fears in a safe space and give them an outlet.

I started this one on a whim yesterday, because I was exhausted at work and needed to pass the hours. I figured I’d start it, get a quarter of the way through, then finish it up in the new year. NOPE. I started reading, and kept reading, and by the end of my shift, I was 180 pages in, and I totally would have finished it after getting home, but I got sleepy and needed rest for my shift today.

I just finished it, and I highly recommend it. I love the shift in storytelling mediums as well as the story itself, how it evolves and is reflected through film scripts and podcast narration. If you’re looking for something creepy yet fascinating, and or if you’re a film nerd, definitely check this one out.
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Chapman demonstrates a solid grasp of horror as a genre without a trace of pretension or a hint of haughtiness. Horror fanatics, in my experience, are a lively bunch. Many enthusiasts of the genre will not hesitate to exhibit their devotion and love of it to you. It’s almost like a test, for you and of themselves. Like they’re trying to determine who the “bigger” fan is—something that cannot be quantitatively measured, nor does it need to be proven in the first place anyway… And if that bit of unloading was not an indication already, I have not had the best of luck integrating into the online horror community, and that’s partly why. Thankfully, though, I do not detect any vibes of arrogance from Chapman. Throughout The Remaking, he drops bits of horror history and a few factoids, but he does it naturally. At no point did I think he was showing off. 

The author also clearly has a fondness for bards, performers of oral storytelling. The Remaking is divided up into four sections, and each reads exceptionally well. This is prose that I’m sure lent itself very well to the audiobook translation. I could hear the words as I read them. At times I even caught my lips moving, particularly in the first and fourth parts. The first part sets the foundation. Chapman gives us the campfire story that put everything in motion—the urban legend that inspired the films that will be made in parts two and three. He writes the tale the way one would speak it, and it leaps off the page. The fourth part is told from the perspective of a podcaster who is investigating the horrific stuff that happened on the sets of the cursed original film and its doomed remake. Maybe it’s because I am a podcaster (ugh, why does that always feel a just a smidge douchey?), but I could “hear” Nathaniel recording his content, too. 

The male POV is something that Chapman seems very aware of here, come to think of it. It’s almost impossible to have a deep, analytical discussion of the horror genre without addressing the male gaze. And he appears to be actively playing with it throughout the book. We get Nathaniel’s literal POV in the final part, and in parts two and three we witness the male directorial influence from the perspective a female actress. Chapman displays instances of female sexualization and trivialization—but with intention. It starts with the urban legend from part one: a story of insecure men killing a mother and daughter due to suspected witchcraft. And it carries through to the film productions in parts two and three and then ultimately into the final part with the male amateur detective who chooses to usurp the lives of these real-life women for his own gain. As an author, Chapman is holding a mirror up to a genre that both reveres and belittles female characters, sometimes simultaneously. In my mind, Chapman is not condoning such tendencies, merely dramatizing it for effect. 

As someone who loves analyzing stories, I really dug this book. I’ve always been fascinated with what makes certain stories “work” and others not. Or how a story can adopt a new meaning with a shift in context or mood. Or how advancing technology can elevate a text, or tank it. Or how the whole tone could be uprooted if the microphone were to be placed in the hands of another character. Clay McLeod Chapman also seems to be interested in these things. That’s my takeaway from this novel, at least. The dude definitely knows his stuff. The Remaking obviously came from a cerebral place, but that does not mean that it’s devoid of visceral merits. From time to time, I felt like I was one with the tale(s) in my gut. And isn’t that the mark of an affecting story?
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3.5 stars

I received an advanced copy from the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review. And I won the physical copy in a Goodreads Giveaway!

This was a really interesting story because it was multiple stories being told, however, not at once. I suppose the best way to describe it is rather than flashbacks it starts at the beginning of this dreadful murdery witch story and then focuses on huge events with the ghosts. This novel focuses on films that are being made to tell the original true story of the witches Ella Louise and her daughter, Jessica.

If you have ever read the Dutch book The Hex, I feel like you would enjoy this novel too. Definitely slowly unfolds and quite entertaining. However, I feel there were some plot holes and unanswered questions, which is why I am giving it 3.5 stars. Still, quite good!!!
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If you became obsessed with horror movies as a kid walking through the video store, sneaking glimpses of the macabre VHS covers, THE REMAKING is your kind of novel. And if you have a soft spot for witches, urban legends, and cursed films, you'll love this book as much as I did.  

Based on the true story of a young girl and her mother burned at the stake, accused of witchcraft, THE REMAKING follows the story of a young actress cast in the role of the young girl and years later, cast as the mother in a remake of the cult classic. 

Dark and unsettling, this story speaks to true horror lovers. There were a few parts that were so frightening, I needed to take a little break from reading!  I enjoyed how the story was told - the novel spanned many years and the narrative shifted which was unique and held my interest. I also appreciated how this novel looked at misogyny in the horror genre. 

I’ll definitely read more from this author!
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Thanks to NetGalley and Quirk for the advanced look at this amazing book!

Clay McLeod Chapman is one of my favorite working writers today, and The Remaking did not disappoint. The story, based on true events, was immersive and deeply unsettling, and I know I'll have to return to this one again when I'm feeling like a good spook.
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Inspired on a true story about a women and her child burned for witchcraft. The story of their murder is carried through the years to become an urban legend. I wouldn't say it was a horror story but it definitely has that classic ghost story feel. 
I did loose track at times, I felt that there was tom much repetition, but overall I really enjoyed it. I couldn’t put it down. I would say that the style of writing was lacking a little but it made for an easy read
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Sadly, a case of "concept looks great but execution is not so great."  The pace is too slow and the writing isn't great.  I was disappointed.
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The novel starts off with an exciting premise, two witches, a mother and a daughter duo are burned after a herbal remedy gone wrong and endangers the life of one of the villagers. Now, the town of Pilot’s Creek, Virginia is haunted by the ghosts of these two witches. The novel begins to be very repetitive when it introduces us to Amber Pendleton, the young girl that is going to play Jessica Ford’s ghost in the making of the horror movie, Don’t Tread on Jessica’s Grave. Initially, I found the repetition annoying, but once I realized that the author was purposely using repetition as a means to express the spiraled cycle that began with the witches and continues with Amber even as an adult, it made artistically sense and I wasn’t as annoyed by it. The author was trying to create the feeling of an ouroboros with the cycle going on and on, without a break.

I really enjoyed the first few chapters when we get to know Ella Louise Ford and Jessica Ford, the two witches. I love urban legends, so a town that is haunted by this legend (whether it’s true or not) was really fascinating. I also enjoyed the social commentary the author made about child stars and actresses in horror films.

Overall, this was a spirally horrific ride that’s just what anyone needs right now for the Halloween season.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Quirk Books for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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Meh. This book was a disappointment all the way around. Boring and overly simplistic. Mediocre writing at best.
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I actually had no issues with the pacing in this book, as I devoured it in two sittings, and I think it's an interesting meditation on urban legends, remakes, storytelling, and the horror genre, but it never truly delves into any of those things fully, only touches on them. There's really no solid conclusion at the end, which is fine, that's not the point, but it did leave me feeling a bit unsatisfied. I did think this was creepy in some parts, so that was a win.

I wasn't a fan of the melodramatic and choppy writing style, nor was I a fan of the very weird male gaze peppered throughout this book that, as another reviewer has stated, both trivializes and sexualizes women at the same time. It was bizarre, especially when we were in Amber's head when she was a little girl.

I can't help but feel like I wanted something more from this story; I think it's a great concept and I enjoyed reading it for the most part, but I think that it has a lot of untapped potential. It's pretty cool that it's apparently based of a real incident that happened, though!
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As any self-respecting, genre-loving NYC theatregoer knows, Clay is a consummate horror monologist. He brings  his skills for distinct character voices, dynamic inner life, and gripping narrative turns, to this novel and it's an absolute delight. I loved each layer of this story.
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I did like the story but I did find it a little repetitive.  I think if it weren't for that I would have given it 4 out of 5.
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No one can forget the Witch Girl of Pilot Creek. Years ago, Jessica was burned to death with her mother, then buried in the local cemetery under a thick layer of concrete, her grave  surrounded by an iron fence made of interlocking crosses. No one wanted that little girl getting out. and no one will stop telling her story. There was that awful movie from the seventies and the remake two decades later that went terribly wrong, then the podcaster who decided to revisit the site with the actress who starred in both movies...

I absolutely loved the first three-quarters of this book, but the ending fell flat and left me disappointed. The author has a wonderful way of vividly describing things and bringing them to life and he perfectly captures that love for old horror movies and the independent video stores that came long before Blockbuster and Hollywood Video.
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