Cover Image: The Remaking

The Remaking

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Member Reviews

An epic ghost story. The Remaking begins as a campfire tale, telling the horrific story of Ella Louise and Jessica Ford. Mother and daughter were burned as witches in Pilot's Creek, VA., their remains forever separated. Ella Louise left buried in the woods, Jessica buried beneath concrete in the local graveyard with a fence of crosses surrounding her grave. 
We are soon introduced to Amber Pendleton, a young actress, who is cast to play Jessica in "Don't Tread on Jessica's Grave", a 70's B horror movie. Told through the eyes of young Amber, we learn of eerie events that take place during filming of the movie. These events turn the low budget horror movie into an instant Cult Classic. 
Decades later and Amber is getting by attending conventions and surviving on benzos and booze, her career never moving past Jessica. Offered a role to play Ella Louise in a redo of the cult classic, with a 90's horror spin, Amber must subject herself to the memories of what occurred 20 years prior and the horror of what is about to occur. 
As Amber is revisited, yet again, for an investigative podcast, we find her living in seclusion and squalor. She has remained, all these many years, in Pilot Creek, tied down by the call of Jessica. The town has withered as though a curse hangs over it. Perhaps it does. 
I found The Remaking spooky and chilling. The idea of bouncing through decades and genres was interesting. Following Amber’s perspective as decades have gone by, really gave a unique perspective. While I greatly enjoyed the book, I did feel it was a little campy, perhaps written for a younger audience. I would recommend this book. It was certainly entertaining.
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Interesting literary take on a ghost story steeped in a cinematic feel. Eloquently written, though a bit disjointed due to the shifting narrative. Utterly original and fascinating.
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Those who suffer witches

The Remaking takes readers through a cycle of witch stories: a legend, a cult horror film, and the remake of the film - which is haunted by the original ghost story. 

In pacing, it is reminiscent of Norman Partridge’s Dark Harvest, creating a horror film in the reader’s mind and making her turn pages faster and faster. But it’s real success lies in the almost feminine rhyme quality of its repetition (words repeat and echo throughout) paired with an understanding of women’s plights: being infantalized, being fetishized, being saddled with accusations of “witch” or “whore”. 

It also takes a clear-eyed look at popular culture, creates an authentically spooky atmosphere and is filled with rich details ranging from the cola-sticky floors of a theater to the cheesy cover art on 80s horror VHS tapes. A very satisfying and literary autumn read!
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After trying multiple times, I simply cannot get into the story. The premise sounded fantastic. This was actually one of my most anticipated horror books for the end of 2019, but I just cannot connect with the narrative. I have finally decided to DNF the book. I don't think it's a bad book, but it's just not for me.

I will not be reviewing this publicly because I do not review books that I DNF.
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So this was great. I have no idea what took me so long to get to it. I'm no movie buff and have certainly avoided horror films rather intentionally, so I suspect I missed some references. Still though, solid, enjoyable, and cleverly formatted.
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"These woods whisper...the woods know what the people of Pilot's Creek have done." The residents of Pilot's Creek, Virginia, a superstitious town, felt that Ella Louise Ford was "touched". As a child, she made dolls that looked like totems. (like effigies) Shunned by the populace, disowned by her parents, she raised her daughter Jessica, supporting the family of two, with Ella's Apothecary Shop nestled in the woods. There were"...miracle cures...roots and leaves and fungi of all kinds." Unfortunately, a pregnant woman died after taking Ella's suggested cure. On October 16, 1931, at four minutes past midnight,...five men went beyond the law...Tonight they were going to burn a witch." Both Ella Louise and nine year old Jessica were burned alive. Thinking that Jessica was "more powerful", she was buried in the cemetery in a steel-reinforced coffin under six feet of concrete. A metal fence of more than one hundred interlocking connected crosses was installed to prevent Jessica's ghost from searching for and reuniting with her mother who was buried somewhere deep in the woods. "Until they are reunited, her soul won't be at peace." Based upon a true witch burning, an urban legend was born. "...a legend that is told and retold without knowledge of what really happened-and why."

"The Remaking" by Clay McLeod Chapman is a ghost story divided into four chapters. The first part is a "campfire" style version of the legend of "The Witch Girl's Grave at Pilot's Creek". Subsequent retellings include the tale as a horror film, a horror film "remake", and a podcast. Amber Pendleton, a nine year old budding actress, is chosen to star as Jessica in the flick "Don't Tread on Jessica's Grave"." [Amber] was a vessel, a conduit for her character, for Jessica Ford, the Little Witch Girl...Whispers of dialogue had followed her into her dreams." Amber is "swept up in their history". She acts as the thread binding and connecting the embellished remakes of Ella Louise and Jessica's haunting story.

Although the writing was uneven at times, on the whole, this reader was impressed with the concept of four reworkings of an urban legend, one remake every twenty years. Be careful where you are at four minutes past midnight! A creepy, spooky read. Most enjoyable.

Thank you Quirk Books and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "The Remaking".
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I had a difficult time forcing myself to finish this book. I feel this book had an identity issue and couldn’t truly decide on the genre. The plot plodded along and I really didn’t care what happened in the book as long as it ended, I received a free advanced copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving my review.
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I enjoyed the initial set up of this book. The story of two witches, banished out to the woods then hunted by the townsfolk. However, I really found it hard going once it moved to the retelling (by way of a movie). 
Just really difficult to get in to, and at times a little irritating.
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Vividly written from the POV of a true genre fan. Engaging dialogue and inner dialogue(s) with fleshed out characters. Exciting descriptions of the ghoulish nature and nothing felt out of place i.e. everything was written for a reason. An excellent choice for horror fans of a variety of ages.
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Thanks to NetGalley for giving me a ARC.

I really liked The Remaking. The urban legend of Ella Louise and Jessica is terrific! Their story definitely unnerved me, which I was really hoping for. All of the references to classic horror in this book made me so happy, as a big horror fan. The cyclical nature of Ella Louise and Jessica's story is captivating and keeps you wanting to read. The only reason this wasn't a five star book is I didn't love the ending. It's still an amazing book and I absolutely would recommend it to anyone interested in horror.
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The Remaking was a book that I struggled through. It was confusing and just not cohesive. I always finish a book, but I almost didn't with this one.
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DNF at 50%.

Unfortunately I just could not get into this one at all. While initially I was intrigued by the multiple styles of storytelling, they ended up not blending well in my opinion. That along with underdeveloped characters and a lack of the "creep factor" caused me to give up halfway through.
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I enjoyed the way this book explored the origins and evolution of an urban myth. The real horror story here was how Amber’s mom, the directors of each movie, and then the podcast creator were more interested in gaining notoriety than in telling the true story of Jessica’s murder.
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Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

This was . . . I’m not sure, to be honest.  Is it a horror novel?  Is it a ghost story?  A true crime podcast?  A meta commentary on cult horror films and the actors that forever live under their shadow?  A novel with an unreliable narrator?

And the delivery was, well, kind of confusing as well because there were four different styles of storytelling.  Part one is done in the style of someone telling a ghost story by the camp fire, part two is third person following child Amber’s POV during the making of the first film, part three is an INCREDIBLY long stream of consciousness first person POV from adult Amber leading up to the making of the sequel film, and part four flips between first person POV of the podcaster recording his podcast, bits of the finished podcast, and one third person Amber tossed in, too.

And after all that, I’m still not sure what I just read.  Guess I’m not the target audience, though there was enough to keep me flipping pages to find out what happened next.
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First, this cover is fantastic. I like that the cover was actually referenced twice in the book as well. This is a very entertaining and fun horror that really places the spotlight on bad, B horror films and the fans that follow it. I really enjoyed Amber discussing her horror conventions and the fans; I have friends that are deeply into this and I feel that the author was able to do the horror-con circuit justice (even if it's not in a favorable light - the actresses probably feel exactly the way Amber described).
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*Received via NetGalley for review*

At the very end, Chapman (in the voice of Ellen Louise, a women murdered with her young daughter in rural America on accusations of witchcraft), delivers a kind of closing message: men have and never will do the story of these two women justice. Which is fine and fits into the themes of the novel... but why, then, call yourself out as a male author writing about these two women?

The Remaking focuses on the titular remaking of an urban legend about two women, Ella Louise and Jessica, who were accused of being witches and burned at the stake. A first, failed movie is made that achieves cult status, a second is permanently stalled by a death, and an attempted debunking podcast finds out the truth but is unable to pass it along.

Much is made of how ignorant the people of Pilot's Creek were in burning the two women, but much of the novel focuses on how their story has touched people and remained in the subconscious mind. Amber, who played Jessica in the first movie and was slotted to cameo as Ella Louise in the second, is the most touched, being in contact with the ghosts of both women throughout her career.

Chapman seems to have bit of a bit more than he could cover, however. In wanting to discuss the impact of failed cult films on their actors, in addition to the story of the two tragic women, in addition to Amber's trauma stemming from both the film and her mother, in addition to the satirization of true crime podcasts... it's all too much, and just gets muddled in the delivery.
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I absolutely enjoyed this novel as a long time horror fan. The story was very interesting and the writing was cinematic. I hope this is adapted into a movie or TV series eventually.
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October is the perfect time of year for this book to get published. It is scary, scary, scary. I’d equate it with some of the older Stephen King books. I don’t watch horror movies much, the last one I watched was The Blair Witch Project and I’d put this as equal on my horror scale.

Amber is grown now, but she was a child star in a B horror movie. She never really recovered from this experience. She doesn’t act anymore or work at all really. She attends conventions and uses what little money she earns for drugs and alcohol.

The movie becomes a cult favorite and it seems to actually haunt people who see it. Her fans look possessed. She still feels the evil inside her and terrible things happen to most of the cast members.

When she gets approached to star in the remaking of the film, things get worse for everyone involved. The story jumps from Amber to the original subjects (the ghosts or witches) and at times it got confusing as to what time the chapter was a retelling, but whether it is the far past, Amber’s childhood, or the present the ghosts are actively haunting people and it is pretty terrifying.

I read an unpublished advance copy so the details could change prior to publication.
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This novel jumps around a bit too much. Could work better as a TV script, or movie. The writing has a nice pace, but didnt capture my interest long enough to finish.
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Amber is cast in a horror movie based on a true story when she was a child and is affected ever since after something horrible happens when she is on set. The movie becomes a cult favorite and it seems to actually haunt people who see it. Amber turns to prescriptions and liquor to drown her feelings and as an adult she is asked to appear in the remake. Can she stop the spirits who haunt the town? The book jumps in time from when Ella and her daughter are accused of being witches to later when Amber is young and then older.
"It felt like the film was an entity of itself-a phantom with my face.  It wanted to be watched.  It was using my likeness, my smile, to lure people in."
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