Review: Monsterland by Michael Phillip Cash
Genre: Horror, Science-Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Chelshire Inc.
Vincent Conrad is an entrepreneur, a visionary and a man who wants to persevere the wild monsters of the world and put them on display for everyone to see in his theme parks called Monsterland. Monsterland is built up of three areas based on the three monsters known to the world; Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies. The opening of these parks are a big deal and several dignitaries; like politicians and ambassadors from foreign countries are attending all over the nation.
At the same time a group of youngster are offered free tickets to the grand opening in their little town, an event to be attended by the president himself. The opening day is crowded and everyone is there, even the town sheriff who is skeptical of Conrad and his plan for the town or even his plan for the world.
Monsterland is an amazing place and it mixes animatronic beasts with the real deal. Swamps with controlled werewolves, areas with rocking vampires and pens with pathetic zombies, a scary place to be, but something goes horribly wrong.
Monsterland is your garden variety story of a theme park gone wrong, in essence following the formula we’ve seen from Jurassic Park to The Simpsons’ episode at Itchy and Scratchy land. The idea of having real monsters in the park is novel enough, but Cash just doesn’t take it to that level in where it becomes fresh. The book contains all the aspects that a reader has come to expect from this kind of tale; the group of young kids complete with a bullish jock type, the nerd and his brother both abandoned by their father and the cute girl. There is the small ton sheriff, who incidentally is the stepfather to the nerdy protagonist and the dark savior himself; the seemingly misguided Vincent Price character who created the park out of a naive dream.
Cash does try to give the story a deeper dimension than the exclusive theme park trope and lets the reader delve into the minds of certain werewolves, zombies and vampires and also adds a political spin to the story. There is a hint of a bigger picture, as well as more somber character building with some of the cast, but it is never truly pursued and that is unfortunate. The book would have benefited from a hundred pages more to follow these backgrounds and development of the political aspect, now it is more of only quick glance at what could have been a much more intriguing book that much like Harold Sipe and Héctor Casanov’s Screamland would have taken a familiar theme and told an exciting story.