Short Review #27: Video Palace: In Search of the Eyeless Man by Maynard Wills (2020)

Rating: 3 out of 5⭐️
Title: Video Palace: In Search of the Eyeless Man
Authors: Maynard Wills, Nick Braccia, Michael Monello
Published: 2020 (Tiller Press, Simon & Schuster, New York)
Pages: 372 (Hardcover)
Genres: Fiction, Horror, Anthology, Short Stories, Occult
CW: Murder, Death, Strong Language, Trauma, Suicide, Gore, Violence
Link Here

My borrowed copy of Video Palace on top of my laptop

Hi everyone! I know I haven’t posted in a while, but now I’m writing technically my first review of 2021. There has only been 14 days so far this year, and I know everyone is going through current events differently. But I hope everyone is coping, staying sane and reading on. This week I read a not-so-sane book, Video Palace: The Search for the Eyeless Man. This short story anthology is a continuation/based off Shudder podcast Video Palace. I listened to the podcast last year, and the podcast was wildly entertaining and a little creepy. If you know me, you know I love horror movies/TV and spooky books. When I heard about the book, I had to read it mostly because I really enjoyed the podcast. But after I read the book, I found myself having reactions I did not think I would have.

Maybe all supernatural things are just our guilt manifested. We are able to justify the heaviness we carry with us by blaming it on ghosts or demons. Or maybe that’s what I want to think because the other possibility is too scary” – Brea Grant, Video Palace: In Search of the Eyeless Man

Video Palace is a collection of short stories written by contemporary horror writers centering around a mythical, Slenderman-like figure, the Eyeless Man. The book is set up like non-fiction (this book was even in the non-fiction section at my local library), but the stories are more of an immersive experience surrounding the disappearance of the book’s “author” Dr. Maynard Wills, an adjust professor at The New School in New York who was investigating tales about the Eyeless Man across different cultures and areas. Supposedly edited by his assistant, the stories and his notes support his discoveries about the Eyeless Man. The Eyeless Man is a Pied Piper-type urban legend that gets in the head of its victims through video/media or special VHS tapes, and controls their thoughts and desires, taking over before it engulfs them completely. If you’re unfamiliar with the podcast, the podcast focuses on a podcaster named Mark Cambria, who watches one of the VHS tapes, and then begins to have strange dreams and chant in his sleep. Mark and his girlfriend, Tamra Wulff, investigate the origin of the tapes while reporting on his podcast until it leads them to a burned down video store called Video Palace, where the tapes were supposedly made, and drives Mark into a dark place. This book seems to be a continuation of the podcast.

All you can do is try to be a better person. Help others when ever you can. Shine light on the darkness. Show it for what it is. Because it’s never gonna go away. Nor should it. It is part of the design” – John Skipp, Video Palace: In Search of the Eyeless Man

As far as what I thought of the book, I thought it was dreadfully creepy. The editors did a wonderful job immersing the reader and convincing them this is real, I was even convinced a few times. But by the end, it was exhausting at times to read about the same central figure over and over again in different short stories. My favorite part was the beginning, but maybe the reason why was at that point I was still questioning more whether the backstory was real or not. If you enjoy reading about urban legends or Creepypastas and horror, this is a great one. There was a lot of effort made into creating this book, and it shows. The writers, who all have backgrounds in contemporary writing/acting in horror, were also interesting in their own rite, and I enjoyed most of the stories. Some of them I thought could have been written into full books. There were a few I was not totally a fan of, but I was able to get past them for the most part.

I give this one a 3 out of 5!

_Elizabeth


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