Imagine an 80s summer camp slasher movie that features gay kids getting massacred, and you’ve got the novel Camp Carnage by Elliot Arthur Cross and Joshua Winning. Set in 1986 (complete with 80s pop culture references), this page-turning gay horror novel has basically re-imagined Friday the 13th—at a conversion camp!
The cast of characters includes a jock, a jerk, a black kid, a fat kid, an insecure kid, a creepy caretaker…you know the drill. And then there are the bitchy camp counselors and a priest. Their goal at this camp is to kill the queer in each of the kids. But someone has decided it’s just easier to kill the queers!
The killer’s weapon of choice is most often gardening shears, and some of the kills are harsh! While the killer is never described as wearing any iconic mask, at one point a mask/hoodie combination is mentioned briefly. The killer also does not get a name until near the end of novel, when someone comes up with a bit of a play on words that totally fits the issues being dealt with in the novel.
Even though Camp Carnage takes place at a “conversion” camp, it doesn’t become heavy-handed. The subject is handled gently, yet a couple of great scenarios play out that demonstrate just how fucked up the idea of curing homosexuality is and the warped thinking of those who believe it works.
As a slasher, the book is perfectly paced (with kills coming at just the right times). As gays start to drop like fruit flies, the mystery of who could be behind the murders begins to unfold. And as the book races to its big climax, we’re treated to all the favorite slasher staples: chase scenes, body reveals, the killer getting back up, and of course…the promise of a sequel!
If you love slashers and fast reads, put Camp Carnage at the top of your “to read” pile. Learn more about the authors on the official website.