Tamara – throwback to the age of horror movie novelizations

jeffrey reddick tamara book

Growing up in the 1980s, I devoured novelizations of horror movies—Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Fog, Jaws 2, Dressed to Kill, April Fools’ Day, Poltergeist—always thrilled to discover embellishments by the writers or scenes from the screenplay that never made it to the final cut of the film.

So when I heard Jeffrey Reddick, screenplay writer of Final Destination and the Day of the Dead remake, was adapting his screenplay for the 2005 flick Tamara into a novel, I couldn’t wait to check it out. Tamara is one of those simple yet fun teen horror flicks you can’t help but get pulled into. I blog about it here.

A decade later, the novelization has been released, written by Reddick and J.D. Matthews. And it doesn’t disappoint. It’s classic novelization material that makes you feel right at home as everything you saw in the movie is put in word form, with the addition of characters’ thoughts and feelings, as well as a few aspects of the story that were left out of the movie.

Tamara is the class outcast, shunned by all her peers. Things get worse when a story she wrote about steroid use on the sports teams is printed in the school newspaper. The kids want her to pay for exposing them. And they make her pay. But she also comes back for revenge…from the dead!

Everyone likes to make the obvious comparisons to Carrie, but Tamara is not as heavy-handed, and rather than having any kind of powers, Tamara simply dabbles in witchcraft. And she does a damn good job of it. So you could say it’s more like Carrie meets The Craft.

In the novelization, we see a bit more of Tamara’s crappy life at home. Some details are added to more smoothly connect various plot points. We also get a much better feel for the character Chloe—the one chick who actually feels bad for Tamara and tries to do the right thing. And this is the most crucial addition to the novelization—there’s a side plot about Chloe’s lesbianism and how it is later used against her by Tamara. And it all starts in the locker room shower. Periods, tampons, lesbianism–girls locker rooms are a nightmare!

To balance the sexuality playing field, there’s a scene in the movie that has Tamara making two straight guys get it on with each other, but it’s greatly sterilized, as in, you see nothing. Reddick has fixed that good in the book, with total man-on-man intercourse! So basically, I would say the Tamara novelization is pretty much the same as the movie—only gayer.

And look who sent Boys, Bears & Scares a little message about the book!

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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