Sunday, March 10, 2013

Slander Hall - by Matthew Tait

4 of 5 Stars

In Slander Hall, five people visit a modern day ghost town in the suburbs of Pheonix.  Some in search of answers, some closure and some looking to make a buck documenting what they find.

Slander Hall was a gated community and home to Wendell Zacchaeus and his followers, members of the Soul Evolution cult.

For me, Soul Evolution is reminiscent of the real-life, San Diego based, Heaven's Gate cult whose members committed mass suicide 16 years ago, in March of 1997, in order to reach what they believed was a alien space craft following the comet Hale–Bopp.  No comet this time, but aside from that there are some interesting similarities.  Both the real, and Tait's, cults had their big events in the late 80's and both involved spaceships.

Central to this story is Cedar Jarrell, the lone survivor of the Soul Evolution cult.  Now, Fifteen years after the mass suicide of the members of Soul Evolution, Cedar returns to Slander Hall with four others.  What follows is a very strange story in involving creatures, ghosts, aliens and as I mentioned, a spaceship.

In the author's words, "The mythos of the Soul Evolution cult was no longer a myth.  Here the 'Next Level' presented all its glory."

I won't pretend to understand what I've just read, but that didn't make the trip any less enjoyable.

I'd definitely recommend getting to know Matthew Tait, another in a growing list of fine new voices in Australian Horror, and Slander Hall is an excellent place to start.

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