The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum

The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum

dmon_man's picture

The Girl Next Door

By Jack Ketchum

As children, I'd be willing to bet that nearly every person commits one or more minor crimes. Whether you lift a candy bar from the supermarket on a dare, sneak a look at your Dad's Playboy Magazines or write graffiti on a school wall, the act can make your heart race. There's fear, but also a sense of exhilaration that you might get caught.

If you're like me, after the exhilaration came the guilt, guilt that someone somewhere was hurt by your actions. When I got older and got into a few punch-ups, whether I was on the winning or losing side, I still felt guilty. This guilt could last for quite some time and leave me pretty depressed.

Whatever guilt I felt is nothing compared to what the main character of Ketchum's The Girl Next Door feels. But then again, the crimes committed by David and the other kids in his neighborhood are way...way...way worse than anything I and 99.9 percent of children ever do.

Sure, they are goaded on by a woman slowly going insane but even the usually kind David, who knows what's taking place is wrong, participates in the crimes. It's freaking awful but oh, so well captured by the author. David's guilt is palpable and unnerving and sits over the book like an anvil.

Guilt isn't the only feeling Ketchum expertly captures in this novel. The tension is thick and heavy. I'd say suffocating and as the violence ramps up it just gets worse and worse. Just when you can't take it anymore the tension breaks, but it breaks for a morbid scene of horror!

This novel is a runaway train, you can't stop it and it will not stop for you. Ketchum's writing is excellent this time around. He captures the mentality of children and the horror of insanity in gruesome detail.

The "on screen" violence isn't as gory and over the top as something like his novel Off Season, but that is what makes it so awful. It's realistic and therefore horrifying and evil.

Read it!

(I assume every fan of horror literature knows this story but if not, here is a quick synopsis: girl goes to live with aunt after parents die, nutty aunt tortures girl and gets the neighborhood kids to join in. It's based on a true story.)

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BUT . . .  was the movie any good? I will give the book a shot dont mind graphic torture in the books cause they usually ALSO delve into the mind but in a movie its just usually torture porn.

slclark23's picture

The movie was excellent. The torture scenes captured the feeling of the book very well. I didnt think it would be as good as the book but was surprised. and the actors chose to play the young boy and girl did such a gd job

zombie_man's picture

That film is terrible, I want to see monsters or creatures that eat panikican teens not whatcing a nude chick getting severly torchered and rapped by and old bat and some little boys. And I HATEED the scene where that old woman was taking metall things, making the red hot, and sticking them in the poor girls vagina. and when she lit the blow torch that was it for me. the film was off and went into the garbage dispoosal. That movie wasn't a movie, is was a terrible, teribble, suggestion. If it was based on a true story, fuck, whay the hell does anyone else want to see that shit!!!! If I want to see a true story I'll throw The Excorist in.

By the way, I fucking hate this film!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

spookyboo's picture

I agree with Zombie_Man. I saw good reviews for this movie as a movie listed from the horror genre and I was like WTF, when I saw it. That's not a horror movie.  People are messed-up if they think that is entertainment too.  Yeah, I like weird horror and have looked at a few movies that boardered more on porn then horror but this movie made me mad.  I was so hoping that that old bat of a bitch woman ended up getting f-ed up royally and I don't even remember watching it to the end.  It was that dumb.

And why would any kid not say something to save the girl????? This shit happens in society and sometimes people don't say anything about it because they are young and don't know better but this kid had to be clinically retarded not to know that this was wrong.

I had a hard time with this on many other levels too.  That I won't get into.  But I don't like to see crazy women glorified as some sort of powerful ring leader / spiritual icon / mother because people like that deserve to rot in Hell period.


All good to know. Thanks.

lostsoul13's picture

Never saw the movie, the book blew me away(Ketchum is one the best writers out there),but there are things I don't need to see on screen.

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