How to Make a Horror Movie and Survive

A Novel


By Craig DiLouie

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From Bram Stoker Award‑nominated author Craig DiLouie comes a darkly humorous horror novel that sees a famous 80s slasher director set out to shoot the most terrifying horror movie ever made using an occult camera that might be (and probably is) demonic.

Horror isn't horror unless it's real.

Max Maurey should be on top of the world. He's a famous horror director. Actors love him. Hollywood needs him. He's making money hand over fist. But it's the 80s, and he's directing cheap slashers for audiences who only crave more blood, not real art. Not real horror. And Max's slimy producer refuses to fund any of his new ideas.

Sally Priest dreams of being the Final Girl. She knows she's got what it takes to score the lead role, even if she's only been cast in small parts so far. When Sally meets Max at his latest wrap party, she sets out to impress him and prove her scream queen prowess.

But when Max discovers an old camera that filmed a very real Hollywood horror, he knows that he has to use this camera for his next movie. The only problem is that it came with a cryptic warning and sometimes wails.

By the time Max discovers the true evil lying within, he's already dead set on finishing the scariest movie ever put to film, and like it or not, it's Sally's time to shine as the Final Girl.

  • "Gory, glorious, and just a little too believable, Craig DiLouie’s latest is a slick meta slasher movie in book form, set in the brutal intersection of art and obsession."
    Peter Clines, New York Times bestselling author
  • How to Make a Horror Movie and Survive is a blood-spattered homage to horror films, an ode to the craft of filmmaking, and a cautionary tale about the fiery—often destructive—creative passion inside every artist, one that continuously teeters on the brink of insanity. DiLouie has created a celluloid cursed object story that John Carpenter himself would stand up and applaud from the front row.”
    Philip Fracassi, author of Boys in the Valley
  • "DiLouie remixes classic horror tropes into a harrowing thriller set in 1988... Readers will be pulled in by the morally twisted characters and serpentine plot. Film buffs will especially enjoy this paean to ’80s slasher films and the people who love them."
    Publishers Weekly
  • “A tricky, twisty book with more levels to it than a slasher movie has sequels. DiLouie knows what makes the horror genre tick.” 
    David Moody, author of the Hater and Autumn series
  • "Confidently striding through the genre, DiLouie displays a deep and abiding love for horror, even as he finds new ways to bend our disgust and despair to his will. The camera cannot turn away."
    Andrew F. Sullivan, co-author of The Handyman Method
  • With well-developed characters, a swiftly paced narrative, and mounting dread, this new twist on the ghost story will delight horror readers. 
    Booklist on Episode Thirteen
  • "An epistolary descent into a living nightmare . . . well-written and genuinely unsettling. Fans of paranormal documentaries, ghost-hunting shows, and found-footage horror will lose their minds over this one."

    Kealan Patrick Burke, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Kin on Episode Thirteen
  • "Episode Thirteen is a suspenseful and engaging Rubik’s Cube of a novel. The reader has great perverse fun twisting the pieces back and forth, facet after facet, until Craig DiLouie’s grand design stands revealed in all its febrile splendor."
    James Morrow, author of The Last Witchfinder on Episode Thirteen
  • “It’s the literary equivalent of a found footage movie, and it works beautifully. Part ghost story, part metaphysical horror, total nightmare — Episode Thirteen is a must read.”
    David Moody, author of Hater and the Autumn series on Episode Thirteen
  • “In this transcendent ghost story for the 21st century, Craig DiLouie charts the mystery where science meets the supernatural then dives in headfirst to deliver a haunted house story so heartbreaking and profoundly unsettling it ranks alongside the classics of the genre.”
    James Chambers, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of On the Hierophant Road on Episode Thirteen
  • “DiLouie follows a found-footage narrative before veering into gloriously mind-bending terror. . . .  In this subversion of the classic haunted-house/found-footage story, DiLouie demonstrates his ability to toy with and eventually upend readers’ expectations.”
    Library Journal (Starred Review) on Episode Thirteen
  • "With this chilling story of cult abuse, DiLouie proves his mastery of the slow slide from psychological drama into supernatural horror . . . . Horror readers will be hooked."
    Publishers Weekly on The Children of Red Peak
  • "The Children of Red Peak is both a subtle character study and a chilling tale of horror. It goes deep into the heart of people caught up in terrifying events. Highly recommended."
    Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author, on The Children of Red Peak
  • "A heart-wrenching, thought-provoking, terrifying tale about the meaning of life... A great choice for fans of Stephen Graham Jones' The Only Good Indians (2020), Paul Tremblay's Disappearance at Devil's Rock (2016), or Alma Katsu's The Hunger (2018)."
    Booklist on The Children of Red Peak
  • "Gripping, thought-provoking, and suspenseful, Craig DiLouie's latest is a master study of darkness and light and the meaning of life."
    Richard Chizmar, New York Times bestselling author, on The Children of Red Peak
  • "Absolutely riveting... A tapestry of past and present come together in this chilling tale of family, faith, and redemption. Craig DiLouie has a new fan."
    J.D. Barker, international bestselling author of She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be, on The Children of Red Peak
  • "The Children of Red Peak is ice-in-your-heart, nerve-racking fantastic - Heaven's Gate by way of Stephen King's IT. Almost every page made my skin crawl."
    Peter Clines, New York Times bestselling author of Paradox Bound and Terminus on The Children of Red Peak
  • "DiLouie really knows how to simultaneously shatter nerves and break hearts. The Children of Red Peak is a genuinely unsettling psychological horror novel, a story where faith and fear combine to destroy innocence and devastate lives. Intense, compulsive, thought-provoking, and highly recommended."
    David Moody, author of the Hater and Autumn series, on The Children of Red Peak
  • “Readers will find The Children of Red Peak a fantastically creepy addition to their fall reads.”
    Nerd Daily on The Children of Red Peak
  • "One of the most powerful voices in dark fiction does it again! Craig DiLouie's The Children of Red Peak delivers a suspenseful and unpredictable psychological exploration of family, belief, and horror as chilling as it is thought-provoking. One of the best books of the year!"
    James Chambers, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of On the Night Border, on The Children of Red Peak
  • "Unsettling, frighteningly ambiguous… a cult horror story that explores trauma, faith and the search for meaning in the aftermath of tragedy.”
    Shelf Awareness on The Children of Red Peak
  • “A dark mosaic of reality TV and occult physics, Episode Thirteen reels you in with a found-footage mystery that spirals into a labyrinth of madness. Craig DiLouie dissects his all-too-human characters’ needs and ambitions with clinical precision as we race toward a series of stunningly beautiful—and horrifying—revelations.”
    Andy Marino, author of It Rides a Pale Horse and The Seven Visitations of Sydney Burgess on Episode Thirteen

On Sale
Jun 18, 2024
Page Count
400 pages

Craig DiLouie

About the Author

Craig DiLouie is an acclaimed American-Canadian author of literary dark fantasy and other fiction. Formerly a magazine editor and advertising executive, he also works as a journalist and educator covering the North American lighting industry. Craig is a member of the Imaginative Fiction Writers Association, International Thriller Writers and Horror Writers Association. He currently lives in Calgary, Canada with his two wonderful children.

Learn more about this author