Pretty much everybody with even a passing interest in the unexplained knows who the late Hans Holzer was, and you’d be hard pressed to find a ghost hunter who doesn’t have a thick copy of his legendary book Ghosts sitting on their shelf. But there is one book he wished everyone would forget, and for the most part, they have: a terribly-written paperback novella created with the sole purpose of tricking people into purchasing it. It’s titled The Entry, and man.. it’s bad.
While Holzer primarily became known for his prolific output when it came to writing non-fiction accounts of ghosts and the paranormal, The Entry, the story of a parapsychologist and his trance-medium wife uncovering an ancient evil (gee, where have we heard that one before?), was one of his few fiction endeavors. After reading it, it’s easy to see why. Exactly how bad is The Entry? Let’s put it this way – there’s literally only one review of the book available on the entire internet, and it’s not a nice one.
Paranormal superstar Hans Holzer explores the fictional realm with disappointing results in THE ENTRY, the story of a parapsychologist who searches archaic European texts in order to discover the truth about spirit transference, only to find that his quest may well be the undoing of both himself and his trance-medium wife. The story unfolds slowly and, due to the interjection of didactic, rambling asides into the prose, never gains any real momentum until nearly the end of the book; but by then, it’s really too late, as the characters act so unbelievably, at times, that they ultimately fail to elicit any true empathy in the reader. The cover of the paperback declares the work is “soon to be a major motion picture” – and not surprisingly, this doesn’t seem to have come to fruition any more than “the shock” or “the horror” it promises.
Not convinced? Here’s an actual line from the book:
Yes, Holzer actually wrote the words “passionate rape”.
But why would such a serious, respected paranormal researcher write a turd like this anyway? Because three years earlier a little book titled The Entity hit booksellers, and its major motion picture adaptation was scheduled for a release in the summer of 1981. Care to take a guess when Holzer’s The Entry was released? That’s right, June of 1981. The sneaky bastard even had the blatant lie “soon to be a major motion picture” scrawled across the book cover, ensuring that people looking for a copy of Frank De Felitta’s The Entity in preparation for the feature film were tricked into Holzer’s cheap knock off instead. As if it couldn’t get any more obvious, the first page of Holzer’s book actually features THE ENTITY in big, bold letters.
As underhanded as this all may be, you’ve got to hand it to Holzer… it was a pretty smart play. Unfortunately for him, the scheme backfired. The release of the movie adaptation of The Entity was was postponed, and while it was released overseas, the US premiere wouldn’t come for another two years. By this point, Holzer’s publisher has already printed thousands of paperback books primed to “passionately rape” consumers. The book only had one printing, and copies of The Entry that weren’t destroyed as “unsellable merchandise” found themselves at the bottom of the bargain bin.
Some might call The Entry‘s flop karmic retribution, but Holzer had performed the same exact switcheroo in expert fashion just two years earlier with the release of Murder in Amityville. Holzer’s book about the Amityville haunting came out in 1979, two years after Jay Anson’s The Amityville Horror hit shelves, but just in time to match up with the premiere of the book’s Hollywood film release. Holzer’s scheme had worked that time, and after The Entry flopped, he went back to milk the Amityville cow twice more, squeezing out the The Amityville Curse and the very sloppy The Secret of Amityville, both entirely fictional novels loaded with grammatical errors. Somehow, two of the three books were eventually made into feature films that really sucked.
Do these bandwagon turds detract from Holzer’s massive catalogue of work on the subjects of haunted houses, ghost hunters, and the occult? Of course not. Holzer became a household name in the paranormal for a reason (even if he was probably lying about having a PhD and liked to claim that he coined phrases even older than he was). The strange story of The Entry only serves as a reminder that even the best paranormal authors aren’t always writing to inform and educate the world about the unexplained – they’re writing to pay the bills, pure and simple. If that means duping a few schmucks with poorly written cash-ins, so be it. After all, if you write enough books, everyone will forget about the stinkers. Well, almost everyone.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get to cracking on my manuscript for The Mothman Predictions (soon to be a major motion picture).