The boom times for paperback horror novels were the 1980s and 1990s, and right next to bus station bookstore perennials Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum and Stephen King, who might serve as these writer's more successful patron saint. Here, among these books were dozens of evil canine also-rans, a pack of not-quite-Cujos, not to mention psychic tots that more than resemble Danny Torrance, and post-Pennywise scary clowns. But these were also books that were a bit too pulpy and trashy for the King -- think Satanic orgies, demonic babies eating their way out of cursed mothers, and incestuous gothic tales to make V. C. Andrews blush.
Life, the newest movie (aside from Alien: Convenant) to pay homage (read: rip off) the Alien series, is also pretty vacuum-ous. The attractive-but-bland stock characters are paper thin, and the plot can be summarized by a phrase, like “alien kills everyone”.
Kiernan's prose provides the greatest part of that wonder. Achingly beautiful, always strange and never quotidian, she never lets the reader find any firm ground. Fittingly for a story which involves a Manson-like cult, it feels hallucinatory, dreamlike. And unlike most stories that fit, even peripherally, into Lovecraft's mythos, the story does not try too hard to replicate the feeling induced by the Master's works.