Zampanò’s Record

In House of Leaves, we are only told Navidson’s story through Zampanò’s text. When Johnny remarks that many of the books cited in the footnotes are fictitious (xx) we immediately begin to question the reality of the narrative. In fact, as we continue reading, we realize that it’s quite likely that Zampanò fabricated the whole story.

The Navidson Record is title of both the film about which Zampano is writing but also the title of his writing. When it’s called “a hoax of exceptional quality,” the statement can just as easily refer to Zampanò’s writing. An unconscious example of Zampanò hinting at his authorship is on page 320: “[Tom] might have spent the whole night drinking had exhaustion not caught up with me.” Zampanò’s typo can be seen as a Freudian slip admitting to his part in making up the story.

Zampanò describes the film so thoroughly that he must have a copy of it to study while he writes about it. However, in the six sets of instructions at the beginning of the appendix (530-5) he doesn’t include any stills from the film or primary sources (The Reston Interview and The Last Interview are noted by the editors as missing). It is uncharacteristic of the thorough and meticulous compiler of data that he shows himself to be throughout the text.

The Delial narrative has an obvious real-life parallel that is acknowledged by the editors on page 368. The editors suggest fictionality by saying that Delial “is clearly based on Kevin Carter’s 1994 Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph….” Again, such a studious researcher as Zampanò would have certainly mentioned the parallel. The fact that he ignores it shows that he doesn’t want to draw attention to it.

Lastly, in one of his handwritten notes (552), Zampanò muses “[p]erhaps I will alter the whole thing. Kill both children” and goes on to describe the deaths of Daisy and Chad inside the house. Zampanò has left behind evidence of a potential plot point that he decided not to use after all.

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