The Horror Show

Greg Kihn, Author
Greg Kihn, Author Tor Books $23.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-86045-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 288 pages - 978-0-8125-5108-2
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Like the horror B-movies of the 1950s to which it pays heartfelt homage, this first novel from erstwhile rock star Kihn is a wild and wacky romp on the far fringe of tastefulness. Kihn fondly caricatures Hollywood schlockmeisters such as Roger Corman, William Castle and, especially, Ed Wood in a flashback account of the shooting of a Z-grade film, Cadaver, and the curse that has befallen those associated with the movie since its release in 1957. Landis Woodley, a second-rate director who ""makes Ed Wood look like Kurosawa,"" is filming on location at the L.A. County Morgue when special-effects man Buzzy Haller gets the outlandish money-saving idea to use a real corpse as the monster. How can the filmmakers know that the remains they dig up are those of Albert Beaumond, a dead satanist possessed by a demon still very much alive? The ensuing mayhem exudes a ghoulish glee sure to appeal to devotees of midnight movies and drive-in double bills. Kihn has a knack for establishing characters, no matter how zany, in a few sure strokes. His interest in portraying these cinematic misfits as auteurs bucking the standards of a conservative industry are, thankfully, superseded by his sheer delight in imagining the tacky side of filmmaking on a shoestring. A fun-filled homage to monster movies in the day before huge budgets, this novel recalls the refrain of Kihn's hit ""The Breakup Song"": ""They don't write 'em like that anymore."" (Oct.)
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