cover image Bela Lugosi’s Dead

Bela Lugosi’s Dead

Robert Guffey. Crossroad, $17.99 trade paper (270p) ISBN 978-1-952979-53-8

Blending a detective story with monster movie tropes, Guffey (Until the Last Dog Dies) delivers a nostalgic if sometimes convoluted romp through the supernatural side of 1980s Hollywood. Mike Fenton, a struggling screenwriter and obsessive fan of Bela Lugosi’s films, is on an all-consuming quest to locate the lost film reel of Lugosi’s screen test for the Monster in the 1931 film Frankenstein, a role that ultimately went to Boris Karloff. Together with aspiring actor Lucy Szilagyi and Eric Heidecker, a film memorabilia collector, Mike meanders through clues and meets with crazies on the trail of the reel. Meanwhile, Ygor, a hapless brute with connections to Dr. Frankenstein, teams up with the recently revived Dracula and Khalid Banoub, the Master of the Freemasons, to regain power in the mortal world. The two stories intersect when Mike finally meets the owner of the coveted film reel and the man demands an unexpected payment. Though the ending may be too far out there for some readers to stomach, horror fans will delight in how Guffey cleverly immerses movie monsters in the real world. Film buffs and monster enthusiasts will relish the supernatural characters brought to life in this atmospheric celebration of monster mayhem. (Apr.)