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Horror Show Kindle Edition
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“Kihn, founder of The Greg Kihn Band and an MTV mainstay in the 1980s, has a go at fiction in this horror tale set in 1950s Hollywood.” —Library Journal
“A very entertaining revamping of Ed Wood, the film about Hollywood’s worst filmmaker ever. . . . Not to be missed.”—Kirkus Reviews
- Publication date : August 18, 2015
- File size : 1427 KB
- Publisher : Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller (August 18, 2015)
- Print length : 288 pages
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B010GWL442
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #398,774 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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"Horror Show" is a very loving tribute to the early days of 50s and 60s exploitation cinema, with obvious references to Ed Wood and his work, as well as to that director's relationship with Bela Lugosi, here represented by the fictional heroin-addicted fallen star Jonathan Luboff. I love the subject matter, and I enjoyed Mr. Kihn's portrayal of a determined group of misfits with great passion for film and the macabre trying to make a splash despite their meager budgets and lack of Hollywood social cred. Everyone in this little film crew is loaded with talent, but burdened by mental illness, addiction, or some other idiosyncrasies that prejudices 50s society against them. The group is very loyal to each other despite being constantly on each other's nerves, and their inner genius emerges with each picture they make as they constantly push the envelope despite dwindling resources.
This in itself would have made for a great novel in itself, but then a side plot about a snake demon gets thrown in, which does little to advance the plot, and is almost forgotten by the end of the book. Characters are introduced as pivotal, but turn out to be undeveloped or unimportant to the overall story. The pacing is a bit off as well. Though I was never bored, 80 percent of the novel is just humorous banter between the main characters, and so the darker elements, when they appear, seem to come out of nowhere. The last 10 pages contain the classic horror denouement, but there is so much lighthearted foolishness beforehand that there is no crescendo of tension and the conclusion feels rushed.
Therefore, the whole novel feels somewhat lopsided. And I can't say that it was scary in the slightest. So unlike some of Mr. Kihn's pop songs, there is nothing here that will stick with you.
But despite all this, I really enjoyed the experience. Just like the Z-grade movies the novel celebrates, you can pick this story apart all you want, but in the end, you can't help but admit that it was a fun little ride for those restless late nights.
The main character in “Horror Show” is Landis Woodley, a fictionalized Ed Wood with more talent and business sense but a considerably harder edge. Along with his special effects guru, Buzzy Haller, he has been able to make surprisingly profitable and popular horror films on virtually no money, thanks to some creative financing, but that’s about to dry up if his current film isn’t a success. The bulk of “Horror Show” takes place in 1957, as Woodley and Haller try to finish their latest work. Among all the ersatz horror of Woodley’s films, some genuine supernatural forces wind up getting involved in the latest production, thanks to a satanic ritual gone awry that unleashes a powerful demon.
Author Greg Kihn is a veteran rock musician, and he is clearly in touch with the Hollywood scene. His description of the workings of film production, even at the lowest level, as was practiced by Woodley, is quite detailed, and readers will be able to see for themselves how shlock like Ed Wood’s films came together. In addition, Kihn populates his story with thinly fictionalized versions of Wood regulars like Bela Lugosi and Vampira, and even Wood’s crossdressing makes an appearance in the person of Woodley’s favorite screenwriter. Kihn doesn’t turn his portrayals into jokes; instead, the characters have well-rounded personalities.
While “Horror Show” is quite effective as an homage, it’s also a very good horror novel. Obviously, the supernatural aspects of the movie require a considerable suspension of disbelief, but when the demon comes out, there are three or four very effective set pieces, and author Kihn manages to tie his two separate storylines together quite effectively. In addition to the supernatural terrors, readers also get to experience some extremely grisly goings on when Woodley and Haller decide to shoot scenes of their latest film, “Cadaver,” in the Los Angeles City Morgue, with some of the residents as props.
While most of “Horror Show” takes place in 1957, Kihn bookends his story with an introduction and conclusion set in 1996 (when the book was written). In these sections, a young reporter for a “Famous Monsters” type magazine tries to interview the elderly and reclusive Woodley, only to get an invitation to return, in the book’s final segment, to see something really scary. Unlike some novels of this sort, the framing device isn’t a mere gimmick but manages to wrap up the novel quite cleverly.
“Horror Show” is, first and foremost, a book that fans of the 50’s-era horror films will love, with a chance to see some of their “icons” come to life in ways both very realistic and totally bizarre. And it’s also a very creepy horror novel, one that doles out its frights selectively and quite effectively. The melding of shlock moviemaking and the supernatural into one work here is quite original and easily one of the best horror novels I’ve read in quite a while. Unlike the B-movies portrayed in “Horror Show,” this novel is grade A, all the way.