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GREG KIHN
Horror Show


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Tom Doherty Associates, New York, 1996
hardback price: $23.95; 352 pages

dedication: This book is dedicated to my wonderful parents, Stanley and Jane Kihn


The blurb on the back:

When Monster Magazine reporter Clint Stockbern sets out to interview the legendary fifties horror movie director, Landis Woodley, he finds a reclusive, forgotten and bitter old man. Worming his way through the door of the Scotch-drinking, cigar-smoking filmmaker’s home, Stockbern finds a treasure trove of B-movie memorabilia. Playing to the movie genius’s ego, Stockbern does his best to dig up a few good anecdotes from the past – but what he uncovers is a story of real0life horror!
Flashback to 1957 Hollywood, where Landis Woodley is getting ready to shoot his latest movie,
Cadaver, set in a real-life LA morgue. He is also bent on throwing the ultimate Halloween party. Attendees will include Lucifer-obsessed anthropologist Albert Beaumond and Devila, the celebrated TV horror-show hostess. Even Satan himself may put in an appearance. And when cheap special effects are replaced by real corpses, a deadly curse may wind up taking its toll on all those foolish enough to become involved with the filming of the cult movie classic, Cadaver.


opening lines:
The kid thought he heard something.
Something was coming up the basement stairs.
Heavy footsteps, ascending slowly, too slowly to be anything good. A squish, along with the creaking of the tired wooden treads. A squish?


You’ll all no doubt remember Greg Kihn from the Seventies as the other guy at Beserkley Records alongside Jonathan Richman. (Yes, I do know there were others, but he was the best of them.) In the early-Eighties he even had proper hit singles in America like ‘Jeopardy’, though none of them were quite as wonderful as his version of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘For You’ from his second album.

Anyway, at some point in the mid-Nineties he decided to take up writing novels, of which this is the first, to be followed by the likes of Shade of Pale, Mojo Hand and Big Rock Beat. And it’s really jolly good fun, a gleeful romp through the murkier shadows of Hollywood in the company of a drive-in director, his cross-dressing screenplay-writer, an alcoholically deranged special effects man and a junkie veteran of hundreds of horror movies. Plus many, many more.

It also works pretty damn well as a horror novel, its trash aesthetic elevating it way beyond most of the more orthodox stuff that has emerged over the last couple of decades. It’s the kind of thing that Creepshow wanted to be but simply wasn’t.

Well written, pacey and joyous, this is recommended reading.

Greg Kihn
Greg Kihn


ARTISTIC MERIT: 4/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:
4/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT:
2/5


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Big Rock Beat

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