Saturday, January 17, 2015

Flashback to B-Movies and Rotten Corpses - Review of Horror Show by Greg Kihn

A young horror fan has a burning question for aging b-movie filmmaker Landis Woodley, a question that has been rumored for over thirty years: Were actual corpses used in the film CADAVER?

In a nutshell, this is the premise surrounding the meat of Greg Kihn's HORROR SHOW, a book that takes the reader back to 1957 and into the lives of a ragtag group of misfits who were involved with Landis Woodley, b-movie filmmaker and Hollywood pariah, and the events that led to the making of Woodley's greatest achievement, CADAVER, as well as the horrific aftermath.

HORROR SHOW is one hell of a book, particularly for those who have a vested interest in old horror films, though I would argue than anyone who digs a good horror yarn will have a good time with this one. There are obvious and unabashed parallels with Ed Wood and his legacy (my guess is that Kihn gleaned a lot off of Tim Burton's excellent movie ED WOOD), but this isn't some kind of wannabe or ripoff. HORROR SHOW is an homage to those wonderfully awful drive-in movies from the fifties and sixties as well as the behind the scenes madness that went into filming those inglorious gems. I happen to be a huge fan of old horror films, so this book was absolutely enthralling. My only complaint would be that I was scratching my head at the end. Seems to me that Kihn left it open for a sequel. I'm not a fan of that sort of ending. Then again, the book was so damn cool that I found myself forgiving the weak ending and immediately ordering the next book Kihn had published at the time, BIG ROCK BEAT. Arrived in the mail the other day. I'm looking forward to reading it.

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