“A lost classic . . . the history of a horror-film star and a treatise on human frailty . . . is back to be savored and marveled at anew” (James Ellroy, New York Times–bestselling author of the Lloyd Hopkins Trilogy).
Simon Moro, a sixty-eight-year-old star, is making his last picture, a low-budget remake of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven. Moro, infuriated by the bland horror movies of his day, sees his own career—even as it ends—as an ongoing effort to wallop the public with an overwhelming moral shock. And he succeeds when an elaborate publicity stunt turns into a gruesome and grand personal statement. As Moro’s life reels toward its macabre end, it also reels backward through lies and evasions to show its surprising beginning. Underneath his Frankensteinian exaggeration, Moro has a vivid and humane story to tell, even as the coffins break open and dark, erotic secrets are revealed. Brock Brower has taken the horror film in all its gory glory to create a book that recycles pop material into literature, creating a Dickensian tale of America.
“A wonderful book . . . Like a circus with several brilliant performances going on at the same time . . . A real breaking through. I don’t think anybody ever again will be able to dabble politely in mixing ‘real life’ and fiction.” —Joan Didion, New York Times–bestselling author of Slouching Towards Bethlehem
“The way the book skewers society’s obsession with celebrity culture is even more valid today than when it was written, proving that great art stands the test of time.” —Forbes
“A cult novel that amounts to a loving satiric tribute to cinema schlockmeister Roger Corman.” —New York Post
This reprint of Brower's 1973 National Book Award-nominated novel explores the twisted life and sordid career of aging horror-movie star Simon Moro. Once famous for his portrayal of blood-curdling creatures, Moro is given the opportunity to take on one final role in a ludicrous adaptation of Poe's "The Raven." As Moro's behavior becomes increasingly erratic, copulating with skeletons and brandishing severed body parts on national TV, the novel builds to a stunning and macabre finale in which Moro achieves a horrible apotheosis. Populated with a memorable cast of characters, Brower's (Blue Dog) subtle satire exudes a Pynchon-esque gonzo sensibility: biting dialogue, deviant sexuality, and amusing glimpses of the free-spirited 60s-era mores. An indictment of the shallow Hollywood commercialism as well as American society at large, the novel does at times feel dated, but the enthralling story and the substance of its critique is as applicable now as ever. This is a splendid and complex book that plumbs the depths of sex and death, along with the perverse American mind that anaesthetizes itself to the truths of life through comfortable films in which death becomes mild entertainment.