The author of Horse Crazy (1989) chronicles the making of a movie in a fiction that self-consciously adapts a cinematic style-- a strong visual sense, sharp dialogue, and a cast of instantly recognizable characters. The secondary players in this sinister drama alone suggest the decadent atmosphere. The Colombian set is peopled with freaks, fascists, multiple amputees, sexual degenerates, and other assorted sordid types--the perfect cast and location for a movie by German director Paul Grosvenor, only now emerging (in the early 80's) from under the jaunting shadow of his master, Rudolph Bauer, a Fassbinder-like maniac who overdosed on drugs. Using many of Bauer's company, Grosvenor begins shooting his strange film fueled more by coke and booze than a clear script. Among the cast: Alex Gavro, a ``discount-house Genet'' who also seems to be sleeping with his mother; Irma Irma, a ``boring malcontented'' cult star; Michael Simrad, a beautiful narcissist; and the narrator, a sometime actor whose face is badly scarred. ``Monsters on a rampage in a foreign country,'' this odd group engages in lots of kinky behavior, pushing things to the edge as the movie grows increasingly out of control. Meanwhile, a serial killer, who cannibalizes his victims, is on the loose in seedy Cartagena, preying only on tourists. Told with noir-like precision, this central narrative is framed by a gothic horror story told in the present--how AIDS has ravaged many of those involved with the film. Orgiastic sex no longer seems intriguing, just suicidal, though a gay sex scene at Dachau makes its political point a bit too heavily. Indiana's anti-American rhetoric (``a malignant tumor of a country'') risks drawing attention to itself in an otherwise brilliant portrayal of outlaw behavior, free of cant and aware of its own recklessness. A disturbing, vivid, and brutal novel that succeeds in its dizzy mix of genres and influences. Not for the prudish, though.