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The King of the Really Bad Movies reveals the secrets of his, well, success’somewhat inadvertently. Wood is best known as the writer, director, and producer of such instant trash-can liners as Bride of the Monster, That Sinister Urge, Plan 9 from Outer Space, and the never-to-be-forgotten (or forgiven) Glen or Glenda? (a.k.a. “I Changed My Sex”). The subject of an affectionate Tim Burton film that bore his name, Wood was nothing if not persistent in his desire to crack the walls of the Hollywood palace. In this previously unpublished effort, he outlines for all would-be actors and actresses the pitfalls that await them when they go west in search of the cinematic El Dorado. And it is truly a worm’s-eye view. Wood manages the singular feat of simultaneously depicting the film industry as a kind of hard-earned nirvana and a cesspool of greasy-handed lechers, quick-buck artists, and con men. He does so in a tortured prose that will be familiar to anyone who has seen one of his films, littered with solecisms, bordering on a kind of hysterical incoherence. (“They never error in their delivery of lines. . . .”; “But the guy had such a dynamic veneer. . . .,” to offer two choice examples.) If there is a finite supply of exclamation marks in the world, this book will deplete it. As a period piece that includes advice on cheap hotels at which to stay, it has a certain stupid charm. But if you weren’t suffering from “irony fatigue” before, the publication of this curiosity will send you over the edge.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 1-56858-119-X
Page count: 140pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 1999