Hyperrhapsodic Hollywood fantasia borne on a soft-rubber mystery plot, or Moby Dick blown up on a trout's spine. The tone: gasping tenderness, an orgasm of epic nostalgia for lost Hollywood charms, sung over a studio landscape modeled from egg-white and whipped cream. The narrator, a fantasy writer with a hundred sales to Weird Stories, has been brought to Hollywood by Maximus Pictures and soon finds himself scripting a monster picture for which his great childhood friend, Roy Holdstrom (read Ray Harryhausen), has been hired to build a model set and animate a clay figure for the most horrible Beast ever seen on film. On Halloween, the narrator receives a mysterious invitation to go to the graveyard across from the studio. What should he find there but the long-dead body of J.C. Arbuthnot, the former head of Maximus Films, who had had one of the great Hollywood funerals. Frightened, he visits Roy, who sets out with him to chase down the now missing body; meanwhile, they must dream up the Beast. Roy gets an invite like the narrator's: go to the Brown Derby and the Beast will appear. Indeed, the Beast does, and disappears. Now the two men are chasing two mythical figures, Arbuthnot and the Beast. When Roy builds a clay model of the Beast, studio head Manny Leiber sees it, unaccountably fixes and dismisses them from the lot. But director Fritz Wong (read Fritz Lang) rehires the narrator to work on his epic Caesar and Christ--and Roy hangs himself. Or does he?--the body's been cremated. Could it be that the missing Beast, much like the Phantom of the Opera, is actually running the studio from his office in a tomb in the graveyard? Gummy. Toothless. A tall crock of kirsch and Classic Coke.