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by Todd Grimson

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-06-105233-7
Publisher: HarperCollins

Hardcover debut for avant-garde horror writer Grimson (Stainless, 1996), enjoyment of whose fancies leaves one thrilled, if feeling rather unclean. If anything, Grimson has intensified his Hollywood Rock- Gothic, ultra-neon, burning prose. Plot here is detail-cumulative, a twisting-on-a-dime, hairpin-turn mode in which each incident carries a supercharged light. Young avant-garde moviemaker Lisa Nova, whose surging thoughts about film reflect her impulsive, Mixmaster, kaleidoscopic imagination, wants to get in with horrormeister Selwyn Popcorn, 49, who has made some cult films she admires. But she's been savagely diddled by her older, married bedmate, Lou Greenwood, a top film executive, and been videoed doing something she now regrets (what, we never know). To get back at Lou, then, Lisa goes to Boro, a black witch doctor waited on by flesh-eating zombies out of The Night of the Living Dead, who puts a curse on Greenwood's whole family. The curse goes so haywire and excessive that Lou's vengeful widow is driven into some nasty magic of her own. Things get so hot for Lisa that she flies to Rio to visit her wizard-of-chemistry dad and sinks ever deeper into the occult. By the time she arrives back in L.A. (after trips to Manhattan and the Berlin film festival), she's been responsible for several deaths; and she gets tailed, and frequently grilled, by the LAPD. While in South America, she dropped some rare chemical her father had wrung from a vine and found herself able to transfer her dreams straight onto 16-mm film stock. These dream-films feature real murders that she has to pretend, after an enthusiastic Selwyn Popcorn screens them, are just very inventive special effects. Overlong, bends at its joinings, and isn't for everyone—but full of take-that, fist-in-your-face daring.