Saturday, August 30, 2008

Book: Vampyres of Hollywood, by Adrienne Barbeau and Michael Scott (2008)

I don’t recognize labels like summer book or beach read. But I’m still glad I finished Vampyres of Hollywood before Labor Day. It has that warm afternoon, bottle of beer within reach kind of feel.

The novel by Adrienne Barbeau (yes, that Adrienne Barbeau) and Michael Scott (no, not that Michael Scott) suggests that many of the movies’ brightest lights are in fact the undead. Funny how easy that notion is to accept. None is more powerful than Ovsanna Moore, the “scream queen” turned mogul. (In a book with all manner of hellish creatures running amok, that’s the only element I had trouble with. It’s like saying Brinke Stevens runs Lionsgate. As if an actor could run a movie studio. Oh, wait ...)

But someone is murdering vampires – sorry, vampyres – in unspeakably violent ways. A Best Actor winner has his Oscar rammed into a sensitive place ... pedestal first. That’s an opening in more ways than one. When a Beverly Hills detective discovers that Ovsanna links the victims, she must move quickly to prevent centuries of secrets from coming to light.

The book is funny, packed with choice showbiz observations and inside jokes. Then there’s the scene where Ovsanna is confronted by the title cabal, a coterie of silver screen luminaries you foolishly thought long gone. And you won’t believe who the villain is. Vampyres is great, trashy fun. Read it now while there are still margaritas to spare.

I squandered way too much time in high school watching Adrienne Barbeau in Wes Craven’s Swamp Thing, a 1980s cable TV staple. They don’t make comic book movies like that any more: goofy, satirical, strangely personal. I miss those.