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DarkEcho Horror
deccoclock by Rick Berry
Book Review

Popcorn
Ben Elton
St. Martin's Press/304 pp./$22.95
ISBN 0-312-16965-5

Review by Hank Wagner

Bruce Delamitri, director of the ultra-violent movie Ordinary Americans, is on top of the world. He's just won an Oscar for Best Director, and is returning to his palatial mansion with a Playboy centerfold on his arm. What happens next is by turns tragic, humorous, moving, and pathetic, as Bruce's home is invaded by Wayne Hudson and his girlfriend Scout -- ruthless killers whose media profile has risen in step with their skyrocketing body count. Wayne has a plan, and he needs Bruce's help to carry it out. Wayne's scheme ultimately results in murder, mayhem, and the highest ratings in television history.

A satire of television, Hollywood and hot shot autuers like Quentin Tarantino, Popcorn combines elements of movies like Pulp Fiction and Natural Born Killers and novels such as A. M. Wellman's S.F.W. and Joseph Hayes' The Desperate Hours. Elton has no profound insights about the media or on violence, but he does present all points of view in the debate in an engrossing and deceptively informative manner. He also effectively blurs the edges of reality, often segueing from a screenplay format to more straightforward prose. At times laugh out loud funny, the book makes its points without being heavy-handed. A terrific book, which would probably make a great movie, except for the fact that it skewers the very people most likely to make it. -- Hank Wagner

Guest reviewer Hank Wagner, always a prolific reader, is also one of the most prolific reviewers in horror. He has been the chief reviewer for the Overlook Connection Catalog, has reviewed for the DarkEcho newsletter, Cemetery Dance, Horror, Nova Express, Wetbones, and for many other publications.

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