Tobe Hooper first came out into the horror scene with his legendary, twisted creation Texas Chainsaw Massacre. TCM spawned one of the highest grossing movie franchises of all time. Hooper didn’t stop there. He also directed other horror movies like Poltergeist, Eaten Alive, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and The Funhouse. Now, Hooper has contributed to the horror genre again, but this time, it is not from behind the camera. His book, Midnight Movie, is a nasty, gooey, bloody romp in the horror field, but it also is an amazingly fun read. Cowritten by Hooper and Alan Goldsher, Midnight Movie is not a book meant for young readers. This is an adult book for those horrors fans who like their horror wet. Wet refers to bloody, slimey, and nasty, like the artwork of HR Giger and movies like anything released by Troma.
PLOT: Director Tobe Hooper gets a strange invite to attend a screening of his first film, shot when he was a teen. The flick is called DESTINY EXPRESS and has never been seen. In fact Hooper hardly remembers anything about it himself. After the screening, those in attendance start to fall victim to a host of symptoms, including bizarre sexual occurrences and finding themselves undead. The question quickly becomes, did the flick cause it all, and can Hooper do anything about it before the whole country is overwhelmed by oversexed people leaking blue fluid, and zombies?
Written in a semi-autobiographical manner, this book is also conducted in a documentary type of style, featuring Twitter feeds, blogs, interviews with other characters in the story, and newspaper clippings. This type of writing reminds me of Joe Hill’s short story “Twittering From the Circus of the Dead” which was in the zombie anthology The New Dead. Including current communication methods as a vehicle to carry the story and point out significant plot points helps keep this book up to date and fun. While this book isn’t deep and it may not alway make much sense, it’s a fun read that any horror fan could enjoy.
Hooper really enjoys himself when writing about himself. Rather than casting himself as the courageous hero, Hooper creates a character who can be described as grumpy, somewhat antisocial, and reclusive. Granted, he has been pulled into the potential apocalypse by a friend turning into a zombie and disintegrating in his front yard. This character has every right to feel a little peevish and angry.
This book is definitely a “wet” story with highly enjoyable features like people using their own dismembered limbs as weapons, a highly disturbing bodily fluid referred to as the “blue spew”, and disintegrating, melting zombies. There is an underlying tone of teenage humor and teenage hormones that took me back to watching bad horror movies when I was a teen and my parents weren’t home. Rather than detracting from the story, the teenage feel creates an atmosphere of fun, lighthearted horror with a disturbing twist. Hooper creates a world where no one, especially his own character, is able to take themselves seriously. With some of the most twisted characters I have ever encountered in a book, Hooper creates a realistic portrayal of human reactions and depraved desires.
I highly enjoyed this book. It feels like a return to Hooper’s roots with some shadows of Craven and King, but the story does not take itself so serious. Who would I recommend to read this book? People like me. Folks who like their stories to be shocking, gory, and identifiable. This book does have characters that are incredibly easy to identify with. While this book was written by both Tobe Hooper and Alan Goldsher, it feels like it is a return to Hooper’s universe, where gore and fun are intimately related.