Midnight Movie - Tobe Hooper Midnight Movie is a glorious mess. It is the most fun I've had reading a horror novel since the equally gloriously messy DRACULAS. It has also renewed my faith in the idea that a movie director can write a novel that is the equal to his talent in film director.

Of course, some of you snobs may not think that is not so impressive considering the director. Tobe Hooper may not receive the accolades of a Hitchcock or a Cronenberg but he is always imaginative and exuberant even in the least of his films. That comes through in his debut novel where he casts himself in the lead role and presents an intriguing premise. Hooper's first movie, which he made when he was fifteen years old, is debuted at Austin's SXSW festival. The movie is amazingly bad yet Hooper remembers nothing about it. Those who attend the showing are infected with something that causes rampant violence, zombies, and a strange venereal disease that gives a whole new meaning to the term "blueblood".

The first part of the novel deals with the screening. The author is having a lot of fun depicting himself with self-deprecating humor and manages to take a lot of good-natured potshots at Hollywood and his fans. Yet when the after-affects of the screening develops, this is where it gets wonderfully messy. It is almost a kind of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink form of mayhem with plenty of Ewww! moments. The book is presented in a documentary style; half oral history and half epistemological novel, if e-mail and blog posts can be considered epistemological. The violence may be over the top for some, but I doubt if anyone would expect less from the director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The last part of the novel deals with how Hooper and his band of Texas and Hollywood misfits discover the cause of the zombie outbreak and how to deal with it. I found the ending a bit disappointing but getting there was so much fun I didn't mind too much. Overall it was a fun exercise in comedic horror but the most memorable thing was discovering that a talented artist like Tobe Hooper isn't afraid to poke a little fun at himself and his craft.