[Book Review] Tobe Hooper’s ‘Midnight Movie’

Original Texas Chain Saw Massacre director Tobe Hooper has entered the world of novels with “Midnight Movie,” which was co-written by Alan Goldsher.

Now in book stores everywhere, “The good news: Director Tobe Hooper has been invited to speak at a screening of ‘Destiny Express,’ a movie he wrote and directed as a teenager, but that hasn’t seen the light of day in decades. And Hooper’s fans are ecstatic. The bad news: ‘Destiny Express’ proves to be a killer . . . literally. As the death toll mounts, Tobe embarks on a desperate journey to understand the film’s thirty-year-old origins—and put an end to the strange epidemic his creation has set in motion.

Featuring the terror, humor, and sly documentary style Hooper devotees remember from such classics as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Midnight Movie is vintage Tobe Hooper, again demonstrating the director’s place as one of the godfathers of modern horror.

Inside you’ll find Ryan Daley’s review of the book.“Audition was, like, the most fucked up movie ever––way more fucked up than Destiny Express––and it didn’t make blue stuff shoot out of people’s cocks.”

In the first act of Midnight Movie, first time author Tobe Hooper depicts legendary filmmaker Tobe Hooper as he jaunts to SXSW to screen his long lost first horror film, Destiny Express. What better way to break into a fiction career than to write your own damn self into your story? It makes for a meta introduction to Hooper and co-writer Alan Goldsher’s fictional tale of movies, meth, domestic terrorism, and a mysterious STD that makes your junk leak blue goo.

Broken up into first-person interview segments, emails, blog entries, and Twitter conversations, the already skimpy Midnight Movie is written in a breezy, conversational style that makes for some very easy reading. After the SXSW screening of Destiny Express completely bombs, Hooper and Co. return to their respective lives, only to discover that many of the audience members in attendance have been…changed…by the experience. The resulting national chaos is dubbed “the Game”, and the symptoms are hugely diverse. Some folks get violent, some get horny, some turn into zombies, some disappear while they sleep, and there’s so much crazy magical bullshit going on that at times Midnight Movie seems to lack any direction or focus. Yep, everybody who watched Tobe Hooper’s first movie is fucked up now. We get it. But without any consistency, the fucked-up-ness loses some of its credibility. At its worst moments Midnight Movie feels like a long wade through the written whims of a pair of authors who simply slapped the contents of their stoner-fied imaginations down on the page.

But at its best moments, Midnight Movie is wildly entertaining. The world-weary, sarcastic prose is highly readable, particularly in the early going. The constant changes in perspective (sometimes 3-4 times per page) allow the reader to churn through pages like it’s a David Mamet script. With the action taking place over several months, Midnight Movie lacks the apocalyptic immediacy of something like Hater, but it boasts enough peppy confidence to warrant a look.

3/5 Skulls