Saturday, March 17, 2007


King Hack

Over at The Stranger I memorialize Leo Guild, king of all hack writers and presumed author of the best worst pulp novel ever:

I first came across this farrago from a 1980s edition of the book buyer's mimeoed newsletter It Goes on the Shelf. The Werewolf vs. Vampire Woman long bore the distinction of being the only book in IGOTS' 1 to 100 rating system to actually score a 1. The plotting follows the classic second-grader's story structure of and then—and then—and then—and then. Not a narrative arc, exactly: more like a narrative crazy straw.

The plot, such as it is, goes like this: Waldo is a werewolf brought back to life when a foolish coroner removes a bullet from his heart. (Check.) He kills a lot of people. (Check.) Suddenly he's in Paris. (Check?) He raids tombs for gold and hits up pawnshops. (Che...) Then he digs up a vampire named Wandessa, tries to kill her, changes his mind, and they go on a joint killing spree by burning down crowded theaters, downing high-voltage power lines, machine-gunning subways and driving stakes through bystanders, and then they go to Hollywood and become movie stars and then work for NBC and then find true love and then get jealous of each other and then die in a double-wedding-slash-homicide.

Or as Waldo puts it: "With the kind of wool jackets they make these days it's getting harder and harder to drive a stake in with a coat on. Well, everyone has his troubles."
A few lines about TWvVW got lost to the word count, and I reproduce them here for the dubious benefit of Stubble readers:
Scattered among these outrages are lines of sublime stupidity. We are told that Waldo likes to strengthen his grip "by squeezing trees." And then there's this:

"Please don't hurt me, Mr. Werewolf," she begged. "I am only 21 and I have at least 10 good years ahead of me yet."

I forgot to mention that werewolves are very strong. Their diet includes such things as animal blood, ailing grandmothers and rancid chicken fat. And they also thrive in the night air.

When a Hollywood shrink is unwise enough to question his lycanthropy, Waldo beats him to death with a desk calendar.
Half of the fun of Guild's books, though, are in the covers. There's...


Oh, and....

King Leo, we bow before your majestic hackiness!

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