Re: RARA-AVIS: Angry Moon vs Max and Jeremy

Wed, 1 Sep 1999 12:11:39 -0700 (PDT)

I've been lurking, swamped with work and wanting to post on many of the subjects brought up in the last few weeks but just too damn busy. Etienne's concerns about the influences of my book Angry Moon have jolted me out of my stupor.

First I'd like to thank Mark Sullivan for his very kind words about the book. Angry Moon is a mix of hardboiled noir and the supernatural. It is definitely not for everyone. When someone discovers the book and appreciates it for what it was intended to be, I am very pleased. To stick their neck out with a review like that is no small feat. Mark, you made my day. Thanks again.

As to the origin of the plot which "troubled" Etienne: Angry Moon is a novel I wrote in 1990, long before my "first" novel SHOOTERS. Angry Moon was based on a screenplay I completed in 1986 that circulated quite heavily in Hollywood in 1987 attached to a director friend of mine. We had a number of offers on the script but they did not want the director involved. My deal with the director precluded selling the script separately so the material was stuck in limbo. I decided to turn it into a novel.

I sold Angry Moon to the publisher, FORGE, in 1992. A series of savage publishing cluster fu#ks then occurred, keeping the book from seeing publication until 1997. SHOOTERS actually leap frogged it and became my debut novel, even though it was written five years after Angry Moon.

(This wonderful experience in the land of books is why I have returned to writing movies. I didn't think I could find a place more screwed up than Hollywood, but then I dealt with the publishing industry. New York has Hollywood beat by a country mile when it comes to screw ups.)

As to the influences on the story, specifically the hitman targeting his mentor theme (which is really only a gimmick in Angry Moon so we can learn more about the target through the protagonist's previous experience with him) I can honestly say I've never seen or even heard of MAX AND JEREMY or the book it is based on. Considering that the screenplay of Angry Moon was based on the first or second thing I ever tried to write way back in the mid-seventies I have a feeling I was more heavily influenced by THE MECHANIC or any number of Charlie Bronson/Clint Eastwood flicks. (Maybe the creators of MAX AND JEREMY caught those matinees too?) Nevertheless, that element of the plot is the least original. Hopefully there are some fresh surprises for the reader along the way. I was also influenced by horror movies, which I loved as a child, and wanted to blend the two genres. I actually thought it would be simpler to pull off than it was. Very naive.

What can I say? Etienne, just buy the darn thing from Amazon or wherever then give us your take AFTER you've read it, okay? I'd like to hear your opinion. And I'm dying to know who wins the grudge match of the century listed in your log line "Angry Moon vs Max and Jeremy." Dig it!

While I'm here I'd like to chime in with further praise of Joe Lansdale's FREEZER BURN. It's a wild ride. Joe's touring with the book right now so be on the lookout for him if you're into autographs and good conversation.

And there was a lot of discussion going on about Richard Fleischer and his movies at the exact same time they were running a week-long retrospective of his work at the Egyptian theater in Hollywood. Fleischer appeared every night and many luminaries he worked with dropped in and spoke to the audience as well.

I could only go one night. They had a double feature of FANTASTIC VOYAGE and SOYLENT GREEN. They were both terrific. Fleischer looks heathy for 80+ and was very sharp, very funny when he spoke. Leonard Rosenman
(who composed the music for FANTASTIC VOYAGE) joined him on stage after FV. Charlton Heston, Leigh Taylor-Young and Dick Van Patten joined Fleischer to introduce SOYLENT GREEN. (Van Patten has a very small role in the film.) When asked by someone in the audience what flaws SOYLENT GREEN had, Fleischer dryly replied "Dick Van Patten." The audience roared with laughter.

The print of SOYLENT GREEN was freshly struck by Warner's (who owns the rights to MGM's library courtesy of Ted Turner) and it was beautiful. Hopefully they will play it around the country at colleges and special screenings. SOYLENT GREEN is a practically forgotten classic. It's every bit as visionary, in its own way, as BLADE RUNNER was eight years later and probably more important.

Fleischer may well be the undiscovered king of Hard Boiled films
(although Robert Aldrich probably has him beat). Even in films such as FANTASTIC VOYAGE, THE VIKINGS and SOYLENT GREEN the prevailing attitude and atmosphere is Hard Boiled. I am going to seek out his older, more obscure work. His book, JUST TELL ME WHEN TO CRY, was remaindered a few years ago. Buy it if you can. It's fascinating reading.

Sorry for the long post. It's tough to catch up.


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