A QUICK INTERVIEW WITH BRUCE GOLDEN
AUTHOR OF MONSTER TOWN
PS: How did you come up with the idea for Monster Town?
GOLDEN: Years ago I wrote a short story titled “I Was a Teenage Hideous Sun Demon.” It was a bit of dark satire based on the title character from a little known 1958 B-movie called The Hideous Sun Demon. For that story I created what you might call an alternate universe where movie monsters actually existed and played themselves in the movies. More famous monsters like Dracula and the Wolfman did well for themselves. The Hideous Sun Demon not so much.
PS: How did that lead to the book?
GOLDEN: I always felt the idea of such a world was fairly unique, and would provide a great setting for a book-length tale. The more I thought about it, the more I pictured it in my mind as a kind of film noir–a murder mystery set in a place called Monster Town.
PS: But movie monsters weren’t the only thing you satirized.
GOLDEN: No. The idea of a film noir murder mystery led me to think of the old hard-boiled detective stories. I decided to combine the movie monster genre with that of the forties and fifties detectives. Being a lifelong film buff and former movie reviewer, I knew movie monsters and film noir fairly well, but I wasn’t as familiar with the hard-boiled detective stories. So I read as many books as I could get my hands on by authors like Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and Mickey Spillane. I also watched plenty of old horror movies and films like Out of the Past, The Big Sleep, Murder My Sweet, and The Maltese Falcon.
PS: That sounds like a lot of research.
GOLDEN: You can’t do a good job of satirizing something unless you know it inside and out. But satire is a tricky thing. I prefer a subtle brand of parody that sneaks up on you as opposed to slapping you in the face. There are certainly plenty of quirky characters in Monster Town, but the plot is told straight-forward. The satire is in the “hard-boiled” language of P.I. Dirk Slade’s narration. But, like all humor, it’s subjective. Some people get what you’re trying to do and others . . . well, you just hope they enjoy it on another level.
PS: Is there a chance we’ll be seeing more of private investigator Dirk Slade?
GOLDEN: You never know. It would certainly be jake with me.