Blue Movie, By Terry Southern

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

King B, the world's most admired film director, has decided on his next project: he will make the most expensive and ambitious pornographic movie ever. He uses his artistic cachet to attract big-name stars, and his box-office clout to draw a rich sponsor: the government of Liechtenstein, no less. He and his crew arrive in bewildered Vaduz for the shoot, which soon descends into anarchy.

Terry Southern was well-acquainted with the movie business (his screenwriting credits include Dr Strangelove and Easy Rider) and his insider knowledge lends this riotous satire real bite. There's a cast of unsavoury characters – from a necrophiliac studio boss to an oversexed, one-legged actress – but King B is perhaps the most sinister of them all. Blue Movie is dedicated to Southern's friend "the great Stanley K", but if his fictional director – cold, ruthless and manipulative – is meant to resemble Kubrick, then it's a distinctly unflattering portrait.

First published in 1970, Southern's novel deserves a new audience, and should find favour with fans of Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk, who share his taste for the macabre and flair for black comedy.