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Review by
E.C.McMullen Jr.
By Thomas M. Sipos
1st Books Library
TPB 251 Pages

ISBN: 0-75963-747-4

Like any artist or sculptor, there are many tools and brushes that a writer should have in their toolbox: hereafter referred to as, The Personal Library.

One of these should be Thomas M. Sipos, HALLOWEEN CANDY.

Sipos is a writer given a mixed blessing in life. He has sold and re-sold the option to his screenplay, HALLOWEEN CANDY, without it ever once getting made into a movie. Its not a bad screenplay, even beyond my own judgement, for the thing has been optioned three times, was read at the American Film Institute (moderated by Robert Wise no less), and was nearly directed by Tom Savini!

In short, this book tells you how to be a succesful writer without ever getting published. No mean feat!

Thomas has had his successes of course. He has had other stories published in MIDNIGHT MARQUEE, 100 WICKED LITTLE WITCH STORIES, and HORRORS! 365 SCARY STORIES. In this book, HALLOWEEN CANDY, he also presents his full and unedited interview with Jonathan Frid, one of the great Vampire actors of all time (and lucky you if you never saw Dark Shadows in the beginning, the whole series is getting re-aired on the oddly named Sci-Fi Channel. Funny how the Sci-Fi channel runs mostly Horror movies).

In this book, Thomas proves his mettle as a contributor to the field of Horror. This is not just a work of fiction, but a witches stew of fiction, fact, and observation by a man who has been spun along the fringes of success without ever quiet being sucked into its maw.

Thomas's experiences, though disheartening, are educational, as this one small passage reveals. In it, Thomas is talking to New York agent Ron Bernstein:

Bernstein declared David's contract "horrible" because it only paid me net profits. I knew this, but replied that the budget was low, and these people seemed trustworthy. Bernstein said I could do as I pleased (I was not his client), but that in all his years in the industry, he had never seen a dime of net profit paid to anyone. Not once.

Or this one where Thomas advertised his script in Fangoria magazine:

My Fangoria ad drew a sizable response, mostly written on loose-leaf paper.

HALLOWEEN CANDY is fascinating because it swings from fiction to fact. The fiction is solid and real and the actual script HALLOWEEN CANDY, while of comic book style properties, offers tangible, memorable characters. In it you get a glimpse of the inspirational process at work. Sipos' telling of his real life experiences rivals the prose of his fiction.

More than just a book, it is a documentary of the movie making and publishing and audience handling and communication process, where writing is just one very small facet of the whole. Without ever lecturing, HALLOWEEN CANDY offers valuable advice from experience hard earned. That's why I give it 4 Bookwyrms.

This review copyright 2001 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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