By Doug Brod
Updated September 29, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

In his amazing ’80s fanzine, Sleazoid Express, Landis documented with Dickensian vividness New York’s then-robust Times Square grind-house scene. Naturally, the subject of his first book is a decidedly outra film personality: Kenneth Anger, a pioneer of American avant-garde cinema and author of the infamous Hollywood Babylon books, who is described in this bio as an acid-dropping satanist. It’s a fascinating, often grotesque story rendered readable despite some aggressively bad writing (”He would repair this fan like a jeweler crafting an etched diamond in the years to come”), meaningless insights (”The movie is very yin and yang”), and sloppy editing (Aspen City News becomes Open City News in the appendix). Anger is best when tracing Anger’s early days and when offering a cogent deciphering of modern occultism. Landis’ research could be more thorough: Why, for example, would he devote a scant four paragraphs to the writing of Babylon and yet go on for five pages about a playbill for one of Anger’s screenings? Babble on, indeed. B-