March 04, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST

How did confused but likable kid Brian Warner mutate into shock-rocker Marilyn Manson? That?s the key question here, one that?s never satisfactorily addressed. Young Brian struggles with hypocrisy and cruelty throughout his Ohio Christian-school upbringing, but there?s no explanation for his bizarre transformation into America?s most controversial rock star. Of course, some people will pick up Hell for its tales of backstage debauchery. They might be disappointed: Despite scene after scene of drug- addled depravity, what?s really shocking about Manson?s rock & roll lifestyle is how boring it is to read about.

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