I didn’t think I’d be able to buy Morgan Fairchild as a novelist, but once I heard her character’s name — Magenta Hart! — it all fell into place. Fairchild’s Magenta writes horror stories aimed at a female audience, sort of slasher romance novels. ”You created something new,” says her publisher, ”a serial killer that everyone loved.” Sounds creepy, right? It gets creepier: Someone starts murdering women in ways identical to those described in Magenta’s writings. When the author realizes this, she goes to a tough police detective (Murphy Brown’s Joe Regalbuto) and they track down the culprit.
Writer’s Block might have seemed a bit better than it does if the recent movie The Silence of the Lambs and Bret Easton Ellis’ novel American Psycho hadn’t gone over the same sort of subject matter. As it is, Writer’s Block seems simultaneously trite and tame. And while it’s obvious that Regalbuto took this role to do something utterly unlike Frank Fontana, his affable wisecracker in Murphy, his hardboiled dialogue comes off as a series of straight-man lines — you keep waiting for him to turn them into jokes, but of course, he doesn’t.
It turns out, however, that Fairchild is perfectly cast — her harsh, exaggerated beauty and her array of tight, formal outfits are the perfect symbols for an overworked schlock novelist yearning for movie deals and the best-seller list. C-