This is an old favourite of mine; perhaps a little dated now, but no more than, say, CARRIE (and I think that adds to its noir appeal). Sparse, punchy and peopled with the kind of characters that transfer naturally to the screen, it's a terrific piece of proto-screenwriting and a masterclass in the art of the unreliable narrator. It's also a stonking illustration of the artist's condition; his relationship with his audience; his need to be loved; his passion; that sense of weird duality all artists, performers (and writers) know. And Fats, of course, is tremendous; trollish, funny and sinister; a terrific foil to Corky's shy and adolescent act. To me, it's the same underlying metaphor as Stephen King's THE DARK HALF, but more concise, and omitting the supernatural aspect. Because, let's face it, people are far more frightening than ghosts, and the mind is a hall of mirrors darker than any carnival ride.