Several reviewers have pointed out what they believe to be the novel's major flaw: Almost any reader is going to solve the mystery of the undead Arbuthnot before getting half way through the novel. A much greater flaw than the easily-solved mystery is the use of the Beast as a kind of phantom-of-the-opera figure lurking about the back lots of Maximus Films. The idea of transplanting the classic figure from the cellars of an opera house to the dark old sets of an aging motion-picture studio is a cliché; it has been the central plot of some uninspired made-for-television movies.
The transparency of the mystery is not a major obstacle to enjoying the novel. Instead, it provides a structure which Bradbury uses to establish the central aspect of the novel — its blending of fantasy and reality. Maximus Films, like other Hollywood studios, has been manufacturing fantasies for film audiences for decades. The novel takes the fantastic images of motion pictures and blends them into the real world, making fantasy and reality one. Special effects artists such as Roy Holdstrom create monsters that seem alive in motion pictures; in A Graveyard for Lunatics these bizarre creatures come to life in the forms of the novel's various weird characters. A key to the success of this blend of fantasy and reality is the fact that the novel never fully becomes a fantasy. Bradbury shows how motion pictures shape people's lives by shaping their imaginations; if the novel...
(The entire section is 600 words.)