Bret Easton Ellis (born March 7, 1964) is an American author. He is considered to be one of the Generation X 1980s authors. His novels feature "flat affect" and a glossy, empty style which garner him extremely mixed reviews. The novels are also linked by common, recurring characters, dystopic locales (Los Angeles, New York), and more recently, fantastical elements (vampires). The adoption and appropriation of such tropes and motifs prefigure other Post-modern genre works such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Fight Club.
He was born in Los Angeles and raised in Sherman Oaks in the San Fernando Valley, the son of Robert Martin Ellis, a wealthy property developer, and Dale Ellis, a housewife. His parents divorced around 1982(?). He was educated at Buckley High School, where he did not distinguish himself, and then took a music-based course at Bennington College in Vermont. He was a part-time musician in some minor 1980s bands, such as The Parents, before his first book was published while he was still a student. Less Than Zero, a tale of disaffected rich teenage Los Angelenos, was well received by the critics and sold respectably (50,000 copies in its first year). He moved to New York in 1987 to release his second novel.
His most controversial work, the graphic yuppie serial killer satire American Psycho, was intended to be published by Simon & Schuster but they withdrew after external protests (NOW, and many others, considered the novel dangerously misogynistic and worse) and pressure from Gulf & Western. The novel was later published by Vintage.
Less Than Zero (1985)
The Rules of Attraction (1987)
American Psycho (1991)
The Informers (linked short stories, 1994)
Less Than Zero was made into a film in 1987, directed by Marek Kanievska and starring Andrew McCarthy, Robert Downey Jr and Jami Gertz. American Psycho was filmed in 2000, directed by Mary Harron and starring Christian Bale. The Rules of Attraction was filmed in 2002, directed by Roger Avary and starring James Van Der Beek and Shannyn Sossamon. A film based on Glamorama is in pre-production, it is tentatively slated for release in 2004. Additionally, there is a film called Glitterati being made that takes place in between the events of The Rules of Attraction and Glamorama, which is slated for release before Glamorama.
A film about Ellis, titled This Is Not an Exit: The Fictional World of Bret Easton Ellis, was made in 2000. The film is a combination of a documentary on his life as well as dramatizations of scenes from his books.