Having studied it myself at university for 3 years I can tell you now with some authority that reading film theory can be very boring.
It may come as a surprise that submerging yourself in ideas and interpretations on your favourite movies can be uninspiring and dull and sure there are many film theorists that are hugely engaging and entertaining as well as being insightful however many film texts although full of weird and wonderful concepts are as dry as a twenty day old cracker covered in sand.
Having graduated many, many moons ago I rarely pick up a film book being that I am too busy watching horror to read anything longer than a tweet these days so when Filmish by Edward Ross the latest release from Self Made Hero dropped through my letter box I was very happy to discover that it was all about movies and even more intrigued that it was a graphic novel.
Described as a graphic journey through film, author and artist Edward Ross takes the reader on a ride from the earliest forms of cinema right up to the modern day with sections on everything from sets and architecture to power and ideology.
With Ross himself as the narrator appearing in a variety of cinematic guises throughout the book all of his vastly interesting and perceptive views are illustrated with film stills from the movies he is discussing brilliantly bringing to life his ideas and making his concepts extremely accessible.
It is a genius idea as film is a visual medium so what better way to discuss its history and the myriad of readings by famous theorists alongside Ross’s own notions than in the form of a comic.
A film studies graduate himself Ross has created many science-themed comics for universities, museums, charities and research bodies working alongside Dr James Hall and leads workshops in comic book creation and his art work is excellent capturing famous stills in stark black and white throughout Filmish’s 175 plus pages.
Uncovering the magic and mechanics behind everyone’s favourite movies and exploring everything from hidden censorship to cinemas strange technophobia Ross spotlights the films and film-makers that embody this provocative and inventive medium from the pioneers of early cinema to the innovators shaping the movies of today.
Including a whole host of horror films from The Fly to Freaks, Oldboy to Aliens, Evil Dead to The Cabinet of Dr Caligari all used to illuminate different film hypothesis not just in regards to horror Ross expands on many famous horror theorists work including quotes from Carol J Clover’s excellent Men, Women and Chainsaws, Barbara Creed’s Horror and the Monstrous Feminine and Powers of Horror by Julia Kristeva among others.
There is so much depth in Filmish it requires repeat readings serving as both a wonderful introduction to film theory for the uninitiated and a bold refreshing reinterpretation for seasoned cinema buffs as it celebrates film in every form.
Witty, intelligent and gripping from start to finish not only should every horror fan own this graphic novel but every film fan should buy it too as Edward Ross has achieved not only to bring movies to life but also the history and ideas that have shaped them for more than a century from the art form and industries earliest inception right to the present day.
Filmish is available now along with a whole host of great graphic novels from Self Made Hero in book shops as well as on digital formats for Kindle, iBooks and Sequential and you can find out more on all of them at http://selfmadehero.com