In a seedy basement theater in west L.A., Jonathan Gates met the woman who would initiate him into more than one kind of ritual performed in the dark. Sensual, brilliant Clare was to give him a career with stature and unwittingly introduce Gates to a dark form of cinema far from the innocent entertainments he'd known.
At the heart of the darkness Gates will discover a film noir director of tormented genius who vanished while filming the most powerful and disturbing movie of his career. Hidden in the flickering light and shadow of his films are the clues to an ancient and secret conspiracy, with a deadly reach extending to every corner of the world.
a horror novel for pretentious film buffs. Unfortunately, I tend to dislike books about movies. (Or movies about movies for that matter, although somehow I like books (and movies) about books).
Anyway: A film critic rediscovers the lost work of an obscure German horror director who was lost at sea during WWII, and although his work is generally dismissed as pulp, he finds a plethora of mysterious techniques at use in the work, making use of subliminal techniques to accentuate the horror of the stories. He's fascinated, and makes the director the main subject of his academic studies - but to his lover, the films are nothing but evil.
Gradually, his research draws him into some strange circles, as he discovers unsavory details - and a weird cult descended from medieval heretics which may still be influential today...
Strangely (and I'm sure the author would be dismayed to hear) I found the book to be a lot like the imaginary subliminal movies he speaks of: it was undeniably compelling reading, but I'm not sure I liked it, and I definitely disagreed with it. It strongly condemns pop culture (movies, music, etc) that is dark, trashy and nihilistic and waxes nostalgic about the faux-innocent works of a 'golden' past as being 'Good.' ("Singin' In the Rain is the ultimate anti-fascist film.") Lots of random criticisms of stuff I like and lame cardboard stereotypes of punk rockers... which led to me both thinking that, for a so-called 'scholar' the author really lacks social understanding, and also just made me want to go find him, waggle my tongue at him and say, "I am what you hate and fear!"