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Fervid Filmmaking: 66 Cult Pictures Of Vision, Verve And No Self-Restraint Book Review

Fervid Filmmaking Book

“Fervid Filmmaking: 66 Cult Pictures of Vision, Verve and No Self-Restraint” is a refreshingly different film list book.

Most film list books tend to cover the standard mainstream classics, but writer/director Mike Watt’s book “Fervid Filmmaking” goes against the grain by devoting 245 pages to lesser known works. As Watts states, the 66 films listed here are not perfect, but they are all unique, unconventional (and sometimes controversial in the case of a film like “Coonskin”) obscure flicks that show viewers images and ideas that have never been seen before. The films may not have wide appeal or be accessible to most audiences, but, as Watt so elegantly states, they are all still works of art.

While the films being talked about are all of varying interest, what really grabs one’s attention in “Fervid Filmmaking” is the writing style of Mike Watt. Not only does he demonstrate a real knowledge and passion for midnight movies, low budget horror, cult cinema, exploitation films, home video, and challenging cinema, but he also has a way of personalizing his reviews so that you are drawn into his writing. For instance, in his review for “The Boneyard,” Watt nostalgically chats about video stores and the lost art of browsing and discovering movies and ties that into his review. For any film fan that grew up wandering video stores, it’s easy to connect to his story.

Perhaps the book’s greatest strength, however, is Watt’s honest criticism. Whether he’s writing about finding deeper meaning in “The Land of College Prophets,” giving credit to the unfairly maligned “Survival of the Dead,” digging in to the ideas expressed in the 1980 “Death Watch” giving props to director William Malone, exploring the recent cult classic “Repo! The Genetic Opera” or talking about the multiple cuts of “Success,” it’s clear that he never gives a half-assed assessment. Every single piece here is meticulously researched and well thought out.

The only real bothersome aspect of this book is the lack of a listing of the 66 films in the first few pages. While there is an index at the back of the book, it would have been much easier to reference a particular film with a proper listing of which film is on what page.

Overall Thoughts: You might not always agree with the author, but Mike Watt’s passion and knowledge of cinema is undeniable. Even if some of the films that are brought up don’t appeal to you, “Fervid Filmmaking” will certainly shed new light on films that are so often dismissed. At the very least, the book may very well inspire one to expand their horizons or check out some of these forgotten cult films. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to track down a copy of “Rented Lips…A Tale Of Two Scripts.”

Note: Be sure to read the humorous foreword by the infamous Troma President Lloyd Kaufman.

“Fervid Filmmaking” is available to order at the publisher’s website www.mcfarlandpub.com, Amazon, or via a McFarland order line at 800-253-2187. Furthermore, an e-book addition of “Fervid Filmmaking” is also available at Amazon and other e-book seller sites

January 22, 2014 - Posted by | Book review | , , , ,

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