Film Freak: First Review
This early review just appeared in Shots magazine, courtesy of Mike Ripley, so perhaps you’ll excuse me on this occasion for running it. Sometimes when you’re writing a book, you have little idea whether it’s any good, and it’s great to get feedback.
‘Christopher Fowler’s Film Freak is the confessions of a film nut determined to get into the British film industry at precisely the wrong time, just as the flea-pits were closing down and videos taking over. Though quite when there was a good moment to get into British films, unless you were Sid James or Alec Guinness, is a moot point.
Fowler, better known in this column as the author of the slightly surreal ‘Bryant & May’ detective series, was a self-confessed Film Freak from an early age and determined to get into the film world by any route possible; initially through advertising agency copy-writing and then producing trailers and posters for general release movies. His assault on Wardour Street (rather than Hollywood) coincided with British classics such as Ooh…You Are Awful and Mutiny on the Buses(rumoured to be the biggest earning Hammer film ever) signalling the death-knell, or at least the terminal decline, of the British film industry.
Whether he is being gruesomely honest about seedy pubs and even seedier bed-sits, taking side-swipes at slappable performers like Charlie Drake, Norman Wisdom and Cliff Richards, or defending Kenneth Williams and films such as Dr Phibes Rises Again, he is never less than affectionately amusing. When he is describing the bad behaviour rampant in the advertising industry in the 1970s or disastrous trips to the Cannes Film Festival, he is hysterical.
This is a laugh-out-loud memoir of a slice of British life which has probably gone forever and for all its misfortunes and indignities, Fowler shows a great fondness. Although I think he was far too young to experience it on release, Chris Fowler knows the importance of the impact on the British psyche of Kay Kendall’s trumpet solo in Genevieve. That alone proves he really is a film freak.’
Film Freak is published by Doubleday on April 10th. There’s a good chance that if you liked Paperboy you’ll like this, although one man in Glasgow who commented on Amazon that he really, really hated Paperboy probably won’t be buying it. I looked at his profile on Amazon; he buys a lots of hardcore Christian books and bedding plants.