Reviewed by Leigh Adamkiewicz
There is a delicious rush from finding something you’re not quite meant to see. And the Found Footage genre is testament to how much money we’ll spend to pretend we’ve found something risqué. But what if you found something truly forbidden? Dangerous? You’d get the word out, sure. But what would you do if the story started to grow and change as you were telling it? What if the illusion of danger wasn’t an illusion at all?
You’d probably come up with A Book About a Film, a magnificent, multi-faceted tale about the life-changing movie you’ll never see.
The book starts off with an excellent premise. What if people who had near death experiences learned something from their time on the other side? This was the plot of an excellent independent film called The Cornfield People. All the reports on the film indicated it had every chance of becoming a modest success, if not a cult classic. But there’s a problem. When the film was nearly done, it was shelved. Mysteriously.
The copies of the movie that exist are legendarily hard to find. But everyone who is anyone in film has an opinion about this one. The film has found its way into the hands of Spielberg (theoretically) and Tarantino (citation needed) and many more. So it seems only natural that our author writes a book about the film after being lucky enough to see it. And that’s when things start getting weird.
Much like Danielewski’s House of Leaves, this book relies on the footnotes to tell the story within the story. The story is not just the synopsis of the movie. It’s the things people have speculated. It’s the photos and articles that prove what happened. It’s even the typos in the document itself, which increasingly seem to be a code to another story entirely.
I actually got to the point when I wondered if the book was based on an actual movie. But aside from three posts on a movie blog, I couldn’t find any mention of it online. But this book’s level of detail makes it seem increasingly real. Didn’t you hear something about this in a trade journal? Wasn’t this person in a fluff piece in a local newspaper?
It’s the pictures, news clippings, and diary entries about those things that turn this into something more than just a good suspense thriller. If you just read the book the author thought they were writing, you’d think everything turned out. That it all wrapped up in a neat little package. But as you read on, you realize that the bigger questions are still out there.
About never enters abstract madness the way Leaves did. But it does get your heart racing as the pace accelerates, and the lines between fiction and reality gently blur. And I loved every bit of it.
Leigh is a fearless writer who never met a genre, subject, or format she didn’t like. She has written professionally for the past six years and enjoys biking, exploring odd corners of Northeast Ohio, and discovering those good books she hasn’t read yet.
Review copy was provided by C.W. Schultz.
C. W. Schultz’s fourth novel A Book About a Film is officially available for purchase today! It’s an academic study on the cult classic The Cornfield People that not only acts as a novelization of the movie but also as a thriller in its own right when the book begins to dig into the film’s hidden messages, reoccurring themes and haunting obscurity. The book analyzes a chilling movie which follows a secret society that knows the meaning of life and what comes after death… and the cult will stop at nothing to keep their treasured knowledge hidden from outsiders.
You can watch the teaser trailer here!
A Book About a Film has been receiving lots of praise. Nick Rossi of Reading Other People said “Schultz is destined for greatness” in his review; while Joanie Chevalier, author of Deadly Dating Games: Murder. Blackmail. Romance., gave A Book About a Film ★★★★★ (out of five) in her review. Ajoobacats Blog commended the book for being original and unusual, saying “this is one hell of a read for film enthusiasts” in the review. An overall rave review came from RedPillows, who said the book was ultimately intriguing and well-written. Schultz’s narrative choices was said to be “complex, gripping, and ultimately hard to put down” in a review from the Midwest Book Review. Of the copious analysis, disorienting narrative and unique layout, Kirkus’s response was that the subject’s “conceit is rather ingenious”.
But it didn’t stop there.
www.cwschultz.com decides a wonderful review of an exciting release warrants enough enthusiasm to finally reveal A Book About a Film’s release date as Tuesday, September 8th, 2015, as well as the front cover!
This should mark the beginning of updates on a project Schultz has been pretty secretive about. Stay tuned as the reveals continue to pile on!
It doesn’t get more meta or self-referential than this. C.W. Schultz’ original and effervescent work A Book About A Film is subversion at its best. It beckons the dream-like quality of Fellini’s masterpiece 8 1/2 with a touch of Grey Gardens. It’s like that great movie M. Night Shyamalan has yet to make.
I absolutely do not want to spoil the narrative for any prospective readers. I will say, however, that Schultz’ uncanny ability to write a work that has an inherent momentum which does not lose any steam is revelatory. I’ve read a lot of books that borrow elements from various genres that attempt to amalgamate them into a piece that will appeal to all demographics. A Book About a Film, however, is heads and shoulders above its subversive predecessors. It maintains the readers interest, utilizing imagery that is both evocative yet easily visualized.
It’s a thriller, a neo-noir and the Blair Witch Project all rolled into one cohesive narrative that held my interest in the palm of its words from start to finish. I was not only riveted by the plot mechanisms that managed to delve into the mentalities of secret society members, in this case, The Cornfield People, but I was also astonished by the authors effortless ability to weave varying styles into one masterpiece so successfully.
Maybe its because I’m a film graduate, or maybe its because I watch a lot of films, but I found A Book About A Film to be the equivalent of that rare director commentary on the DVD of your favorite semi-obscure movie. You’re in awe of the director’s ability to present subtle motifs without exploiting the intricacies of the characters and their flaws. Schultz is destined for greatness, and A Book About a Film is a book about life – the kind of life that is real, gritty, and dark.
A Book About A Film will be released in September 2015. I will write another post to remind you all to be sure to pick up a copy.
— Nick Rossi, Reading Other People
Geekser on Movies‘ main blogger Randy has been doing thorough research on the same subject that Schultz is covering in A Book About a Film.
Geekster on Movies is the place to be if you like film, want to discuss it with other fans, maybe learn something new about your favorite flick, get a good laugh or two, and perhaps even win a prize. Check it out.
Rage of Angels, a 2009 film that C. W. Schultz was an assistant camera operator on, is finally available to watch on YouTube. Cast and crew include the following Schultz-collaborators:
– Philipp Aurland (actor in The Late Sorry and Rage of Angels)
– Scott Bowen (audio engineer on Is This Thing On?, Rage of Angels and Sub-Text)
– Bryson Burnham (Is This Thing On?, director of photography; Rage of Angels, director)
– John DeCorsey (Drafted, actor; Rage of Angels, grip)
– Tony Doupé (producer of Is This Thing On?, Rage of Angels and Watch)
– Trevor Gumble (Is This Thing On?, actor; Rage of Angels, script supervisor)
– Pearl Klein (Drafted, actress; Rage of Angels, assistant sound)
– Melissa Leland (Is This Thing On?, director; Rage of Angels, production manager; Sub-Text)
Watch, the short film that Schultz wrote and premiered at the Gig Harbor Film Festival on 10/21/2012 to take the first runner-up (2nd place) for Director’s Choice Award for Best Short Film, is now available online for free (see below). A DVD release is in the works, which will be a compilation of other short films from the Seattle area, but there is currently no tentative release date. Feel free to vote on it at its Internet Movie Database (IMDb) page.
Schultz has confirmed that The Late Sorry, a horror movie written by Schultz and filmed in July 2008, is still being worked on. Director Paul Turcott was nice enough to provide an image, explaining:
FX still from The Late Sorry where Joel opens his bathroom door and the camera dolly’s out through the keyhole where you can see the tumblers turning and then out through the keyhole on the other side into the waiting room.
Watch premiered at the Gig Harbor Film Festival on Sunday. At the award ceremony, the film was announced to be the first runner-up for Director’s Choice Award for Best Short Film, losing only to Take 38. 2nd Place out of 28 short films ain’t bad at all. Congratulations to the entire production of Watch. Well done!