MIDNIGHT MOVIE MONOGRAPH by Tim Major
SERIES EDITOR Neil Snowdon
PUBLICATION DATE August 2018
COVER ART & DESIGN Neil Snowdon & David Chatton Barker
Jacketed hardcover — ISBN 978-1-786363-27-5 [£20]
ABOUT THIS BOOK
UK novelist Tim Major, author of YOU DON’T BELONG HERE, has written a monograph on the sublime silent serial LES VAMPIRES, and in the process reignited my own obsession with its director Louis Feuillade, and Paris in that period. One of the reasons I always wanted to approach authors as well as critics for this series was precisely the hope that they'd bring a different angle to that we might expect and Tim has delivered in spades. His book is part commentary and exploration of his own fascination with the film, and part metatextual fiction that responds to, and evokes, the uncanny texture of the dreamlike world of the film itself.
1915, and in America D.W. Griffith is breaking new ground with his BIRTH OF A NATION, charting a path for the next century of US Cinema, as an art dedicated to narrative clarity and cohesion/certainty. Meanwhile, in France, the absinthe dream of the Belle Epoque was coming to an end in the nightmare of the First World War, and yet in the midst of it all, films were still being made.
Already famous for his amoral crime serial FANTOMAS (1913), Louis Feuillade embarked upon LES VAMPIRES on location in Paris, even as the War came close enough that German guns could shell the city. It was to be his masterpiece, and—in a way—the antithesis to D.W. Griffith. Feuillade’s was a cinema of uncertainty, of ambiguity and unease, even as it embraced comedy, metatextuality, breaking the fourth wall to wink at the audience/make us complicit. It is oneiric, poetic, sensual, and uncanny.
Born of the French literary and artistic heritage of the ‘fantastique’ it would, in it’s own way, set the course for the future of French film as a cinema in which ambiguity remains a defining characteristic, and a central pleasure to be embraced.
Join novelist Tim Major as he explores the dreamlike underworld of Louis Feuillade, the original femme fatale, Musidora, and her gang ‘The Vampires’...anything can happen, nothing is certain, in LES VAMPIRES.