On Directing, by John Badham (Michael Wiese Productions, 2020)

The veteran film and television director on working in the industry. This second edition covers working with actors, directing action and suspense, TV and its differences to cinema, and preparation for shooting. An excellent personal perspective with practical value for any collaborative creative practitioner, drawing on a host of professional viewpoints and texts. Recommended.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Dan O’Bannon’s Guide to Screenplay Structure, by Dan O’Bannon and Matt R Lohr (Michael Wiese Productions, 2012)

A guide to three act structure, and why it works for narrative cinema: including the Alien screenwriter’s own variant. Completed posthumously, this is an accessible, lightly erudite and fun guide to onscreen storytelling. One third structural analysis, one third application of O’Bannon’s version of the three act template to selected movies, one third industry observations.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

An Illustrated History of Filmmaking, by Adam Allsuch Boardman (Nobrow Books, 2018)

An overview of the development of motion pictures, from pre-photographic days to the present. Good-looking but insubstantial introduction: the scope of the subject renders this patchy despite its intentions. A sense of Boardman working towards something: the follow-up volume (on UFOs) is a more focused beast. The images are great though.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Made Men: The Story of GoodFellas, by Glenn Kenny (Hanover Square Press, 2020)

A history of the making and reception of Martin Scorsese’s 1990 film, itself based on Nicholas Pileggi’s book Wiseguy. A swaggering, exhaustive and detailed account of the movie, with new interviews accompanying archive material. A great book for anyone who’s a fan of the film and/or its director, and tons of fun in its own right. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

The Shining [Devil’s Advocates], by Laura Mee (Auteur Publishing, 2017)

A monograph on the Stanley Kubrick adaptation of the Stephen King novel. And a good one too; a smart, detailed and perceptive commentary on the movie, its production and reception. Academic but accessible, and even-handed in its analysis of the continuing significance of the movie as a popular culture touchstone. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England

The Silence of the Lambs [Devil’s Advocates], by Barry Forshaw (Auteur Publishing, 2013)

A smart, clear, and diligent monograph on the Jonathan Demme-directed adaptation of the Thomas Harris novel. Straightforward and effective, this short book covers the movie and its source material, as well as the wider impact of Lecter in print and film, as well as in genre. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England

The Descent [Devil’s Advocates], by James Marriott (Auteur Publishing, 2013)

A monograph on the 2005 Neil Marshall-directed horror film. Leaning on Freud for much of its insight, this is an academic but nevertheless readable text on the movie, making clear its associations and being careful to site it in both the director’s wider work as well as in a cycle of mid-00s underground-fixated flicks.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England

The Blair Witch Project, by Russ Gomm (Arrow Books, 2018)

A folk history of the making of and the later life of horror movie The Blair Witch Project. Taking a fan perspective, but able also to offer contrary opinions, this monograph successfully presents an overview of the movie and indicates why – not least in production and in marketing terms – Blair Witch is still an influential film.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England

The Hitcher, by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (Arrow Books, 2018)

A monograph on the 1986 road movie/horror hybrid, patterned after the approach of the BFI Classics series. While there’s some interesting material on pre-production and casting, this is not a good effort. Variable writing and editing, with assertions rather than arguments cluttering the thin text. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England