Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Flicker” as Want to Read:
Flicker
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Flicker

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  840 ratings  ·  123 reviews
From the golden age of art movies and underground cinema to X-rated porn, splatter films, and midnight movies, this breathtaking thriller is a tour de force of cinematic fact and fantasy, full of metaphysical mysteries that will haunt the dreams of every moviegoer.

Jonathan Gates could not have anticipated that his student studies would lead him to uncover the secret histor...more
Paperback
Published October 9th 2004 by No Exit (first published 1991)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Flicker, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Flicker

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,730)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Moira Russell
If you ignore the sexism and the terrible fake Roth sex scenes, it's pretty damn good, especially the last two or three chapters.
Chloe
Dec 01, 2008 Chloe rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Films freaks and Conspiracy Junkies
Shelves: mystery-thriller
If, rather than setting his tales in French bookstores or secluded Italian monasteries, Umberto Eco focused his paranoia about secret societies on the world of film, Flicker is the book that he would write. Crammed to overflowing with film lore and history, Flicker is both a crash course in film theory and a horrifying thriller that makes itself known not through any blood and gore but a very tangible creeping dread that suffuses nearly every page.

Flicker follows the life of Jonathon Gates, a yo...more
Becca Balistreri
Sep 23, 2007 Becca Balistreri rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves film
Theodore Roszak knows film and loves it - the technology, the history, the benchmarks. The mystery he devises is complex, believable, and eerie. Every time I see a film, I think for a moment about the implications of his book.

Just keep telling yourself - it's all just a story.
Krok Zero
Disappointing. Please read Steve Erickson's brilliant Zeroville instead. Zeroville is one of the most profound statements ever made about the cinema; Flicker is a silly, overlong Da Vinci Code–esque thriller disguised (poorly) as a profound statement about the cinema. Early chapters limning the world of late '50s cinephilia and the oeuvre of a fictional German director are rather interesting, but problems quickly arise: (1) Roszak fundamentally misunderstands the evolution of culture in the 20th...more
Sonia
Flicker pissed me off. Why? Because it was too long, too suspenseful, and I didn't have a whole lot of free time for reading this week. Impatient to unravel the mystery, I stayed up late, I arose early just to find out what the hell was going to happen!

The book is filled with crap I love to hate: snobby sophistication, scholarly intelligence, critics, conspiracy theories, name-dropping, detailed technological descriptions. And yet despite all this and a prolonged (and yes, masterful) suspense, F...more
Szplug
Roszak loves film—he's forgotten more about the movies than I could possibly ever know—and this passion throbs throughout the portions of Flicker that explore the cinematic history of early-modern Hollywood. The entire conceit of a cult B-movie horror director, Max Castle, adumbrating within his forgotten filmography the subliminal strains of a monstrous conspiracy—the evidence for which seeps forth from basement screenings, underground theatres, lusty ex-starlets, and German-accented film crew—...more
M.
I have now read this twice. Both times I have been pretty excited about what happens in the first 400 pages, and then become immediately frustrated and bored at the final retarded 200 pages where Roszak decides to make his interesting film-obsessed horror book into some slightly more intellectualized (but still epically retarded) version of the fucking Da Vinci Code.

There's some inspiring stuff, but the ending (the last third of the book) totally kills it. Totally absurd & boring conspiracy...more
Patrick O'Duffy
The premise of Flicker is fantastic and compelling - that 1930s B-movie director Max Castle used a fantastic variety of unknown cinematic techniques and tricks to embed hidden messages and images within his horror/noir films, messages that lead back to an ancient religious sect and eventually to a vast conspiracy. There's so much that can be done with that, and reading Flicker is an exercise in impatience, waiting for the story to kick into high gear and the premise to pay off.

It never does.

Ins...more
Elizabeth K.
Oy gevalt, this was terrible.

The set-up was intriguing -- Templar-esque conspiracy has been hiding secret subliminal messages in films. Especially at the beginning of the book, the whole classic film culture is so very present that if you are a film history fan at all it's very easy to get sucked in.

Then, it takes a turn for the annoying. Essentially, the authorial voice seems to be an old guy who maintains that the culture of his youth was insightful, poignant and significant, in contrast to...more
Bill Lawrence
Possibly the best book I have ever read. Brilliant, fascinating and surprising throughout. It reminded why I love movies, cinemas and programming. I bought 3 copies over the years and still have two. I know where the third is, my loan copy to get others to enthused about this book
Tim
I was totally captivated by this sinister, disturbing book from start to finish. And it takes a lot for a novel to captivate me.
Philip
I think what appealed to me about the book initially were the similarities between Flicker and one of my favourite books - The Book of Illusions: A Novel by Paul Auster. Both deal with reclusive characters from the movie industry who have mysteriously disappeared (or in the case of Flicker, died) and a protagonist intrigued by their story. Throw in a mysterious religious conspiracy and I should have been hooked.

Unfortunately Flicker read like the unwanted love child of The Da Vinci Code and a tu...more
Chuck Williamson
Its nostalgic invocation of 1960s film culture and the gradual regression from art house to grindhouse is so mesmerizing and painstakingly put together that one instantly begins to regret the conspiracy thriller horseshit at the novel's center. Becomes interminably silly as it progresses toward its whimper of an end-game. Desperately in need of a judicious editor. Clunky and shockingly artless at times. Its punchdrunk love for movies captivates even as it gets trapped in narrative cul-de-sacs an...more
Stephanie
Oct 07, 2011 Stephanie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pasty people who enjoy watching movies with the blinds down on a brilliant summer day
Recommended to Stephanie by: Scott
Shelves: hollyrock
Smug cinephiles have a friend in Theodore Rosnak, who sprinkles industry names like grass seed throughout this compelling thriller. A weird combination of Umberto Eco and Patricia Highsmith, Flicker is the story of a film studies scholar whose thesis brings him to grief. It's simultaneously sexy and disturbing, kinda like seeing your hot second grade teacher naked.

And for the love of God, people, stop favorably comparing this book to The DaVinci Code. That's really not a compliment.
Christen Valentine
As a tawdry thriller with an above-average intellectual pedigree, Flicker succeeds, but as a fictional story of cinema mon amour, it fails to live up to the work of its invented movie auteur. For a cinephile, there's much to admire on the surface: namechecking of great works, both academic and forgotten, and a wet dream of sexual compatibility among obsessive film fans. Over time, however, Roszak's reach for exceeds his grasp, as the novel descends into religious conspiracy that wouldn't be out...more
Caitlin
Enjoyable trash with lots of golden age cinema references. But the writing is awful, the narrator is unbelievable, the sex scenes are putrid, it's 2-300 pages too long. The author's impression of world-renowned film critic discussion of movies is a little over-clearly from the imagination of a undergraduate film student of mediocre intelligence.

But, you know, I finished it. And really wanted to read other things afterwards.
Peter
Frick'n brilliant right up to the last chapter at which point it hit a steady decline and never recovered.
I was so disappointed I also hit rock bottom and took some considerable effort to recover.

DON'T READ THE LAST CHAPTER, IT IS A SUCKHOLE OF ALL "and suddenly stuff happened".
Okvegascowgirl
Truly one of the most thought-provoking, challenging books I've ever read. Right up there with "The Eight" by Katherine Neville, as far as writing that exposed me to thinking far beyond the realm of anything I'd ever encountered.
Gregor Xane
Totally engrossing. I am a sucker for this kind of story, however. But it is truly a paragon of the "lone investigator gets in over his head" genre. Fantastic!
Laurens Dubuisson
Flicker had been brought to my attention as a suggestion by my Film & Literature professor at the university, so naturally I was interested in reading Roszak's book. The first three hundred pages or so really drew me into the world of Jonathan's search for Castle's work, but as secret societies, conspiracy theories, and overzealous plotting began to take over the main storyline, I have to admit I started to dislike it. Although Roszak does a magnificent job on interweaving film history with...more
Travis
AKA: Liam Dunn, the book.
Giney
‘From the golden age of art movies and underground cinema to X-rated porn, splatter films, and midnight movies, this breathtaking thriller is a tour de force of cinematic fact and fantasy, full of metaphysical mysteries that will haunt the dreams of every moviegoer’

Well, bring it on! Except when the book arrived and the front cover advertised it as ‘Sunset Boulevard meet the DaVinci Code’ I felt some concern. This concern, it turns out, was the wrong reaction. The correct response would have bee...more
Ian W. Hill
Like, disturbingly, seeing my own id spread out on paper. My own personal cinematic obsessions transmuted into an alternate history of cinema in which the philosophically treacherous aspects of the medium are given flesh-and-blood power. Perhaps won't have the same power to people to whom the names Karl Freund, Edgar G. Ulmer, Kenneth Anger, and Orson Welles don't have the same incantatory power as they do to some of us, but could explain the obsessions of the perverse cineaste to those who don'...more
SKCircles
Bon, 800 pages pour ça, j'en garde un goût amer dans la bouche ! C'est pas tellement que les aventures de ce Jonathan Gates ne sont pas intéressantes, ou que ce qu'il découvre n'est pas terriblement inquiétant, avec une touche de vérité dérangeante, c'est juste que... 800 pages pour ça, quand même ! Je ne suis pas du genre à me laisser impressionner par les pavés. J'ai lu le Ça de Stephen King en un week-end, j'avais 16 ans, j'ai lu des saga de 25 tomes en un rien de temps aussi. Mais là...

Sinc...more
Althea Ann
A horror novel for pretentious film buffs. Unfortunately, I tend to dislike books about movies. (Or movies about movies for that matter, although somehow I like books (and movies) about books).
Anyway: A film critic rediscovers the lost work of an obscure German horror director who was lost at sea during WWII, and although his work is generally dismissed as pulp, he finds a plethora of mysterious techniques at use in the work, making use of subliminal techniques to accentuate the horror of the st...more
Сергей Бережной
Рошак - умница, хитрец, язва и жулик. Но - не талант, нет. Ни передергивать мастерски, ни показывать "товар лицом" у него не получается. И нет той конспирологической легкости, которая принесла такой хороший урожай капусты Дэну Брауну. "Киномания" - роман не провальный, но и не вполне удачный. Как-то в нем все недомонтировано.

Роман присыпан названиями фильмов и именами режиссеров, продюсеров и звёзд, причем условно-вымышленные персонажи (и фильмы) сосуществуют в нём наравне с как-бы-настоящими. П...more
Alice
•Mlle Alice, pouvez-vous nous raconter votre rencontre avec la Conspiration des Ténèbres ?
"Un dimanche à 15h, j'ai aperçu ce livre au résumé prometteur sur feu Blog-O-Book, en partenariat avec le Livre de Poche. Et comme je suis excessivement rapide, j'ai réussi à l'emporter, je m'en réjouissais d'avance."

•Dites-nous en un peu plus sur son histoire...
"Jonathan Gates, un étudiant en cinéma, nous raconte sa rencontre avec l'oeuvre de Max Castle, qu'il n'aura de cesse d'étudier et de décortiquer...more
Gregory
This is a kind of mystery that has reminded more than one reader of "The DaVinci Code," though without the car chase thriller dimensions; something more of a blend of a history of film blended with a somewhat implausible mystery about a "secret society" descended from the Cathars (there are, yes, secret societies and an albino in this) that somehow discovered that there is a kind of dark power in film... told from the POV of a film historian who moves slowly through the mystery. If you like film...more
Robert Beveridge
Theodore Roszak, Flicker (Summit, 1991)

It must be twenty-five years ago now I tried to read Theodore Roszak's novel Bugs. I found it painfully boring, and never finished it. While the name stuck in my head for some odd reason, I never had any desire to read anything else the man wrote.

Jump ahead to 2003, and his out-of-print and previously obscure novel Flicker is announced as the source of Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream)'s latest film. I instantly recognized the name of the guy who wrote...more
Tony Mac
Loved this book; its one of those big, philosophical, why-are-we-here, state-of-the-planet, apocalypse-in-waiting, Chinese box epics that keeps you intrigued and makes you think all the way through - ultimately growing way beyond its default mystery novel landscape until its pretty close to the borders of science fiction or future-noir.

Its a book that provokes a variety of reactions. Its possible to see the entire exercise as a reactionary right-wing diatribe against half a century of liberalism...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 57 58 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
What's The Name o...: Novel about missing film director [s] 4 26 Dec 11, 2013 08:50AM  
  • Monkey Brain Sushi: New Tastes in Japanese Fiction
  • Anime: from Akira to Princess Mononoke, Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation
  • Living Next Door to the God of Love
  • The Parade's Gone By...
  • Luminous
  • Vibrator
  • The Female of the Species (Contemporary American Fiction)
  • In the Cut
  • From A to X
  • Last Days
  • Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession
  • The Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories
  • Godard on Godard: Critical Writings
  • Move Under Ground
  • The Extremes
  • The Stories of Ibis
  • Comfort Woman
  • Audio-Vision: A Universal Experience?
Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth/Healing the Mind The Making of a Counter Culture The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein The Cult of Information: A Neo-Luddite Treatise on High-Tech, Artificial Intelligence, and the True Art of Thinking Voice of the Earth: An Exploration of Ecopsychology

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“The art of cinema begins with scraping the chewing gum off the seats.” 4 likes
“Meanwhile, as the party ascended to ever dizzier alcoholic altitudes...” 1 likes
More quotes…