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Flicker

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  1,113 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
Twice nominated for the National Book Award, Roszak has penned a superbly-crafted novel that's sure to entertain--and send chills up your spine. The author of the highly acclaimed The Making of a Counterculture, Roszak provides a fast-paced narrative full of tangled conspiracies and dark obsessions. It's film noir at its darkest and most obsessive.
Mass Market Paperback, 592 pages
Published April 1st 1993 by Bantam (first published 1991)
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Sheila
Apr 06, 2012 Sheila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars ("I really liked it").

Short version: Despite a troubling (and dated) narrative voice and an off-the-rails ending, I greatly enjoyed this book about hidden film imagery and religious conspiracy.

Long version: The worst part about this book is the narrator/author. He's a curmudgeon (I'm blending the author and narrator together, which I think in this case is fair). He represents the very worst of baby boomer patriarchy. The only women important in this book are ones that sleep with the narr
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Becca Balistreri
Sep 23, 2007 Becca Balistreri rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Gregor Xane
Dec 26, 2010 Gregor Xane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
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!
Chloe
Oct 27, 2008 Chloe rated it really liked it  ·  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
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Sonia
Nov 03, 2010 Sonia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have
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
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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.
Elizabeth K.
Dec 27, 2009 Elizabeth K. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-new-reads
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
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Krok Zero
Nov 01, 2009 Krok Zero rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spring-2011
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
Szplug
Mar 05, 2010 Szplug rated it it was ok
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
Patrick O'Duffy
Mar 25, 2012 Patrick O'Duffy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Robert Beveridge
Jan 21, 2008 Robert Beveridge rated it did not like it
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
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Bill Lawrence
Jul 02, 2011 Bill Lawrence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 14, 2012 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I was totally captivated by this sinister, disturbing book from start to finish. And it takes a lot for a novel to captivate me.
Johnny
Nov 05, 2013 Johnny rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
At some point, around 100 pages into this book's Stephen King-sized length, I stopped being engaged by the story, or existing in the book's world, and just felt like I was talking a walk around the author's hateful and unsympathetic mind with all its self-congratulatory misconceptions and stunted notions of people, movies, and psychology.

The most startling thing about this book is just how unlikable every single character is. It's a parade of hollow cliches and ill-conceived caricatures that the
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Jeff Raymond
Sometimes a book hits all your interests all at once, and there's really nothing else quite like it out there. Flicker, as a book, is closing in on 25 years old, and yet this book felt far too much like something that was relevant and on-trend today as it may have been when it was written, and that says a lot.

The story, on the surface, is about a man, Jonathan Gates, who falls in with the art film crowd and becomes enamored with a specific filmmaker who specialized just as much in important arts
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Alex Acton
May 10, 2015 Alex Acton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I did not see this book coming. At all. It starts simply enough as a fictional story about a young man discovering the beauty and artistry of film, then becoming particularly engrossed in the work of an obscure German director, Max Castle. As the story progresses, our protagonist grows and learns, traveling deeper and deeper into a trench of mystery that gives way to a secret religious order, an underground conspiracy to corrupt mankind and subtle manipulations of some of the most famous films o ...more
Philip
Dec 22, 2011 Philip rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Chuck Williamson
Aug 16, 2011 Chuck Williamson rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
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
Tyler
Sep 30, 2011 Tyler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it. It has many faults: it's a real slow-burner, and in it's final quarter, so much was going on in so little pages in comparison that it seemed quite rushed. But the ride there was epic and I, as a quasi-cinephile without much love for the classics as I did more modern movies, learned a lot about appreciating film and media, about understanding it's ability to manipulate the viewer. Like one of my personal favorite films, NETWORK, Roszak's FLICKER is really dark, a little funny, and ver ...more
Stephanie
Oct 07, 2011 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Caitlin
Sep 10, 2007 Caitlin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, trash
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.
Okvegascowgirl
Jul 02, 2007 Okvegascowgirl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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".
Travis
Feb 19, 2012 Travis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
AKA: Liam Dunn, the book.
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
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Eduarda Black
Dec 19, 2016 Eduarda Black rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a long time to finish this book, not because I didn't like it, but mostly because of my anxiety, which isn't allowing me to read a lot, like I used to. Also, english is not my fist language and even being almost fluent I still read a lot slower in english than in portuguese.

The book is really good and the ending took me by surprise, so crazy, although I got it all figure it out while still in the middle. I though it stretches a lot in some parts and the ending escalated quickly when i
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Kevin Barney
Oct 08, 2016 Kevin Barney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. I read it every 5 years or so and each time, there are certain passages or characters that delight me. There are also passages that fade from the last time I read it. It does seem to get a little dated each time though. Maybe i should consider it historical fiction now.
Bjorn Roose
Sep 19, 2016 Bjorn Roose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Een meevaller, dit boek, toch tot pagina 601 van de 688. Een hele prestatie overigens gezien ik het boek ten eerste in het Engels las (wat geen probleem is, maar in het Nederlands is toch makkelijker) en ten tweede aanbevolen werd door een vriend met ongeveer de woorden "De eerste hoofdstukken zijn kut, maar daarna wordt het echt interessant".

Die eerste hoofdstukken zijn, in nabeschouwing, eigenlijk niét "kut", maar zijn essentieel voor de manier waarop de auteur, Theodore Roszak, het verhaal op
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Giney
Nov 11, 2011 Giney rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
‘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
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Tony Mac
Sep 20, 2010 Tony Mac rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Theodore Roszak was Professor Emeritus of history at California State University, East Bay. He is best known for his 1969 text, The Making of a Counter Culture.

Roszak first came to public prominence in 1969, with the publication of his The Making of a Counter Culture[5] which chronicled and gave explanation to the European and North American counterculture of the 1960s. He is generally credited wi
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“The art of cinema begins with scraping the chewing gum off the seats.” 4 likes
“Dumnezeu e-n ochi. La fel si Diavolul, de fiecare data cand clipesti.” 2 likes
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