Review of the book «Experimental film» by Gemma Files.

“Experimental Film” is a supernatural horror novel written by Gemma Files. Published in 2015, the story follows Lois Cairns, an independent film critic who becomes obsessed with a mysterious 1920s Canadian filmmaker named Mrs. Whitcomb and her lost film, “Mother of the World.” As Lois delves deeper into Mrs. Whitcomb’s story and her work, strange and sinister things begin to happen around her.

What is experimental cinema and why should you know about it? In this article we present the work of Gemma Files, a Canadian writer who has explored this genre from a horror and fantasy perspective.

Experimental cinema is a form of artistic expression that moves away from the narrative and aesthetic conventions of commercial cinema. It is a cinema that seeks to innovate, experiment and provoke the viewer, using techniques such as editing, animation, sound, color and abstraction.

One of the leaders of experimental cinema is Gemma Files, a Canadian horror writer, journalist and film critic. Files has published several novels and short stories in which she combines horror with experimental cinema, creating original and disturbing stories.

His best-known novel is Experimental Film (2015), winner of the Shirley Jackson Award for best novel. In it, Lois Cairns, a former film teacher, discovers the existence and lost films of Mrs. Whitcomb, believed to be Canada’s first female film director. Upon investigating her work, Lois realizes that Mrs. Whitcomb was obsessed with an ancient solar goddess who manifested herself in her films, and who now haunts her as well.

Experimental Film is a novel that mixes mystery, horror and the history of Canadian experimental cinema, with references to directors such as David Cronenberg, Guy Maddin and Norman McLaren. Files uses film as a medium to explore themes such as motherhood, madness, identity and religion.

One of the things that makes this novel so effective is the use of Lois’s personal diary format to tell the story. This gives the reader an inside view of the main character and allows for a deeper emotional connection to her struggle and desperation to unravel the mystery of the lost film. The prose is detailed and atmospheric, helping to create a sense of constant unease and horror.

Another highlight of the novel is the exploration of deeper themes, such as motherhood and identity. The protagonist Lois is a single mother and she struggles to find a balance between her career and her personal life. The story of Mrs. Whitcomb and her obsession with motherhood sheds light on the complexities of being a mother and how far some people will go to realize their dreams and desires.

The novel also plays with the concept of reality and what is real. As Lois delves deeper into Mrs. Whitcomb’s story, she begins to experience supernatural things that make her question her own sanity. Files cleverly plays with the reader’s perceptions and creates a sense of uncertainty that lasts until the end of the novel.

The use of supernatural and horror elements in “Experimental Film” is also very effective. Details about film history and the technical aspects of film-making are convincingly mixed with mystery and supernatural horror, resulting in an intriguing and chilling plot.

In short, “Experimental Film” is a fascinating supernatural horror novel that addresses deeper themes such as motherhood and identity. The detailed and atmospheric writing creates a constant feeling of unease and horror, while the exploration of the perception of reality and the use of supernatural elements adds an additional layer of complexity to the story. Overall, it is an absorbing and chilling read for any lover of the horror genre.


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