Film boks

10 Essential Film Books

Having already giving y’all a heads up with five film books to look out for, I thought it would be a good time to tell you Council of Zoom readers about 10 more books dealing with films and artists we all love. Everything from special effects-filled hedonism, some of the best-limited posters around and even a must-own book about one of the best genre films of the past 10 years, these ones are some of my personal favourites found within my collection. I adore collecting film and art books and could write a dozen of these pieces (so expect as much), so I figured it could be great to shine the light on these must own gems. Read on!

10) RICK BAKER: METAMORPHOSIS (J.W. Rinzler, Cameron + Company Publishing)

A juggernaut of a set, this two-book collection is quite easily the most spectacular set I own. I pulled my back lifting this beast up and for good reason, the oversized epic collection has enough inside of it to please the most diehard practical FX junkie, giving fans the entire career of Baker, told alongside thousands of photos, detailing one of the most legendary artists of all time.

Filled with stories of An American Werewolf in London, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video, Harry and the Hendersons and countless other films, we’re given a glimpse into a genius with Metamorphosis, it truly is a sight to behold. While a bit on the pricy side, the set is well worth the price, if not for how easy it would be to take out a home invader’s head with the catastrophically heavy collection. From casual fans to diehards, the story and work of Baker is one the read and see and this set is such a great way to revisit some of the best FX of all time.

9) THE MOVIE ART OF SYD MEAD: VISUAL FUTURIST (Syd Mead & Craig Hodgetts, Titan Books)

To say that Sid Mead has made an impact on sci-fi films would be an understatement. From Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Blade Runner, Tron and Aliens, all the way to Elysium, Mead’s futuristic visions helped create the worlds we all fell in love with, time and time again. It’s impossible to watch Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (aka, the greatest sci-fi film of all time, fight me) without being enthralled and bewitched by Mead’s design for the cityscapes and vehicles found alongside Deckard and Company.

Taking hundreds of photos from his entire career designing for film, Visual Futurist reminds its reader of the importance of design and art, when it comes to the world-building and imagination we all love to watch on display. The book’s a must-own for its chapter on the underappreciated Johnny Mnemonic, let alone for the entire marvellous gem of a book that it is.

8) VHS: VIDEO COVER ART (Thomas Hodge, Schiffer Publishing)

Growing up in the ‘80s, spending an unhealthy amount of my evenings frequenting my local video stores was all I knew. A magical time of not even needing to know what a film was, as long as the VHS cover was enticing, I blind rented an ungodly amount of films 100% due to their artwork. The love for VHS art led to a lifelong obsession with poster art and VHS: Video Cover Art is one of the greatest love letters to just that. Compiled by Thomas “The Dude Designs” Hodge, the book displays an impressive roster of some of the wildest VHS cover art around, taking your hand for a stroll down memory lane and into childhood and teenage heaven for this writer.

7) SCORED TO DEATH 2 (J. Blake Fichera, Silman-James Publishing)

It’s always refreshing when you come across a book that you can immediately add to your go-to list of favourites. J. Blake Fichera’s first Scored to Death book was that for this writer, a book so in love with its subject that the author’s passion bleeds through the page. Shining a light on film composers, all responsible for some of the most iconic scores around, the book brought score work into the forefront, giving respect to those who create the moods and tones of the films we adore.

Inspired to write a follow-up while experiencing the great John Carpenter perform, Fichera spent the following couple of years speaking with everyone from Richard Band to The Terminator composer Brad Fiedel, all the way to It Follows composer Disasterpeace, Scored to Death 2 is yet another example of a writer absolutely loving the art of the soundtrack and the composers who create said pieces of music.


When it comes to books on Jaws, there is an ever-growing amount to check out. That said, easily the most unique book on the classic film is found in Jaws: Memories From Martha’s Vineyard. Less of a making of Jaws book and more of a look at the residents of Martha’s Vineyard and their memories, the book is such a comfort read. Filled to the brim with personal photos and artefacts from the production, the residents tell their stories of what life was like during the filming of the classic and we’re given countless photos and looks at the magic that was Jaws.


When Drive/The Neon Demon filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn purchased a collection of exploitation film posters from a friend, he was convinced by critic Alan Jones to showcase the collection in a book. The Art of Seeing, the result of that, is an impressive look at the lost days of New York’s 42nd street, complete with posters for every single type of exploitation film there is. Critic jones writes about each film and adds good insight to an already impressive book.

4) THE ART OF MONDO (Rob Jones, Mitch Putnam, Jay Shaw, Eric Garza, Justin Brookhart, Mo Shafeek and David Rancatore Insight Editions Publishing)

Featuring both the story of Texas poster juggernaut Mondo and a showcase of the best prints found in the history of the company, The Art of Mondo is one hell of a read. From the early days of event posters to the brilliant Jay Shaw prints and everything in between, the book really shows how hard the company works at bringing quality prints to film fans all around.

3) THE WITCH (Robert Eggers, A24)

This one is spectacular. A24’s series of collectable books on their films is one to behold, with each book being given the utmost respect and care. In this book on The Witch, you’re given the script, a rundown of each character in notes, crucial frames found within the film, as well as a special chat between director Robert Eggers and a historian. Feeling like a great collectable boutique book, this and every other A24 book should be found in your collection.

2) AD ASTRA: 20 YEARS OF NEWSPAPER ADS FOR SCI-FI & FANTASY FILMS (Michael Gingold, 1984 Publishing)

Growing up, it was almost magical to be able to open up your local newspaper and see the ads for films playing at the nearby cinemas. Many of us collected those ads and having already given genre fans two excellent books devoted to the ads found within horror, longtime journalist Michael Gingold returned with this gem. Collecting the newspaper ads for sci-fi and fantasy films throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, Ad Astra is a must-own for those wanting to sit back and remember what it was like to feel alive.

1.) RUBBERHEAD: SEX, DRUGS, AND SPECIAL FX (Steve Johnson, Dark Ink Publishing)

In the world of special makeup FX, Steve Johnson is a legend (rightfully so). From creating Ghostbusters’ Slimer to being tasked with creating realistic makeups to disguise Michael Jackson when he went out in public, Johnson’s tales are legendary. Rubberhead tells such stories but in one of the most interesting ways possible. Told as if Steve was going through time travelling portals, taking him back to the various drug and debauchery-filled tales from his life as an artist, the book feels as if you’re experiencing both the memoirs of a legend in his field and a time-travelling story of a man gaining and losing it all, before finding absolute clarity. Not a single thing is held back in this one and it truly leaves its reader wanting more (thankfully, volume two is on its way).

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