Cult Classics

Cult Classics: Introduction Cult Classics_header_2

Often left of center and coming out of left field, for a movie to be regarded as a cult film, genre is not a prerequisite: comedy, drama, camp, horror, and everything else in-between can fall into this vague but ultra-hip classification. The only real pedigree a film needs to be considered…

Cult Classics: True Stories

 The tagline for True Stories, musician David Byrne’s feature directorial debut, describes it as “a completely cool, multi-purpose movie,” and it’s right: a musical, comedy, art film, and piece of mid-80s Americana, True Stories is a singular movie from one of the most unique and popular musicians of the late 20th…

Cult Classics: Meet The Hollowheads

How do you even begin to describe a movie like Meet The Hollowheads? Is it a satire or sci-fi? Comedy or demented horror? How can one express what witnessing the truly bizarre is? There’s simply no reference point for the movie or the world it inhabits, and the film…

Cult Classics: Fantastic Planet

Cult films seem to depict to two worlds: a heightened, askew version of reality as we know it, and a bizarre reality that is barely recognizable. Of the former, previous entries like True Stories or personal favorite The Burbs seem to fall into that category, while the latter refers…

Cult Classics: Better Off Dead

Lane Meyer wishes he were dead. He tries over and over–self-immolation, carbon monoxide poisoning, jumping from a bridge, even hanging–but like most things in his life, it never quite goes his way. Did I mention this is a major plot point in an 80’s teen comedy? Better Off Dead…

Eating_Raoul_taking_cash.jpgCult Classics: Eating Raoul

Paul Bartel is not a household name. He had a respectable enough career as a bit actor in a number of TV and film roles and established a solid working partnership with Mary Woronov, a former Andy Warhol “superstar,” with which they were commonly paired as husband-and…

Cult Classics: Liquid Sky

1980s New York City was a radically different place than it is today: teeming with bohemians and artists trying to bridge the transitional period between Punk and New Wave, it hosted a percolating scene of artists living on the fringes far from the uptown high art and midtown commercial markets that many…

Cult Classics: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

Upon its release, a movie about a rock star-surgeon-physicist-adventurer battling aliens from the 8th dimension, for some inconceivable reason it didn’t find an audience. Of course, that’s a joke: the rather insane film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th…

wakinglife_wow_stillCult Classics: Waking Life

“Dream is destiny,” says a little girl playing with a paper fortune teller with a little boy in the opening scene to Waking Life. In the next scene, the little boy steps outside at night and observes a comet. His feet lift off the ground and he tries to hold onto the handle of a…

big-trouble-in-little-china_poster_3Cult Classics: Big Trouble in Little China

“You know what ol’ Jack Burton always says at a time like this?” “Who?” “Jack Burton. Me!” Jack Burton and his truck, The Pork Chop Express, barrel into San Francisco’s Chinatown with a delivery while he gives a monologue over the CB airwaves…

Fateful_Findings_officeCult Classics: Fateful Findings

Why do we like terrible movies? Not just bad movies, or mediocre movies–those are depressingly common and a ton come out each year from big and independent studios alike. Those are then shuffled off into the catacombs of daytime…

Repo_Man_otto_and_bud_headerCult Classics: Repo Man

What is punk? Is it a style, a music genre, or an attitude? Director Alex Cox argues that it’s all three–but only the the latter is the genuine article–in Repo Man, a film about a young Los Angeles punk named Otto (Emilio Estevez) who has a day that seems to confirm how much bullshit everything…

Lost_Skeleton_of_Cadavra_skeleton_strangleCult Classics: The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra

B-movies are like catnip to the well-attuned film fan. This low-budget dubious genre of film was first created by studios back in the day of double features, when cheaper, less-publicized films were produced to play before the main feature. When the “double feature” concept was phased out in the late 1950s, this casual label remained…

Freddy_got_fingered_daddy_would_you_like_some_sausage_bannerCult Classics: Freddy Got Fingered

Listen: incredibly stupid things can be some kind of wonderful. And there are very few movies stupider than Freddy Got Fingered. This singular film–which MTV gave absurdist comedian Tom Green $14 million to make any film that he came up with–is perhaps the stupidest film ever made. But it’s also brilliant in its stupidity. Mind…

grindhouse-2007-headerCult Classics: Grindhouse

The lurid exploitation films of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s gave cheap thrills to filmgoing audiences looking to make out in the back seats of the theater or their cars, see a few gross kill-shots and grungy effects, or else enjoy the well-tread tropes and hackneyed cinematography that these films promised. Their enjoyment by cinephiles…

 

 

wild_palms_bannerCult Classics: Wild Palms

The early 90’s was a watershed moment in American culture: the alternative was quickly becoming mainstream, and with it large corporate interests were starting to wonder if there wasn’t something to the weirder side of music and film. After all, David Lynch broke through the mainstream and had a huge hit on TV (for a…

cabin_boy_bannerCult Classics: Cabin Boy

Chris Elliott’s comedic schtick is not for everybody. Having first launched his career as a writer and performer on David Letterman’s old late night show in the 80’s as an absurdist figure who would do bits playing odd characters with names like “The Panicky Guy” and “The Guy Under The Seats,” usually ineffectual characters who…

Cult Classics: Forbidden Zone

One of the central tenets that defines a cult film is its inaccessibility to a general audience. Great cult films have gained their notoriety for being exceedingly difficult works for many people to understand or appreciate. Meanwhile, they are also…

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