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Cult Cinema
  • Clips from your favorite cult cinema classics.  Shaw Brothers Kung Fu movies.  Sean Connery in a loincloth in Zardoz.  Hammer horror.

    And this, one of my favorites.  Along with Taxi Driver and Midnight Cowboy, the ultimate "NY in decay in the 1970s" movie.  And a retelling of Anabasis.


  • And another favorite: Executioners from Shaolin.



    With the evil priest Pai Mei, who somehow made it into the Kill Bill movies.

    If only our hero can combine his father's Tiger style Kung Fu with his mother's Crane style.  And figure out Pai Mei's vital spot with the aid of a bronze statue filled with marbles.
  • Fantastic. And I don't just mean Pai Mei's white eyebrows.
  • Performance. 1970. Notting Hill as it used to be!
  • "Now listen - the only reason I came back to this...craphouse...is to find out who did it - "


    Carter - a man of few words- a man of decisive action...


    Michael Caine's finest hour. Get Carter. 1971


  • The Ghoul. 1975. A young John Hurt.


  • Gef said: Michael Caine's finest hour. Get Carter. 1971
    Don't know if you've read the latest instalment of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (1969) Gef, but Jack Carter's in it working for a thinly disguised Ronny Kray, thinly disguised as Richard Burton. Carter is exactly how you'd expect him to be.
  • The average American's knowledge of Get Carter: absolutely none.


    Another cult classic: You Can't Stop the Music.  The Village People!  Bruce Jenner!  Valerie Perrine!  Steve Guttenberg!  (Or maybe that should be "Steve Guttenberg?")



    It's almost unimaginably great.  And by "great" I mean "terrible."  But I also mean "great."

  • Taste The Blood Of Dracula (1970): "If you shock easily - stay away...Prepare yourself for the greatest shock of all - "


  • genlob said: working for a thinly disguised Ronny Kray, thinly disguised as Richard Burton.

    Sounds good. Burton's lead role as Vic Dakin in Villain (1971) is supposed to have been based on Ronnie Kray:


    Nice suits, nasty film.

  • ...as was Johnny Shannon's Harry Flowers (see 0:10-2:26)



    "...small businesses in this day and age - it's against nature..."


    Note John Bindon cameo at 1:36. Now he was an odd one, more villain than actor.


    Shannon wasn't an actual villain but he was certainly one of the chaps - boxer, bookie, printer etc:


    http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2004/may/01/hayfilmfestival2005.guardianhayfestival


    "Johnny Shannon: I worked in a betting shop. I also looked after a couple of boxers. Tommy Gibbons, who ran the Thomas-à-Becket on the Old Kent Road, rang me to say he'd got some film guys that wanted someone to meet up with this actor. My [role] was simply to take Jimmy round south London to meet some of the 'chaps'. After a while, he suggested there might be a part for me."


    "Donald Cammell: There was some suggestion that the Krays would be hired for technical assistance -- an idea which was aborted due to their unavoidable absence."


    http://www.phinnweb.org/roeg/films/performance/articles/neon.html


    Lots of almost subliminal (counter-)cultural references in the film: Burroughs, Borges, Francis Bacon.

  • Evan said: It's almost unimaginably great. And by "great" I mean "terrible." But I also mean "great."

    I want to "do the Millkshake" next time I hear some disco being played.
  • Witchfinder General (1968). "He'll hang, burn and mutilate you. He's the... Witchfinder General!" One of Vincent Price's finest roles.



    Has been oddly but accurately described as an 'English Western', with its shots of horsemen galloping urgently through the East Anglian countryside.


    Note cameo role for the great British character actor Wilfred Brambell (old man Steptoe) at 1:36


     

  • "When the grave of the Devil is disturbed by the plough, the Satanic essence of evil wreaks violent and revolting revenge..." What more could you ask for?


    Blood on Satan's Claw (1970)


    "But it weren't human sir - there were fur!"



    Gasp at the 'Devil's skin'!


    Be amazed at Lina Hayden's ever-growing eyebrows!


    Wikipedia: "In his 2010 BBC documentary series A History of Horror, writer and actor Mark Gatiss referred to the film as a prime example of a short-lived sub-genre he called "folk horror", grouping it with 1968's Witchfinder General and 1973's The Wicker Man"


     

  • Evan said: The average American's knowledge of Get Carter: absolutely none


    Well worth a look. Set in the North East, away from the usual London/South East locations, with some iconic Newcastle buildings as backdrop. And features 'angry young man' playwright John Osborne as a sinister/camp gang boss:
  • I've got a long list of classic Brit-cult on my "to do" list at this point: Get Carter, The Sweeney, The Bill, If . . . , Alfie (the original), The Servant, Withnail and I, and so forth and so on. 


    Tried one of the Carry On movies once, but the humor just doesn't translate.

  • Although from the above (as suggested by genlob) I'm thinking that Performance and Get Carter are necessary to have any meaningful grasp of the last League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.


    Which is another reason why I'm getting very bored with the title.  Not very accessible to the average American.  Or even those of us who are moderately -- but not obsessively -- into British pop culture.

  • Evan said: Tried one of the Carry On movies once, but the humor just doesn't translate.
    Which one did you see? Carry On Screaming is arguably the best. A Hammer horror pastiche. I have to be in the right mood for Carry Ons, but, yes, I can fully understand that their double entendres and prurience/salaciousness is peculiarly British...
    Evan said: Not very accessible to the average American. Or even those of us who are moderately -- but not obsessively -- into British pop culture.

    Wondering if there are any US equivalents - 'cult' US films which are well-known there, but not in the UK? Are Roger Corman films well-regarded in the US - they seem to be comparable to some of the low-budget shocker/horror films posted above. On the other hand, Corman's work is arguably well-known here amongst UK cineastes.


    PS Have added The Warriors to my DVD rental list...

  • @Gef. There's at least 4 versions of Ronnie Kray in The League of.


    @Evan. Gazillions of references. Sometimes Moore can seem a bit too clever for his own good, although I do like his inclusion of The Atlantis Bookshop and On The Buses.


    Talking of Carry Ons, I'm a big fan of Cleo,  Up the Khyber and Up the Jungle "Night draws on, you know." "Ah, very sensible of you to bring a pair, Lady Bagley."


    A film I never tire of watching is Arthur Penn's Little Big Man. A shaggy dog story that sees 121 year old Dustin Hoffman as Pioneer settler, Cheyenne warrior, Born Again Christian, Snake Oil salesman, gunfighter, bum, and muleskinner.



    Did I hear vampires mentioned?
  • Corman films are pretty well known in the U.S. among aficionados. 


    Hmm.  Not sure what is or isn't well-known cult film in the U.K.


    Blacksploitation films?  Kung fu movies?  Russ Meyers?  John Waters?  Ed Wood? 


    How about Repo Man?



    Or Dazed and Confused, which reflects a particularly American 70s subculture?



    Or Slacker?



    Or Heathers?  Hard to overstate its influence on American hipsters of a certain generation.



    Or Fast Times at Ridgemont High?



    Starring almost everyone who ever became famous. 


    Hard to overstate the influence of the Phoebe Cates scene on certain people of a certain generation.

  • The follow up to If.. was a strange one. McDowell's character goes on a surreal odyssey across Britain and includes this scene that proper freaked me out as an impressionable young teen.
  • Repo Man's director was British, actually.

    Linklater (and that crop of "quirky" 80s films it came after) is probably a lot more "you wouldn't get it."

    For instance, I chat frequently with a British film student/ex-Barbelith guy. I don't think he'd ever heard of Hal Hartley:



    That whole style got kinda mainstreamed through Tarantino and Kevin Smith, but for a while it had its own little corner staked out.

    ----

    Little Big Man is awesome. Haven't watched that one in ages.

    ----

    Lately, my irrepressible spouse has been hitting the Netflix queue with beach movies from the 60s. It's a Bikini World is kind of hard to explain, but not nearly as strange as:



    For Those Who Think Young.
    That's Nancy Sinatra drawing on Bob Denver's face. Paul Lynde is in it. So is Denver's soon-to-be Gilligan's Island co-star Tina Louise.

    It occurs to me that British viewers might not even know who Paul Lynde is....


  • grant said: It occurs to me that British viewers might not even know who Paul Lynde is....

    Who is Paul Lynde?!


    LOVED Repo Man BTW. Have seen it several times. "Suppose you're thinking of a plate of shrimp - suddenly somebody will say 'shrimp' or 'plate'..." Great US punk soundtrack too.


    Talking of which, did UK punk/New Wave films get much exposure in the US? Breaking Glass, Rude Boy, Great Rock n Roll Swindle...?

  • genlob said: The follow up to If.. was a strange one. McDowell's character goes on a surreal odyssey across Britain and includes this scene that proper freaked me out as an impressionable young teen.


    That's piggin' 'orrible. Or does McDowell have a sheepish expression?
  • Evan said: Or Dazed and Confused, which reflects a particularly American 70s subculture?
    That one got quite a bit of 'alternative' exposure over here, as did - IIRC - Slackers and Clerks. Haven't ever seen D&C before, but will add it to my rental list, anything that features the sublime 'Sweet Emotion' by Aerosmith must be alright.
  • Paul Lynde was a witty, more-or-less out gay celebrity in the U.S. in the 1970s.  Very well-loved.


    Probably best known as the center square (and thus the most called-on person) on the U.S. gameshow Hollywood Squares.  Also the voice of Templeton the rat in Charlotte's Web.


    And speaking of cult classics, here's part of his 1976 Halloween Special:


  • Sex Pistols fans knew Swindle existed. I think I've heard of Rude Boy. Breaking Glass... dunno.

    Paul Lynde was a... well, I guess a character actor, heavy on the *character*. He was a perennial panelist on the Hollywood Squares game show, which was kind of a giant tic-tac-toe game with a "celebrity" in each square. For each move, the contestant would pick the celebrity, the host would ask the celebrity a question and the contestant would have to guess if the celebrity's answer was correct.

    There was a revamped version out a few years back with Whoopi Goldberg in the Paul Lynde spot.

    Anyway, he was kind of campy and lovable and larger than life.  I suppose he was more of a TV guy than a movie guy, but his career was pretty long.




  • I've seen Swindle.  None of the others.

  • I know his voice from Hanna Barbera cartoons. Wasn't he The Hooded Claw? I'll get you Penelope Pitstop!
  • Heh. What Evan said.

    @Gef: SLACKER is not SLACKERS. The plural was kind of a dialogue-heavy character-driven hijinks comedy with the kid from Rushmore in it. The singular was a documentary-style derive following a long chain of eccentrics and bohemians chatting their way across the streets of Austin.
  • Did the John Hughes high school movies register in the U.K.?


    Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller, and Some Kind of Wonderful.


    They were extremely popular in the U.S. in the 1980s (and therefore not very cultish), but very focused on a distinctly U.S. high school experience.

  • Oh, also, here is where I link to the site of he who was Acolyte Rizla in the old days:

    A Leisurely Breakfast.

    It's a cult cinema/music tumblog, with most of the movie stuff springing off whatever he's reviewed lately on Breakfast in the Ruins.


    ----

    Another strange 60s relic I recently discovered on the Netflix:



    Mad Monster Party. Again, a cast of stars - Phyllis Diller, Boris Karloff...only in stop-motion animation.

    I guess what I'm digging lately is musical numbers....
    ----
    By the way, if I say "Stuart Gordon," does that mean anything to anyone?
  • Mad Monster Party was Rankin-Bass, like the Rudolf TV specials.


    Very strange.

  • The up-and-coming young director Michael Reeves sadly died aged 25, having only made two films. One was the above-mentioned Witchfinder General, and the other was the genuinely odd The Sorcerers (1967):


     


    Boris Karloff as one half of a weird old couple who wish to participate, vicariously, in the permissive lifestyles of young Swinging Londoners. So, naturally, they construct a mind-bending device in their flat, which allows them to enter and control the minds of their groovy victim, Ian Ogilvy...  

  • grant said: Anyway, he was kind of campy and lovable and larger than life. I suppose he was more of a TV guy than a movie guy, but his career was pretty long.


    "Look who's talkin', beaver face!"
  • "A Tigon Release"??

    Oooo.

    I wonder if cult films are still being made today (however "cult" is made).  Would Korean horror like Oldboy count?
  • grant said: wonder if cult films are still being made today (however "cult" is made).

    How about The Ring (Japanese 1998 version)? Or The Blair Witch Project? Or Trollhunter? But they all did rather well at the box office.


    So - does a film only qualify for 'cult' status if it does badly at the box office, but is rediscovered, later, by hip afficionados? At the time, Performance bombed, IIRC. Wicker Man didn't do that well either.

  • Don't know if this could be classed as cult, but it's got the best opening in cinema.
    While the Spanish were using Surrealist techniques the Germans were looking at Expressionism
    There was an interesting remake of Caligari a few years ago.
    Then there's Lovecraft
  • Yeah - movies with a really long tail. Narrow appeal, but long-lasting. A cult.

    I think most of the hallmarks of "cult" have been absorbed by the mainstream. Tarantino basically makes "cult" films but is wildly successful.

    Any of the directors spoofed in Cecil B Demented I think would count as cult. I guess John Waters would too.



     But I'm not sure if that can still exist - it's almost like it's ALL cult now. Although the Call of Cthulhu crowd come pretty close. Those folks are awesome.


  • grant said: I think most of the hallmarks of "cult" have been absorbed by the mainstream. Tarantino basically makes "cult" films but is wildly successful.
    Yeah, I was thinking that too. Our postmodern culture is so 'knowing' - film-makers will intentionally set out to make a 'cult' movie but then arguably if it's a box-office success, it isn't 'cult'? How about films that were by no means low-budget, but which bombed, and have now attained a sort of cult status? Showgirls, Heaven's Gate, Caligula? Where do they fit in the scheme of things?
  • Harmony Korine's still pretty cult I reckon. Kids was a big hit, but after that came..


  • I remember Korine's Julien Donkey-Boy, which I suppose leads on to the whole Dogma 95 thing.

    They didn't all work for me but I liked The Idiots and Festen.
  • For me, Gummo was kind of made-to-be-cult, which is almost cheating, while Showgirls came by cult status honestly. 


  • Festen is genius. The Idiots I've not seen yet. A lot of the Dogme movies were actually a lot more "normal" than those two. A couple of Dogme "rom-coms" even.

    Speaking of cult and Scandinavic film, have any of you seen the movies of Ivo Caprino? The finest animator Norway has produced IMO, with a style all his own, yet incredibly interwoven with Norwegian folk and trad esthethics.

    Pinchcliffe Grand Prix (org. title Flåklypa Grand Prix) was his magnum opus, but he made loads more that was probably rarely aired outside of Scandinavia. I reckon the guys in Aardvark have seen this one - the Wallace and Gromit movies are certainly quite similar conceptually.


  • The makers of Rocky Horror Picture Show tried to manufacture a cult film. It was a failure at its time, and it's probably still a failure, but I like it anyway.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-xRAvVWp5w


    Here's the opening sequence:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luWYDGLgU9I&feature=related


    I fail at linking videos today.

  • Oh, man - I remember reading about Shock Treatment. I think I saw the cover once in a video store... when the stores were all VHS. 

    (Video-linking, counter-intuitively, is done by making sure the link isn't a link - it it's plain text, the board software will recognize it and automatically embed it.) 
  • Needs more Kung Fu.


    Five Deadly Venoms:



    Eight Diagram Pole Fighter:



    Master of the Flying Guillotine:



    And not exactly Kung Fu, but Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris in Way of the Dragon:



     

  • Hey, you know what Eight Diagram Pole Fighter means? 

    It's a fight in ba gua - the martial art based on the same eight trigrams as the I Ching. Lots of circling around a central point....
  • Geez, the pole fighters actually *make* a ba gua diagram in that fight. Awesome. (The video crashed for me last time I watched.)

    And Killer Klown Karswell! I don't think I've ever seen that one, but I've heard of it over and over. Almost as if it's calling me in. 

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