Irradiated by LabRat
Sorry for the intermittent free ice cream. We’ve been long on busy and rather short on inspiration. In fact that last part hasn’t really changed, which is why I’m leaping on Peter’s meme like a starving otter on a sardine.
Seems NPR is helping some dude promote his book on “cult movies” by putting out a list of the top 100, which is one of those things that’s always guaranteed to get a large portion of the internet, including this one, devoting energy to a topic they normally care about somewhere below the level of “favorite breakfast meat” but above “best brand of toothpaste”.
I’m a little more generous with the definition of “cult movie” than Peter is- I don’t think it has to be good, or even technically qualify as a story, I just think it has to be something that, for whatever reasons, never gained mainstream popularity but did gain enough of a tiny niche with enough people that it still gets watched years or decades after it was made.
List below, what I’ve seen bolded, with comments italicized where I have ’em.
2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick, 1968 I’ve seen it twice, and neither time was I able to successfully stay awake the whole time. One of the most majestically boring movies ever made.
Akira, Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988 It was relevant in 1988, it’s relevant if you’re interested in the history of anime, much better things to do with your time have been made since.
Angel of Vengeance, Abel Ferrara, 1981
Bad Taste, Peter Jackson, 1987 Worth watching once if you like Peter Jackson. Dead Alive is almost the same movie, only good.
Baise-moi, Virginie Despentes, Coralie Trinh Thi, 2000
Begotten, E. Elias Merhige, 1991
Behind the Green Door, Artie Mitchell, Jim Mitchell, 1972 I’ve watched a lot of classic porn, but not this one. Couldn’t be bothered.
La belle et la bête, Jean Cocteau, 1946
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Russ Meyer, 1970
The Big Lebowski, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, 1998 The Coen brothers are hit or miss for me. This was a hair-parting miss, though it had some priceless lines.
Blade Runner, Ridley Scott, 1982 I rate it as moderately diverting and worth watching at least twice to figure out what the fuck is going on. Stingray likes it a lot more than me.
Blue Sunshine, Jeff Lieberman, 1978
Brazil, Terry Gilliam, 1985
Bride of Frankenstein, James Whale, 1935
The Brood, David Cronenberg, 1979
Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, Robert Wiene, 1920
Café Flesh, Stephen Sayadian, 1982
Cannibal Holocaust, Ruggero Deodato, 1979
Casablanca, Michael Curtiz, 1942
Un chien andalou, Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí,1928
Coffy, Jack Hill, 1973
Daughters of Darkness, Harry Kümel, 1971
Dawn of the Dead, George A. Romero, 1978 Seminal to the zombie genre. Brilliant for its time. Romero hasn’t really had anything new to say since, though the remake was a good remake.
Deadly Weapons, Doris Wishman, 1974
Debbie Does Dallas, Jim Clark, 1978 Modern porn doesn’t have anywhere near this much of a sense of fun anymore, which I find really sad.
Deep Red, Dario Argento, 1975 I haven’t watched this specific one, but the thing about Dario Argento is you either like him and should see absolutely everything he’s made, or hate him and only see one thing. Sadly I saw two.
Dirty Dancing, Emile Ardolino, 1987
Django, Sergio Corbucci, 1966
Donnie Darko, Richard Kelly, 2001 This is one of those things I always really mean to see and always wind up more or less concluding I don’t actually need to.
Don’t Torture a Duckling, Lucio Fulci, 1972 It’s in our Netflix queue. Close enough?
Edward Scissorhands, Tim Burton, 1990 Tim Burton tries to do John Waters. Mixed results.
Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals, Aristide Massaccesi, 1977
Emmanuelle, Just Jaeckin, 1974
Enter the Dragon, Robert Clouse, 1973 Every Bruce Lee movie is the same movie, but this is probably the best of them. Everyone should watch something with Bruce Lee just to see near-complete physical perfection achieved by fanatical and creative training.
Eraserhead, David Lynch, 1977 One third of it, before we concluded paying for a headache wasn’t worth being able to say we’d seen David Lynch’s issues with women and pregnancy at full length.
The Evil Dead, Sam Raimi, 1981 The next two were better, but the first is Raimi proving a point and rather effectively at that.
Fight Club, David Fincher, 1999 I can actually say I saw this one in the theater at midnight before anyone knew how big a hit it was going to be. Fun times, and it holds up surprisingly well.
Flaming Creatures, Jack Smith, 1963
Freak Orlando, Ulrike Ottinger, 1981
Freaks, Tod Browning, 1932 Good movie. Pity it essentially destroyed Browning’s career.
Ginger Snaps, John Fawcett, 2000 Part of. I was a self-absorbed angsty teenage girl for too long to particularly enjoy watching a re-enactment with werewolves.
The Gods Must Be Crazy, Jamie Uys, 1981 No, but I want to. In fact I think I’ll check to see if any of our streaming movie services have it tonight.
Godzilla, Ishirô Honda, 1954 It’s a big rubber monster. Sort of interesting strictly as watching Japan work out its issues onscreen, until that kept going for twenty years.
The Harder They Come, Perry Henzell, 1972
Harold and Maude, Hal Ashby, 1971 Part of. Combine the dullness of Space Odyssey with the angst of Ginger Snaps and there you have it.
Häxan, Benjamin Christensen, 1922
Hellraiser, Clive Barker, 1987 It’s very pretty. If you try to make sense of it you will go insane. Is that meta, for horror movies?
The Holy Mountain, Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1973
The House with the Laughing Windows, Pupi Avati, 1976
I Walked with a Zombie, Jacques Tourneur, 1943
Ichi the Killer, Takashi Miike, 2001 In the Netflix queue. We’ve seen Audition by the same director and it was terrifying.
In Bruges, Martin McDonagh, 2008
Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Don Siegel, 1956
Invocation of My Demon Brother, Kenneth Anger, 1969
It’s a Wonderful Life, Frank Capra, 1946
The Killer, John Woo, 1989
Lady Terminator, H. Tjut Djalil, 1988
The Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson, 2001–3 The first two. I understand they are a wonderful adaptation of Tolkien’s world and works. I don’t like Tolkien. Also, why is this “cult”? It was massively popular!
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, George Miller, 1981 Was there any doubt? As violently nonsensical as the first one, but with better set pieces.
Man Bites Dog, Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, Benoît Poelvoorde, 1992
Manos, the Hands of Fate, Harold P. Warren, 1966 Through the Mystery Science Theater filter. It wasn’t enough.
The Masque of the Red Death, Roger Corman, 1964
Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, 1975 Just to be contrarian, I will not quote it. At all.
Near Dark, Kathryn Bigelow, 1987
Nekromantik, Jörg Buttgereit, 1987
Night of the Living Dead, George A. Romero, 1968 This scared the piss out of suburban America when it was aired. Now, not so much.
Pink Flamingos, John Waters, 1972 No, but I’ve enjoyed other Waters when he wasn’t working out his issues quite so pressingly.
Piranha, Joe Dante, 1978
Plan 9 from Outer Space, Ed Wood, Jr, 1959
Re-Animator, Stuart Gordon, 1985 Good movie. Incredibly vile in places, but a good movie.
Reefer Madness, Louis Gasnier, 1936 Yes, but I can barely remember any of it, and no, not for the obvious reason. This one is so nonsensical you don’t need chemical help to be disoriented.
Repo Man, Alex Cox, 1984
Ringu, Hideo Nakata, 1998 Only the American remake. I really ought to see the original.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Jim Sharman, 1975 Yes, and I want those hours of my life back. I think this one is only fun with the audience participation.
Rome Armed to the Teeth, Umberto Lenzi, 1976
The Room, Tommy Wiseau, 2003 I’ve seen parts of it. There aren’t enough drugs in the world to make me think seeing all of it unfiltered is a good idea.
Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1975
She Killed in Ecstasy, Jesús Franco, 1971
Showgirls, Paul Verhoeven, 1995
Soul Vengeance, Jamaa Fanaka, 1975
The Sound of Music, Robert Wise, 1965
Star Wars, George Lucas, 1977–2005 Yes and I hated it. AGAIN HOW ARE THESE CULT MOVIES? Being science fiction or fantasy does not automatically make a movie cult!
Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, Todd Haynes, 1988
Suspiria, Dario Argento, 1977 This is one of the Argentos I saw. Whether you like it depends on whether the imagery is so captivating for you you don’t care if it makes any sense or not.
Tank Girl, Rachel Talalay, 1995 Seen it, have it on DVD. Like it a lot. Even though it, also, makes no sense. To enjoy this one you have to like 90s comics and Lori Petty.
Tetsuo, Shinya Tsukamoto, 1989
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Tobe Hooper, 1974
This Is Spınal Tap, Rob Reiner, 1984 No, but I’ve seen most of the mockumentaries it inspired.
Thriller: A Cruel Picture, Bo Arne Vibenius, 1974
Thundercrack!, Curt McDowell, 1975
El Topo, Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1970
The Toxic Avenger, Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman, 1984 Troma films are love/hate. This is probably the best of them. I did not love it.
Two-Lane Blacktop, Monte Hellman, 1971
Two Thousand Maniacs!, Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1964 No, but I saw the Wes Craven remake, which was actually kinda good for what it was.
The Vanishing, George Sluizer, 1988
Videodrome, David Cronenberg, 1983
The Warriors, Walter Hill, 1979 Have the DVD, even. Stingray likes it more than me. It’s kind of like being on cough syrup without the syrup, and prettier.
Witchfinder General, Michael Reeves, 1968
Withnail & I, Bruce Robinson, 1987
The Wizard of Oz, Victor Fleming, 1939 When I was a very small girl. It’s actually a pretty damn scary movie to show a little kid. Return to Oz is much worse, and why the fucking Disney channel aired it as a kids’ movie is a mystery to me. Actually, why isn’t Return on this list? It’s got a much better claim to being a cult movie than some of these.
Why Bad Taste and not Dead Alive? Same director and they’re both obscure, but Dead Alive is a vastly better movie. Why so much Italian horror but no Devil’s Backbone or Orphanage, del Toro before he hit popularity in the states? Why Ichi and not Audition? Why don’t I see any of the Korean cult hits on here- no Old Boy or Tale of Two Sisters?
And thus, NPR gets me to react exactly as I am supposed to to lists like these.