The Cult Lovers Compendium For Obscure Cinema

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Re: The Cult Lovers Compendium For Obscure Cinema

Postby wpqx » Sat Aug 04, 2007 1:39 am

Altered States (1980) - Ken Russell

Style over substance is the best way to describe the cinema of Ken Russell. He consistently made adventurous and exciting visual feasts, but very rarely were these films actually successful in and of themselves. Altered States is not much difference. Paddy Chayefsky wrote the screenplay based on his novel and was so disappointed with the film that he used an alias for the screenplay. Russell's flair for the visual is well in tact, as William Hurt goes through one hallucination after another and the entire film comes across as a break between weird trips. Along the way the film develops something of a werewolf subplot with Hurt's genetics changing to something of a simian caveman. Describing the plot is hard, and explaining the ending is harder, but in a few sequences you just have to stop and hang with your mouth open.
wpqx
 


Re: The Cult Lovers Compendium For Obscure Cinema

Postby wpqx » Sun Aug 05, 2007 5:30 pm

Hell of the Living Dead (1980) - Bruno Mattei

Now this might be more the style for this thread. This horrific mess of a movie is full of awful dialog, even by badly dubbed Italian horror standards, a plot that makes next to no sense, and very, very, very stupid people. Of course minutes into battling zombies it's discovered that they have to be shot in the head, yet for the rest of the film no matter how many times told no one seems to be able to remember this bit of advice. On top of that the "soldiers" who are fighting these zombies have a habbit of holding their gun, looking away and randomly spraying bullets, it's a wonder they didn't shoot some of their own men. However these films aren't watched for great plots or stories, its about the gore, and where applicable gratuitous nudity. The first is in abundance and picks up quite nicely, including our heroine's jaw being ripped off her face and blood pushing her eyballs out, quite nice. Speaking of nice when the travelling soldiers and lone female come across some "natives" the woman says she knows how to hanlde them, and quickly proceeds to get naked and put on paint. Hell I'll take it. If you're looking for a thinking man's zombie film don't bother, but for a few brief moments of inspired gore, then this is about as reliable as the next.
wpqx
 

Re: The Cult Lovers Compendium For Obscure Cinema

Postby R6dw6C » Sun Aug 05, 2007 8:36 pm

Two nice efforts! But this time, it's my turn to disagree;-: Ken Russel's films are, in my opinion, mostly far away from style over substance and especially "Altered States". Maybe you could prosecute "Tommy" for that (although it is also quite fascinating), but not this one. It's a movie about a man (William Hurt) who got tired of being a member of mankind and wants to leave it. The dream in which he turns into a statue and gets decomposed into sand makes that quite clear.
Not my favourite Russel Film (that goes to the excellent, underrated "Gothic" and "China Blue") but a mazy and versatile film against the forces of civilization. (8/10)

About "Hell of the living dead / Inferno dei morti viventi" you are pretty right, a huge hill of crap. But I can't deny that, from time to time, I like to climb such hills;-) And there are some other italian Zombie-Horror-flicks like "The Beyond / L'Aldila" (Italy 1980, Lucio Fulci) or "The living dead at the Manchester Morgue / Non si deve profanare il sonno dei morti" (Spain/Italy 1974, Jorge Grau) that I personally would praise as REALLY great movies, visionary, intelligent, sometimes even slightly subversive though not excempt from a huge amount of gore and some unintended humour.

Did you watch the movie in memory of Bruno Mattei? He died this May (the 21st) just a few months after finishing his last low budget Women-in-prison-flick "The Jail: A woman's hell".

Motel Hell (USA 1980, Kevin Connor)

Here you are: This movie finally reveals the inconvenient truth behind the myth of the friendly and hard working all-american farmer and his sweet little motel in which he turns innocent tourists, rockabillies, managers and perverts into delicious delights that are beloved all over the country. Get in touch with farmer Vincent (Rory Calhoun) and his chubbily sister Ida (Nancy Parsons) who sure will treat you like god is said to be treaten in the 9th heaven. Visit their well done garden in which they breed their guests buried to their throats until they've got the right taste. And don't miss the big chainsaw fight in the butchery between Vincent and his little Brother, Sheriff Bruce (Paul Linke). You'll love it!
Get your free ticket to this extraordinary and idyllic ride to the famous countryside. Now!

9 out of 10.

I love this mainly because of it's insane and surreal ideas and the black-humour-satire made out of them. You can feel that the director, Kevin Connor, wasn't very familiar with the genre and "Motel Hell" was his first horror movie. I never liked the classic american "Backwood Horror" in the manner of the (great) "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" but this one really managed to get me out of my european genre chamber;-)
R6dw6C
 

Re: The Cult Lovers Compendium For Obscure Cinema

Postby trevor826 » Mon Aug 06, 2007 2:11 pm

Just picked up the dvd of Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream (2005) - Stuart Samuels which comes packaged with Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Reefer Madness aka Tell Your Children (1936) - Louis J. Gasnier.

Sure it'll contain something suitable for this thread.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

Re: The Cult Lovers Compendium For Obscure Cinema

Postby R6dw6C » Mon Aug 06, 2007 2:35 pm

You are from the US, are you? Strange - this documentary is sold here in Germany in the same package yet by another company.

I'd like to read some lines about "Reefer Madness".
R6dw6C
 

Re: The Cult Lovers Compendium For Obscure Cinema

Postby trevor826 » Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:08 pm

No, I'm glad to say I'm in the U.K. The R2 dvd was released by Metrodome.

I'm sure I can knock up some notes on Reefer Madness which I've seen a few times down the years, I love these insanely over the top propoganda drama/docs.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

Re: The Cult Lovers Compendium For Obscure Cinema

Postby wpqx » Mon Aug 06, 2007 5:15 pm

Reefer Madness is public domain here, as is NOTLD so you sometimes have to beware of what transfer you're getting. I'm just upset that my previously region free player decided yesterday to refuse a region 2 and a region 3 DVD, so unfortunately I'll have to wait at least a couple more days before I can watch Kore-eda's latest and some more Oshima.

Hell of the Living Dead has a sequence that seems out of place with the film that comes close to being socially relevant. When the swat team or whatever they are goes after the terrorists at the beginning of the film it has a chance to make some relevant comment about the state of Italian politics at the time, but just seems to disregard it. The film reminded me of the Beyond only in that the zombies were ridiculously slow, and no matter how many times you told someone to shoot them in the head they still didn't catch on.

I'm learning right now just how ignorant I am of world cinema via Jonathan Rosenbaum's elitist Essential Cinema book, so I might be working on that a while.
wpqx
 

Re: The Cult Lovers Compendium For Obscure Cinema

Postby wpqx » Thu Aug 09, 2007 6:00 am

Repo Man (1984) - Alex Cox

I wish there was a reason why I've avoided Alex Cox's work up until now, but I have no reason. So fitting that I start at the beginning with his first film and one that almost instantly fell into the cult film market. A flop upon its release it suffered from the same affliction that plagues most future cult films, no one knew how to market it. In fact it was originally marketed as an action film which is pretty laughable. Now this is not a film that one viewing will really do justice to. In fact one of the details of the film frequently pointed out is that none of the watches in the film have hands. I'm gonna be honest I didn't even notice this so clearly there's more under the surface. The film is that wry comedy where we're not exactly expecting great gags, but chuckling throughout the film. The dialog is quotable and downright silly for most of the film. Cox takes stabs at everything ranging from UFO conspirators, car culture, TV preachers, mass marketing, and good old suburban teen angst. Sure the picture is a product of its time, and the music is a great chronicle of LA's underground hardcore/punk scene, and the Circle Jerks even appear in the film, to which Otto (Estevez) says "I can't believe I used to like these guys". A cult classic through and through, and an essential for any "cult movie" enthusiast.
wpqx
 

Re: The Cult Lovers Compendium For Obscure Cinema

Postby arsaib4 » Fri Aug 10, 2007 5:31 am

DVD?
arsaib4
 

Re: The Cult Lovers Compendium For Obscure Cinema

Postby wpqx » Fri Aug 10, 2007 4:46 pm

Yes Focus Features released a special edition of it including a somewhat interesting if not particularly informative interview with Harry Dean Stanton.
wpqx
 

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