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alix1929

Your Favorite Cult Movies

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CULT OF THE COBRA ('55) is fairly entertaining. It features the exotic looking Faith Domergue and a religious sect that goes in for dancing women who can transform themselves into snakes. Marshall Thompson is along to spoil the fun.

 

THE DECEIVERS ('88) is a rarely seen Pierce Bronson film that I like a lot. Bronson plays an English officer in India circa 1840, who disguises himself as a Thuggee in order to infiltrate the murderous cult of Kali, the Hindu goddess. Good stuff.

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I should have typed Brosnan, not Bronson. Sorry Pierce, and Charles. And those two movies I mentioned had cults as the subject matter. The thread may be better suited for films that just have a cult following of admirers.

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Cult movies are my addiction. I'm especially addicted to John Water's early fun-fests, like "Mondo Trasho" and "Pink Flamingos." Andy Warhol's experimental, raunchy movies are also great fun, like "Heat," "Trash," "Flesh." David Lynch's "Eraserhead," is another delight. Also, if you ever get into the Italian horror film genre, you become hooked, especially the work of Dario Argento's "Deep Red," "Opera," "Suspiria." Also, Reggero Deodata's "Jungle Holocaust" and Lucio Fulci's horror flicks, especially "Zombie". A great cult mag to read each month is "Video Watchdog." Wonderful reviews and interviews and tremendous amount of esoteric behind-the-scenes sleaze that's great fun.

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The Good the Bad and the Ugly.

Death Rides a Horse

The Big gundown.

Face to Face

 

I love spaghetti's!!!

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I was watching THE FOUNTAINHEAD again yesterday morning. This film was a perennial favorite at the old Movies Repertory Cinema in downtown Cincinnati, always on the request list every time I visited. I guess there was a legion of Ayn Rand's fans who kept it on the schedule. I always thought it ironic that Rand, who wrote the screenplay based on her book, should choose to express her individualistic philosophy in a medium that is essentially collaborative.

 

But even though I think Rand's philosophy is shallow and contradictory, THE FOUNTAINHEAD is still a fascinating movie, even though it resembles a runaway train at times. Great performances from Gary Cooper, Patricia Neal, and Raymond Massey, adroit direction from King Vidor, and wonderfully evocative music from Max Steiner still make it a film worth seeing. If nothing else, its central theme of the individual triumphing over the mob is still inspiring.

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CoffeeDan, I wish I could whip up some enthusiasm for the film version of "The Fountainhead," but I keep thinking how great it would have been if King Vidor had gotten the cast he really wanted--and not let Ayn Rand run roughshod. He begged and pleaded for Greta Garbo to play Dominique Francon and for John Garfield/Orson Welles to play Howard Roark. Studio head Jack Warner actually contemplated that red-haired Adonis of the cowboys, Don Red Barry. Don't laugh. This guy was just incredibly sexy looking and could act up a storm and he had RED hair--just like Howard Roark. But-he was pigeonholed as the "James Cagney of the Cowboys." Gary Cooper wanted the role and after he got it, he demanded countless changes to the script, camera angles, wardrobe to make him look younger. Rand finally realized what a horrible mistake it was to have a middle-aged looking "Coop" in the riding seat. By the way, have you seen the Italian version (1941) of "We the Living"? Fabulous! It was literally filmed beneath the streets of Rome during World War II, away from the prying eyes of Mussolini who would have had the cast executed if he found out what they were doing. Alida Valli makes a marvelous Kira Argonouva.

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"Topper Returns" and "Hold That Ghost" are two wonderful comedies from the early 40s that have strong followings. I watch these two goodies whenever I need a mood booster. They both have that magical quality of being timeless. Especially in "Topper" which featuers a fantastic cast of great B actors--and those double-takes of Patsy Kelly and Rochester's fabulous comedic timing.

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One of my fave cult movies is one that TCM broadcast last February - "Smile" (1975) directed by Michael Ritchie. A terrific ensemble cast in a comedy about a teen beauty pageant held in Santa Rosa, California. Why this movie isn't better known is a mystery.

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LIQUID SKY (1982):

 

Aliens come to earth looking for Heroin in New York. Androgynous fashion models, New Wave clubs, a mad German scientist, it's all here. A darkly funny cult film of the highest order. The colorful cinematography is worth seeking this out if nothing else. I think it's a hilarious, prophetic look at the excess and greed of the 80's. This is the first 'Midnight' movie I ever went to. It makes ROCKY HORROR (which I like), look like 'BAMBI.'

 

BEGOTTEN (1991):

 

Before E. Elias Merhige made SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE in 2000, he made this. Begotten is just too hard to describe. No dialogue and shot in an unusual, speckled Chiaroscuro style. It is the closest depiction of a dream-like state ever filmed. You either like it or you don't. I LOVE it! Like it's trailer says: "No Names, No Dialogue, No Compromise, No Exit--Nobody will get through BEGOTTEN without being marked." It's true........

 

CAREFUL (1992):

 

Canadian Director Guy Maddin is a mad genius and I love anything he touches. This film is probably my favorite from his ever-growing body of work. Shot in the style of the early German 'Mountain' films, this is a moody and dark comic work of art. Maddin's films are all beautiful to look at, despite being filled with the oddest characters you will ever encounter. If you are not familiar with Guy Maddin's work, start here.

 

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I just saw a quirky movie I never heard about. "Lone Star State of Mind" (2002). This movie takes place in some Texas town where the only character that is "normal" is the lead. This just had my wife and I cracking up. It is the type of movie that you'll find funny or stupid - like it or not.

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Two films I've been fascinated with of late are from German director Werner Herzog: 'Aguirre, The Wrath of God' and 'Fitzcarraldo.' I have always loved AGUIRRE, and it remains one of my all-time favorite films. I have only discovered FITZCARRALDO in the past year. Both films star Klaus Kinski, the actor that Herzog produced his best work with, despite their stormy, love/hate friendship. They are also two of the bravest pieces of cinema I have ever witnessed. I include them here in the Cult film section, as they are both Arthouse movies, although they are not really Cult films per se, or at least not to me.

 

I was compelled to view these two films after renting the documentary, KLAUS KINKSI: MY BEST FIEND, from Netflix. In a nutshell, the documentary explores the troubled working relationship between Herzog and Kinski. It also explores Kinski's obvious megalomania. As talented as Kinski was, he was certifiably off the deep end. Herzog describes how he had even at one point planned to kill (!) Kinski, only to find out that Kinski wanted to murder him as well, and had devised a plan to do so. Bizarre stuff.

 

The documentary shows that there was a deep respect between the two, but an underlying resentment was brewing and they couldn't be near each other for long periods of time. This needs to be mentioned because the Herzog/Kinski tandem made several films together, most of them brilliant. I am currently reading Kinski's autobiography, KINSKI UNCUT, and the things he says about Herzog are absolutely vicious and vile. Odd, because the work they did together was the best of their careers.

 

AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD (1972), depicts a spanish expedition that goes array when a band of ruthless conquistadors take over the group (it happens so early in the film, that I don't consider this a spoiler), led by the insane Don Lope de Aguirre, played to perfection by Kinski. Aguirre is determined to risk hostile natives and starvation in the quest for a mythical city of gold. In the aforementioned documentary, we see Kinski's daily screaming sessions and during one scene, left in the film, he almost kills an extra by bashing him on the head with a sword (a helmet truly saved the man's life).

 

FITZCARRALDO (1982), follows the journey of Brian Sweeny Fitzgerald (Kinski), an avid opera lover who will stop at nothing to build an opera house in the Peruvian jungle. He has the local people help him in this quest and then the story takes an interesting turn. According to the documentary, Kinski's ranting and raving so upset the native Peruvians working on the film, that they asked the director, Herzog, via an interpreter, if he wanted them to murder Kinski.

 

So to say that Kinski was not the easiest person to work with would be a gross understatement. Anyway, both films were plagued by numerous problems, Kinski notwithstanding, but are phenomenal examples of World Cinema. These two films, as well as Herzog's brilliant remake of NOSFERATU, with, you guessed it, Klaus Kinski as the Vampire, can be rented from NETFLIX. The documentary can be found there, as well. Perhaps TCM could air AGUIRRE and FITZCARRALDO as their weekly TCM IMPORT feature. Both films are astoundingly good. Emotionally dark, but brilliant.

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I was also fascinated by the Kinski films, "Aguirre" & "Fitzcarraldo" when IFC played them some time ago. Very intense & engrossing. And the documentary "MyBest Fiend" made me go watch both films over again! Kinski is always amazing, never boring!

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Welcome to the message board, lorrekarloff. cool username! I think MY BEST FIEND is one of the most unrelenting profiles of a celebrity, ever! I do agree that Kinski was an amazing actor, although he was obviously a difficult person to work with and was probably stark-raving mad. He was an actor who made his share of sub-par films, but always seemed to bring something special to whatever project he was involved with. But yeah, his performance in AGUIRRE is masterful!

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Stark-raving mad is true! I had always heard that he was nuts, and MY BEST FIEND proved that. Seems he was like working with a time bomb with no timer. I'll never forget that dented helmet! And even in his not so good films, he always seemed like his character could just lose control. I think the part he played in FITZCARRALDO was a lot like himself - irrational & insane but knowing it and not giving a damn! I really hope TCM will show these films soon. More people need to see them!

 

And thanks for the welcome! (Apparently, I'm also talking to you on the 'Musicals' board.)

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Hello there.

 

My favorite "cult" films:

 

1) Eating Raoul

2) Begotten

3) Raising Arizona

 

Interesting topic. I have to admit that I haven't heard of some of your choices, so I'll keep my eye out for those.

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Yes, more people need to watch Kinski films, especially if they think they've got problems or are in need of a therapist. I love Kinski, though I usually have to suspend my judgment and my code-of-ethics a bit, especially when I read his autobiography. Wow! His partnership, for lack of a better term, with Herzog, as you suggested, produced some of the finest films I've ever seen, even Cobra Verde. A superb actor, Kinski turned down Pasolini, Visconti, many of the great of cinema to appear in schlock because the paycheck was higher. What a guy!!!!

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*****begin quote******

 

"Topper Returns" and "Hold That Ghost" are two wonderful comedies from the early 40s that have strong followings. I watch these two goodies whenever I need a mood booster. They both have that magical quality of being timeless. Especially in "Topper" which featuers a fantastic cast of great B actors--and those double-takes of Patsy Kelly and Rochester's fabulous comedic timing."

 

 

****end quote*****

 

I would not have guessed "Topper Returns" is a cult movie, but I do like it a lot and have it in our personal DVD collection. I agree with all you wrote about it, although no single actor is outstanding ( unlike Topper with Cary Grant) the combination of a lot of lesser known actors working together really do put together a great movie. I like it better than Topper. Interesting you mention Rochester, because whenever I think about the movie I remember some of his scenes and the way he rolls his eyes just before he starts to do some running and I love the scene where he is packing and it seems all he has is white collars.

 

I know little of cult movies, other than the Rocky Horror show, but after looking at the list of dvds that TCM sells under their "cult" title, I do know I thought the first two of the Killer Tomatoe movies had a few funny scenes, more especially the second one with George Clooney playing in his first movie. It too was more of a collection of stupid things rather than one or two characters making the entire movie bearable. If TCM ran the others in the series I would watch them but do not have any plans of buying them unless they drop the price to about $1.00 for each. I would not say they are as good as "Topper Returns" - I just can't remember "Hold that Ghost" , I know I saw it but sitting here it just doesn't come back to me, but I plan on looking for it, may add it to the Tivo wishlist...

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Dear Coffeedan,

 

I MUST agree with you. THE FOUNTAINHEAD is one of my all time favorites. I don't know any of the inside stories about the film or its production. I only know that I saw it for the first time when I was 9 years old and the Steiner score and the sets, especially Raymond Massey's office, haunted me. I read the book in high school which broadened and deepened my understanding of the source material. I have it in my personal collection and watch it three or four times a year. It never fails to enthrall and inspire me.

 

I could write volumes about my personal connection to the film but I'll just say that I'm glad there's someone else out there who digs it like I do!

Ravenjazz

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Sam Fuller's "The Crimson Kimono" is a wonderful and gripping film that has now reached cult status.It is a favorite of mine, especially Jaclynne Greene's acting.

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