Tag: cult cinema

MOVIE REVIEW | ***CULT WEEK*** Hairspray (1988)

When I think of John Waters, I think of big, broad, colourful movies. Even at their darkest or most depraved, they still have an optimism and enthusiasm that manages to make that darkness and depravity almost sweet.   Well, that was what came to mind when I’d think about John Waters movies. Then I saw Pink Flamingos, and every single scrap of goodwill he’d built with movies like Cry Baby and Pecker was destroyed. I really think Pink Flamingos might be the worst movie l have ever seen. It made me angry, I hated it so much. But as quickly as his stock took such a massive dive with me, it was almost immediately restored when I watched Hairspray.

Ricki Lake is Tracy Tunrbald, a teeny bopper in 60s Baltimore. Every afternoon, Tracey watches The Corny Collins Show. A local TV show where local teenagers dance to the latest hits. Tracy dreams of taking her own place on that dance floor and showing off her moves. Her mother, Edna (Divine) and father, Wilbur (Jerry Stiller) try to keep her hops a little more grounded and realistic. But all in all, the Turnblads are a happy, loving, functional family. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***CULT WEEK*** Pink Flamingos (1972)

A woman eats actual dog shit. A man robs women by tying a sausage to his exposed ding dong. A mother goes down on her son. A man sings with his asshole (it’s exactly what you’re imaging, but more). Now that the boring stuff’s out of the way, let’s talk about the weird bits of Pink Flamingos.

In John Water’s breakthrough movie, Devine plays Devine, the filthiest person in the world. Wanted for murder, she’s gone into hiding in a Baltimore trailer under the name Betsy. Living with her egg obsessed mother (Edith Massey) who lives in a baby’s playpen, adult son Crackers (Danny Mills), and Cotton (Mary Vivian Pearce), whose relationship to Devine I never determined. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***CULT WEEK*** Subway (1985)

Consistency within a specific genre of film making can be a tricky thing. When does a strong, individual style become boring and derivative? When do quirks become crutches? For someone like Michael Bay, I appreciate his consistency, because it means I know I never need to waste my time watching any of the shit he makes. But when it comes to Luc Besson, it means I can expect certain things, like a tongue in cheek, self aware attitude. But it also means I’ll be surprised regularly by how far he can stretch a premise, how absurd and over the top he can go, how much he can do with very little. And I got all of that with Subway.

Christopher Lambert is Fred, a tuxedoed crook of some description, leading a car chase through Paris. He eventually finds sanctuary in the city’s Metro system, an underground world where a community of weirdos and outsiders have found a place to hide from the rest of the world. Fred has stolen some important documents and the owners really, really want them back. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***CULT WEEK*** Le Famme Nikita (1990)

Luc Besson’s name is attached to some of the best B grade, genre movies of the last quarter of a century. As a writer, director or producer, he’s been involved in cheesy, action awesomeness like The Fifth Element, Leon: The Professional, Lima Neeson’s career redefining Taken series, and the best movie about a space jail ever, Lockout. But before he could kick move ass in the English language, he conquered the Euro trash world of cheesy, action awesomeness, with movies like La Femme Nikita.

Strung out and needing a fix, a group of junkies break into a pharmacy. When the police arrive, everything goes pair shaped. A couple of cops are killed, and all of the junkies are killed, except Nikita (Anne Parrilaud). Sentenced to life in prison, Nikita’s given a second chance when she’s recruited by Bob (Tchéky Karyo). While her friends and family believe she’s dead and buried, Bob trains Nikita to be a covert government assassin. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***CULT WEEK*** Glen or Glenda (1953)

Edward D Wood Jr has become the patron saint of bad movies. As a writer, director and actor, his infamy for clunky writing, wooden acting, amateur directing and overall sub par film making is unequalled. But you know what, while true, none of those things are liabilities in his movies. In fact, those are the things that make his work so intriguingly watchable. Intriguingly watchable, like Glen or Glenda.

Less narrative movie, and more a take on old educational reels, Glen or Glenda is almost nothing more than a feature length community service announcement about transvestism. With constant narration walking us through the trials of life as a transvestite in 50s America, it’s a series of vignettes, begging the viewer to open their mind and accept, what was at the time, a hugely controversial concept. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***CULT WEEK*** Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)

I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to say that most people would know about Plan 9 From Outer Space for three reasons. It’s central place in an awesome episode of Seinfeld, it’s notoriety as the worst film ever made (more on that later), or most likely, people know about it because they’ve seen Tim Burton’s amazing Ed Wood. No matter how you may have heard of it before, you have no idea what you’re in for with Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Introduced by some sort of authority figure at a desk, addressing the audience directly, we are warned that what we are about to see might shock, even scare us. Cut to an old man (Bela Lugosi) at the funeral of his wife. Later, his wife (Vampira) is seen to be stalking the same cemetery where her dead body was just buried. Cut to two grave diggers, dead of suspiciously gruesome causes. Cut to Jeff Trent, piloting a commercial flight above Los Angeles that is suddenly disrupted by a flying saucer. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***CULT WEEK*** Stranger Than Paradise (1984)

Stranger Than Paradise
Jim Jarmusch makes art house films. Or, more accurately, Jim Jarmusch makes ART HOUSE FILMS. He makes the kind of movies that epitomise what someone like myself imagines all art house movies to be. Grainy black and white, long takes where very little action goes down, a barley there story enacted by characters who rarely say anything that isn’t drenched in layers of philosophising ramblings of metaphoric allusions and contemplation. And with Stranger Than Paradise, Jim Jarmusch certainly made an ART HOUSE FILM.

Willie (John Lurie) is put out when Eva (Eszter Balint), his Hungarian cousin, lands on his doorstep needing a place to stay. Initially, Willie makes no effort to hide his frustrations with Eva being there, but soon, they both come to enjoy each other’s company. A year after her visit, Willie and his friend Eddie (Richard Edson) travel to Cleveland, where Eva is now staying with her and Willie’s aunt (Cecillia Stark). (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***CULT WEEK*** Down By Law (1986)


Jim Jarmusch is an interesting character. Like David Lynch, for 30 years, he’s been able to make is own movies on his own terms. And like David Lynch, every few years, he pops up with something higher profile, higher budget and with bigger names in the cast. Like Broken Flowers,or this year’s Only lovers Left Alive. He has a singular voice that he’s been able to put out there, and no one else knows how to make a Jim Jarmusch movie. Which I think might be one of the things that has always made me a little hesitant to really delve into his filmography. There’s something kind of intimidating about that.

I’ve seen Dead Man and Broken Flowers, I liked them, didn’t love them. Coffee and Cigarettes has stuck with me much more. But I never explored the Jarmusch deep cuts. The smaller, earlier, even more art house entries. What if I don’t like them? Do I have to hand in my Union of Movie Nerds card? But it was a jump I was going to have to take eventually, so I did, with Down By Law. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***CULT WEEK*** Mulholland Drive (2001)


David Lynch is a true indie film maker. He makes his movies his way and never seems too concerned with whether or not they’re accessible or will find an audience. But every few years, one breaks through and goes beyond his own cult audience, hitting hard with mainstream success. Movies like Blue Velvet and Lost Highway will pop up, and remind regular movies goers that the dude who made Twin Peaks is still around. The last movie of his that I remember breaking through big, was Mulholland Drive.

After being the sole survivor of a major car accident, Rita (Laura Harring), dazed and confused, catatonically wanders the streets. Landing in Los Angeles fresh faced and wide eyed, Betty (Naomi Watts) has dreams of making it as an actress. When she moves into a Melrose Place style building, she finds Rita in her shower, naked, only a smidge above catatonic and suffering from amnesia regarding how she got there and where the bundle of cash she has came from. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***CULT WEEK*** Blue Velvet (1986)

It’s hard for any movie to live up to a reputation built up over years, or decades, of praise and ever growing status. It’s even harder when that reputation was initially built on some sort of ground breaking, new approach to film making. It’s even harder still, when the ground breaking newness was all about weirdness. Because what was weird and ground breaking 30 years ago, is more than likely going to be copied and ripped off through the years following, to make that original seem a little tired and tame as well. I don’t know exactly what I expected from David Lynch’s revered Blue Velvet, but I do know I expected more than what I got.

Returning from college to his small home town after his father suffers a stroke, Jeffrey Baeumont (Kyle MacLachlan) is immediately dragged into a seedy underworld of crime, sex and violence, after randomly finding a severed human ear in a field. The ear leads him to local cop, Detective Williams (George Dickerson), which leads him to an immediate crush on the detective’s daughter, Laura Dern as Sandy Williams. (more…)