Monday, March 16, 2015

101 Cult Films I Must See Before I Die

"Yup, that's an ear all right." If you're watching a movie and someone says a line like this while examining a severed ear found on a lawn, you might be watching a cult film. I say "might" because the boundaries of this genre are as fuzzy as the interior of Barbarella's spaceship; a cult film is what any reasonably well-informed pundit says it is, even though several classic movies lumped into the genre were popular mainstream hits.

The editors of 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die have chosen 101 cult films as one of several less intimidating alternatives to their master list of over 1,000 films. Let's see how many of their cult movies I've managed to see thus far...as ever, those I've seen are listed in bold. 

Un Chien Andalou
Reefer Madness
Sullivan's Travels
Out of the Past
Sunset Boulevard
The Night of the Hunter
Rebel Without a Cause
The Blob
Plan 9 from Outer Space
Jazz on a Summer's Day
The Servant
Shock Corridor
Bande A Part
Scorpio Rising
Faster, Pussycat - Kill! Kill!
Blow-Up
Chelsea Girls
Persona
Barbarella
Les Idoles
Easy Rider
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
El Topo
Le Boucher
The Lickerish Quartet
Performance
Harold and Maude
Two Lane Blacktop
Vampyros Lesbos
Vanishing Point
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
The Harder They Come
Pink Flamingos
Superfly
Sisters
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
The Night Porter
Phantom of the Paradise
Grey Gardens
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Sholay
Tommy
The Last Wave
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
I Spit on Your Grave
The Wiz
Zoltan, Hound of Dracula
Mad Max
Life of Brian
The Warriors
The Blues Brothers
Ms. 45
Time Bandits
Basket Case
Fitzcarraldo
Wild Style
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai
This is Spinal Tap
The Toxic Avenger
Blue Velvet
The Hitcher
Manhunter
Withnail and I
Amazon Women on the Moon
Barfly
The Princess Bride
Wings of Desire
The Decline of Western Civilization, Part II: The Metal Years
Hairspray
Alice (Neco Z Alenky)
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Heathers
Mystery Train
Frankenhooker
Barton Fink
Brain Dead
Dazed and Confused
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Clerks
Shallow Grave
The City of Lost Children
La Haine
Showgirls
Crash
Twilight of the Ice Nymphs
The Big Lebowski
Buffalo '66
Le Diner Des Cons
Run Lola Run
Rushmore
Office Space
Battle Royale
Memento
Donnie Darko
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Ichi the Killer
The Room
Kamikaze Girls
Napoleon Dynamite
Brick

I've seen 46 of these cult films; some of them are among my very favourite movies of all, including Blue Velvet, Buckaroo Banzai, Memento, Brain Dead, Heathers, The Blob, Sunset Boulevard, Plan 9 From Outer Space and Rebel Without a Cause. A few are on my soon-to-watch list: The Night of the Hunter, Out of the Past, Persona, Performance, Superfly, Ms. 45 and Battle Royale. Others way well fall into the "I can't believe you haven't seen..." category: Napoleon Dynamite,  Barton Fink, Manhunter, Two Lane Blacktop, Harold and Maude. I'll get to them; I have to, now that I've made this list. 

Among my friends I'm known to have a somewhat hit-or-miss track record when it comes to suggesting movies the entire group might enjoy. One of the films on this list, Sam Peckinpah's Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, probably best exemplifies that phenomenon. We got together to watch a movie at Jeff's place - "we" being Colin, Mike, Pete and Jeff and me. My friends hated it, whereas I thought it had a pretty important point to make and made it well. You can read my review here. 

In my defence, I haven't always been the one to choose a film poorly. I believe it was Dustin who decided we should see Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, another of the films on this list, and while I laughed my way through the film in delight, the rest of our little band, including Dustin, weren't nearly so entertained. 

4 comments:

Jeff Shyluk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff Shyluk said...

I believe you can put Frankenhooker on your "watched" list, unless somehow I watched with Ron and Allan and not you. The box had that button you could press: "Wanna date?!"

Stephen Fitzpatrick said...

Very surprised that Highlander and Repo Man didn't make this list!

Jeff Shyluk said...

Agreed! I'd also put Amelie and/or Delicatessen way before City Of Lost Children