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Cult Movies: The Classics, the Sleepers, the Weird, and the Wonderful

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"Cult Movies" is a unique book to be enjoyed as a reading experience as well as an invaluable reference source. The 100 films the author chose, of the many thousands of movies that have been made, merited inclusion because they elicit extraordinary enthusiasm from their fans, small as that group might be. And because it might be a small, though vocal group, it has, over ti "Cult Movies" is a unique book to be enjoyed as a reading experience as well as an invaluable reference source. The 100 films the author chose, of the many thousands of movies that have been made, merited inclusion because they elicit extraordinary enthusiasm from their fans, small as that group might be. And because it might be a small, though vocal group, it has, over time, become a cult of champions for a particular film, usually a film that is, in various ways, different, more daring, more peculiar, than standard cinema fare. Quality of production, acting, script--these have nothing to do with becoming a cult favorite.Detailed information and insightful commentary accompany each entry. Whether you agree with the selections or have your own special, unheralded favorites that you believe deserve inclusion, you will find "Cult Movies" irresistibly entertaining.


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"Cult Movies" is a unique book to be enjoyed as a reading experience as well as an invaluable reference source. The 100 films the author chose, of the many thousands of movies that have been made, merited inclusion because they elicit extraordinary enthusiasm from their fans, small as that group might be. And because it might be a small, though vocal group, it has, over ti "Cult Movies" is a unique book to be enjoyed as a reading experience as well as an invaluable reference source. The 100 films the author chose, of the many thousands of movies that have been made, merited inclusion because they elicit extraordinary enthusiasm from their fans, small as that group might be. And because it might be a small, though vocal group, it has, over time, become a cult of champions for a particular film, usually a film that is, in various ways, different, more daring, more peculiar, than standard cinema fare. Quality of production, acting, script--these have nothing to do with becoming a cult favorite.Detailed information and insightful commentary accompany each entry. Whether you agree with the selections or have your own special, unheralded favorites that you believe deserve inclusion, you will find "Cult Movies" irresistibly entertaining.

30 review for Cult Movies: The Classics, the Sleepers, the Weird, and the Wonderful

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    A lot of writing about film is like disquisitions on the follies of sixteenth-century trinitarianism written by irritable monks. So the five stars are for the fun I had with this book when I first read it – it was published in 1981 and I think I came across it around 1990 which is – help! 23 years ago…let’s not think about that. (Shudders). He has some great choices – Aguirre Wrath of God, Badlands, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (RIP Roger Ebert, co-screenwriter believe it or not), Eraserhead, A lot of writing about film is like disquisitions on the follies of sixteenth-century trinitarianism written by irritable monks. So the five stars are for the fun I had with this book when I first read it – it was published in 1981 and I think I came across it around 1990 which is – help! 23 years ago…let’s not think about that. (Shudders). He has some great choices – Aguirre Wrath of God, Badlands, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (RIP Roger Ebert, co-screenwriter believe it or not), Eraserhead, 42nd Street, Pretty Poison, Targets - I could go on – but he also includes pictures he hates (because they’ve got a cult following) such as La Cage aux Folles, King of Hearts and Plan 9 from Outer Space. What makes a cult film cultish is a matter of opinion – in this book we have total obscurities (Up in Smoke, Where’s Poppa?, The Tall T), famous shockers (Behind the Green Door, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Freaks) but also big-shot Hollywood material (All About Eve, Singin’ in the Rain, Wizard of Oz). But people do seem to like to call films cult films – and authors and bands too. Captain Beefheart? Cult band (I am in that cult). Bukowski? Cult author. Well, I don’t quite understand the rules, maybe because there aren’t any. I think it's a case of I know a cult movie when I see it. In which case, here are some of my favourite cult movies in strict alphabetical order.. The Aviator's Wife Babe – Pig in the City Being John Malkovich Breaking the Waves Bundy Calvaire City of Lost Children Clueless The Descent Funny Bones Ghost World In America Japanese Story Kissing Jessica Stein Life in a Day Love Exposure Margaret My Life as a Dog Paradise Now Performance Run Lola Run You Can Count on Me

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Nobody, but nobody, writes about movies like Danny Peary. This guy is a master at plot synopsis. What's even more incredible to me is that he wrote most of his film essays before the advent of VCRs. That means he's written these reviews largely from memory. That may not seem like a big deal, until you see how lengthy, insightful, and incisive his reviews really are. I especially enjoy how he relates the circumstances under which he's seen many of these films. For Peary, film-going is a collectiv Nobody, but nobody, writes about movies like Danny Peary. This guy is a master at plot synopsis. What's even more incredible to me is that he wrote most of his film essays before the advent of VCRs. That means he's written these reviews largely from memory. That may not seem like a big deal, until you see how lengthy, insightful, and incisive his reviews really are. I especially enjoy how he relates the circumstances under which he's seen many of these films. For Peary, film-going is a collective experience, so audience participation enters greatly into his reviews. A couple of times, he commits the horrendous sin of remarking, "This is how the movie SHOULD have ended..." and then tacks on some absurd ending that makes no sense. Stick to writing reviews, not screenplays, Danny. You're really a gifted critic, and I don't say that lightly. Thanks to you, I've seen some fantastic movies I would have otherwise missed: Ms. 45, Pretty Poison, Where's Poppa, Massacre at Central High, Over the Edge, just to name a scant few. Above all, the reason I love Danny Peary's Cult series is that he doesn't have a conception of highbrow or lowbrow art. The only criterion for inclusion in his book is an edgy sensibility, a view that jars you out of your workaday world and makes you sit up, take notice, and say, "Wow, this is not your average movie." Every genre is game for inclusion here: Porno (Behind the Green Door), schlock (Reefer Madness), horror (Halloween), classic (It's a Wonderful Life), costume drama (Picnic at Hanging Rock), western (My Darling Clementine), children's (The Wizard of Oz), suspense (Detour), indie (Plan 9 from Outer Space), stupid (The First Nudie Musical). Ultimately, all the films Peary has included in this 3 volume series are so interesting, so watchable, that you can't go wrong with any of them.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bob Box

    Read in 1983. Fun compendium of crazy cult films.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Krause

    I recently had lunch with my best friend, and after exchanging the usual pleasantries, we fell right into our favorite topic--what movies we had seen. Ever since college, movies have been a constant in our lives, an excuse to hang out, a grand passion and distraction. We became friends as the VHS revolution was coming into its own, and many of the movies we had been forbidden to see as children were suddenly at our fingertips. Along for the ride was Danny Peary, the most accessible film critic an I recently had lunch with my best friend, and after exchanging the usual pleasantries, we fell right into our favorite topic--what movies we had seen. Ever since college, movies have been a constant in our lives, an excuse to hang out, a grand passion and distraction. We became friends as the VHS revolution was coming into its own, and many of the movies we had been forbidden to see as children were suddenly at our fingertips. Along for the ride was Danny Peary, the most accessible film critic and analyst we knew, whose multifaceted perspectives and amiable writing style earned him the tongue-in-cheek title of Sensai Dan to my friend and me. Although Peary has authored several books on the subject of film and baseball (my two favorite pastimes), his Cult Movies collection has stood out as something of a biblia sacra for the discerning film fan. Volume I is a fine introduction into Peary’s cult movie universe. Not only does he give ample attention to traditional “cult” touchstones, such as El Topo, Eraserhead, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but he also includes eloquent essays on unquestioned cinema classics like Casablanca, Citizen Kane, and The Wizard of Oz, which have morphed from mainstream staples to cult obsessions. Furthermore, Peary allows frank and unironic discussion of early adult cinema, like Behind the Green Door and Café Flesh, that paved the way for more avant-garde cinematic experimentation before the genre abandoned film aesthetic for outright pornography. All in all, reading Cult Movies is like spending the afternoon talking movies with an old friend, a must-read for anyone who calls him or herself a film aficionado.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Professor

    Danny Peary's original gathering of major cult films, Cult Movies makes for an interesting read for the modern cult fan. Films now merely considered "Classics" are on the list, but so are films that many current film devotees have never even heard of, such as Pretty Poison or The Rain People. Thus you not only get Peary's excellent critical essays of films you know well and have seen many times, but also new titles to put on your "too see" list. On the other hand, Peary's anti-violence and pro-s Danny Peary's original gathering of major cult films, Cult Movies makes for an interesting read for the modern cult fan. Films now merely considered "Classics" are on the list, but so are films that many current film devotees have never even heard of, such as Pretty Poison or The Rain People. Thus you not only get Peary's excellent critical essays of films you know well and have seen many times, but also new titles to put on your "too see" list. On the other hand, Peary's anti-violence and pro-sex (but always with a weird denial about) content biases are as evident as ever, as he mercilessly pans films like Halloween and the Wild Bunch while somewhat creepily musing on the likes of Caged Heat.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jill Hutchinson

    For the die-hard film fan,author Danny Peary gives the reader a tour through those good, bad, and ugly films that are termed "cult". This is the first of a trilogy that covers the entire genre and it is a delight. Being a film fanatic, especially the cult and "so bad they are good" movies, I was in heaven. His reviews which are priceless also contain some insider information that just adds to the fun. Absolutely a must read for the lover of all that is film.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Keith Davis

    I picked up this book at a bargain book sale back when I was in high school and it started me on a life-long love affair with weird movies. All the volumes in the series are excellent; and now that almost every movie every made is available on DVD or by digital download, you can enjoy most all these movies immediately rather than spending years searching them out like I had to do back in the day.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shenanitims

    Peary's film criticism is brilliant. His collection of films, essays, and photos will ruin your life as you will soon be spending all your time tracking these films down. I remember loving this series (I-III) while in high school, and recently tracked them down to revisit. Thankfully they've held up.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    I love these books. My uncle got them for me when I was in college and I review them constantly. Peary leaves something to be desired as a film critic, but he definitely loves movies, particularly "the weird and the wonderful." I've read pretty much everything he's ever written.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Terry Collins

    Peary's three volumes devoted to Cult Movies have been a compass to my own explorations into the world cinema for decades. If you love movies, you should have his work on the shelf

  11. 5 out of 5

    Paulrx04

    The REAL Cult movie book!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Very observant, thoughtful and insightful whether I agree or disagree. Worth a re-read (after all these years), it's one of the reasons I expanded my horizons and fell in love with strange movies.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michael Barry

  14. 5 out of 5

    James

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  16. 5 out of 5

    Herbertwest

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bobby

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kensington Kenny

  19. 4 out of 5

    7skies

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth Quinney

  21. 4 out of 5

    Monique

  22. 5 out of 5

    Karen-Leigh

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

  24. 5 out of 5

    Diogenes

  25. 5 out of 5

    Astroboy

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dano

  28. 5 out of 5

    Willy Boy

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pewterbreath

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