The Pleasure & Pain of Cult Horror Films
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The horror genre harbors a number of films too bold or bizarre to succeed with mainstream audiences, but offering unique, startling and often groundbreaking qualities that have won them an enduring following. Beginning with Victor Sjostrom's The Phantom Carriage in 1921, this book tracks the evolution and influence of underground cult horror over the ensuing decades, closing with William Winckler's Frankenstein vs. the Creature from Blood Cove in 2005. It discusses the features that define a cult film, trends and recurring symbols, and changing iconography within the genre through insightful analysis of 88 movies. Included are works by popular directors who got their start with cult horror films, including Oliver Stone, David Cronenberg and Peter Jackson.
was emblazoned with a broad advertising campaign. It is decked out in wide screen and ﬂorid color. It ﬂamboyantly claims for itself the introduction of a new ﬁlm technique called Hypno-Vista.” To make matters worse, some reviewers deemed Horrors misogynistic, which might have been a serious problem at the time when the second wave of feminism (from the early 1960s until the 1980s) was about to come. And it’s indeed difﬁcult to argue that Cohen and Crabtree’s movie shows women in a bad light: from
wait until the very last night before Emily’s birthday? The acting doesn’t help to create the illusion of realism, either, as all the actors involved are guilty of going a little bit over the top in at least some of the scenes. (The one where Eleonore forces Emily to take her medicine can be considered a good example; even Helga Liné, by no means a bad actress, here overdoes her gesturing and spits out her lines in an overly nervous manner.) Somehow neither the overacting nor the many ﬂaws of the
appetite for human ﬂesh. These two characters, Dorothy and Edmund Yates (Sheila Keith and Rupert Davies), have spent 15 years in a mental asylum after Dorothy’s earlier attempt at eating some poor guy (Edmund was treated as an accomplice), but now they’re back to society, apparently “cured.” The Yateses are parents of two young girls: older and more responsible Jackie (Deborah Fairfax) and reckless Debbie (Kim Butcher). When Jackie sees that her mother is on the verge of returning to the old
much screen time is devoted not just to Reno, but to the punk rockers and the derelicts as well. The viewer is given a chance to understand and feel for all of them; Brenez writes that in The Driller Killer, “capitalism is shown from the point of view of its victims: ... economic castoffs, slowly dying in the street, at anyone’s mercy.” Is it then possible that Reno is choosing to kill them not just because they are the easiest prey, but actually out of pity? They are, after all, quite similar to
puerile bunch of crap” (her own words from the revealing documentary Blood and Thunder Memories). That’s because Escape 2000 is a trademark, no-holds-barred example of 1980s trash cinema. There’s no guarantee you’ll end up loving it, but, at the very least, you will experience a thrilling journey to the edge of the genre. Whether you see Escape 2000 as a dark comedy, sci-ﬁ–horror, splatter movie or an homage to exploitation cinema with a political subtext, it’s certainly a hard-to-forget, highly