Monday, May 9, 2011

Most Forgotten Cult Films

What is it that turns a film into a cult classic?  Usually the film is of limited appeal, or dealing with a controversial subject.  Cult films are mostly smaller budgeted affairs, or films featuring actors in lesser known roles.  What usually sets the cult film apart from other celluloid ventures, however, is that it is god awful.  Here is a list of some of the lesser known cult favorites:

This is the grand daddy of them all.  A favorite of the weekend midnight movie set.  This film brings out audience members dressed as their favorite Jay Ward animated character.  Though most imitate the lead character of Bullwinkle J. Moose, as well as countless femme fatales posing as Natasha, quite often a Dudley Do-Right, Mr. Peabody or Wrongway Peachfuzz appears at these gatherings.  This reviewer was complimented on his Sherman costume.  I was wasn't wearing any.

Many consider this film the worst ever made, but I profess a secret love for the movie.  Directed in 1956 by furniture transvestite Edward D. Drapes (who often appeared on the set decked out as a Danish modern coffee table), this is the last film to ever feature famed vampire actor Bela Lumbago.  Lumbago died during the making of the film, or so everyone thought.  Actually, he ran off to Tustin with his secretary Mona, in an attempt to cure himself from his fromage fix, a deadly addiction to cheese aged long enough to smell like gym towels.  Scenes with Lumbago early in the film do not match with later ones, partially because director Drapes curiously replaced the actor with a standing three-way lamp fixture, a move never explained to this day.

The plot of this film deals with outer space beings attempting to take over the world by raising dead condoms.  Not a pretty sight.  The film is intercut with quack fortune teller Kitschkin intoning doomlike lines such as "Who can say for sure that beings from another world may not attempt a world takeover bid by controlling douchefoam?"  My favorite line in the film, however, is when space guy, Mister I.U.D. says to the captured earthmen, "All you of earth are seriously bogus!"  Truly of what a cult film should be made.

This three-hour film takes place entirely at a lunch time restaurant.  The famed frog director Louis Air Maille attempts a random film made up of chowtime banter.  The longest scene in the film is when each of the men slowly pulls out his respective wallet waiting to see if the other will pick up the tab.

This is truly a curiosity.  A Chinese film attempting to imitate the English Mod movement.  Bands of rivalling Mods and Rockers in Shanghai are simply called Woks, who meet in China's first four-level shopping mall.  Music is supplied by Wokband, the Wu, lead by riveting guitarist, Pete Taoism (who earlier had written the first Wok Opera about a blind Sushi cook called Tatami, featuring the famous lyric, "Sashi me!  Touch me!  Heal me!").  Many classic Wu songs appear in Quadrapateria, including the lost sales slip anthem, "I Can't Exchange."  Truly, there has never been another film to better depict the rise of youthful Mandarin angst. 

As I look over the flyers for many revival theatres, I am amazed at the quantity and variety of films that become the so-called cult film.  Old time musicals like Meet Me In El Monte.  Foreign films like Federico Fettucine's 6 & 7/8.  And hardcore X rated A-Dult entertainment like Grunting Squatties.  It warms my heart, and sometimes other body parts, to see this truly international, ageless, and philosophically unfettered array of cinematic offerings.  To heck, I say, with the Hollywood hype of wide run motion pictures.  Give me the cult film, the revival festival.  Now what should I see next?  Harlan Elementary's sci-fi classic A Boy and His Slug?  A Matt Dullard brainless youth film festival?  A French farce like Pierre Regurge in The Tall Blond Man With One Bland Sandwich?  A psycho slasher film like I Was Beau Bridges.  Or maybe a classic Hollywood adventure film like Tarzan and His Common Law Wife?  Ah!  So many films and so little time.

[First published May 9, 1984.]