All things Cult Cinema

Started by wilder, March 27, 2017, 06:00:36 PM

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In 1992, Long Island teenager Amy Fisher ignited a media firestorm when she shot the wife of her lover, Joey Buttafuoco, in the face. This sordid tale of sex, aggravated assault, and Zubaz managed to spawn not one, not two, but THREE separate made-for-TV movies — a television first! Drew Barrymore, Alyssa Milano, and Noëlle Parker all took stabs at portraying the disturbed teen in each movie, yet a true on-screen depiction of Amy Fisher never emerged. Until now. In this RASHOMON of found footage film, director Dan Kapelovitz (THREE GENIUSES) mind-melds all three Amy Fisher movies into one ultimate meta-melodramatic mashup that's both a scathing critique and celebration of early-90s tabloid culture.


it's crazy to me how lavish this production is and how its biggest problem is being russian. i wonder if they remember it in russia, here it's an obscurity that i caught at a festival, although it did play in la at the nuart, kino lorber distributor, it's on dvd. but you don't see this one popping up in conversations


April 28, 2020

Tinto Brass' P.O. Box Tinto Brass (1995) and Massimiliano Zanin's Istintobrass (2013) on blu-ray from Cult Epics, from 4K and 2K restorations

P.O. Box Tinto Brass (1995)
The confessions, dreams, secrets and memories of women who wrote in to newspapers, told through a series of the letters, photos and videotapes sent in to the paper along with their stories of hidden desires and fantasies.

An intimate look at the life, career, and legacy of Tinto Brass. One of the most controversial, original and loved figures of Italian cinema. The most censored director of all time. An anarchist of the film, a gifted experimenter, an inventor of dreams. A truly great artist.



May 19, 2020

Mario Bava's Danger: Diabolik (1968) on blu-ray from Shout Factory

The suave, psychedelic-era thief called Diabolik (John Phillip Law) can't get enough of life's good – or glittery – things. Not when there are currency shipments to steal from under the noses of snooty government officials and priceless jewels to lift from the boudoirs of the super-rich.

The elusive scoundrel finds plenty of ways to live up to his name in this tongue-in-cheek, live-action caper inspired by Europe's popular Diabolik comics. He clambers up walls, zaps a press conference with Exhilaration Gas, smacks a confession out of a crime lord while freefalling with him from an airplane, and pulls off the heist of a twenty-ton gold ingot. Impossible? No, diabolical – Danger: Diabolik, to be exact!

March 31, 2020

Ulli Lommel's Olivia (1983) aka Prozzie on blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome, restored in 4K from the original 35mm negative

When she was a child, Olivia (Suzanna Love) witnessed the horrifying and violent murder of her prostitute mother at the hands of an angry John. Now an adult, she's married to an abusive and controlling factory worker, that is, until her mother appears to her and demands that Olivia avenge her death by seducing and then slaying men. While disposing of a body near the London Bridge, Olivia has a chance meeting with a friendly American named Mike (Robert Walker Jr) who reveals that he's visiting England in order to dismantle and move the bridge to Arizona, setting off a series of increasingly strange events, and a lot more bloodshed...

Perhaps the most offbeat film in the fascinating career of German actor turned exploitation auteur, Ulli Lommel (Tenderness of the Wolves, The Boogeyman) OLIVIA (also known as Prozzie and Double Jeopardy) finds a distinctive blend of slasher, erotic thriller, and straight forward sleaze, seasoned with touches of semi-surrealism. Atmospherically photographed and featuring a moody score by Joel Goldsmith (Man's Best Friend), Vinegar Syndrome brings this nearly unclassifiable piece of early 80s genre weirdness to Blu-ray, newly restored in 4K from its original 35mm camera negative and presented in its completely uncensored version for the first time on disc.

2020 TBD

Sergio Martino's The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971) on blu-ray from Severin

An ambassador's wife discovers that one of the men in her life -- either her husband, an ex-lover or her current lover -- may be a vicious serial killer who targets women with razor blades in Vienna.


I just became aware of Jonas Middleton's "hardcore horrror nightmare" Through the Looking Glass (1976)

A rich socialite escapes her boring lifestyle when a ghost takes her to a sexual hell where anything goes.

Quote from: Samm DeighanI initially watched Through the Looking Glass with the expectation that it was a loose sequel to Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Comedy (1976), because Through the Looking-Glass was Lewis Carroll's follow up to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. That could not be farther from the truth. Where Alice is a silly, sexploitation musical comedy about Alice's sexual awakening and does not take itself seriously in the least, Through the Looking Glass is a surreal, horror-porn with ghosts, demons, incest, sexual trauma, and images of hell.

^ Lengthier write-up at Satanic Pandemonium

Quote from: Letterboxd user CliffIf you've ever wished that pornography had better stories, Through the Looking Glass might make you think again. Because this is one nightmarish fuckfest, concerning unhappily married Catherine, who sneaks off into her boudoir in the attic where a mirror makes all her best and worst fantasies come true. The film has four jaw-dropping set-pieces. [...] What this lacks in wank material, it more than makes up for in transgressive, disturbing weirdo horror.

Quote from: Letterboxd user BerryOf all the staples in the Golden Age of Porn, the most fascinating were always the works that put artistry before the erotic. Jonas Middleton made an adult film, but the porn aspect is probably all lost because Through the Looking Glass is an all-out horror film. A smoky, shadow-painted collection of eerie fantasies, exploring the dark sides of sex, going as far as addressing incestuous abuse and generational trauma. One could only wonder if the film was advertised as titillating. The reactions from an unsuspecting audience being treated to something that featured a scene pulled straight from Pasolini's Trilogy of Life would be priceless.

Quote from: Nick'Through The Looking Glass' also has the distinction of being one of the few hardcore films to be re-edited for mainstream release. It screened at New York's World Theater, the same cinema where 'Deep Throat' had its premiere.

...the film dives headlong into Catherine's damaged state of mind. There are several scenes depicting any number of sexual hang-ups, most of which are staged as brazenly disturbing and not the least bit arousing. After all, this is a film using sex to depict the deep emotional scars of incest. Nothing herein is depicted as straight copulation as much as it seems like the sex is consuming Catherine, causing her to turn inward, like a snake eating its own tail, a kind psychological cannibalism.

The ending is not positive, bordering on nihilistic, as Catherine gives into her fantasies and enters the looking glass with her "father." She emerges on the other side in a carnal wasteland, doomed to degradation and sexual ravishing with no pleasure and no reprieve. Worst of all, the closing scenes depict Catherine's maligned daughter posing in front of the very same mirror, suggesting that the cycle of incest will continue.

A horror film, through and through.

His [Jonas Middleton's] work in 'Through The Looking Glass' feels like a distant cousin to the works of Alejandro Jodorowsky or Federico Fellini and one or both of those auteurs undoubtedly inform the experience.

According to Ian Jane, Distribpix (which restored and released Blue Sunshine) had a blu-ray in the works but at some point it stalled:

Quote from: Ian JaneIt was supposed to be released but it never happened. There was an issue with the HD scan that was prepared and I don't know if it was ever redone or not. It would look amazing in HD.

The odd things is, I know first hand from being there, that he's got scans done for a bunch of titles. He was planning, at one point, to do a bunch of double feature releases on Blu-ray without any extras, just to start getting the finished titles out there. Why it hasn't happened I don't know, I haven 't talked to him in a while. It's probably just a matter of essentially being a one man show and not having enough hours in the day.

oh well, another white whale...


Damn! Will seek out Istintobrass and Through the Looking Glass.
QuoteIt's probably just a matter of essentially being a one man show and not having enough hours in the day.
Disheartening and inspiring, both. That people are still looking out for the film even if it's out of reach. Jonas Middleton could use a cineaste-champion like NWR.


From a podcast interview with Jonas Middleton by The Rialto Report:

Quote"Today, Jonas is proud of his artistic achievement but (and there's always a 'but') why did it have to contain hardcore sex? You see, Jonas Middleton is a man of religious conviction, and God has never been far away from his life and his work. A church group was even responsible for the funding of his sex films. And so it can't be easy to feel proud and perhaps uncomfortable at the same time. In fact, he feels he's been paying the price for making adult movies ever since the 1970s."

I'm just into the first couple minutes of this but it seems like it's going to be a wild ride.


i think about cinemania all the time and it's literally joined grey gardens and tangerine etc in my list of favorite movies in which i don't understand what the problem is really


The Tenant wiki is like um expansive. it's mostly dumb but it seems exciting. for example it has an entire Kafka Influence section. that definitely seems exciting. but then it has another section titled "Doomed cycle, loss of self, and social assimilation" that begins with "The Tenant has been referred to as a precursor to Kubrick's The Shining" and ends with "the film has also been referred to as an early precursor to Fight Club (1999), a film where the final twist reveals it to be about a case of split personality." that's so tacky. i want to circle back to The Shining because i shittalk that movie as a hobby. "(the question usually asked with The Shining is 'Ghosts or cabin fever?')." stop. it. that that question is not an attempt at humor is hilarious because ghosts don't exist. it's still crazy to me that St. Augustine wasn't sure if The Golden Ass was real or not, in other words that intelligent people aren't sure if magic exists or not. life is so funny but nobody wants to admit it. The Shining is bullshit in a simple way. what's cool about The Tenant is it demonstrates how legitimate world problems can infect the mind in complex ways. it's legitimately not a complicated movie it's just complex, and complexity trips people out. anyway according to wiki this is a cult movie because, once again, Ebert was wrong: "Although The Tenant was poorly received on its release, with Roger Ebert declaring it 'not merely bad -- it's an embarrassment,' it has since become a cult favorite." it's a brilliant movie for reasons that wiki doesn't describe well but does describe


Slow cinema is a genre of art cinema film-making that emphasizes long takes, and is often minimalist, observational, and with little or no narrative. It is sometimes called "contemplative cinema". Examples include Ben Rivers' Two Years at Sea, Michelangelo Frammartino's Le Quattro Volte, Nili Portugali's And the alley she whitewashed in light blue and Shaun Wilson's film 51 Paintings.

Progenitors of the genre include Andrei Tarkovsky, Ingmar Bergman, Michelangelo Antonioni, Robert Bresson, Aleksandr Sokurov, Béla Tarr, Chantal Akerman and Theo Angelopoulos. Tarkovsky argued that "I think that what a person normally goes to cinema for is time".

Greek director Theo Angelopoulos has been described as an "icon of the so-called Slow Cinema movement".

Recent underground film movements such as Remodernist film share the sensibility of slow or contemplative cinema. Examples include The Turin Horse by Béla Tarr, the works of Fred Kelemen, Sleep Has Her House by Scott Barley and The Earth Still Moves by Pablo Chavarría Gutiérrez.

The AV Festival held a Slow Cinema Weekend at the Star and Shadow Cinema in Newcastle, UK in March 2012, including the films of Rivers, Lav Diaz, Lisandro Alonso and Fred Kelemen.

Recent examples also include films by Kelly Reichardt, Tsai Ming-Liang, and the late Abbas Kiarostami.

Sight & Sound noted of the definition of slow cinema that "The length of a shot, on which much of the debate revolves, is a quite abstract measure if divorced from what takes place within it". The Guardian contrasted the long takes of the genre with the two-second average shot length in Hollywood action movies, and noted that "they opt for ambient noises or field recordings rather than bombastic sound design, embrace subdued visual schemes that require the viewer's eye to do more work, and evoke a sense of mystery that springs from the landscapes and local customs they depict more than it does from generic convention." The genre has been described as an "act of organized resistance" similar to the Slow food movement.

It has been criticized as being indifferent or even hostile to audiences. A backlash by Sight & Sound's Nick James, and picked up by online writers, argued that early uses of long takes were "adventurous provocations created by extremists" whereas recent films are "operating within a recognized, default artistic idiom." The Guardian's film blog concluded that "being less overweeningly precious about films that are likely to be impenetrable to even the most well-informed audiences would seem an idea." Dan Fox of Frieze criticized both the dichotomy of the argument into 'philistine' vs 'pretentious' and the reductiveness of the term "slow cinema".

Recently, film scholars Katherine Fusco and Nicole Seymour have pointed out that the slow cinema movement has been mischaracterized by both supporters and detractors. As they argue, much "commentary posits slow cinema as a kind of pastoral for the present moment, a respite from our technologically saturated ... Hollywood-blockbuster-centered era." Such commentary therefore associates the movement with pleasure and relaxation. But in reality, slow cinema films often focus on down-and-out laborers; as Fusco and Seymour argue, "for those on the fringes of society, modernity is actually experienced as slowness, and usually to their great detriment."


totally fascinated by the "no it's bad you can't enjoy it" perspective


Quote from: jenkins on March 28, 2020, 01:45:35 PM

Recent underground film movements such as Remodernist film share the sensibility of slow or contemplative cinema. Examples include The Turin Horse by Béla Tarr, the works of Fred Kelemen, Sleep Has Her House by Scott Barley and The Earth Still Moves by Pablo Chavarría Gutiérrez.

nice to see Pablo's name there. He's a good friend and I produced his previous film (and I think his best) before that, The Letters. Recently we helped him out with his most recent in post.

My relationship with so -called "slow cinema" has been ambivalent, particularly after being so close to some of the filmmakers of that type of cinema in Mexico and Latinamerica. I enjoy a lot of them, but there are plenty of examples where the supposed subversion in formal terms becomes as predictable and asphyxiant as the narrative conventions these films are avoiding. I saw one recently (not saying any names but it was a celebrated film in plenty of international festivals) which was, to me, the equivalen of an oscar bait miramax 90's film. I could literally anticipate each beat, each cut, when the shot was gonna end, how long it was gonna last. And people creamed over it and gave it the accolades that by now are too familiar: it's like seeing life, it's like reinventing cinema at once, it's an approach that defies hollywood conventions... and so on.

From time to time, as with any other type of film, true gems come around. But it has become a bit tiresome in the last few years.


great irl elements

that's also how i'd describe Portrait of a Lady on Fire. and Moonlight for that matter

i think it's a bona fide element in cinematic grammar but we all know there's a lot more to consider than proper grammar


I had it in my head that André de Toth's 1953 House of Wax was the first 3D film but that's inaccurate and this is accurate:

Bwana Devil is a 1952 U.S. adventure B movie written, directed, and produced by Arch Oboler, and starring Robert Stack, Barbara Britton, and Nigel Bruce. Bwana Devil is based on the true story of the Tsavo maneaters and filmed with the Natural Vision 3D system. The film is notable for sparking the first 3D film craze in the motion picture industry, as well as for being the first feature-length 3D film in color and the first 3D sound feature in English.

The advertising tagline was: The Miracle of the Age!!! A LION in your lap! A LOVER in your arms!

Historic Background:
The plot was based on a well-known historical event, that of the Tsavo maneaters, in which many workers building the Uganda Railway were killed by lions. These incidents were also the basis for the book The Man-eaters of Tsavo (1907), the story of the events as written by Lt. Col. J. H. Patterson, the British engineer who killed the animals. The story was also the basis for the film The Ghost and the Darkness (1996) with Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer.

Natural Vision:
By 1951 film attendance had fallen dramatically from 90 million in 1948 to 46 million. Television was seen as the culprit and Hollywood was looking for a way to lure audiences back. Cinerama had premiered on September 30, 1952 at the Broadway Theater in New York and was a success there, but its bulky and expensive three-projector system and huge curved screen were impractical, if not impossible, to duplicate in any but the largest theaters.

Former screenwriter Milton Gunzburg and his brother Julian thought they had a solution with their Natural Vision 3D film process. They shopped it around Hollywood. 20th Century Fox was focusing on the introduction of CinemaScope and had no interest in another new process. Both Columbia and Paramount passed it up.

Only John Arnold, who headed the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer camera department, was impressed enough to convince MGM to take an option on it, but they quickly let the option lapse. Milton Gunzburg turned his focus to independent producers and demonstrated Natural Vision to Arch Oboler, producer and writer of the popular Lights Out radio show. Oboler was impressed enough to option it for his next film project.

Oboler said he had overheard Joseph Biroc and the camera crew talking about 3D while filming The Twonky and Oboler became interested.

As at all U.S. screenings of feature-length 3D films in the 1950s, the polarized light method was used and the audience wore 3D glasses with gray Polaroid filters. The anaglyph color filter method was only used for a few short films during these years. The two-strip Natural Vision projection system required making substantial alterations to a theater's projectors and providing its screen with a special non-depolarizing surface.


These two releases round out the Girls, Guns, and G-Strings Andy Sidaris DVD box set. All the titles are now on blu-ray.

July 28, 2020

Andy Sidaris' Day of the Warrior (1996) on blu-ray from Mill Creek

The Legion to Ensure Total Harmony and Law (L.E.T.H.A.L.), is tracking a criminal mastermind known only as The Warrior. While investigating his combination diamond smuggling/art theft/porn production industry, the agents discover that he has cracked their secret database and has stolen the files on all of their agents. With the help of their martial arts instructor Fu, agents Tiger, Willow and Cobra take on the case.

July 28, 2020

Andy Sidaris' Return to Savage Beach (1998) on blu-ray from Mill Creek

A stolen computer disk contains the location of a hidden tresaure trove. It's up to the sexy ladies of LETHAL (Legion to Ensure Total Harmony and Law) to find the treasure before the bad guys do.