Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cult Movies 3

1988, undated later edition, from Fireside (Simon & Schuster)
Danny Peary
Cult Movies 3: Fifty More of the Classics, the Sleepers, the Weird, and the Wonderful
Possibly bought newish for $14.95
Worn paperback with stains

Maybe I've mellowed in the last few months, but I found this to be the best of Peary's "cult" series.  Even the movies I don't want to see were more interesting to read about, even when I disagree with him, as on Blue Velvet, his most recent choice.  Over a third (eighteen) of the movies are from 1977 to '86, but he does include The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919).  And there are two back to back movies from '47.  (He's still going alphabetically, so it's Miracle on 34th Street and Monsieur Verdoux.)  It's arguable that this book is better because of the previous entries, so you can compare movies with related cult followings (as with Plan Nine from Outer Space earlier, Glen or Glenda? here). 

More so than in '81 or '83, the impact of cable and home video is seen in the late '80s, as midnight movies became less common, and some films found their cults via home-viewing.  This probably led to less of an in-person aspect to the "communities" of fans, which the Internet would further weaken.  On the other hand, it's probably easier to find even obscure movies now, given luck and opportunity.  So my guess is that there may be more cult movies now but less of the "midnight mass" feel that Hoberman & Rosenbaum discuss.

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