Cult movies for beginners – part two

Ahead of tomorrow’s publication in the Edinburgh Evening News of the second part of my look at the rise of cult movie fandom in Edinburgh, Robbie McKay from the Edinburgh B-Team lists his top five cult films that deserve a place in any self-respecting DVD collection.

  1. Hard Boiled (1992)

    The film which got me out of the mainstream. If you are a fan of action movies, this is THE action movie. John Woo and Chow Yun Fat collaborate at the top of Woo’s game. This film moves from one fantastically crazy set piece gun battle to another, from a tea house to a dockyard warehouse to a hospital, all with a 1 vs 100 good guy to bad guy ratio.

    It’s also spectacular to watch, with Woo throwing Fat in slow motion through scenes in which EVERYTHING explodes with ricocheting bullets and explosions, and plenty of spaghetti western-esque gun shot wounds. I recommend this to any one who’s made themselves sit through by-the-numbers, 80s-style western action movies for too long.

  2. The Terror of Tiny Town (1938)

    A miniature Holy Grail, literally, this movie is fairly notorious amongst the B-movie circles. It’s a fairly simple western about dastardly cattle thieves pitching ranchers against one another, with a hero having to try and stop the bad guys before bloodshed. What marks it out is that the entire cast, from the villain to the hero, via the show girls and the bar man, are all played by midgets (and the odd child).

    Now whilst this is quite obviously exploitation cinema (a good 40 years before Grindhouse movies revolutionised the concept), it is interesting to note that the actors/actresses in this piece all get their names credited, and the roles they play are delivered with as much realism and seriousness as any other western of the time. The same people went on to act in such massive Hollywood A films as The Wizard of Oz and got no such treatment. This film is certainly an experience.

  3. The Pit & the Pendulum (1961)

    Vincent Price is one of the greatest actors the realm of horror has ever had the privilege to call its own. Having made some classic macabre through-out the 50s, with The Tingler, The Bat and The House on Haunted Hill, the 1960’s introduced Price to Roger Corman, the man responsible for many major trends in not only the horror world, but cinema as a whole.

    One of their first collaborations was in this movie, a re-working of a story by Edgar Alan Poe (who’s work was regularly re-worked for cinema by the duo). This movie is good for people getting into cult movies as it not only introduces you to the wonderful acting skills of Mr. Price (for a whole lot longer than his wonderful cameo in Edward Scissorhands), it also introduces you to Roger Corman and American International Pictures, and if you follow them down the rabbit hole you are sure for a big surprise.

  4. Street Trash (1987)

    A film which made me want a region free DVD player, Street Trash is a notorious cult movie. The story is fairly simple, a liquor store owner finds a crate of booze under his shop, and sells it cheap to all the bums and winos. Problem is, this drink, Tenafly Viper, makes anyone who drinks it either melt or explode.

    Throw into the mix a morbidly obese predator, a varied group of bums and crazy Vietnam vets and you know that some crazy stuff is going to happen. And it does. This film is not for the weak of disposition, as it features some real gross out parts. It manages to stay out of the video nasty section by being ridiculous throughout, so it never drops into the disturbing, just remains in the sick and twisted.

  5. Murder Party (2007)

    A modern cult movie, and rightly so, this is for those who like their horror with plenty of dark humour. The scene is simple on the outset, a loner finds an invitation to a ‘murder party’ on Halloween. He goes along expecting a party, but soon discovers it is in actual fact a planned murder, of himself. However, it has been organised by 5 members of the New York art scene, and its thereby anything but simple.

    Egos, ambitions, desires and exaggeration soon takes hold and everything deteriorates. This is a low budget number, but it looks great, and the acting is excellent too. Whilst the general theme and level of gore keep it in the horror genre, it is actually funny, something which most horror films often miss the mark with. This film is set to be a cult classic.

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