Written by: Carroll Jenkins on January 29th, 2018
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Cult Epics
Editor: Nico B.
Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1 x 11.2 inches
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Retail Price: $59.95
I’ve been a cult movie fan as far back as I can remember, though I didn’t really consider them as such until Danny Peary’s 1981 publication of “Cult Movies”. As I sought out each and every available film in the mom & pop VHS video stores I found it to be a mixed bag. Some were childhood favorites such as Forbidden Planet, Jason and the Argonauts, King Kong, Sunset Boulevard, Freaks. Others were obscure vintage classics that I had yet to discover: Black Sunday, Force of Evil, Gun Crazy, Kiss Me Deadly; but the most influential were the more recent exploitation / genre films not available uncut on television which included Caged Heat, The Harder They Come, The Honeymoon Killers, Mad Max, Two-Lane Blacktop, Andy Warhol’s Heat. Then there were also the fetish / art house / surrealistic / alternative / experimental films that mostly left me cold.
This is a review of the successor to that legacy, the Cult Epics Comprehensive Guide To Cult Cinema. This time there need not be a long painstaking search for the titles discussed within the tome as all the films have been released to home video by Cult Epics. Reviews of each film are complied from a variety of sources (including on-line review websites) and sometimes feature an introduction as well. Nico B describes the films as essentially art house sometimes falling into erotic and/or horror genres but nearly all being controversial and provocative. He also tends to focus on the works of a single auteur before moving on to the next opportunity or project. An interview with Ian Jane reveals that he went through a discovery phase similar to mine.
My personal favorites among the films are School of the Holy Beast, Paprika, and Viva. Some of the others are fetish / art house / surrealistic / alternative / experimental films and I’ve not seen them. As I make my way through this massive volume, I may well be inspired to broaden my horizons yet again. The production values are exceptional from the glossy hard cover to the heavy duty gilt-edged pages, the superabundant high quality color photos. The print font of the main text is a bit on the small side but razor sharp and easily discernible nonetheless (thanks to my tri-focal).
The Cult Epics brand is one of the few ’boutique’ labels in the current market along with Criterion [‘high-art’] and Vinegar Syndrome [‘low-art’] following the extermination of many independent DVD producers such as Panik House [R.I.P.]. Fans of Cult Epic releases should get their copy now – it is the perfect celebration of the label, it’s film releases and productions. It’s also perfect for the casual fan to bone up (pun intended) on the Cult Epics product available.
Full disclosure: Michael Den Boer, founder and primary contributor of 10kbullets is represented by no less than 13 reviews appearing here in publication form in grand style. They did quote one sentence of mine regarding Viva in their catalog: “This is a homage and a parody of 70’s lifestyles, fashion, movies, and wigs.” 10K Bullets