What Makes A Movie “CULT”?
Could it be something as ridiculous as a film based on the concept of hunting someone down with a bow and arrow – WHILE NAKED?
Does a movie achieve “cult” status because it’s about an obscene phone caller who likes to wear a RABBIT MASK?
Or then again, maybe you just need to pair Sexploitaiton legend Russ Meyer with the greatest film critic of all time!
Time to look at three of the “wildest” cult films of all time, beginning with one of the strangest pairings in motion picture history!
Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls!
Some movie sequels are just a retread of the original film. However, if you only know of the original cult classic “Valley Of The Dolls”, then you haven’t experienced cult film sequel magic – taken to the X-treme!
“Russ And Roger Go Beyond!”
First, imagine a time when a movie studio was struggling for survival because of a number of big-budget flops. Now, imagine it’s the height of the sexual revolution in America, and soft core film maverick Russ Meyer was making a fortune with his low budget brand of “SINema!”
Meyer was already established as the outlaw helmer of soft-core pulp films like “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” and he wanted the legitimacy of making a studio film. Richard Zanuck, then head of 20th, gave him that opportunity because his movies made so much money, cost so little to make, and were a big hit with the younger generation!
How Meyer Met Ebert!
So here’s where it get really fascinating: Meyer agreed to take on “Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls” – the sequel to the smash pulp hit – but only on the condition that the script get written by Roger Ebert! At the time, Ebert was the third-string movie critic of the Chicago Sun Times, but he had written one of the few positive reviews Meyer had ever received!
Since Meyer had built a huge fan base by focusing on his Actresses’ ample talents, he brought in his usual buxom brigade! The film was actually “X-rated” – and a huge box office success! Meyer and Ebert remained friends until Meyer passed away in 2004.
Check out this classic trailer!
Here’s the very succinct plot outline from IMDB:
Three girls come to Hollywood to make it big, but find only sex, drugs and sleaze.
Of course they do! But those are the three most important things for a “cult” film!
If you want to see a major studio trying to be hip and edgy, and Russ Meyer and Roger Ebert having a blast sticking it to the man, this movie is for you!
And if you are unhappy with this choice, you can hunt me down like this:
Meet Countess Perverse!
How do you describe a movie like “Countess Perverse?” Well, maybe this way:
“Hunting Humans Was Her Favorite Game!”
What a great tagline for a movie!
Here’s the plot in a nutshell: Two wealthy aristocrats lure a virginal girl to a Spanish island for a night of sex, death and cannibalism.
Again, the PERFECT elements for a cult classic! And there is SO much more! Here is how The AV Club described the movie:
When a young couple in a classy seaside village finds a nude woman washed up on the beach, they aren’t particularly surprised by the story she tells them, about a house of horrors and a “man with black glasses” who’s trying to kill her.
As you can tell, this isn’t going to end well for the couple. But that’s what makes it so perversely fun – as you are about to see!
These aristocrats have a fun hobby: They strip their guests and send them out on the grounds to be hunted, Most Dangerous Game-style. If the guests survive long enough, the count sets them free.
Otherwise, the countess — who is also naked, save for a quiver of arrows — shoots them dead, then roasts them and serves them for dinner!
Yes, you read that right!
It’s “The Most Dangerous Game” – Naked!
I mean, that’s what is going on here: hunting humans for sport – and in this case, everyone is naked! That’s especially good news for fans of sexploitation legend Lina Romay, who spends most of the film running around the island naked!
Don’t look shocked, Lina – you were naked in ALL of your movies. The best part of “Countess Perverse” might just be the ending, just before the closing credits roll, when the count looks down at the corpse of his magnificent bride and boasts:
“You will be the best meal of my life!”
Now do you understand why this film is on this list? And if you don’t agree, then pick up a phone and call THIS NUMBER:
The Telephone Book!
Yes, this is a cult classic just based on the sight of a man seducing a young woman while wearing a Rabbit mask! But this wacky classic has a lot more than that!
First, meet Sarah Kennedy, the most adorable star you could ever hope for in a film…in a breakout role – a role that sees her in virtually every scene in the film, where she falls in love with –
A Lost Cult Classic Is On The Phone! You Have To Answer This Call!
“The Telehone Book” is a mind-blowing camp classic! It’s a day in the life of a lonely, sensitive young woman – who meets a very special person on “the telephone.” Thus begins one of the most original and surreal romantic comedies ever made…
There is SO MUCH to share with you about this incredible cult classic, but let’s get started by checking out the trailer!
Thanks to the maniacs at Vinegar Syndrome for releasing this mind-blowing obscurity from the halcyon days of the early 70’s!
Actress Sarah Kennedy not only looks exactly like Goldie Hawn, but she plays Alice, a young woman who lives in a New York City apartment decorated with pornographic images and knickknacks.
She’s sexy, quirky and liberated, but she really gets off on obscene phone calls, with rotary dial work from an unknown man, identifying himself as Mr. Smith (Norman Rose), bringing Alice to orgasmic heights.
That’s right, she falls in love with Mr. Smith based solely on his obscene phone calls to her!
Alice tries to track down Mr. Smith by telephone book cold calling, then racing around town, running into an amazing array of people, usually doing something dirty, as you can tell by this movie poster:
Alice’s goal is simple: she must find her gloved Romeo – who wears a pig mask and claims he can seduce the President of the United States! Is this strange enough for you yet?
According to the great IMDB website, “The Telephone Book” was written and directed by Nelson Lyon, who went on to participate in the early years of “Saturday Night Live.” Lyon also achieved infamy as John Belushi’s partner during the drug-binge weekend that took the superstar’s life.
Calling Andy Warhol!
Here’s another great piece of trivia: According to producer Merv Bloch, the movie originally came with a specially shot intermission which he eventually decided to cut out. During the intermission Andy Warhol was shown sitting in a chair eating popcorn until the actual movie would continue again!
This intermission was meant as an in-joke to Warhol’s own films that often showed the most mundane things for an extended amount of time, like a person sleeping for several hours or a person eating something without anything extraordinary happening. The footage of this intermission is currently considered lost!
“The Telephone Book” also includes one of the most surreal animation sequences ever, which pushes the film into X-rated territory, but it’s all quirky and fun, and therefore surprisingly innocent…an adult film anchored by an innocence that is charming…
Writer-director Nelson Lyon helmed “The Telephone Book” as a kinky vaudeville revue. When Alice’s obscene phone caller boasts that his talents could seduce the President of the United States and the entire First Family, he suffixes his claim that he would not try it because “I have no political ambitions.” And yes, he wears a pig mask the entire time!
There are several recognizable people in the film, including Jill Clayburgh, who would go on to receive an Oscar nomination a few years later!
Thanks to the folks at Vinegar Syndrome, who have released a blu-ray with radio spots, production stills and a feature-length audio commentary! What a great job saving one of cinema’s most obscure films ever!
So there you go, three trips into the world of cult cinema – enjoy and let me know what you think!
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