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6:00 PM on 08.21.2013

The Cult Club: Samurai Cop (1989)

It's been a long while since the last installment of The Cult Club here on Flixist. As a lover of kitsch, trash, and strange but wonderful things, I figured today was as good a time as any to resurrect the feature. So, welcom...

Hubert Vigilla




The Cult Club: El Mariachi (1992) photo
The Cult Club: El Mariachi (1992)
by Nick Valdez

[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favourite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy.]

Back when I started watching movies for serious, and not just for funsies, I wanted to be a filmmaker. I wanted to write a screenplay, gather what little money my friends and I had, and film a movie with our little "Movie Not Included" production company. It was a fleeting dream. One that could never truly get off the ground thanks to years of family illness, borderline poverty, and losing ties with that tight group of friends. But El Mariachi changed all of that. 

Robert Rodriguez is my favorite director for two reasons: he helped to promote Mexican values and pride (without taking himself too seriously) in the mainstream, and he's one of the best directors on an a budget. El Mariachi is a testament to Mexican ingenuity and badassness that still holds up despite its fade into obscurity. 

When I recently revisited El Mariachi for this month's Cult Club segment, I was afraid that my nostalgia rimmed glasses caused the film to be more enjoyable than it actually was. I mean, it had to have disappeared for a reason right? Turns out my initial positive impressions were reaffirmed, El Mariachi is intimate due to its obscure nature, over the top, and damn legendary. 

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The Cult Club: Six-String Samurai (1998) photo
The Cult Club: Six-String Samurai (1998)
by Hubert Vigilla

[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favourite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy.]

Toward the end of high school there were a couple movies that were my litmus test movies. (I think the end of high school and the early part of college are the last times that you can have these sorts of things and take them seriously, at least without seeming unnecessarily stand-offish.) Most of them were horror movies and cult films, and one of the musts was Six-String Samurai, one of the ginchiest movies ever made.

Watching it again is like rediscovering some old LP in a record store or finding forgotten singles on some terrestrial radio oldies station. This is a lean three-minute pop song that wastes no time: within its first minute or so, we are neck deep in its samurai/Soviet/surf rock mayhem. Here's a track played a lot, lauded in its time, then cast aside with all the other artifacts of the past. It's a movie ostensibly about an alternate 1950s America, but it's also a movie so 1990s that there was a Rob Liefeld comic for it, and so wild with its ideas it feels mint more than 10 years later.

That might be the best thing said about the post-apocalyptic nuttiness of Six-String Samurai: it's part time capsule, part time machine, and all cool.

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The Cult Club: The Warriors (1979) photo
The Cult Club: The Warriors (1979)
by Sean Walsh

The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favourite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy.

Sometime during what must've been the summer of 2004, my father was living in New Fairfield, Connecticut (the only time, to my knowledge, he lived outside the city of Danbury). I was staying for sporadic lengths of time due in no small part to the fact that I'd lost both of my best friends (one to marijuana and the other to a pair of, to be fair, fairly sizable breasts) towards the end of that school year. One week, my then step-mother and sister had gone out west or something and my father and I had the place all to ourselves. It was a largely unmemorable time, which I'm sure is mostly because it was eight and a half years ago, but there are two very distinct things I remember about that week. My father shared two films from his childhood with me that blew my mind: giant creature movie Food of the Gods and the nine-against-the-world film The Warriors. Both films were incredible, but The Warriors especially captivated me.

Submitted for your approval, I will take you all on a trip back to 'sometime in the future' and together we'll explore the world of a gang from Coney Island known as the Warriors...

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The Cult Club: Funky Forest: First Contact (2005) photo
The Cult Club: Funky Forest: First Contact (2005)
by Jenika Katz

[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favourite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy.]

There are many odd movies in the world. Some of them are unintentionally hilarious, attempting to create a masterpiece and falling fantastically short due to low budgets, poor acting, or some combination thereof. Some of them embrace these shortcomings and work with them, going for the so-bad-it's-good aesthetic to mixed success. Then there are other films, those that go for an abstract concept and don't necessarily care if the audience is left behind. Funky Forest is one of the latter. It might be hilariously absurd on purpose, or it might be secretly brilliant.

I first learned of Funky Forest: First Contact through Jonathan Holmes, the expert on most of the horrors that exist on this planet. He described one of the later scenes in the movie involving a school girl, a doctor, and a bloodsucking leech in the form of a tiny, bobble-headed man that came out of the pants of another man who squirted milk from his long nipples for sport. Why, yes: that was a sentence you just read! A single scene in this movie elicits a knowing smile and an, “Oh, Japan,” but the entirety is so much more than that.

While this is not as graphic as some former Cult Club articles, proceed with caution: Funky Forest is not something you want your boss to walk in on.

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The Cult Club: Casino Royale (1967) photo
The Cult Club: Casino Royale (1967)
by Matthew Razak

[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favourite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy.]

Have you ever seen a movie fall apart as you're watching it? Not simply a bad film, but one that completely and totally loses all cohesion as it rambles wildly towards its conclusion. Of course the only conclusion to a film that has completely lost its way is to have no conclusion at all. Have you ever seen a movie like that? A movie that seems like it's made up of pieces for multiple puzzles?

If you answered yes than you've seen 1967's Casino Royale. The film is based off of Ian Fleming's first Bond novel in that it's called Casino Royale and the characters have some names you might remember. Otherwise it is quite possibly the biggest train wreck of a film ever put to screen... and it's totally glorious because of it.

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The Cult Club: The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) photo
The Cult Club: The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
by Hubert Vigilla

[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favourite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy.]

My friend Dylan used to say, "Sometimes I feel like an alien." It was about how he didn't understand people or human interactions. The older I get, the more that statement sticks with me; the older I get, the more I feel like an alien. It may be why I have an odd affinity for the POV of aliens in books and movies. Because, really, what is an alien on Earth but an outsider who can observe human bulls**t without acknowledging the veneer? They offer another mode of critique to explore the weirdness of the world.

In The Man Who Fell to Earth, we get various outsider views of American shortcomings during the 1970s. There's David Bowie as a visitor from another planet, and Brits Nicolas Roeg and Paul Mayersberg as director and screenwriter, respectively. At the heart of the film is a W.H. Auden poem about a painting by Breughel, a healthy dose of sex, and an alien who doesn't notice his own fall until it's too late. All he's got is the tragic hand-flapping before gravity catches up, like you see in cartoons.

The Man Who Fell to Earth wasn't ahead of its time but entirely of its time. Like its main character, the film simply sat in the center of the me decade observing, and feeling like an alien.

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The Cult Club: Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat (2002) photo
The Cult Club: Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat (2002)
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favourite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy.]

Last November, the Cult Club featured Herschell Gordon Lewis's Blood Trilogy, a series of films that have been historically bound together not because of any connection between the films, but because they started a revolution in horror cinema. Thanks to 1963's Blood Feast, 1964's 2000 Maniacs, and 1965's Color Me Blood Red, blood is no longer enough. Now it's all about the gore. In 1972, 9 years after the release of Blood Feast, H. G. Lewis stopped making films. His final film, The Gore Gore Girls, is a fascinating film in its own right, and I recommend that for any fans of gory films. 

But as the turn of the century neared, rumors abounded that H. G. Lewis would return to helm a sequel to Blood Feast, and then the rumors became a beautiful, beautiful reality. In 2002, H. G. Lewis released Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat. Because it predates the digital revolution, it was much rarer for a filmmaker to set out with the intention of creating a film that is "so bad it's good."

But if anyone's going to do it, it may as well be a man whose repertoire is made almost exclusively of those kinds of films, don't you think? Of course you do. The images found below, by the way, are not safe for work. Consider yourself warned.

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The Cult Club: Batman (1966) photo
The Cult Club: Batman (1966)
by Matthew Razak

[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favourite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy.]

Of any superhero Batman has the longest and storied career in film. Those too young might even forget the fact that there were four Batman films before Christopher Nolan took over the franchise and turned it into the holy grail of comic book films. Those original four Batman films were mighty popular, and increasingly bad. They weren't, however, the true "original" Batman film. That honor goes to the Adam West-starring, 1966 Batman.

I've done a lot of Batman re-watching over the past week in preparation for the release of The Dark Knight Rises and while I'd never actually go as far to say that 1966's Batman is better than The Dark Knight after re-watching the film it's surprising how smart, timely and well delivered it actually is. In fact its humor is so tongue-in-cheek and so "theater of the absurd" that I am now convinced that the film's screenwriter (and writer of the pilot episode for the TV series the film was based off of) was actually a time traveling hipster.

Read on, bat-fans, to discover why Adam West's Batman is far more than anyone gives it credit for.

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The Cult Club: Surf Nazis Must Die (1987) photo
The Cult Club: Surf Nazis Must Die (1987)
by Liz Rugg

[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favorite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy]

"Sometime in the near future," an earthquake leaves the entire California coastline in ruins and turns its beaches into safe-havens for gangs, drugs, prostitutes and other depravity. Out of the chaos, one gang emerges and tries to rule all the beaches. Who rules the beaches? Surfers. Who rules the surfers? Surf Nazis.

Surf Nazis Must Die is a super-low budget B-Movie made by director Peter George and distributed by Troma Entertainment. It's infamous for its absurd plot and terrible production. Since it's June, we thought it'd be a good month here at the Cult Club to talk about a surf movie. A deadly surf movie, that is.

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The Cult Club: The Apple (1980) photo
The Cult Club: The Apple (1980)
by Hubert Vigilla

[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favourite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy.]

The 1970s seemed like the last real push for big screen musicals. You had everything from Grease to Tommy to Rocky Horror to Cabaret released with some regularity through the decade. By the mid-1980s, studios considered the genre mostly dead, though we did still get Little Shop of Horrors and Labyrinth.

The limbo years of the early 1980s bore several strange musicals with their own little cults behind them. There are the sequels Grease 2 and Shock Treatment (aka Rocky Horror 2: Electric Boogaloo). There's Richard Elfman's brilliantly bonkers Forbidden Zone. There's the dark Steve Martin misfire Pennies from Heaven. There's the Olivia Newton-John/ELO vehicle Xanadu. There's also The Return of Captain Invincible, a superhero musical starring Alan Arkin and Christopher Lee.

And then there's The Apple, technically a late 70s movie, but released in the United States in 1980. It's a campy, futuristic dystopian rock musical. Excuse me, I meant to write, "The Citizen Kane of campy, futuristic dystopian rock musicals." (It may also be the only one.)

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The Cult Club: Santa Sangre (1989) photo
The Cult Club: Santa Sangre (1989)
by Hubert Vigilla

[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favourite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy.]

I first saw Santa Sangre in high school and still have my VHS copy of the movie. One of the regulars at a video store I worked at recommended it to me. She sold me on the film with just a single sentence: "There's a scene where a woman pours sulfuric acid on her husband's dick, and then he chops off her arms."

When it was announced at Cannes that Alejandro Jodorowsky would make the film, he hadn't made a movie in several years. In fact, he hadn't made a movie he was proud of in more than 10 years. His previous film was Tusk, a bumbling Indian production about a girl and her pet elephant. It bore none of the surrealism and mysticism that marked his most famous films, El Topo and The Holy Mountain, both of which are canonical works of cult cinema.

A journalist at Cannes told Jodorowsky that he'd be rusty as a filmmaker. Jodorowsky replied that a rusty blade is twice as deadly -- it can cut you and also poison you.

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The Cult Club: Tideland (2005) photo
The Cult Club: Tideland (2005)
by Xander Markham

[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favourite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy.]

It's not a good sign when a director decides he needs to explain a movie to his audience before they've even watched a frame of it. A narrative experience should speak for itself, allowing its audience to take away their own interpretations and insights. As tempting as it is for the creator to go public and define the experience in his or her own terms, doing so can only ever make the experience smaller, tying down its meaning to the opinion of a single person rather than allowing it to blossom in unspoiled minds.

If ever it were understandable for a director to take such a step though, it would be for Terry Gilliam's Tideland. The US release was beset with problems, which Gilliam blamed on distribution company ThinkFilm, who opted to only release the movie in nine screens and then screwed with the aspect ration of the DVD. The film's critical reception could be generously described as bilious, with descriptions ranging from 'extrememly unpleasant' (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader) to 'creepy, exploitive [sic] and self-indulgent' (A.O. Scott). Gilliam has rarely been a director who finds popular appreciation easy to come by, though, and Tideland represents perhaps his most esoteric and misunderstood movie to date.

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The Cult Club: House (1977) photo
The Cult Club: House (1977)
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favourite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy.]

I don’t know what it is about Japan’s culture that makes them a cult film factory, but they really are. When a Japanese films turns towards the bizarre, there is nothing stranger in the world of cinema. Case in point: 1977’s film House (Hausu), which has the honor of being the first film in the Cult Club series to be a part of the much beloved Criterion Collection. Someone, somewhere thought that House should sit on the shelf beside Brazil, The 400 Blows, and The Seven Samurai.

And you know what? That person is a genius.

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The Cult Club: They Live (1988) photo
The Cult Club: They Live (1988)
by Sean Walsh

[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favorite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy.]

I love They Live. I’ve been waiting to write about it for the Cult Club for months. The film is a wonderful, insane, fever dream starring “Rowdy” Roddy Piper of World Wrestling Federation fame, but also Keith David, a man who possesses one of the most distinct African-American voices in Hollywood. It’s silly, it’s preachy, it’s brutal; it’s John Carpenter at his best. What makes this film so perfect for the Cult Club, whose annals are host to such films as Troll 2 and Cannibal Holocaust? You’ll just have to read on to find out!

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The Cult Club: Jingle All the Way (1996) photo
The Cult Club: Jingle All the Way (1996)
by Matthew Razak

Welcome to a very special holiday edition of Cult Club. Why is it special? Well, for one we're talking about a Christmas movie. But for two, we're doing things a bit differently this time around. See, this month's Cult Club film is Jingle All the Way, a film with an odd cult following that seem to love it.

I don't get it, though. See, all of the previous Cult Clubs have tackled films that the writer has understood why they're cult films, but I don't understand why Jingle All the Way is remembered by anyone for any reason. Luckily my fellow writer, Jamie Stone, does get it. Thus, this month we'll be double teaming the film. Jamie will be telling you why the film is awesome and deserves to be thought of as a cult classic while I'll be playing devil's advocate and tearing the thing apart.

Read on to find out for yourself if Jingle All the Way actually deserves to be a cult film.

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The Cult Club: The Blood Trilogy (1963-65) photo
The Cult Club: The Blood Trilogy (1963-65)
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favorite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy.]

When Blood Feast hit the grindhouses in 1963, the world was shocked. Censors at the time were ready to pounce on nudity and sex, but they had no expectations of the kind of extreme violence found in H. G. Lewis's newest film. Even Psycho didn't clue them in on what was about to come. The film came out and audiences lined up at the drive-in for miles in order to see it. Although it was shot in only four days on a pitifully small budget, Blood Feast truly changed the world of cinema forever. Its follow-ups, 1964's 2000 Maniacs and 1965's Color Me Blood Red, may not have been as shocking, but they upped the production values and didn't skimp on the red stuff. They gave the audiences just what they were looking for.
 And isn't that the point of exploitatio

When Blood Feast hit the grindhouses in 1963, the world was shocked. Local censorship at the time were ready to pounce on nudity and sex, but they had no expectations of the kind of extreme violence found in H. G. Lewis's newest film. Even Psycho didn't clue them in on what was about to come. The film came out and audiences lined up literally for miles in order to see it. Although it was shot in only four days on a pitifully small budget, Blood Feast truly changed the world of cinema forever. The film was so successful that Lewis and his partner David Friedman created two follow-ups: 1964's Two Thousand Maniacs! and 1965's Color Me Blood Red. Though none of the films are directly related, their excessive use of the red stuff has them forever bonded as The Blood Trilogy

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The Cult Club: Dougal & The Blue Cat (1970) photo
The Cult Club: Dougal & The Blue Cat (1970)
by Xander Markham

[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favorite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy.]

It's Halloween month, which means that this month's entry into The Cult Club will naturally be focusing on a film that is one of the scariest ever made. There's a good chance you will never have heard of it and after taking one look at the poster above, will assume I either have a very strange definition of the word 'scary' or am the most easily terrified human not born in France.

Dougal & The Blue Cat may be a children's film, but I would wager that the last time many of you reading this were legitimately, overwhelmingly terrified by a film was as a child. No matter how much blood or loud noises are packed into the average horror film, few match the effect of being a child thrown into a world filled with creatures out to do you harm and too strange to be rationalised by your limited knowledge of the world. It's the same formula which made Doctor Who such compelling viewing from behind the sofa for several generations of British children.

As a child, Dougal & The Blue Cat was the scariest thing I had ever seen. As an adult, it is an unsettling and often inspired work of Seventies abstract art.

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The Cult Club: Top Secret! (1984) photo
The Cult Club: Top Secret! (1984)
by Jenika Katz

[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favorite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy.]

Everyone has that one movie they watch repeatedly with their families. You cram every member of your extended family onto the couch, a couple of bowls of popcorn to be passed around, and prepare to share a couple of laughs and a heartwarming bonding experience. This certainly happened with my family around holidays with the typical feel-good movies of the season, but it didn't have the same feel as a summer at my grandma's house watching Top Secret! Nothing promotes familial solidarity quite like Val Kilmer trying to kill himself in front of hundreds of screaming teenagers.

No wonder we're all so messed up.

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The Cult Club: Battle Royale (2000) photo
The Cult Club: Battle Royale (2000)
by Geoff Henao

[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favourite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy.]

First and foremost, I must admit that I'm not into "cult" films. We each have our own cinematic interests that we tend to gravitate to, and cult films are unfortunately not one usually one of mine. However, exceptions exist for everything, and this holds true for cult films. I may not be a cult king or queen like Xander or Liz, but when a film's good, it's good.

And damn, is Battle Royale good.

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The Cult Club: Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991) photo
The Cult Club: Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991)
by Liz Rugg

The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favourite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy.

Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky is famous for its absolutely ludicrous depictions of violence and prison life on what can only be assumed was a tremendously small budget. Consider, for a moment, the fact that in the very title of the movie, the main character's name is spelled two different ways. This should be your first red-flag that this movie is going to get ridiculous. Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky is a 1991 Chinese adaption of a Japanese graphic novel titled simply Riki-Oh, and though the original language of the movie is Chinese, the English dubbed version is the real cult favorite – for reasons I'll explain in a bit.

As one of the most absurdly violent films ever created, Riki-Oh: the Story of Ricky has gone down in pop and internet culture history as an absolute cult classic. Riki-Oh is honestly one of my personal all-time-favorite movies to watch with friends, because of the sheer amount of low(lowest of the low)-quality special effects and the very loose plot, not to mention the extremely over-the-top fight scenes. You can think of it as what 13-year old boys would imagine a gory kung-fu fight movie would be like. Disturbed 13-year old boys. As you may imagine, this Cult Club will be NSFW because of extremely fake-looking violence.

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2:00 PM on 06.10.2011

The Cult Club: Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favorite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the ...

Andres Bolivar