Cult Cinema: An Arrow Video Companion
URING HIS introduction to this compendium of essays, Ben Wheatley reminisces about renting Taxi Driver on VHS at the age of 15. “By the end of the film,” he says, “I felt like I’d had my head scraped out and reset.” That is a solid description of the effect any of the movies mentioned in this book will have on the average viewer. A celebration of “cinematic sleaze droplets” (to borrow a phrase from Robin Bougie’s contribution), the entries collected here revel in celluloid’s seamier side. If it’s got misshapen stars, poo-eating hookers or a scene in which a man eats a cat’s eyeball — an actual thing that happens in 1934’s Maniac — chances are it’ll get a mention.
Uk-based distributor Arrow has become known for its high-gloss re-releases of neglected movies, from Joe Dante’s The ’Burbs to Richard Elfman’s Forbidden Zone. This means they’re uniquely well-placed to provide an education in cult cinema. Avid collectors, beware: 20 of the 30 chapters in this book are re-prints of booklets packaged with individual Dvd/blu-ray releases. But for the layperson (i. e. anyone unable to identify which Tinto Brass movie features a priest sniffing a lady’s bicycle seat), this is a terrific