Recently in Cult Films Category

TALESPOSTER.pngIn connection with the current "Ka-Pow!  When Comics Imperiled America" show in the Flinn Gallery, Greenwich Library's Friends Friday Films will present Tales From The Crypt on Friday March 27th beginning at 8:00 pm.  The 1972 British film adapts five short stories from the infamous EC Comics horror line that were published between 1950-55.  (Although, oddly enough, only two of the stories in the film are from  the actual Tales comic; the other three were adapted from EC's companion books The Haunt of Fear and The Vault of Horror.)*

Five people  get separated from a tour group in a series of catacombs and find themselves trapped  in a strange stone crypt.  A mysterious hooded crypt keeper (Ralph Richardson) appears and proceeds to tell each one of them their possible future.  Or is it their future...?

"...And All Through The House"  (from Vault of Horror #35) stars Joan Collins as a woman who murders her rich husband on Christmas Eve.  Meanwhile, a homicidal killer dressed as Santa Claus is prowling the neighborhood.  "Reflection of Death" (Tales From The Crypt #23) depicts a businessman (Ian Hendry) abandoning his family to run off with his secretary, but unforeseen events intervene. "Poetic Justice" (Haunt of Fear #12) has a rich snob (Robin Phillips) harassing an elderly garbage collector (horror legend Peter Cushing!) to force him out of the neighborhood, with deadly results.

"Wish You Were Here" (Haunt of Fear  #22), an acknowledged retelling/revision of W.W. Jacobs' "The Monkey's Paw", focuses on a newly bankrupt arms dealer (Richard Greene) whose life takes a turn for the worse after his wife (Barbara Murray) foolishly makes three wishes to regain their lost fortune. And "Blind Alleys" (Tales  From The Crypt #45), the best of the five stories, has mistreated blind rest home residents get revenge on the institution's uncaring director (Nigel Patrick).

Tales From The Crypt was produced by Milton Subotsky (who also adapted the original stories for the film) and Max J. Rosenberg, and directed by Freddie Francis.  All three had worked together before on such horror films as Dr. Terror's House of Horrors and The Skull (both 1965), and  Torture Garden (1967).  With a solid cast, script, and direction, along with some welcome black humor, Tales From The Crypt is a lot of good scary fun.  (Yes, there is some gore; a character's final fate in Wish You Were Here" is especially graphic.)  Rated PG-13, Tales runs 92 minutes. Check it out.  If you dare!

*(Ballantine Books released paperback reprint anthologies of Tales From The Crypt and The Vault of Horror in 1964-65. The stories in this film were taken from these two editions.)

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Fans of the classic EC Comics line may want to check out the Flinn Gallery's new exhibition "Ka-Pow! When Comics Imperiled America" that opens tonight at 6:00 pm and will continue until April 29th. It'll spotlight Robert Reiner's  original art collection of these highly sought comics. Greenwich Time ran a very good story on the show here.  And yours truly contributed an article on the library's collection of hardcover reprints of some of the EC books here

For more info on the exhibition, click here.

And on March 27th, Friends Friday Films at the library will be showing the 1972 EC Comics movie adaptation  Tales From The Crypt.  Details here. Below is the trailer for that film:

I'll be discussing that film in an upcoming post.   Look for it!

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Cult Films Returns April 9th With "Donnie Darko"!

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Greenwich Library's Cult Films program will be taking a vacation during the month of March. But it'll be back on April 9th with a showing of 2001's Donnie Darko starring Jake Gyllenhaal.  Details here.  And here's the trailer for it:


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Thursday night, February 19th, beginning at 6:30 PM, Greenwich Library Cult Films will present From Russia With Love in the second floor meeting room.  Click here for more details.  And check out the original trailer below:

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This 1963 film, the second of the long running James Bond 007 series, stars Sean Connery as Bond and a powerhouse cast including Lotte Lenya and Robert Shaw, was adapted by screenwriter Richard Maibaum from a treatment by Johanna Harwood, and directed by Terence Young, who helmed the previous 007 thriller, 1962's Dr. No.  Composer John Barry makes his series debut with a terrific musical soundtrack as well.

Taken from Ian Fleming's 1957 novel (reviewed here by me), the filmmakers slightly altered the plot to reflect more then-recent contemporary times.  Instead of the Russians wanting revenge on Bond for repeated assaults on their operations in such novels as Casino Royale, Live And Let Die, and Moonraker, now it's the SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) organization, first introduced in Fleming's 1961 novel Thunderball, out to get Bond for taking out their agent Dr. No in the previous film. 

SPECTRE's chief strategist Kronsteen (Vladek Sheybal) devises a plan involving getting Bond to travel to Istanbul to pick up a Soviet Embassy clerk,  Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi),  who wants the British to help her defect to the West.  In exchange, she'll provide Bond (with whom she claims to have fallen in love )  the valuable Russian code machine, the Lektor. 

Actually, SPECTRE agents Rosa Klebb (Lenya) and Donald Grant (Shaw) are to retrieve the Lektor from Bond (allowing SPECTRE to charge the Russians an expensive fee/ransom in exchange for its return) and implicate Bond and Tatiana in a murder-suicide scandal that'll kill our heroes, avenge Dr. No, AND embarrass the West!  Even with help from British Intelligence Station Chief Kerim Bey (the great Pedro Armendariz), will Bond and Tatiana be able to find out and stop SPECTRE's plan? 

A fun, exciting Cold War-era thriller with some welcome tongue-in-cheek humor (get a load of Bond's lethal attachĂ© case!), From Russia With Love is essential viewing to fans of the series, especially since the upcoming new 007 film starring Daniel Craig as Bond that's currently in production is titled SPECTRE.  When that film opens this fall, it'll be fun to note how the organization has been "updated". 

From Russia With Love is rated PG, runs 115 minutes, and is in color. Admission is free.

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Read all about it here.

Repo Man will be shown at Greenwich Library on Thursday,  January 15 at 7:00 pm in the second floor meeting room.  Rated R. More details here.

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REPOMAN.pngGreenwich Library Cult Films returns Thursday, January 15th at 7:00 PM in the second floor meeting room.  (Yes, you can bring cushions.)  We'll be showing 1984's Repo Man.  Here's a quick description:

Aimless young punk Otto (Emilio Estervez) gets hired by Bud (Harry Dean Stanton) to repossess cars that owners failed to make payments on. Then one day, Otto, other repo men, and government agents all race to find a certain Chevy Malibu which may or may not have dead aliens from outer space in the trunk...



This is a wild, almost surreal comedy-thriller  by writer-director Alex Cox that never lags in its pacing. The musical soundtrack evokes the 80s with songs by Iggy Pop, Black Flag, and Fear, among others.  All 92 minutes of it is in color and rated R for violence and language.

We'll also be having a guest speaker, my colleague Everett Perdue, who'll go in more detail about the movie and its significance (artistic and otherwise) then and now, and will answer any questions you might have.

For more info, head to our Cult Films page here.  Our next film following Repo Man will be the 1963 James Bond thriller, From Russia With Love on Thursday, February 19th at 6:30 PM in the meeting room.  See you there!

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The latest installment in Greenwich Library's Cult Films series, Sergio Leone's A Fistful Of Dollars, starring Clint Eastwood, will be shown on Wednesday, November 5th, beginning at 6:30 pm.  More details here.  Below is the original trailer:



Dollars, made & released in 1964 in Europe (the US got to see it for the first time in January, 1967), was a thinly disguised remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1961 film Yojimbo, itself influenced by Dashiell Hammett's 1929 novel, Red Harvest. Directed by Sergio Leone, Dollars was an Italian/Spanish/German co-production, shot in Almeria, Spain (exteriors), with indoor sequences (interiors) shot in Italy.  The cast was made up of various Italian, German and Spanish actors, including Marianne Koch and Gian Maria Volante, and it's music was composed by then-unknown Ennio Morricone.

Leone, reportedly given a $200,000 budget, wanted to shake up the western genre, which he felt had gone stagnant. After being rejected by Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson, Leone hired the then popular star of TV's Rawhide, Clint Eastwood for $15,000 to portray the protagonist, a mysterious gunman who rides into a town controlled by two warring families, the Baxters and the Rojos, and seeing a possible monetary profit, decides to pit one faction against the other.

Eastwood's "Man With No Name" (actually he's called "Joe" in the film) is about as far apart as a traditional western hero as you can get. Add various violent gun fight sequences that are quickly and stylishly edited and some witty dialogue, and Dollars became  an international artistic and financial success.  Leone of course went on to do two sequels with Eastwood, eventually even working with both Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson in 1969's Once Upon A Time In The West, as well as other films, before his death in 1989.

(BTW Here's a really good article on Leone's influence.)

The program begins at 6:30 pm in the library's meeting room on the second floor.  The film, dubbed in English, runs about 100 minutes and is in color.  Rated R. 

I usually begin each screening with a brief discussion of the film's production and it's influence over the decades. Both film buffs and ingĂ©nues are welcome.  Hope you can join us.  And click here to see what we'll be showing next!

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On November 5th, at 6:30  pm, Greenwich Library Cult Films presents the 1964 spaghetti western A Fistful of Dollars, starring Clint Eastwood.  Directed by Sergio Leone, this terrific film made a big impact on the western genre (and films in general) when it first came out.  It was released in America in January, 1967.

Below is the trailer for the film:



For more info about the program, click here.


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The latest installment in our Cult Films program, 2013's You're Next, will be shown at Greenwich Library's second floor meeting room on Thursday, October 16th, beginning at 6:30 pm.  For more info about that evening's program, click here.

Completed in 2011 but not released in the US until two years later, You're Next is just the type of work that would qualify as a cult film.  Independently made, low budgeted (about $1 million), mostly unknown cast (though I do remember Barbara Crampton from the H.P. Lovecraft films she did for director Stuart Gordon back in the 80s), and not as well promoted as the latest Marvel superhero picture, You're Next is a clever, compelling, exciting and scary thriller that'll leave you shaking by the end.

Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett set the story in an isolated vacation home during a family reunion.  Trouble starts early when neighbors living nearby are killed by an assailant wearing a lamb mask.  Soon the lamb masked killer is joined by other disguised partners as they carry out an intense home invasion against the family.  But why are they trying to kill the family?  And is somebody inside the house working with the killers...? 

Wingard and Barrett (who also did the recently released-in-theatres The Guest) were obviously influenced by directors like Mario Bava and Dario Argento, as well as the Friday the 13th slasher films.  But their film is classier and wittier.  They emphasize shock and intense violence, but balance everything out with humor and actual characterization.  Nobody in the film is only a walking target. 

You're Next is rated R due to violence.  Not recommended for kids under 17.  It's in color and runs 95 minutes.  If you're interested, stop by the meeting room this Thursday.  And check out our website here. for future programs.

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Boy, do I got a cult film candidate for you!  Hammer Films' bizarre, almost insane mashup of their horror films and the then popular kung fu  craze , 1974's The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires, is one of the most outlandish but strangely entertaining films they ever produced.  (Click here to reserve our copy.)


 

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