Recently in Cult Films Category

YOLT2015.pngHere's the original trailer for 1967's You Only Live Twice, which we'll be showing on Thursday July 16 at 6:30 PM!  Check it out!

And here's my 2009 review of the film. Agree? Disagree? Comments are welcome.

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R.I.P. Christopher Lee

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The last of the classic horror movie stars that I grew up watching in movies, Sir Christopher Lee, passed away on June 7th.  Along with Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price and Peter Cushing, Lee was a true horror/fantasy film genre star. His performances as Frankenstein's monster, Fu Manchu, the Mummy, Saruman, Sherlock (and Mycroft) Holmes, and of course, Dracula,  made him well known and liked by movie fans everywhere.  And that terrific voice! 

Greenwich Library carries about a fraction of Lee's film work (possibly 250 movies altogether!) in our collection, but the ones we do carry are worth checking out.   Some suggested titles include the following:

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957):  Lee's first major horror role, opposite frequent co star Peter Cushing as an arrogant Baron Frankenstein.  Both actors give great performances, with Lee turning in a subtle turn without using dialogue as the monster. Here's my 2010 review.  Available as part of a horror double feature DVD set with Lee's Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970), which is just okay. 

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959; available on Hoopla from us): Fun, atmospheric remake with Cushing's Sherlock Holmes trying to protect Sir Henry Baskerville (Lee) from a family curse.  

The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960),  Scream of Fear (1961), and The Gorgon (1964) all feature strong supporting turns by Lee.  Here's my 2009 review of all three.

Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1966):  Lee's second go around as Bram Stoker's undead Count.  Available in this collection from us. 

Count Dracula (1970; available on Hoopla): Lee teamed up with Spanish cult film director Jesus Franco and co-stars Herbert Lom and Klaus  Kinski in what was supposed to be a more faithful adaptation of Stoker's character.  Despite poor staging and an obvious low budget, Lee rises above the mess. 

Lee (dubbed by another actor!) had played  Sherlock Holmes in the German made Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace (1962) but that film is currently unavailable.  However, Lee returned to the Holmes universe as the detective's brother, Mycroft, in director Billy Wilder's The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970; available on Hoopla), an affectionate take on the title character. 

Horror Express (1972);  Lee in a rare and solid turn as a heroic lead alongside Cushing.  The film's not bad either.

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974): Lee's title assassin goes after James Bond 007 (Roger Moore).  Some good moments -the two stars are fine-, but the emphasis on comedy over suspense hurts the film.

These films, and others starring Lee, can be found on the library's online catalogue here.  And if you want us to get more of his films, go here

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On Thursday, June 11, at 6:30 PM in the second floor meeting room, Greenwich Library Cult Films will present Mad Max (1979) starring Mel Gibson.  The first film in the series that recently released a new installment (Mad Max: Fury Road), this is a powerful thriller set in a post-apocalyptic future where civilization has broken down and wild gangs roam Australia's highways. 

Directed in a sweeping, exciting style by George Miller (Babe), Mad Max is part biker film, part Dirty  Harry cop picture and part horror thriller.  Below is the original US trailer (with dubbed in American voices) for the film:

Mad Max is in color, runs 90 minutes and is rated R. 

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Greenwich Library Cult Films presents the 1965 James Bond 007 thriller (the fourth in the series) Thunderball on Thursday May 14 beginning at 6:30pmin the second floor meeting room.  The film is in color, runs 130 minutes, and is rated PG.

The plot:  SPECTRE has stolen two atomic bombs from a NATO jet and is holding the world hostage.  Bond (Sean Connery) suspects that there's a link between  a man he saw in a medical clinic who looked liked one of the NATO pilots and the pilot's sister Domino (Claudine Auger), who just happens to be vacationing in Nassau. With her guardian Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi), who just happens to be SPECTRE's second in command...

Lots of fun action sequences in this one!  Plus a lot of it takes place underwater.  (SPECTRE has hidden the bombs underwater, see...) And some terrific gadgets as well.

Connery and the supporting cast (some of whom are dubbed) give polished performances under Terrence Young's taut direction.  Check out Thunderball for yourself this Thursday!

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We'll be showing the 1965 James Bond thriller Thunderball in the second floor meeting room on May 14th beginning at 6:30 pm.  This will be part of our continuing Cult Films program.  Watch for future posts on this upcoming event.

Meanwhile, here's the original trailer for the film:

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Greenwich Library Cult Films will be showing 2001's Donnie Darko, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, in the second floor meeting room this Thursday, April 9th, beginning at 6:30 pm.  Details here.  To say more would spoil your enjoyment of this powerful film.  It's THAT good! 

Below is the trailer for the film:

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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:


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 attaché 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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About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Cult Films category.

Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror is the previous category.

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