Cleansing the doors of cinematic perception... for a better now

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

A-Z of Ntflx Streaming: C is for CUL-DE-SAC (1966) and CULT OF THE DAMNED (1969)

The overflowing cornucopia that is Netflix Streaming is full of untold riches, as well as acres of average, by the numbers, near-misses and stuff so bad it's not even good-bad. To give you a new C in this series I tried to watch many things, including CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC, and for that alone I deserve a medal (I didn't get far, God help me). So here are the two classics I've previously written up, re-presented for purposes of our Acidemic A-Z journey:

CUL-DE-SAC (1966 - dir. Roman Polanski)
"With its groovy Ronald Stein-ish score (attributed to Komeda), the CUL DE SAC vibe recalls the uneasy luncheon centerpiece in Russ Meyer's masterpiece, FASTER PUSSYCAT, KILL! KILL! or the arrival of unwanted guests in Jack Hill's 1968 cult classic SPIDER BABY. KNIFE IN THE WATER devotees will recognize, as will REPULSION fans, the ease with which Polanski dispenses with a singular point of view or any 'reliable' perspective of reality, removing any indication that any one character is 'right' in the perception of events over any other, no matter how warped." (more here)

CULT OF THE DAMNED (1969, dir. Robert Thom)
CULT OF THE DAMNED originally had the much more sensible (relatively) title, ANGEL, ANGEL, DOWN WE GO, referring to one of the psychedelic rock songs performed by said prophet for the gone generation, the skydiving rock impresario, Bogart "as in the real Humphrey!" Peter Stuyvesant (Jordan Christopher). He's thinking of calling his new group 'Rabbit Habbit,' a trio consisting of skydiving hipster freaks: stone cool Lou Rawls ("Everybody knows black is better, baby!"), a cute blonde flower child ("Birth control can be controlled by the mind!") and Roddy McDowell! ("I heard alcohol is coming back!") The songs are full of groovy organ and funky but non-slapped bass lines written by the ISHTAR-ish song-writing team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill, clearly aping the oft-aped style of the musical 'HAIR.'  Since the lead is obsessed about her weight issues and there's an uber-bitch-control freak pill-head former glamor girl mom, it becomes a kind of HAIRSPRAY/HAIR mind-meld, sans the terrible smell of permanents, but with the pungent incense of the Manson killings to come ("My mom always told me the next war would be between the blacks and the whites!")

Perhaps this film isn't as well-known as its other AIP psychedelic brethren due to the latter event, which broke up negotiations between the generations like a bomb at Middle East peace conference. Suddenly an innocent film--full of song, freak, and flag that just happened to be about killing your parents--was seen as something very dark, which the film's satirical tone was maybe just too frazzled to support; so they changed the name to CULT OF THE DAMNED. If four people count as a cult then oh, crazy lady crazy lady, a cult it is, but man it isn't. So stuck in a limbo where BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLL fans can't find it (they'd love it), the film's been rolling around in a time warp obscurity ever since, ever since now, crazylady crazylady!!(more here)

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous17 May, 2011

    Dan Zukovic's "DARK ARC", a bizarre modern noir dark comedy called "Absolutely brilliant...truly and completely different..." in Film Threat, was released on DVD on August 24 through Vanguard Cinema. ( The film had it's world premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival and it's US premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival. Featuring Sarah Strange ("White Noise"), Kurt Max Runte ("X-Men", "Battlestar Gallactica") and Dan Zukovic (director and star of the cult comedy "The Last Big Thing").

    *****! (Five Stars) "Absolutely brilliant...truly and completely different...something you've never tasted before..." Film Threat
    "A black comedy about a very strange love triangle!" Seattle Times
    "Consistently stunning images...a bizarre blend of art, sex and opium, "Dark Arc" plays like a candy-coloured version of David Lynch." IFC News
    "Sarah Strange is as decadent as Angelina Jolie thinks she is...don't see this movie sober!" Metroactive Movies
    "Equal parts Film Noir intrigue, pop culture send-up, brain teaser and visual feast." American Cinematheque


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