When it comes to documentaries they tend often to find a limited number of curious fans that are generally interested in exploring a vastly unknown concept to them, whether it’s the making of a movie, urban legends, or spooky locations, herein is the topic of cult films. Director Danny Wolf ventures out with a trio of documentaries and the equally impressive wording of ‘greatest of all time’ he first unleashed, “Volume 1: Midnight Madness” and the third movie in the line-up “Volume 3: Comedy and Camp” and sandwiched between is this project, hence the only one I’m focusing with this review. The topic of what makes a cult movie is very hard to define, there are no ground rules to establish one, just that it can’t be planned, rather a game of chance and risk. Often the concept of how a film becomes one is from the fan base that engages in midnight showings, repeatedly watching, quoting, referencing and dates back to controversial or highly censored movies circulating in the underground art markets gaining slow attention. I will not be discussing all the films, as I like to leave some surprises for the readers.
While the set-up for volume two is to have four individuals sitting in a semi-circle to discuss the films, on dark soundstage among them John Waters, Illeana Douglas (Stir of Echoes ), Kevin Pollak, and Joe Dante (Gremlins ), who serves more as the host of panel and actually takes the lead, sharing his knowledge. The first movie is Night of the Living Dead (1968) the low-budget, black and white production from George A. Romero a film that earned a loyal fanbase, even the film wasn’t expected to do anything in achieving success. Wolf inserts older interview clips of with George who mentioned the political subtext of his film before advancing on consumerism found in Dawn of the Dead (1978), There’s a wonderful telling of scenes that occur in The Evil Dead (1981), especially one from Bruce Campbell, recalling and telling in a very animated manner about the usage of a real chainsaw scene and how close it was to someone’s neck, which was refreshing to learn. Of course included in the collection was Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) featuring an extended interview with Edwin Neal (he was crazy hitchhiker) who spoke about the risky shots of Gunnar Hansen and gave a tour of the house used which is now a restaurant, included in the segment was interview with Tobe Hooper and it noted his passing. Neal gave a great segment, for his inclusion alone was a wonderful opportunity for the fans to check it out and enjoy his enthralled attitude filled with wonderful detailed remembrances. Speaking of entertaining interview clips there’s Tom Savini and Stuart Gordon among many other treats. In addition, Wolf made sure to include some very sick, twisted and gross content perfect for a cult collection from the strange movie The Human Centipede (2009) with director Tom Six who gleefully informed viewers that medically what he describes and shows in the film could actually work, making it a true mad scientist production. Actress Ashlynn Yennie lightens the tone with very descriptive terms about the shooting schedule the messages afterwards. Then the film switches over to sci-fi films portion.
Noting first A Clockwork Orange (1971) that starred Malcolm McDowell, and included his interview too, as well as discussing the ‘Singing in the Rain’ scene and how that resulted in an impromptu meeting with famed dancer Gene Kelly. Then an odd segment with Jeff Goldblum who tries to describe the plot and his character in the quirky film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai (1984) and how John Lithgow would almost breakdown with laughter in multiple scenes. It’s these nuances that make the documentary a worthwhile investment of one’s time.
One thing clearly stated by Dante, most loyal of all genres are horror fans. I, like most others, would agree that horror fans likely are the most dedicated, and supportive of their genre, than any other, and likely a true audience, and coming in second and tied for that position the sci-fi and comic book fans. Wolf’s one error is cramming the horror sci-fi together for the second volume, while often these genres feature crossovers, the movies chosen don’t have that in common, it is an unfair representation for the movies and fans. There was one movie that I found puzzling of why they choose The Devil’s Rejects (2005) it appears the reason was because of improv lines of dialogue; I would likely have chosen Society (1989). Overall, the film doesn’t offer too much of insight on the revelations of what the fans feel, It’s only celebrities, no personal stories and doesn’t expand on any new thoughts on the cult phenomenon found in cinema.
IMDb Rating: n/a
Baron’s Rating: 6.0/10