You got to hand it to the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) channel. Having Rob Zombie host the cult classics series is a stroke of genius. His love for the films, the first two weeks of which showcased Ed Wood and Russ Meyer, is infectious. And while he doesn’t reveal anything fans of these movies don’t already know, it will still be a cool education for the new kids on the block who will watch these movies only because Zombie is attached to them.
I don’t know how this project came about. I don’t know if someone at TCM contacted Zombie or vice versa. It doesn’t really matter. Just the fact that these films are being highlighted and looked at in a serious manner is good enough for me. Granted, I disagree with some of the picks (“”Mudhoney,” for example), but something like “”Freaks” is a cult classic no matter how you cut it.
Many of these films will never be given any kind of respect by “”serious” film journalists and critics. That’s the nature of the beast. A film journalist who desires nothing more than to be respected by his or her peers will adopt the same point of view as his or her peers, and far too many of them like “”Citizen Kane” and “”The Godfather” and disdain all else. There are other journalists/critics out there who get it, though, and they don’t give a rat’s ass what their peers say. They are writing and speaking from the heart, and many of them understand what makes these films cult classics. Let’s be honest here, something like “”Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” may not be the best movie of all time, but it was one of the first to really put women into the bad-ass-drink-dope-and-have-wanton-sex roles and be totally unapologetic for it. Sure, it’s a little campy, but there’s also a morality play there, and that’s something some people will never get. Their loss.
I have a schedule for the films TCM is showing, and it goes into December. I’m hoping if the program is successful enough it will become a full-time thing, perhaps with different hosts. I’m a realist, though, and I know how these things tend to go. That means you have to enjoy it while you can because films like the ones slated to be shown aren’t being made anymore, and the audience may not be there to keep the show going.
Whether or not the series continues, nothing changes the fact that these are the films which inspired some of what you are seeing today, and they deserve some kind of acknowledgment. Zombie and TCM are doing that. And who knows? Maybe some kid staying up late on a Friday night will tune in out of curiosity and be so inspired by what he sees that he’ll become the next Meyer or Romero. Maybe he’ll decide to write about the films instead. You never know. But if the kid is inspired by these films, one thing is guaranteed: He won’t be one of those filmmakers/writers who only likes the “”highbrow” stuff. If this series can produce one artist whose roots start in the underground, it will have done its job. If not, well it will be good while it lasts … no matter how short the trip.
Posted on November 8, 2006 in Blogs by Excess Hollywood
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