TCM Underground: 50 Must-See Films from the World of Classic Cult and Late-Night Cinema

Running Pr. Nov. 2022. 230p. ISBN 9780762480005. pap. $24.99. FILM
De Chirico, chief programmer for TCM Underground, and film critic Murry have compiled a supremely knowledgeable, thoughtfully astute, and good-humored guide to 50 campy, bizarre and weird movies. Celebrating movies that critics have often dismissed as “bad,” the authors cast a very wide net, from popular cult directors including John Waters (Polyester), William Castle (I Saw What You Did), David Cronenberg (The Brood), and Roger Corman (The Trip), to the more obscure auteurs like Andy Milligan (Fleshpot on 42nd Street), Lizzie Borden (Born in Flames), and Jamaa Fanaka (Emma Mae). Genres include Blaxploitation (Blacula), film noir (Shack Out on 101), dark comedies (Eating Raoul), teen sex comedies (Little Darlings), musicals (Xanadu), slasher films (Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker), foreign horror (Japan’s Hausu; Italy’s The House By the Cemetery), and documentaries (Penelope Spheeris’s Decline of Western Civilization trilogy). These are films the authors are passionate about, and although they lampoon the camp aspects of some of the films (one of their best summations is “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is like an episode of The Monkees with boobs.”), they are never dismissive.
VERDICT Adventurous film buffs will enjoy the keen-eyed observations and backstories about these obscure, odd, and underappreciated films.
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