Emergency News Bulletin!

Hey there, dear readers! If you’re wondering where the reviews are, don’t worry about it. I’m postponing them to next week; blame college finals for why I haven’t started working on them. I also want these reviews to be the best that I possibly can. That means that instead of handling four reviews a week, I’ll be doing two reviews a week. Expect them to be on Wednesdays and Fridays.

If you’re wondering what my reviews are going to look like, imagine if 366 Weird Movies and Good Tickle Brain somehow had a baby and they decided to name Movies Silently and Pre-Code.Com as that child’s official godparents. Those review websites were my major inspiration for this dog-and-pony-show, so stealing appropriating their techniques is my way of giving them a further shout-out. Believe me, the writers/bloggers/cartoonists working over at these sites are really excellent at what they’re doing for a living; go support them by heading over there and browsing their websites whilst I’m busy preparing for next week’s reviews! I’ll post the links at the conclusion of this news bulletin, so you too can learn from the masters!

If you’re wondering what those two reviews are going to be, I’m gonna be nice and reveal them to whet your appetite for next week. They’re gonna be Lars Von Trier’s provocative morality fable Dogville (2003) and Roy Ward Baker’s Titanic docudrama A Night To Remember (1958); for my first week, I’ll be covering two of my favorite subjects: vintage Americana and maritime disasters! [Yes, I know that I have weird tastes, but I honestly would rather have eclectic preferences than subject myself to narrow-minded mainstream standards.]

Here are the links for those wonderful websites that I may-or-may-not-be-stealing-from:

366 Weird Movies

Good Tickle Brain

Movies Silently

Pre-Code.Com

If you have other cool blogs that you think that I’d really enjoy, please comment below! As always, take care and have a splendid week, my fellow cinephiles!

Pipeline News #1

Since it’s my first week here at Journey Thru Cult Movies, I’ll be writing a lot to burn all that energy! This week, I’ll review Jose Prieto’s 1967 still shocking exploitation flick Shanty Tramp before heading onto more artier fare with a review of Luchino Visconti’s Rocco And His Brothers (1960). If time is kind enough, I’ll even review Anna Biller’s truly magnificent The Love Witch (2016) along with Zhao Liang’s truly independent documentary Behemoth (2015). Wish me the best for the first week is gonna be the hardest- I’m still new to all this stuff, everyone!

Here’s a list of some of the movies I’ll plan on reviewing for this site:

  • Shanty Tramp: Jose Prieto (1967) [This Week!] 
  • Rocco And His Brothers: Luchino Visconti (1960) [This Week!] 
  • The Love Witch: Anna Biller (2016) [This Week!]
  • Behemoth: Zhao Liang (2015) [This Week!]
  • Hell’s Hinges: Charles Swickard, William S. Hart, & Clifford Smith (1916)
  • MickeyF. Richards Jones & James Young (1918) 
  • Nanook Of The North: Robert J. Flahert (1922)
  • Girl ShyFred C. Newmeyer & Sam Taylor (1924) 
  • Westfront 1918: G.W. Pabst (1930)
  • Red Dust: Victor Fleming (1932)
  • Three On A MatchMervyn LeRoy (1932) 
  • Bombshell: Victor Fleming (1933)
  • Things To Come: H.G. Wells William Cameron Menzies (1936)
  • Jezebel: William Wyler (1938)
  • The Hunchback Of Notre DameWilliam Dieterle (1939) 
  • Went The Day Well?: Alberto Cavalcanti (1942)
  • The Uninvited: Lewis Allen (1944)
  • The Chase: Arthur Ripley (1946)
  • Odd Man Out: Carol Reed (1947)
  • Louisiana Story: Robert J. Flaherty (1948)
  • Animal FarmJoy Batchelor & John Halas (1954) 
  • Night Tide: Curtis Harrington (1961)
  • Woman In The Dunes: Hiroshi Teshigahara (1964)
  • Cuadecuc, Vampir: Pere Portabella (1970)
  • Multiple Maniacs: John Waters (1970)
  • The Hellstrom Chronicle: Ed Spiegel, Walon Green & David L. Wolper (1971)
  • Fantastic Planet: Rene Laloux (1973)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Tobe Hooper (1974)
  • Alice Sweet Alice: Alfred Sole (1976)
  • Suspiria: Dario Argento (1977)
  • Roar: Noel Marshall (1981)
  • YeelenSouleymane Cisse (1987) 
  • The ‘Burbs: Joe Dante (1989)
  • Only Yesterday: Isao Takahata (1991)
  • Matinee: Joe Dante (1993)
  • Donnie Darko: Richard Kelly (2001)
  • Dogville: Lars Von Trier (2003)
  • The FallTarsem Singh (2006) 
  • OSS 117 : Cairo, Nest Of Spies: Michel Hazanavicius (2006)
  • The Last Mistress: Catherine Breillat (2007)
  • Dear Zachary: A Letter To A Son About His Father: Kurt Kuenne (2008)
  • Still Walking: Hirokazu Kore-eda (2008)
  • Black Dynamite: Scott Sanders (2009)
  • Bluebeard: Catherine Breillat (2009)
  • Mary And MaxAdam Elliot (2009) 
  • Abuse Of Weakness: Catherine Breillat (2013)
  • Like Father, Like Son: Hirokazu Kore-eda (2013)
  • When Marnie Was There: Hiromasa Yonebayashi (2014)
  • Elle: Paul Verhoeven (2016)
  • mother!: Darren Aronofsky (2017)

The Journey Begins

On January 1st, 2016, I made a New Years resolution to watch 200 movies that year. The catch was that they had to be new to me, and that in order to be counted as a movie, it had to be more than 60 minutes long. What started as a simple hobby soon turned into a passion as I learned more and more about the movies that I chose to watch.

IMG_3824Hang on for a moment. I haven’t introduced myself to you readers yet. My name is Matt Floyd, and I’m a cinephile who is diagnosed on the autism spectrum. When I was two, I lost all my gross motor skills; this meant that I couldn’t talk, walk, or any of the basic skills that we as human beings usually take for granted. My parents, especially my mother, immediately started upon my therapy. They consulted doctors, teachers and therapists who immediately helped me out through physical and emotional therapy. I learned how to read thanks to my mom posting words upon physical objects so I could condition myself into linking the word with the visual cue.

I tend to think in images, so naturally I fell in love with mediums that relied on visual storytelling. My mom got ahold of videos that would teach me how to redo basic activities, such as brushing my teeth; hence, I grow up with films being an educational tool designed to help me adapt to my world rather than exclude me from it. At the same time, she also encouraged me to read and explore the world around me. She never bought into the idiom that curiosity killed the cat; instead, she saw to it that I always remained hungry for learning.

I fell in love with our VCR player, a magical tool for me to play with and also be entertained by at the same time. Once a video started, I would race around the room three times in order to fully dance with the wonders going on up on that fuzzy screen. All these videos were educational in nature as they helped me gain the emotional cues necessary to survive in an illogical world. I learned religion from watching VeggieTales, learned my ABCs from watching Blue’s Clues, learned my love of pursuing knowledge from watching Wallace and Gromit, and learned how to be imaginative from watching Wishbone. When the movie was over, I would hit the rewind button as fast as I could. I wanted to relive the moment all over again; it was a transcendent experience for me.

My first moviegoing experience was seeing Shrek on the big screen- I didn’t understand what was going on at the time, but I was quickly entranced with the bright images and joyous motion going on around me. Once my mom knew I was capable of enduring loud noises, she would take me over to Blockbuster- back when it was still a thing, and allow me to rent a video from the store. This turned into a weekly experience for me as I would recheck old favorites from the shelves and hide my face away from the scary VHS covers. Back home, I would pop in the tapes and get sucked into them; they seemed magical to me. I repeatedly fell in love with these images, always flowing together to create motion and stories for my character enhancement. To me, watching movies were akin to stepping into another world and experiencing life from another creature’s eyes.

Flash forward to 2016: by this point, I already gained my speech back, and was trying to be a functioning member of society. Yet, things had changed. I had moved from my childhood home into a cramped condo, all my siblings had moved on with their lives, and I was barely surviving high school, easily the hardest years in my academic life. I had gotten addicted to YouTube videos, especially the critics. I should really flash back to 2011- the year of my elbow surgeries.

When I was 13 years old, I had broken my elbow at a crucial point. I nearly missed half of my 7th grade year, and had to endure three elbow surgeries along with a year of physical therapy just to gain motion back. To console me, I turned to my computer; there, I discovered a video of Roger and Chaz Ebert on a news website. Here was this person who had also lost his voice and yet managed to communicate again, thanks to his magnificent words. I was hooked upon criticism, especially Ebert’s. Another resource of comfort came in the form of his review show, which sadly lasted for a single season. Each week, I would learn more about the cinematic world just by watching his show online. There, I found out about films I hadn’t heard of before and of filmmakers I never knew actually existed. I learned my basics just from reading Roger’s reviews. When he passed away two years later, I was emotionally devastated. I didn’t just lose a source of inspiration, but I had lost a true friend.

I also referred to other critics for their own reviews. Online criticism was/is a big resource of entertainment for me. I was entranced not only by the Nostalgia Critic’s humor,  but also by Lindsay Ellis’s professionalism as well as by Kyle Kalgreen’s esoteric selections. Now, I have found more sources of inspirations and have also lost some respect for some of them. [Looking at you, Channel Awesome.] One of these inspirations was a show called Welcome to the Basement, whose gimmick was that its host, Matt Sloane, would check off his bucket list by watching a film that was new to him. He also managed to convince a friend, Craig Johnson, to come along for the ride. Watching those guys have sincere yet educated conversations about films only made me want to become a cinephile. It made me want to become part of the film community.

In fact, I actually started two blogs of my own on WordPress’s secret archrival, Blogspot. They were Matt’s Musings and Classic Cinema Reviews For Kids. Unfortunately, I was a middle school student then. As a result, I don’t look upon them with fond memories. Worse of all, some troll commented a career-destroying remark on one of my reviews. I was devastated when that happened. I forswore never to blog again.

That all changed when I knew I had to find a new meaning in life, and watching movies off my bucket list gave me a renewed sense of hope in my dysfunctional world. However, as the years went on, I noticed that my journals were overflowing with notes that no one else would ever see in public. To resolve this dilemma, I decided to finally face my social anxieties and post them up on the Internet for all to see. I’d rather have my voice momentarily heard than to be silenced forever.

This website is dedicated to exploring the vast world of cult movies. Cult movies actually don’t have anything to do with cults; they’re just offbeat/weird/disturbing/thought-provoking/transgressive/subversive/transcendent movies that have a particular fan base that figuratively worships at their presence. I chose to focus upon cult films as an overwhelming majority of my favorite films happen to be cult films. In fact, The Wizard of Oz, my favorite film of all time, is in fact a cult film! So what better topic to explore more in-depth than cult films?

I hope to enlighten your day with my reviews of these bizarre yet [hopefully] amazing classics. See ya at the movies!