So, this afternoon I was watching Quentin Tarantino's half of Grindhouse, singularly known as Death Proof, and I got to thinking about the kind of movies that inspired Misters Tarantino and Rodriguez to put together that film. Thanks to several mentions of Vanishing Point and other car chase films, my mind instantly went to the 1970s. Of course, there's a small problem with that. I wasn't there personally.
Regardless, the cult cinema of the 1970s has always been fascinating to me. And, as I looked around the blog world that FMWL exists in (whilst using the tools of twitter and facebook, too), I realized that a large majority of bloggers weren't their either. And it made me really curious as to what other movie fans, young and old, thought of when the cult cinema of that decade was brought up.
1970: Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
1971: The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Billy Jack, A Clockwork Orange, Daughters of Darkness, Duel, Shaft, Willard
1972: Blacula, Horror Express, The Last House on the Left, Pink Flamingos
1973: Coffy, Enter the Dragon, Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural, Sisters, Soylent Green, Theatre of Blood, Westworld, The Wicker Man
1974: Black Christmas, Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter, Gone in 60 Seconds, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
1975: Death Race 2000, Deep Red, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Rollerball
1976: Assault on Precinct 13, Eraserhead, Logan's Run
1977: Smokey and the Bandit, Suspiria
1978: Dawn of the Dead, I Spit on Your Grave/Day of the Woman, Piranha, Up in Smoke
1979: Over the Edge, Rock 'n' Roll High School, Tourist Trap, The Warriors, When A Stranger Calls, Zombie/Zombi 2
Obviously, there are a couple of problems with making a list like this. Primarily, the term "Cult Movie" is entirely subjective. A lot of these movies star some of the biggest stars of the era, and were big-budget productions in their day. But I think it's safe to say that the legacy of each of these films has been ensured by their status with specific audiences, which could not be said of some genre films that weren't mentioned, like Halloween or Jaws. (The other main problem, as I see it, is that I have not seen WAAAAAYYYYYY too many of these movies. Haven't even heard of a couple. Tragic.)
My goal with coming up with this kind of a list is two-fold. First, I'd like to get a semi-definitive list of the movies from the decade that have achieved cult status. The list above is quite impressive, but I'm sure there's a few big cult hits that are missing from it. (If you know of them, please list them in the comments below, and I'll be sure to update the list!)
The second part of my purpose is where YOU, the reader and present or future Midnight Warrior come into the picture. I'd like to create a good old fashioned list. You know, one of those lists that ranks things versus each other and determines greatness according to panel of people who don't necessarily agree with each other. To do so, I need a panel of voters.
So, here's what I'm asking. Take a look at your own preferences, and create your own list of what you think are The Most Essential Cult Movies of the 1970s. You can pick your favorites, you can pick the movies you think had the biggest impact on cinema or audiences, you can pick the ones that have the best boobs or cars or violence. You can pick whatever you want, as long as you formulate a ranked TOP 5 in this category. (Want to list and/or talk about more than 5 films? Go for it! But I'll only be using the Top 5 of each list when coming up with Part B of my plan.)
Part B of my plan, you ask? Well, after everyone has created their list on their blog or via email (and has emailed me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link or list), I will compile an overall list that will use YOUR picks to determine a final list of The Midnight Warriors' Most Essential Cult Films of the 1970s! I'll plan on trying to finish this in two weeks, so I'd like to have lists from people by Monday August 30th.
If you have any questions or comments, please email me or get in touch with me! Also, I'd love to get as many responses as possible for the list, so please spread the word to others you think might be interested!
In the meantime, I'll be featuring many of the films on this list here at FMWL, and will eventually be posting my own list featuring my picks. I'm looking forward to hearing from all of you, and here's to an awesome journey through '70s Cult Cinema for all Midnight Warriors!
The Mike began his youth by demanding ghost and monster stories, and was soon given three VHS tapes by his parents - The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Lon Chaney's The Phantom of the Opera, and 1958's The Blob.
Since then, he has embraced the wide world of cinema, and has always kept the bizarre, fantastic, and macabre close to his heart.