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I have always been interested in cult movies. Therefore I have built up a big collection of cult films and cult film books over the years. 102 Cult Films is one of the better ones I've found lately. It contains reviews of a selection of 102 cult films in chronological order from the 1930s through to Bubba-Ho Tep in 2003; all the films have a respectable amount of text and are reviewed in good depth with a sense of humour where it is appropriate. There is a good variety of movies mentioned including: fifties monster films; science fiction; comedy; drama and horror. The films reviewed are mostly American but there are also many films from other countries with Britain, Japan, Canada, Sweden and Italy all represented. Horror is a popular genre with films by Don Coscarelli, John Carpenter, George Romero and David Cronenberg among many others. The horror film reviews include Halloween, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Phantasm, Ringu,The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and lots of British movies such as some from the famous Hammer and Amicus studios. There are entries from cult directors like Hal Ashby with Being There and The Last Detail although sadly the author finds no room for Harold and Maude.
The variety of films selected for the book inrease interest. There are high art films like La Dolce Vita and kitchen sink British new wave dramas. There are comedies from Woody Allen and Albert Brooks, dramas like The Big Chill and Kiss of the Spider Woman, and monster films from way back. The author has clearly made an attempt not to be too predictable in his selection and it helps the book. Surprinsingly there is nothing from Stanley Kubrick or Quentin Taratino and the one David Lynch film chosen is not Blue Velvet as you'd expect but The Straight Story. Forbidden Planet does not feature, but films like Robinson Crusoe On Mars and Battle Beyond the Stars do. The Hammer entries include films readers might not be familiar with like THe Abominable Snowman, an early film from the famous British studio starring Peter Cushing.
The seventies remake with Donald Sutherland version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is chosen over the original. Some thought has gone into the choices to make the book less predictable. The many reviews are well written and look at the themes, production, influences and history of the films. The author does have an opinon too and tells you what he likes and doesn't. He seems to enjoy pratically all of the films here abd this seems to be a very personal list. He obviously likes these films a great deal and therefore has many amusing and informative things to say about them. It's 500 Essential Cult Films for me next but this is one of the best of the cult film books I've acquired recently and one that film fans will like. This book is only available to download at the moment but is worth a read if you love cult movies.