Comprehensive Guide to Cult Cinema
Edited by Nico B
Review by Micah Gallo
Watching films used to be a more tangible experience. First by going to cinemas, the sights and experience of having to go to a theater and seek out these films. For those who recall or are interested in a bygone era of film as a physical experience the Cult Epics book will make a beautiful addition to your coffee table or book shelf.
Nico B (curator of Cult Epics label and editor of this book) speaks in his introduction about growing up in Holland, having a choice of only two tv channels and riding a motorbike 10 miles to the nearest theater. To see movies, especially to discover something new, was once a literal pilgrimage. My version of that was driving an hour to DVD Planet during the DVD revolution. I would walk the aisles, not knowing what I would find. I'd open a package with fevered anticipation, hoping to have an exciting new experience. It was a time to be romanced by cinema. A poster, a box cover, a filmmaker, an idea, or even a region of cinema could enliven and tantalize. You could feel a romantic pull and then discover later whether that piece of art delivered on its promises.
The book is handsomely hard-bound with full vibrant color on the cover and all of its 256 pages. It's clear that a lifetime of love and cinematic knowledge via Nico B and his collaborators has gone into crafting this very respectable celebration of cult cinema. The information is presented well and the imagery is carefully chosen, showing these films in all their artistic excellence and sultry charm. Cult Epics has saved you the time of having to explore all these titles on your own and for the cinematic journier in all of us has put together this trail of bread crumbs to lead you into unexplored (or at least less acclaimed) territory where you can discover for yourself these wonderful films.
Each section has an intro with words from a filmmaker or an interview creating context on the following films. There is a generalized section with films listed under the main heading and then a focus on specific filmmakers or actors. This book finds a good balance between imagery and information and is satisfying in both regards.
It begins with an introduction by editor Nico B and has the following sections:
As a bonus the book also includes a DVD of trailers (2:41:40). It would be nice if it had chapter stops to make it easy to navigate. Still a fun bonus to pop into your DVD player.
At the risk of sounding too significant although we're in a time where more content is available for us to watch from the comforts of our couches than ever before, we're still in danger of having only the most mainstream choices put in front of us on a regular basis. This book is a good reminder that there are alternatives and that cinema can be challengingly different than mainstream, not always conform to puritanical morality, and let the filmmaker as an artist shine through. It's labels like Cult Epics and curators like Nico B that are the tastemakers who help keep these alternatives alive and accessible.
Our choices as viewers and what we celebrate determines what gets made so that's part of what makes this book important. There is validity to art made outside the studio system and whatever inspiration or beauty you find in it is up to you. I hope these films continue to be preserved and I'm grateful Cult Epics continues to be dedicated to that cause.
Limited to 1000 copies so get yours while supplies last.
RATING: Highly Recommended