Book Review: 101 Cult Movies You Must See Before You Die – Editor Steven Jay Schneider

Dare I say cute, in a cult film book review? Well there ya go, this 6″x 5″ sized edition is a thick little prize of cult films collection. This in fact being 1 of several more which we’ll be reviewing that sports this “cute” little fat boy size. But joking aside, its really got alot to offer to lovers of the weird and wonderful genre of those crazy and off killer style films. Yep its a book full of them, 101 to be exact. but as you may know or not, the list of cult films extends much father than 101. I found this recently when reviewing a book that offered 500 and still had some titles I knew of missing.

The titles within this one re plenty worthy of being called cult films. I was pleased that it also included a couple words by  Alejandro Jodorowsky who by some unknown reason was actually missing form the 500 title volume I had just read. In any case, you really can’t hold it against the writers if they don’t include “every” favorite title of yours. Just as long as the ones that are included offer a heaping helping of cult film goodness. Additional mention goes to the fact that there are plenty of pictures in full color through out. The size again is perfect “take on a trip size” so that will surely be a plus to readers. It was to me.

101 Cult Movies ends up being an interesting choice collective. I say this, because it’s not the lack of films that aren’t included that becomes interesting, it’s the choices that are made that “are” included. The book is organized into chapters that span 10 years decades. The reviews are shared between 16 different writers who all feature an impressive resume themselves. While it is safe to say that the first half of the book is really spent on retro titles, the choices span from to expected to entries I never heard of. In fact, several of these titles would also probably fit nicely within other books that cover grind house, comedy, blaxploitation and Asian films. Each film is covered in review over the course of 4 pages usually sporting 2 photos per entry.

The analysis/reviews are thoughtful, easy to follow and don’t belabor on extra philosophical mish mash. Titles such as “2- Lane Blacktop” and “Vanishing Point” share the same attention as life of Brian, Barfly, El top and Barberella to name a few. My particular interest lies in the intriguing titles that have escaped me over the years. You also get early performances by Mick Jagger, foreign films with racy presentations, cheesy films with lasting impressions and older films with cinematic impact.

A read thru will at the very least provide you with a rich pallet of films to track down. In the most, you have a unique collection of choices that have been deemed by his group as “cultish”. As I wind my way true reviewing meaningless horror films and overnight productions with little value, its always a pleasure to have reference to important cinema that has left a mark worth mentioning. A pretty cool little collection of gems……. pick one up!

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