Friday, August 22, 2008

Must See Sinema

OK, while we're on the subject of movies... a few months ago I was asked, by a friend, to compile a list of "must see" films and, with the help of Dave Tosh and several others we put together this list of films that should be seen. A few of them need to be seen solely for their contribution to the cinematic arts, while others are classics. Some of them are the worst that Hollywood has to offer, and some are just downright funny. Z and B-grade movies, horror, sci-fi, musicals, blockbusters, and virtually unknown independent films comprise the 160 movies on the list, and some are on there just because I like 'em. Enjoy and let me know of any that I have missed. By the way, these are not in any particular order.

1. Dr. Strangelove (1964, Slim Pickins, Peter Sellers, one of the all-time classics)
2. Six-String Samurai (1998, Starring Jeffrey Falcon, post-apocalyptic rock n' roll samurais, Elvis, and Satan's rock band!)
3. Repo Man (1984, Harry Dean Stanton, Emilio Estevez, A search for decaying aliens in the trunk of a stolen car)
4. Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill (1966, Tura Satana, directed by Russ Meyer, race car driving she-thugs out for laughs)
5. I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (1968, Peter Sellers, Hippie fun at it's best)
6. This is Spinal-Tap (1984, Rock Band Mockumentary starring Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest, Bruno Kirby, Harry Schearer, tons of star cameos)
7. Harold and Maude (1971, Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort, A suicidal youth falls in love with a septuagenarian, very sweet and funny)
8. Forbidden Zone (1980, Danny Elfman, Hervé Villechaize, Very Weird!)
9. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002, Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis, Elvis and JFK battle an ancient Egyptian Mummy)
10. 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953, Hans Conreid, based on the Dr. Seuss book, fun and strange)
11. Brazil (1985, Robert DiNero, Jonathan Pryce, Bob Hoskins, Michael Palin, Directed by Terry Gilliam)
12. A Boy and His Dog (1975, Don Johnson, post-apocalyptic talking dog, Jason Robards is the dog's voice)
13. Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988, Directed by Terry Gilliam. Starring John Neville, Oliver Reed, Eric Idle, Uma Thurman, Jonathan Pryce, Robin Williams)
14. Brewster McCloud (1970, Bud Cort, Sally Kellerman, Shelly Duval, Stacy Keach, Directed by Robert Altman)
15. The Warriors (1979, Michael Beck, Futuristic gang wars in N.Y.C.)
16. Escape From New York (1981, Kurt Russel, Donald Pleasance, Harry Dean Stanton, Lee Van Cleef, Isaac Hayes, Adrienne Barbeau)
17. Eraserhead (1977, David Lynch's first film, hard to watch, very creepy)
18. Dazed and Confused (1993, Matthew McConaughey, Ben Afleck, Milla Jovovich)
19. Clerks (1994, Directed by Kevin Smith from Austin, First appearance of Jay and Silent Bob)
20. The Big Lebowski (1998, Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, a classic comedy)
21. This Island Earth (1955, classic 50s Sci-Fi, was the subject of the movie "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" which is also really fun)
22. Manos, the Hands of Fate (1966 - one of the worst films ever made)
23. Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959 - another worst film ever made, directed by Ed Wood)
24. Grosse Pointe Blank (1997, John and Joan Cusak, Minnie Driver, Dan Aykroyd, and Hank Azaria, Dueling Hit Men at a high school reunion)
25. High Fidelity (2000, John Cusak, Jack Black, and Tim Robbins)
26. Barbarella (1968, Jane Fonda, the band Duran Duran got their name from this movie)
27. I Wake Up Screaming (1941, Film Noir starring Victor Mature, Carol Landis, and Betty Grabel)
28. Forbidden Planet (1956, classic Sci-Fi starring Leslie Nielsen in a serious role)
29. A Clockwork Orange (1971, Malcom McDowell, very twisted, bleak, futuristic film, me little droogies)
30. El Topo (1971, Aka The Mole, Mexican surrealistic splatter spaghetti Western)
31. Phantom of the Paradise (1974, Directed by Brian DePalma, starring Paul Williams, modern take on Phantom of the Opera)
32. Tommy (1975, Oliver Reed, Anne Margaret, Jack Nicholson, Eric Clapton, Roger Daltry, The Who, Tina Turner)
33. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987, Bruce Campbell, Directed by Sam Raimi)
34. Army of Darkness (1992, Aka Evil Dead 3, Bruce Campbell, Directed by Sam Raimi)
35. Groove Tube (1974, Chevy Chase, Richard Belzer, A collection of skits that make fun of 1970s television)
36. Kentucky Fried Movie (1977, Series of short, highly irreverent, and often tasteless skits)
37. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978, scientists band together to save the world from mutated tomatoes that KILL!)
38. Killer Clowns From Outer Space (1988, Aliens clowns from outer space terrorize a small town)
39. Rock 'N' Roll High School (1979, P. J. Soles, rock-loving students, and the Ramones, take over their high school)
40. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984, Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd)
41. Streets of Fire (1984, Michael Pare, Willem Dafoe, Rick Moranis, "A Rock and Roll Fable")
42. Better Off Dead (1985, John Cusak, Curtis Armstrong, David Ogden Stiers)
43. Real Genius (1985, Val Kilmer, Teenage geniuses deal with their abilities at college, while developing a laser)
44. Big Trouble in Little China (1986, Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, A trucker gets dragged into a centuries-old mystical battle in Chinatown)
45. Amazon Women on the Moon (1987, a number of stars appear, Spoof of 1950's sci-fi movie, interspersed with comedy sketches)
46. House of Games (1987, Joe Mantegna, A look into the shadowy but compelling world of stings, scams, and con men, great twist ending!)
47. Raising Arizona (1987, Nicholas Cage, Holly Hunter, John Goodman, Childless couple decides to steal one of another family's quintuplets)
48. Three O’clock High (1987, Coming of age comedy, amazing camera work)
49. Akira (1988, one of the best Japanimation films of all time!)
50. Hairspray (1988, Sonny Bono, Ricki Lake, Deborah Harry, Jerry Stiller, Divine)
51. Hard-Boiled (1992, Aka "Lat sau san taam", Chow Yun-Fat, Tony Leung, Directed by John Woo)
52. The Usual Suspects (1995, Kevin Spacey, Kevin Pollak, Won 2 Oscars)
53. Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (1988, Mike Nelson and his robot companions watch and give their comments about "This Island Earth")
54. Office Space (1999, company workers who hate their jobs, decide to rebel against their greedy boss)
55. Dark City (1998, William Hurt, Keifer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly)
56. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951, Michael Rennie, Classic 50s sci-fi)
57. Carnival of Souls (1962, After a traumatic accident, a woman becomes drawn to a mysterious abandoned carnival)
58. Metropolis (1927, Directed by Fritz Lang, One of the first sci-fi films, a classic!)
59. Head (1968, The Monkees, Jack Nicholson, surrealistic Beatlesesque musical)
60. Death Race 2000 (1975, David Caradine, Sylvester Stalone, brutal futuristic cross-country car race where pedestrians are run down for points)
61. Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920, One of the first horror films, "A horror film that surpasses all others")
62. The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997, Bill Murray, spies and mistaken identities, great Saturday afternoon fluff)
63. Real Men (1987, Jim Belushi, John Ritter, spies, espionage, and aliens, great Saturday afternoon fluff)
64. Blackula (1972, Interior decorators buy the coffin of an African prince bitten by Dracula and bring it back to Los Angeles... Great Blaxploitaion)
65. Logan's Run (1976, Michael York, Peter Ustinov, An idyllic sci-fi future has one major drawback: life must end at 30, nominated for 2 Oscars)
66. Westworld (1973, Yul Brenner, Richard Benjamin, James Brolin)
67. Night of the Lepus (1972, Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun, Deforest Kelly, Giant mutant rabbits terrorize the Southwest!!)
68. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964, Pia Zadora, The Martians kidnap Santa, The Worst!)
69. Shaolin Soccer (2001, Mystical Kung-Fu Soccer action!)
70. Tron (1982, Jeff Bridges, A hacker is literally abducted into the world of a computer and forced into gladiatorial games, very early computer generated effects)
71. Casino Royale (1967, Peter Seller, David Niven, Ursula Andress, Orson Wells, Woody Allen, William Holden, John Huston, an early 007 spy spoof)
72. Mystery Men (1999, Too many amazing stars to list, A group of inept amateur superheroes must take down Casnova Frankenstein aka Geoffrey Rush)
73. Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983, Jason Robards, Jonathan Pryce, a diabolical circus and its demonic proprietor prey on townsfolk)
74. Rollerball (1975, Jame Caan, In a corporate controlled future, an ultra-violent sport known as Rollerball represents the world)
75. Soylent Green (1973, Charlton Heston, Chuck Connors, Edward G. Robinson, Living in an overpopulated future)
76. Fahrenheit 451 (1966, Written by Ray Bradbury, Directed by Francois Truffaut, In the future, A fireman whose job is to destroy all books questions his task)
77. Twelve Monkeys (1995, Directed by Terry Gilliam, Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, In the dying future, a convict is sent back in time to find out about a man-made virus)
78. The Omega Man (1971, Charlton Heston, a doctor, due to an experimental vaccine, is the only survivor of an apocalyptic war waged with biological weapons)
79. Donnie Darko (2001, A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny bringing apocalyptic news)
80. Zachariah (1971, Don Johnson, Joe Walsh, Two gunfighters separate and experience drug induced rock n' roll visions on their journey through the west)
81. Attack of the Mushroom People (1963, aka "Matango," Shipwrecked survivors slowly transform into mushrooms, a bizarre, imaginative, nightmarish fantasy)
82. Flesh Gordon (1974, Candy Samples, Emperor Wang (the Perverted) is leader of the planet Porno and sends his mighty "Sex Ray" towards Earth)
83. Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958, An abused wife grows after an alien encounter and aborted murder attempt, then she goes after cheating husband)
84. Wizards (1977, On a post-apocalyptic Earth, A wizard and his faire folk comrades fight an evil wizard who's using technology in his bid for conquest)
85. Fantastic Planet (1973, animated, On a faraway planet, giants rule, and tiny humanoids, kept as pets, must fight for their lives and their equality)
86. 20,000,000 Miles to Earth (1957, classic 50s monster movie, The first spaceship to visit Venus and return, lands in the sea, freeing a small Venusian creature)
87. Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971, Vincent Price, Dr. Anton Phibes seeks revenge on the nine doctors he considers responsible for his wife's death)
88. Cat People (Both the 1942 and 1982 versions, Both are excellent and stand on their own merit)
89. The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976, David Bowie, Thomas Jerome Newton is a humanoid alien who comes to Earth to get water for his dying planet)
90. The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980, A tribesman in the Kalahari desert encounters technology for the first time--in the shape of a Coke bottle)
91. Brother From Another Planet (1984, A mute alien is chased by outer-space bounty hunters through the streets of Harlem in this thought-provoking cult classic)
92. My Dinner with Andre (1981, Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory share their lives over the course of an evening meal at a restaurant, Known for being filmed almost entirely in one shot)
93. Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers (1956, Classic 50s sci-fi about aliens taking over Washington DC)
94. Ed Wood (1994, The mostly true story of the legendary director of awful movies and his strange group of friends and actors)
95. Fist Full of Dollars (1964, Clint Eastwood plays two rival families against each other in a small Mexican town. The first spaghetti Western?, great soundtrack)
96. Freaks (1932, the deformed friends of a side-show performer discover she is only marrying him for his inheritance and mess her up. A classic cult film)
97. The Legend of Drunken Master (1978, Jackie Chan, An undisciplined boy must learn the Drunken Fist style of Kung-Fu in order to stop an assassin, Awesome!)
98. My Name is Nobody (1973, Terrence Hill, Henry Fonda, A young, easygoing gunman (Hill) worships and competes with an old retiring gunfighter - Fonda)
99. THX 1138 (1971, George Lucas's first film, 25th century man and a woman rebel against their rigidly controlled society)
100. Cool Hand Luke (1967, Paul Newman, A man refuses to conform to life in a rural prison)
101. Not of This Earth (1957, An alien agent from planet Davana is sent to earth via a high-tech matter transporter, the two later versions are good as well)
102. I was a Teenage Werewolf (1957, troubled teenager seeks help through hypnotherapy, but his evil doctor uses him for regression experiments)
103. I was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957, Professor Frankenstein steals body parts of dead athletes and builds a monster which goes on a campus killing spree)
104. Curse of the Cat People (1944, mostly unrelated sequel to the 1942 Cat People)
105. The Hunger (1983, David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve, Susan Sarandon, Egyptian vampire subsists on blood from her lovers who don't age)
106. Reefer Madness (1936, features a fictionalized and highly exaggerated take on the use of marijuana)
107. Time Bandits (1981, John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelly Duval, Michael Palin, David Warner, A young boy accidentally joins a band of dwarves as they jump from time-period to time-period looking for treasure to steal)
108. Kiss Me Deadly (1955, Ralph Meeker, Cloris Leechman, A doomed female hitchhiker pulls Mike Hammer into a deadly whirlpool of intrigue)
109. An American Werewolf in London (1981, Griffin Dunne, Two American tourists in England are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists)
110. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970, Directed by Russ Meyer, Three girls come to Hollywood to make it big, but find only sex, drugs, and sleaze)
111. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2001, A dedicated scientist, aided by his clueless wife, rolls up his shirt sleeves and tries to save the world from a radioactive monster. A campy classic!)
112. Invaders From Mars (1953, great campy 50s sci-fi)
113. Shaun of the Dead (2004, After Shaun breaks up with his girlfriend Liz, his world is changing dramatically. One night he is drinking in the pub the next he is saving the human race from blood curdling zombies
114. Hot Fuzz (2007, Big Cops. Small Town. Moderate Violence. A great lampoon of buddy cop films! Good soundtrack)
115. The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961, A defecting Russian scientist is transformed by an atomic test into a hulking monster, Starring Tor Johnson)
116. The Brain from Planet Arous (1957, A powerful criminal brain from the planet Arous, Gor, assumes the body of scientist Steve March)
117. Cherry 2000 (1987, In the future, a man travels to the ends of the earth to find that the perfect woman is always under his nose and she’s a robot)
118. Braindead (1992, A young man's mother is bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey. She gets sick and dies, at which time she comes back to life, killing and eating dogs, nurses, friends, and neighbors)
119. Fiend Without a Face (1958, A Scientist, experimenting with telekinetic powers enhanced by a nearby nuclear power plant succeeds in creating a new form of life, classic 50s Sci-Fi)
120. Frankenhooker (1990, A medical school dropout loses his fiancée in a tragic lawnmower incident, and decides to bring her back by rebuilding her with body parts from prostitutes)
121. The Giant Claw (1957, Global panic ensues when it is revealed that a mysterious UFO is actually a giant bird that flies at supersonic speed and has no regard for life or architecture)
122. Greaser’s Palace (1972, A very strange Western parable, based on the life of Christ. This ain't your father's Bible story)
123. Journey to the Seventh Planet (1962, A U.N. space expedition to the planet Uranus discovers a bizarre and sexy world, right out of their own heads)
124. The Killer Shrews (1959, On an isolated island, a small group of people is terrorised by giant, voracious shrews (dogs wearing carpet remnants) in the midst of a hurricane)
125. Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires (1974, Count Dracula journeys to a remote Chinese village in the guise of a warlord to support six vampires, Vampire Kung-Fu action)
126. Meet the Feebles (1989, Heidi the Hippo discovers her lover Bletch, The Walrus, is cheating on her, and all of her co-stars must contend with drug addiction, extortion, robbery, disease, drug dealing, and murder. While this is happening Trevor the Rat, wishes to exploit the young hippo starlet for use in his porno movie business, X-Rated Muppets!)
127. Message From Space (1978, Japanese Star Wars rip-off, stars Vic Morrow and Sonny Chiba)
128. Motel Hell (1980, Farmer Vincent kidnaps unsuspecting travelers and buries them in his garden, but unfortunately for his victims, they are not dead. He is fattening them up to make his famous fritters, stars Rory Calhoun and Wolfman Jack)
129. The Monster that Challenged the World (1957, An earthquake in the Salton Sea unleashes a horde of prehistoric mollusk monsters, campy 50s Sci-Fi)
130. Psycho Beach Party (2000, Spoof of 1960's Beach Party/Gidget surfing movies mixed with slasher horror films, very fun to watch)
131. Nude on the Moon (1961, A rich rocket scientist organizes an expedition to the moon, which they discover is inhabited by nude women)
132. Santa Sangre (1989, From the man that brought you El Topo, A colorful, horrifying and hallucinatory masterpiece. Many have compared it to "Psycho", "Freaks" and "Fellini”)
133. Radioactive Dreams (1985, After an atomic war Phillip Hammer and Marlowe Chandler have spent 15 years on their own in a bomb shelter, stuffed with junk from the 40s and old detective novels. Now, 19 years old, they leave their shelter to find a world full of mutants, freaks, cannibals, Disco, and George Kennedy!)
134. Reptilicus (1961, A portion of the tail of a prehistoric snake is discovered in Denmark. It then regenerates into the entire reptile and wreaks havoc)
135. The Resurrected (1992, Charles Dexter Ward's wife enlists the help of a private detective to find out what her husband is up to in a remote cabin owned by his family for centuries, Based on an H.P. Lovecraft story)
136. Robot Monster (1953, The Robot Monster has been sent to Earth in advance of an impending alien invasion. Looking remarkably like a gorilla in a diving helmet, he has destroyed all but six people on Earth and spends the entire film trying to finish off these survivors)
137. Santa Claus (1959, With the aid of Merlin, Santa Claus must defeat the evil machinations of the devil, Pitch, to ruin Xmas, a really weird twist on Christmas!)
138. The Shape of Things to Come (1979, Planet Earth is a devastated wasteland, and what's left of humanity has colonized the Moon in domed cities. Humanity's continued survival depends on an anti-radiation drug only available on planet Delta Three, which has been taken over by Omus, aka Jack Palance, amazingly weird film)
139. Phantom Empire (1989, A man-eating cave creature appears with a fortune in diamonds around his neck, so Denae hires adventurers to find the underground source of the gems and they discover a tribe of Amazon women, headed by Sybil Danning, at her bra-busting best, many props from old Sci-Fi films were used)
140. Starcrash (1978, Epic action in outer space when the good guys set out to track the evil Count's secret weapon. The movie lacks any sense of reality, is rife with ridiculous dialog, and filled with special effects that are extraordinarily cheesy)
141. It Conquered the World (1956, An alien from Venus, bent on world domination, is guided to Earth by disgruntled scientist who tells it which humans it should attach mind control devices to, great, campy 50s Sci-Fi)
142. Story of Ricky (A young man with superhuman strength is incarcerated at a prison run by corrupt officials and seeks to use his martial arts to clean up the system, one of the goriest Kung-Fu films ever made!)
143. Tarantula (1955, Starring John Agar, A spider escapes from an isolated desert laboratory experimenting in gigantism and grows to tremendous size as it wreaks havoc on the local inhabitants)
144. Terror of Tiny Town (1938, An evil gun-slinging midget comes to terrorize the good little people of Tiny Town, a Western cast entirely with midgets)
145. Comedy of Terrors (1964, An undertaker who hasn't had any 'customers' in a long time is forced to kill people in order to pay one year's back-rent, stars Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, and Basil Rathbone)
146. Monolith Monsters (1957, When a storm exposes fragments of a strange black meteor to water, they grow into skyscraper-sized monoliths which then topple and shatter into thousands of pieces and any humans in the way are crushed or turned into human statues, very cool!)
147. The Tingler (1959, Vincent Price, a pathologist discovers and captures a creature that lives in every vertebrate and grows when fear grips its host, When the film was originally released in theatres, shock devices were installed in some of the seats, to scare the hell out of the moviegoers, hence the name)
148. Uninvited (1988, George Kennedy, A mutated killer cat finds its way on-board a yacht and wreaks havoc)
149. Vampire Men of the Lost Planet (1970, Start with footage of vampires doing their thing in back alleys. Mix with a no-budget science fiction film about a rocketship landing on another planet. Finally, wrap the entire thing with a Filipino caveman film and bake)
150. The Trip (1967, Written by Jack Nicholson, starring Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, and Bruce Dern, Paul (Peter Fonda) takes LSD and experiences visions of sex, death, strobe lights, flowers, dancing girls, witches, hooded riders, a torture chamber, and a dwarf, Go with it, man!)
151. Two Thousand Maniacs (1964, Six people are lured into a small Deep South town for a Centennial celebration (of civil war ghosts) where the residents proceed to kill them one by one as revenge for the town's destruction during the Civil War)
152. The Blob (1958, Steve McQueen, An alien life form consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows)
153. Day of the Triffids (1962, A shower of meteorites produces a glow that blinds anyone that looks at it. As most people were watching, 99% of the population goes blind. Space alien plants whose spores have arrived in the meteor shower come to life and start killing people)
154. Night of the Comet (1984, A comet wipes out most of life on Earth, leaving two Valley Girls to fight the evil types who survive)
155. War of the Worlds (1953, The film adaptation of the H.G. Wells story told on radio of the invasion of Earth by Martians, great and classic Sci-Fi)
156. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951, An alien and his robot, Gort, land in Washington D.C. and tell the people of Earth that they must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets, Klatu Barada Nikto)
157. Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956, aliens come to Washington DC and schedule a meeting with the leaders of Earth with the intention to invade Earth without panicking the population. A Dr. develops an anti-magnetic weapon that becomes that last hope of human race against the hostile aliens)
158. Valley of Gwangi (1969, Cowboy James Franciscus seeks fame and fortune by capturing a Tyrannosaurus Rex living in the Forbidden Valley and putting it in a Mexican circus)
159. How to Make a Monster (1958, When master monster make-up man Pete is sacked by the new bosses of American International studios he uses his creations to exact revenge)
160. Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957, A teenage couple making out in the woods accidentally run over an alien creature. The creature's hand falls off, but comes alive, and, with an eye growing out of it, begins to stalk the teens. Meanwhile, Joe the town drunk stores the body in his refrigerator, but some of the alien's buddies inject Joe with alcohol and he dies).

Whew, what a list! I hope that you get a chance to check some of these "masterpieces" out. Copies of some of these films are very dificult to find. So, if you find them, share them!

Happy movieing,

1 comment:

  1. That is quite a list. Though I feel as though you're doing your readers an injustice by neglecting to include anything from the Daniel Bernhardt collection. I would recommend Future War, Perfect Target, or any of the Bloodsport sequels. Truly terrible films that no one should miss.