I’m fascinated by how and which films and filmmakers become underground hits. That is, not mainstream movies generally, but indies and such that become embraced and then recommended and screened in off-beat places. For example, decades back when I was at Columbia, there was an organization that showed weekly art movies (the organization had a name that had something to do with a zoopraxiscope, but I can’t remember exactly what it was). I recall Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali’s bizzare Un Chien Andalou, Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar, Tod Browing’s Freaks, and Philip de Broca’s King of Hearts. There were other cultish movies out and about at the time that I avoided because I suspected I couldn’t take their creepiness, say David Lynch’s Eraserhead, John Waters’ Pink Flamingos, and Alejandro Jodorwsky’s El Topo. It took me a while to finally attend a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Pictureshow, but I must say I had a great time when I did.
One of my personal favorites is Lindsay Anderson’s If… (you can read a bit more about my feelings about it here) and I was thrilled to see that it seems to be a favorite of Neil Gaiman’s too as it is one of the films he has selected to screen in a brief series he and his wife Amanda Palmer are doing. And was further tickled to see that she had selected King of Hearts. I haven’t see it in years and wonder how I’d respond to it today. I have seen If.. and still love it (partly…er…mainly…because of the young Malcolm McDowell), but do wonder how others will respond to it today what with the horror of school shootings.
What movies speak to you this way? I’m suspecting the films of John Hughes, perhaps? Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings? I’m curious.