Sam Says: Apologies for some of the pictures being less than great, but you try finding better images for these films.
6.) Slashdance (James Shyman, 1989) [Main Picture]
Riffing on the success of 1983’s Flashdance, this camp serial slasher finds cop Tori Raines (Cindy Ferda) investigating a series of musical murders by going undercover as an non-more-80’s dancer (big hair, tight leotard). She seems to enjoy this undercover work too, as an early scene sees her posing as a homeless woman to take down a ring of bad guys who are… robbing homeless women?! As you can probably tell from the above image (artwork from the long-lost VHS), this is a pretty basic soft-core thriller. Instead of nudity we get dance numbers, men eating goldfish and ghost sub-plots. “Her tits are too nice to be a cop” proclaims one character. You need to know more?
Slither (2006) director James Gunn got a famous kick-start to his career when he was hired to write the screenplay for this punky Shakespeare adaptation, earning a measly $150 for his work. Still, he’s one of the brightest and weirdest talents on the cult circuit today, so we have at least that to thank the wonderfully monikered (but woefully executed) Tromeo And Juliet for. Yep, it’s a centuries-old love story brought to you by the people who made The Toxic Avenger (1984), so you can probably put money on there being a penis-turns-into-a-gooey-hand-puppet scene. Oh. Actually, it’s rumoured that Gunn himself choreographed the (abundant) sex scenes. Lucky guy. He only applied as a file clerk.
4.) Everybody Dies But Me (Valeriya Gay Germanika, 2008)
Despite sounding like a poetic post-apocalypse movie, Everybody Dies But Me is actually a teen drama revolving around three fickle and cruel teenage girls who fall out over the course of their first school disco. It’s an incredibly realistic depiction of angered adolescence, and despite playing several high-profile festivals in 2008 (including Cannes) Germanika’s film hasn’t yet been released in the UK; in fact, its only release has been in its homeland of Russia. Even out of context the title is fascinating, but you really need to see the film to understand its poignancy. Spoken in a whisper at the climax, it lands an uncompromised emotional blow.
3.) Ilsa: She-Wolf Of The SS (Don Edmonds, 1975)
Part of the Nazi death camp sub-genre (gotta love exploitation), Ilsa: She Wolf Of The SS is probably the most politically incorrect film ever made, and it revels in that fact with a pleasingly sleazy title. It’s pretty damn gratuitous too, packing as much sex and death into its 96 minutes as is humanly possible. Depending on the strength of your stomach (and morals) you’ll either find a genuine cult classic or an evil-minded skin flick upon viewing Edmonds’ controversial nasty (rejected twice by the BBFC), but it’s worth noting that there is some truth here – experiment chambers were discovered at the end of the Holocaust. I just doubt that electric dildos were top of the scientific agenda.
2.) Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
Kubrick’s classic nuclear satire (“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the war room!“) has the longest title of any movie ever nominated for an Academy award, and no doubt it will retain that honour. Peter Sellers turns in an incredible three-handed performance (begging the question of which one his nomination was for), but really everybody remembers the film for its ‘riding the bomb’ shot, a perfect demonstration of Kubrick’s genius. This would also be the only film he shot with DP Gilbert Taylor, who also lensed Star Wars (1977) and episodes of The Avengers (1968). He’s one of the great British cinematographers, but only has two BAFTA nominations to his name. He turned 97 in April. Please Academy, honour him while you still can.
1.) I Killed My Lesbian Wife, Hung Her On A Meat Hook, And Now I Have A Three-Picture Deal At Disney (Ben Affleck, 1993)
You can say what you want about Ben Affleck’s student short, but it certainly knows how to grab attention. I haven’t actually seen the film (very few have), but the story concerns Sandy (Karla Montana), an actress attending a call-back session after a successful audition earlier in the week. So far, so normal, right? Wrong. Turns out the director (Jay Lacopo) is a homicidal misogynist. I don’t know if it’s a satire or just a slapdash home splatter movie, but Affleck obviously made an impression with it. Lacopo has been acting on and off for the past decade too, and was last seen by UK audiences in 2002’s The Third Wheel – with Affleck!