Moviedrome: Filmmaker Alex Cox Provides Video Introductions to 100+ Classic Cult Films

If you hap­pened to pass the 1990s in Britain as a cer­tain sort of alter­na­tive and/or obscu­ran­tist cinephile, you know BBC2’s Moviedrome, which, albeit belong­ing to the proud old tra­di­tion of the tele­vi­sion movie show, showed pri­mar­i­ly cult films. But what makes for a cult film, any­way? A cult film “has a pas­sion­ate fol­low­ing, but does not appeal to every­one.” Yet cult film sta­tus “does not auto­mat­i­cal­ly guar­an­tee qual­i­ty,” nor does the box office mon­ey a pic­ture either made or failed to make. But we can cat­e­go­rize all cult films under cer­tain gen­res, and often more than one, giv­en their “ten­den­cy to slosh over from one genre into anoth­er, so that a sci­ence fic­tion film might also be a detec­tive movie, or vice ver­sa,” all shar­ing the com­mon themes of “love, mur­der and greed.”

Those words come straight from Repo ManWalk­er, and Sid & Nan­cy direc­tor Alex Cox, a cult film­mak­er of no small renown. He also host­ed Moviedrome, pro­vid­ing much more than the stan­dard movie-show fram­ing of and intro­duc­tion to the night’s fea­ture. At the top of the post, we have his open­ing seg­ment for Edward G. Ulmer’s cheap but aston­ish­ing­ly endur­ing 1945 film noir Detour, which you can chase with the film itself just above. You may also remem­ber Car­ni­val of Souls, which we fea­tured in full as one of Time Out Lon­don’s 1oo best hor­ror films — well, Cox ably gave Moviedrome primer on that one as well, describ­ing it as one of the most influ­en­tial cult movies of its kind ever made.

But Cox talked about a lot more than film­mak­ers some might describe as schlocky and exploita­tive; he also talked about the likes of Alfred Hitch­cock, who took schlock and exploita­tion to its high­est point of cin­e­mat­ic artistry. Last year, we fea­tured an exam­i­na­tion of Hitch­cock­’s sleight-of-hand in the mak­ing of Rope, the sus­pense mas­ter’s sup­pos­ed­ly cut-free tale of killing and decep­tion. Just above, in Cox’s intro for the film, you can hear more about why this film made the cut, as it were, into Moviedrome’s league of “cult and weirdo type movies.” You can learn about many more such dis­rep­utable-yet-rep­utable pic­tures through Cox’s many seg­ments post­ed to Youtube, as well as in the full text of his Moviedrome Guide avail­able on his “free stuff” page. The Moviedrome faith­ful might also con­sid­er hav­ing a look at this gallery of films from the show’s Alex Cox years, and the exegetic Tum­blr blog Moviedromer.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More

Detour: The Cheap, Rushed Piece of 1940s Film Noir Nobody Ever For­gets

Time Out Lon­don Presents The 100 Best Hor­ror Films: Start by Watch­ing Four Hor­ror Clas­sics Free Online

The 10 Hid­den Cuts in Rope (1948), Alfred Hitchcock’s Famous “One-Shot” Fea­ture Film

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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