Archive for Cult

Jacob’s Ladder

Posted in Cult Horror, Cult Scenes with tags , , , , , , on June 6, 2009 by themoviecult

Let’s get Macabre for a moment.

Jacob’s Ladder (1990) is a unique piece of filmmaking. The duration of the film is a nightmare for the main character, Jacob Singer, in which his reality frequently turns upside down, and he can’t be sure of anything. The film deals with death, and the supernatural, but in a very clever way.

Tim Robbins is great as Jacob Singer – in fact, the whole cast of actors, including a very young Macaulay Culkin, give excellent performances. The direction, by Adrian Lyne is what sets this movie apart. Also, some effort has been put in to packing each scene with as many visual elements as possible – enhancing them greatly.

The title, Jacob’s Ladder, is a reference taken from the bible, about a dream meeting in a place between heaven and hell. The movie heavily takes ideas and themes from the bible, such as angels and demons.

Jacob’s Ladder is a very important movie. It inspired the Silent Hill games series, which was adapted into the eerie Silent Hill (2006) movie. The movie was dubbed the first of the “horrorcore” genre – extremely gory and macabre movies dealing with horrible monstrosities, and death/purgatory. The evolution of style and approach to subject matter through the decade of Silent Hill videogames and to the foundations of “horrorcore” movies all evolved from Jacob’s Ladder.

The Silent Hill videogame

The Silent Hill videogame

This is the evolution of the the horrorcore genre:
The Bible -> Jacob’s Ladder -> Silent Hill Videogames -> Silent Hill -> The Future

The Silent Hill Movie

The Silent Hill Movie

Now, let’s see what all of the fuss is about. This scene, taken from the middle of Jacob’s Ladder, works well without any context, so there’s no need to set you up. Enjoy.


Cult Scenes: Shogun Assassin

Posted in Cult Scenes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2009 by themoviecult

Here is the introduction to Shogun Assassin – the 1980 Japanese film about a lone wolf and his cub, directed by Robert Houston:

This is an efficient opening, because in such a short ammount of time, the major characters and the dilema are established. Also, because it is beautifully shot and well written (as is the rest of the movie).

Rap fans may notice the child’s voiceover sounds familiar. GZA/Genius, a notable fan of classic Japanese Martial Arts Films, based his 2002 album, Liquid Swords, around Shogun Assassin. Much of the dialogue and voiceover is sampled and used.

Cult Horror – an Introduction

Posted in Cult Horror with tags , , , , , , on August 6, 2008 by themoviecult

It is hard not to love horror movies.

They touch on the macabre; speculate on the unknown; present horrible monsters. They inspire nightmares; bring chills. They’re the reason to sleep with the lights on. They’re subtle and grate away gradually or they’re over the top – bucket’s of blood and all.

Fads and genres in movies come and go, but horror has been steadily popular for a long time now. We identify with the situations horror movies present because we fear death. We fear corruption – both physically and spiritually. We fear for the safety of our family and friends. We fear the unknown origin of creepy sounds. We fear having to face danger alone.

Great things can be done with horror in the right circumstances. If a horror movie identifies what we’re most scared of, establishes that anything can happen at any second, and then paces itself correctly, it is bound for greatness.

This segment is for exploring great horror, and touching on the bad. In a series of articles and reviews over the coming weeks and months (interspersed with regular programming), classic and modern horror will be analysed, and ideas will be investigated.

To get the ball rolling – what is your favourite horror movie? What has managed to scare you senseless?

Cult Scenes #1

Posted in Cult Scenes with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2008 by themoviecult

Natural Born Killers

The Movie
Oliver Stone’s bizarre satire on public obsession with crime, made in 1994: Natural Born Killers.  It contains excessive violence, and is shot in Stone’s trademark style, with many different cameras and lenses used.  It follows a young couple in love, Mickey Knox (Woody Harrelson), and Mallory Knox (Juliette Lewis), on a cross-country killing spree, spurred on by media coverage.

Behind the Scenes
The script for Natural Born Killers was originally written by Quentin Tarrantino, and it was meant to be a 60’s style crime romp.  The screenplay was sold to Oliver Stone, who revised it to make it comment on the media and television’s impact over the serial killers, rather than follow a shallow crime/comedy story. 

On the director’s commentary, Stone said that he looked past Tarrantino’s obsession with the 60’s to make it cover all eras of American television and popular culture, because it added context to the story of the couple.

Oliver Stone also made the story focus on the serial killers, rather than smug journalist Wayne Gale (Robert Downey Jnr) – changing the duo from being ordinary people to being social outcasts with broken childhoods.  Stone kept most of Tarrantino’s trademark dialogue.

Quentin Tarrantino disliked the movie that was made from the script he had crafted, so much so that the requested to have his name removed from the credits.  The film lists Tarrantino under the “story by” credit.

Mickey and Mallory Knox

The Context
Well into the killing spree, Mickey and Mallory Knox are weak and lost in the desert.  They stumble upon an old Indian’s hut, and the Indian takes them in.  This scene comes just before the turning point in the movie, where the Indian chants in an attempt to remove the demons from Mickey.

The Scene
(You can find the Parable – without sound – here)


Mickey and Mallory are at the door.

Come on in.

He motions for them to sit in an overstuffed chair.

Thank you (pointing to herself)  I’m Mall-o –
ry…That’s Mi…ckey.

Everyone nods and smiles.  An Indian boy comes in and sits next to the Indian.

INDIAN (in navajo to the Boy)
Good looking woman…uh…Man’s got things in
his head he can’t get out…demons.  Too much
TV…Trouble follows that one.

MICKEY (to Mallory)
This is like the twilight zone or something.

Mickey is deliriously sleeping, and Mallory is silently looking around the room. The boy and the old man converse in Navajo.

Can you help them grandpa?

Maybe they don’t want to be helped.  They both
fly too close to sun.  Now they are falling to
earth.  That is why they have come here.  My
prayers would mean nothing in their world.

A snake is crawling over to the Indian who reaches down and picks it up and puts in his lap.

Once there was a woman who went out to
collect firewood.

The Indian stokes the fire.

She came upon a poisonous snake
frozen in the snow.  She took the snake
home with her.  She put the frozen snake
on her favorite blanket by the warm fire.
She fed it and nursed it back to health.  One
day she picked the snake up and it bit her on
the cheek.  As she lay dying she asked the
snake, I loved you, why have you done this to
me?  The snake answered, “look bitch, you knew
I was a snake.”

The Indian and the boy chuckle. The Indian takes the snake to the door and puts it down.

Old man, go be a snake.