‘Cult Filmmakers:’ Shooting from the hip
CULT FILMMAKERS: 50 MOVIE MAVERICKS YOU NEED TO KNOW by Ian Haydn Smith. Published by White Lion Publishing. 144 pages. $16.99 retail.
With its snappy red cover design highlighting an unmistakably recognizable Quentin Tarantino, Ian Haydn Smith’s anthology scarcely needs an introduction, as its title is self-explanatory.
Each entry offers a brief but concise summary of each filmmaker’s career, usually accompanied by a quote from said filmmaker, and boasting one of Kristelle Rodeia’s colorful, evocative illustrations – which are almost worth the purchase price alone.
Many of the usual suspects are profiled: Tarantino (of course), Darren Aronofsky, Mario Bava, Tim Burton, John Carpenter, Roger Corman, Alex Cox, David Cronenberg, Abel Ferrara, Lucio Fulci, Terry Gilliam, Dennis Hopper, Jim Jarmusch, Alejandro Jodorowsky, David Lynch, and so on. Indeed, these are all worthy inclusions – yes, even Edward D. Wood Jr. (of Plan 9 from Outer Space infamy). One of the bigger surprises, if not the biggest, is Barbara Loden, at one time married to director Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without a Cause), who completed only one film in her lifetime – 1970’s Wanda.
Some omissions may raise a few eyebrows (Dario Argento or David Fincher, anyone?), and it should be noted that although he’s undoubtedly a cult filmmaker, Tim Burton has never made a movie that wasn’t produced under the auspices of a major studio. In contrast, many of the filmmakers here usually eschewed the Hollywood mainstream and earned their stripes in the independent realm. Even Alfred Hitchcock, a cult filmmaker, if ever there was one, made several early independent films before “going Hollywood.”
Even for the initiated, Cult Filmmakers is an easy, breezy read – a primer for the reader to delve deeper into each filmmaker’s oeuvre if so inclined.
For more information about this title, visit https://www.quartoknows.com/books/9780711240261/Cult-Filmmakers.html.