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August 31, 2010

The Midnight Warriors' List of THE MOST ESSENTIAL CULT FILMS OF THE 1970s!

Twenty-five fine souls - OK, twenty-four and me - took time over the past two weeks to formulate a personal list of what they think are the Most Essential Cult Films of the 1970s.  I've compiled all of those lists and/or links to those lists in those few posts.  Now, the time has come for all of those lists to merge, creating one huge list of the 76 (Seventy-Six!) different "Cult" Films of the the 1970s that were listed by these fine folks.

Here's how it works:
Each list was given an equal total value going into the final list.  Ranked lists of five were scored with the #1 spot earning 5 points, the #2 spot earning 4 points, and so on - totaling 15 points.  On lists that were not ranked, each listed film received 3 points, which meant that the list in total was worth 15 points.  One list offered 10 choices, thus each film on this list received 1.5 points - again totaling 15 points.

I offer no tie-breakers, nor did I edit any lists.  Some people chose to list films that may not be "cult" films in the eyes of others, some people chose to list films from the '60s or '80s.  Because I believe all lists should count the same, I am perfectly fine with these inclusions, which have a minuscule effect on the final product.  The only thing I ask of anyone reading this list is that they do not, for any reason, attack those who have submitted their votes for these films.  This was their right from the beginning of the project; if you have a problem with that I'll be glad to take their share of blame for whatever wrongs you feel have occurred.

The Participants (In no particular order) are:
Petunia Scarem of Deadly Serious; Morgan of The Kid In The Hall; Jinx of Totally Jinxed; Joe Monster of From Beyond Depraved; Stonerphonic of Borderline; Brandon Sites of Big Daddy Horror Reviews; B-Sol of The Vault of Horror; BJ-C of Day of the Woman; Fred The Wolf of Full Moon Reviews; Dave S of Bloody Terror; Liam of Less Than Three Film; Carol of Craftypants Carol's Fancy Crafty World; Bill of Radiation-Scarred Reviews; Emily C. of The Quest to Watch Every Movie Ever; Detector of The Real Stuff Cats Like; Joe of Oduction Productions' Midnight Time Warp; Christine Hadden of Fascination With Fear; Schtoffer of Spasmo Mixtape; Zombie Mom of Poetic Zombie; LJ of A Racing Mind; Nicki Nix of Hey! Look Behind You!; T.L. Bugg of The Lightning Bug's Lair; Jenny Spencer of Italian Film Review; R.D. Penning of Dead End Drive-In; and me, The Mike.

And now...the List...Counting down from Number(s) 66 through the undisputed Number 1!

The Midnight Warriors' Most Essential Cult Films of the 1970s!

 (Note from The Mike: This first part gets a little muddled, but I wanted to recognize each film that was voted for.  If you want to get to the films that received at least three votes, you can skip ahead to the poster from The Wicker Man.)

66) 11 films tied for the #66 position on the list - Assault on Precinct 13, Bless the Beasts & Children, The Car, Corvette Summer, Decoy for Terror, Electra Glide in Blue, The Getaway, The Poseidon Adventure, Roller Boogie, Trog, The Wanderers.  Each of these films received 1 point.

63) In a three way tie for the #63 spot are - A Clockwork Orange, Deep Throat, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  Each of these films received 1.5 points.

53) Ten films scored 2 points, tying for #53 on the list.  They are: Dark Star, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Mad Max, The Manitou, Slap Shot, Straw Dogs, The Streetfighter, Thriller: A Cruel Picture, Vanishing Point, and Westworld.

52) One film held its own in the #52 spot.  Faces of Death earned 2.5 points.

36) A whopping 16 films tied for the #36 spot on the list, including: Car Wash, Coffy, Daughters of Darkness, Deep Red, The Devil's Rain, The Fog, Halloween, Land of the Minotaur, Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural, The Other Cinderella, Silent Running, The Stepford Wives, Supervixens, Taxi Driver, Tourist Trap, and Willard.  Each of these films earned 3 points.

35) Enter the Dragon, starring the late Bruce Lee, kicked its way into the #35 spot, with 3.5 points.

28) At the #28 spot, seven films earned 4 points.  They are: Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, The Last House on the Left, The Legend of Boggy Creek, Martin, Over the Edge, Phantasm, and Ruby.  (Note from The Mike:  I gotta admit, I'm a little surprised to see LHOTL and Phantasm way down here!)

18) There's a ten film logjam at the #18 spot.  At this point, we're up to the films that may have only received one First Place vote, or may have appeared on multiple lists.  These films are: The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Bloodrage, Caged Heat, Duel, Logan's Run, Massacre at Central High, Midnight Cowboy, Rock 'n Roll High School, Stone, and Zombie.
17) The #17 spot is where we start to see films separate from the pack.  The holder of this spot is The Wicker Man, which used a late push to earn 5.5 points, appearing on three different lists.
16) Also making a late push - and benefiting greatly from being my own #1 pick - was Death Race 2000.  It earned 6.5 points to hold the #16 spot.
13) We've got a three way tie at the #13 spot, as three very different films - Jaws, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Pink Flamingos - each earned 7 points.  I challenge you to find that trio anywhere else!
12) At #12, earning 8 points, is the X-Rated, animated, double-nominated, Fritz the Cat.  I gotta say, I was a little surprised to see this one so high on the list, but it earned high votes from those who loved it.
11) While Halloween may have earned the mainstream love, Bob Clark's Black Christmas becomes the second film on this list (the first was The Wicker Man) to be listed by three different voters.  It earned 9 points, cementing itself in the #11 slot.
10) I will admit that, aside from hearing of the weirdness of Jodorowsky's films, I know nothing about El Topo.  That didn't matter to The Midnight Warriors, who placed it on three different lists and awarded it 9.5 points, good enough for the #10 spot on our list!
9) As we roll into the Top 10, we get the cult classic romance, Harold and Maude!  This one also appeared on three different lists, and earned 10 points to reach the #9 spot.  (It's also the second film in the Top 10 I haven't seen. :(  I won't make that mistake again!)
8) You want rape and revenge?  The Midnight Warriors suggest I Spit on Your Grave/Day of the Woman!  Camille Keaton's tour-de-force performance and a bit of brutality earned this one 10.5 points, and the #8 spot on the list. It's also the first film to appear on four separate lists!
7) The '70s were a big decade for rock and roll musicals - more on that later - and Brian De Palma's Phantom of the Paradise is no exception.  The tale of Swan and Death Records' own Phantom earned 11.5 points - appearing on four different lists - to earn the #7 spot!
5) OK, we've got a tie for the #5 spot, between two films that each earned 16 points.  George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead (4 lists, two #1 ranks) and Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (5 lists) will have to battle for the #5 spot for the rest of time!  (Note from The Mike: After this, there's no more ties!) 
4) Coming in with 17 points and appearing on 6 lists (yet never making a #1 ranking!) is Dario Argento's Suspiria.  I expected this one to crack the Top 3, but it was not meant to be; #4 is still an OK place to be.
3) This one's a big surprise to me.  David Lynch's Eraserhead - backed by 5 different voters and earning one #1 ranking - pulls the #3 spot from Argento with 18 points!  I actually just watched this one for the first time...and was mostly just confused by it.  But, the voters never lie!
2) Coming into this project, I was about 90% certain the top two would be these two films.  I thought the voting would be a little closer - and it was for a while.  In the end, The Warriors - Walter Hill's gangland epic - earned 22 points, appearing on 6 lists but only earning one #1 ranking.  That was good enough to give it a strong edge on the #2 ranking.
1) We all saw this coming, and I find it hard to debate the final result - The Rocky Horror Picture Show can rightfully be called "The Citizen Kane of Cult Movies".  Four voters had it in their #1 spot (the only othr film to earn multiple top rankings was Dawn of the Dead), and three of the seven who listed it didn't rank their lists!  It pulled in a whopping 29 points, and can officially claim its title as THE Most Essential Cult Film of the 1970s, as chosen by The Midnight Warriors!

One last time: THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who took the time to participate in this project!  It means the world to me that so many people out there have a passion for these movies like I do, and bringing everyone together in one place gives me warm fuzzies!

Hope you all enjoy - and that you all thank the contributors, too!  In the meantime, I'm gonna take a couple of days off - this project has been a lot of awesome work - and I'll be back Friday with another Midnight Movie of the Week!

Until, next time, Midnight Warriors!  You complete me.


Jinx said...

I've loved this project so much. The list is excellent. So proud for Fritz the Cat for making it up there. Thanks for doing this, Mike, it was awesome.

Liam [Less Than Three Film] said...

Well done Mike, that is one awesome final list! Can't really argue with the top placing either - it was bound to happen.

Nice work everyone who participated =) I found it much fun myself, and was happy to join in.

Fred [The Wolf] said...

Congrats on an incredible task! I really enjoyed how the results turned out. Not surprised by the Top 2 at all. Nice to see ROCKY HORROR get the top spot though. Anytime someone asks me to name a cult flick, that's the first film to come to mind. This was a lot of fun to do and bring bloggers together.

Are you planning on doing a possible 80s cult list after a couple of months of rest? Would be an interesting task.

R.D. Penning said...

Great Great Great List Mike!

I'm down for an 80's list!!!


The Masha said...

If you do an 80's list, would Howard the Duck show up?

Jose Cruz said...

Awesome job done as always, good sir. You really put a lot of work into compiling this definitive list and I'm glad that I could contribute to it in some small part along with all these other fantastic writers. I wish I could offer you an award for your tremendous efforts, but a totally creepy and awkward viral hug will just have to do for now.

Anonymous said...

WOOT WOOT! I agree with R.D, down for the 80's!

Awesome, list!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic list!!!!!! It was great fun to be a part of this project and I am sooooo down with doing an 80's one!
Dreaded Dreams
Petunia Scareum

The Mike said...

Thanks everybody, couldn't have done it with out you all! (Even you, Masha!)

The '80s seem awfully daunting to me. One of the reasons I thought this would work with the '70s was the fact that there was a little more distance between then and now that had allowed nature to thin the pack, if you will. With the increase in production in the '80s, plus VHS and later DVD, that decade is so much more accessible that I feel it'd be a much more difficult list to make.

It may happen, but not too soon. :)

dave s said...

Great list, The Mike, and fun to participate in. Looking forward to more.

Anonymous said...

There are a few 80's cult movies that, if you did do a list, I would add. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, Suburbia, Shock Treatment, Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai, UHF, Pink Floyd The Wall,and Sid and Nancy. Guess that would be my list, lol.
Dreaded Dreams
Petunia Scareum