Saturday, March 31, 2018
Choice Cuts: The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema by Michael Vaughn (2017: Schiffer Publishing)
In high school my friends and I spent many a Friday night renting random VHS tapes. We were "those kids" that played in bands and watched bad movies because they were good. It's the "Dio Effect," where something passes the threshold of terrible and cheesy to end up becoming amazing. The one thing I wish we had back then was a book like this. I could see one of us buying it but passing it around for weeks at a time as we read and digested each film inside before it stayed at our usual Friday night watch spot for reference. This book needs to learn time travel...
The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema reads less as a "guide" and more as a checklist of films to work through before you die. Every piece of celluloid tucked between the covers of this book comes with the author's personal description and feelings about it. It feels genuine though as the second movie you encounter has Michael telling you that it's not a good film. It's still strange, but just not his thing, and I can appreciate that honest approach.
Michael also does a great job of adding extras here and there. Sometimes you get some trivia about a film, or a short interview with someone involved, or even a recommendation of what other movies you might want to pair with your selection. Did you order the steak? Then you'll want a red wine. Do you watch The Apple? Then try it with Phantom of the Paradise!
One thing to keep in mind with this book is that this is "The Ultimate Guide" and not "The Complete Guide." Upon my acquisition of this book I quickly scanned it for some of my more obscure favorites but not everyone will have ever seen Cornman, although the lack of Six-String Samurai was disappointing as it is my favorite movie. Luckily I did see other favorites such as Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, Yeti: A Gay Love Story, and Wild Zero gracing these pages.
The living tend to ignore the strange and unusual, but if you're strange and unusual or just like the strange and unusual then you should pick up a copy of this book. Yes I just ripped off Beetlejuice to finish this review, but that's not important. What is important is that you check out The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema.
I would like to thank Michael Vaughn and Schiffer Publishing for hooking me up with a copy of this book to review. Also, as an FYI, I was not paid in anyway to write a good review for this book, it's legitimately good.