PSYCHOTRONIC NETFLIX VOL. 11
HEY BASTARDS. Welcome to another edition of PSYCHOTRONIC NETFLIX! This week we’re going to explore the world of psychotronic documentaries, so sit back and actually learn something for a change! Don’t worry, there’s still nudity.
It’s never a bad time to watch John Waters’ one man show, ranging in topics from his films to capitol punishment to Michael Jackson, filmed in New York and directed by Jeff Garlin.
9. Popatopolis (2009)
Clay Westervelt’s 2009 documentary on prolific psychotronic filmmaker Jim Wynorski (CHOPPING MALL, DEATHSTALKER II, RETURN OF SWAMP THING, a billion others) follows the auteur during the making of THE WITCHES OF BREASTWICK. A great portrait of low-budget filmmaking, with interviews from Julie Strain, Roger Corman, Monique Parent, Andy Sidaris and the ubiquitous Lloyd Kaufman.
8. The Weird and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia (2009)
While the classic documentary THE DANCING OUTLAW is currently MIA, the more recent doc exploring the gas-huffing, drug-dealing, pill-popping family of Jesco White, the subject of OUTLAW who became a pre-viral viral hit as a tap dancer upon the first film’s release. Not as captivating as OUTLAW, but still a compelling look at a dying breed of outlaws preserving a dying form of dance.
7. Behind the Burly Q (2010)
The history of burlesque is explored in this doc from Robert Zemeckis’ daughter Leslie Zemeckis, with interview subjects ranging from performers like Blaze Starr and Tempest Storm, to Alan Alda, who grew up around the performers as has father Robert was a burlesque comedian.
6. Darkon (2006)
The world of live action roleplaying (LARPing) looks pretty odd to outsiders, but Luke Meyer and Andrew Neel’s pic about a Baltimore-area group that does it serves as a good introduction, as it’s made by actual gamers rather than filmmakers wanting to poke fun at the pastime.
5. Comic Book Confidential (1988)
Ron Mann’s documentary is a little dated now, but the look at the history of comic books and emphasis on underground artists of the time make this well worth a look, especially since the interviewees include Will Eisner, Charles Burns, Robert Crumb, Lynda Barry, Al Feldstein, Bill Griffith, Jaime Hernandez and the inevitable Stan Lee.
4. Inside Deep Throat (2005)
Sure, 1972’s DEEP THROAT isn’t exactly a good movie, but it broke a lot of barriers regarding the distribution of hardcore film, and Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (PARTY MONSTER, THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE) do a great job at exploring every interesting component of the film, from its’ lurid creation to its’ sketchy distribution. Dennis Hopper narrates, and the interviewees include John Waters, Dick Cavett, Ruth Westheimer, Camille Paglia, Hugh Hefner, Larry Flynt and director Gerard Damiano.
3. Not Quite Hollywood (2009)
No self-respecting Grindhouse fan should miss this great film about the history of Australian exploitation film, as virtually every sub-genre from sex comedy to horror movie to kung-fu flick is explored. Ubiquitous interviewee Quentin Tarantino gets a little too much screen time, but the subject matter is top-notch and director Mark Hartley just leaves you wanting the movie to be a good three hours longer.
2. Blank City (2011)
Documentary on the underground film movement in New York in the late ’70s and ’80s, with an impressive list of talking heads: Jim Jarmusch, Amos Poe, Beth and Scott B., Lizzie Borden, Richard Kern, Nick Zedd, Lydia Lunch, John Waters, Susan Seidelman, John Lurie, Ann Magnuson, Debbie Harry, Vivienne Dick, Patti Astor and Steve Buscemi, among others.
1. Best Worst Movie (2009)
As much of an examination of bad movie culture as it is a documentary on the history and people behind the now-notorious TROLL 2, Michael Stephenson’s 2009 is required viewing for fans of this page, or anyone who knows that you can’t piss on hospitality.
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