What makes one a Chewer? It isn’t just reading CHUD.com regularly, although that’s a great start. It definitely isn’t being an expert at mastication. Being a Chewer requires a certain sensibility that’s outside of the mainstream. Sure, a Chewer can hold his or her own in a Star Wars OT vs PT argument with a standard movie geek, and sure, a Chewer can go with the rest of the film snobs to an Ozu revival, but a Chewer also gets really, really excited about the DVD release of The Manitou.

Over the next few weeks we’re going to be bringing you The CHUD.com Essential Films Collection – the films that would be in our dream Chewer DVD Box Set. These are 50 movies that we think every Chewer should see and love. This is by no means the definitive list of movies that make one a Chewer, but it’s a good start. It’s also in no order – the first films that we list are just as essential as the last ones. And it’s a list that will leave off the obvious as much as possible – you don’t need us to tell you to see Lawrence of Arabia or Seven Samurai.

So fire up your Netflix or your Amazon accounts – every day we’ll be bringing you two movies that are worth seeing, and probably worth owning as well. Chew on, Chewers.

Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS

http://chud.com/nextraimages/shewolf.jpgThe Movie: Dyanne Thorne is Ilsa, the bangable buxom blonde Nazi in charge of a concentration camp that specializes in sadistic experiments on naked nubile nymphs. When she’s not torturing the women to death, Ilsa is having sex with the men! and then unmanning them when she’s done.

Why it’s Essential: If you’re going to set your soft-core porn film in a concentration camp, go for broke. That seems to have been the thinking of the folks behind Ilsa when they made a movie that includes a woman boiled to death, another with maggots inserted into her wounds, and one of cinema’s few deaths by pressure chamber. While nude, of course. Reprehensible and indefensible, Ilsa is also compulsively watchable. The whole movie has a slight sheen of cheese – helped, no doubt, by the fact that it was filmed on the sets for Hogan’s Heroes  – that helps to offset the creepier exploitation elements. Still, the movie’s very subject matter retains the ability to shock and disgust, and some scenes – like one where a a woman wearing a noose stands on a slowly melting block of ice at a Nazi dinner party (she is, of course, naked) – work on a very disturbing level. Even though Ilsa gets righteously killed in a prisoner uprising at the end of this one, she gets brought back in a number of sequels, each offering diminishing returns and never quite as creepy.

- Devin Faraci

Q: The Winged Serpent

 The Movie: Michael Moriarty is a sleazy con man who stumbles across the lair of the giant flying Aztec lizard god that’s been terrorizing Manhattan, then tries to sell his find to the city for a million bucks.

Why it’s Essential: Japanese monster movies only did it for me in theory. Cool monsters, incredibly boring people. Then I saw Q, and Michael Moriarty’s sociopathically greedy, low-rent con became my template for schlocky movie characters. Because while it was fun to watch Quetzlcoatl swoop down on a topless sunbather and dribble bloody giblets all over the streets of New York, it was almost better to watch Moriarty be a total dick to cops like David Carradine. Boris Vallejo box art didn’t hurt. If you want to get all analytic about it, you can say that Q, like a lot of Larry Cohen movies, features a really warped take on God’s interaction with the world and people’s reaction to him. Fortunately it also has a giant lizard beast that looks better than almost any other low-budget monster and plenty of gore. It’s also got the best-worst scat singing scene since I got drunk and tried to cover “Step Right Up” at a cousin’s wedding.