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.
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
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.
Flash Gordon (Criminally, this DVD is out of print)
Sam J. “Who?” Jones is Flash Gordon…the football player, not the classic sci-fi hero. Flash and his soon to be special lady friend Dale Arden experience a plane crash, are kidnapped by the scientist Dr. Zarkov (Topol!) and rocket off to an alien galaxy where they meet Max von Sydow in a costume so heavy you can see his spine fusing beneath it. Oh, and there are hawkmen, squishy swamp creatures and Tomothy Dalton.
Why it’s Essential: In the wake of Star Wars, Dino de Laurentiis had high hopes for his Flash Gordon update/remake — he tried to persuade directors like Fellini and Roeg to come on board. Instead he got Mike Hodges and a script by the guy who wrote much of the ’60s Batman TV series, and Flash Gordon became the cinematic equivalent of a Toto song: cheesy, bombastic, barely a half-second ahead of its time and yet so entertaining that I’ll watch it every single time it appears. Old Black Sabbath videos have better effects, or at least the same ones: horrific rear projection and swirly psychedelic skies. But actors like Brian Blessed seem utterly onto the fact that their movie is no Lucasfilm, and they push it to the limit of action comedy. And for every moment where you can almost see the edge of the sets, there’s a great setpiece like gladitorial combat on a shifting spiked plate or the endgame assault of Hawkmen en masse. The movie totally drops the ball as a ’30s comic strip adaptation but recovers and scores a win by nailing the even more entertaining Silver Age vibe. That I can wait this long before even mentioning the iconic theme by Queen indicates how much fun this movie has in store.
- Russ Fischer
The Movie: Buster Keaton’s niece Camille goes for a relaxing trip to the countryside, only to find that the local backwoods folks’ idea of hospitality is a brutal gang rape (gotta know the local customs in advance). Traumatized by her hideous ordeal, she takes revenge on the hicks in a variety of ways that varies from X-Treme circumcision to motor boating.
Why it’s Essential: I Spit On Your Grave has a tortured history, going through numerous name changes, edits and periods of public hate (Siskel and Ebert campaigned strongly against the movie). Director Meir Zarchi, who prefers the original title Day of the Woman, thinks of the film as an almost feminist piece, which is something that could be argued of all rape/revenge films, as they’re about getting horrific vengeance on the men who abused a woman. Of course, under that definition Death Wish is a family film. And while the parts that everyone talks about are the bloody dispatches of the rapists, it’s hard to ignore the fact that I Spit on Your Grave includes a gang rape that goes on for over 20 minutes – surely some sort of sicko record. I Spit On Your Grave is the sort of exploitation film that likes to pretend it’s not exploiting, but that doesn’t make you feel any less dirty after watching it.