None of the following films is particularly outstanding nor are they that unique. What can be said for these films is that they are all tremendously entertaining and certainly memorable. But most significantly, I was exposed to all of these films with my little brother Hank or my friend Dan, whose laughs are contagious, making them an ideal candidate for any cult film audience.
This film is generally thought of as Clive Donner’s weak follow-up to What’s New Pussycat? (1965). But this film is as loud and as campy as a middle-aged Jack Lemon can get. It must be said that Lemon’s best scene is when he rear-ends Harrison Ford’s car and Harrison Ford gets out and punches Lemon. Otherwise, it’s pretty much Peter Falk and Elaine May’s show.
The Human Tornado (1976)
I love Rudy Ray Moore’s albums Eat Out More Often and The Moans & Groans Of Love, and this film is the best translation of his unique comic styling to the silver screen, mainly due to the film’s talented director (and often Rudy Ray Moore collaborator) Cliff Roquemore. In just the opening alone we find Dolemite in bed with the sheriff’s wife. When the sheriff catches them in bed, his wife accuses Dolemite of raping her. To this accusation Dolemite replies “Bitch! Are you for real?”, and then dives naked out of the window. We then cut to a naked Dolemite sailing through the air about to land and roll down a hill when the film freezes. In voice over, Dolemite asks “Y’all didn’t think I could do that?” Then the film rewinds and replays. The Human Tornado is ridiculous, crude and totally self-aware. It’s by far my favorite Rudy Ray Moore experience.
This film is about twice as ludicrous as The Human Tornado. Any film where Peter Falk can quite seriously wonder aloud “Maybe she bounced” has to be seen and enjoyed. Add to that the director, Ken Kwapis, would go on to helm such films as Dunston Checks In (1996), and a cast that includes Jeff Goldblum, Cyndi Lauper and Julian Sands in the leads and you have one of the greatest cult films ever made. If you still need convincing, check out this plot summary courtesy of Wikipedia:
“Lauper plays Sylvia Pickel (pronounced with an emphasis on the “kel”, as she points out), a trance-medium who has contact with a wisecracking spirit guide named Louise. She first began communicating with Louise after falling from a ladder at the age of twelve and remaining comatose for two weeks. Subsequently, Louise taught her astral projection while Sylvia was placed in special homes for being ‘different’. She meets fellow psychic Nick Deezy (Goldblum), a psychometrist who can determine the history of events surrounding an object by touching it, at a study of psychics. Sylvia has a history of bad luck with men, and her overly flirtatious behavior turns off Nick right away.
Sylvia comes home to her apartment one night to find Harry Buscafusco (Falk) lounging in her kitchen. He claims to want to hire her for fifty thousand dollars if she will accompany him to Ecuador where his son has allegedly gone missing. Sylvia recruits Nick who is reluctant but also eager to leave his job as a museum curator where his special talents are abused like a circus act.”