Best of the Criminal and the Demented

I just found a photocopy I made at some point — I apparently neglected to note the magazine and other details regarding origin: “James Ellroy selects his ten favourite crime movies.” (Naturally the spelling of “favourite” is a clue here…) Considering Ellroy is the King of Crime, and that L.A. Confidential is such a great flick, it is really too bad that the film adaptation of Black Dahlia was so terribly disappointing (in my opinion). And what has happened to Brian de Palma? Have you ever seen Sisters? Greatness. But anyway, Ellroy provides us with a great list here (with L.A. Confidential at number one, of course). He says, “Crime movies are the only movies I enjoy… They are the only kind of film that I see, and I see precious few of them. And as far as crime movies go, very few are really truthful.”

  1. L.A. Confidential 1997
  2. The Godfather: Part II 1974
  3. The Prowler 1951
  4. Crime Wave 1954
  5. Odds Against Tomorrow 1959
  6. The Killing 1956
  7. Plunder Road 1957
  8. The Lineup 1958
  9. 711 Ocean Drive 1950
  10. Vertigo 1958

Ellroy often mentions The Prowler in interviews. Another one mentioned but not in the top ten: Don Siegel’s Charley Varrick. I also have another list for you — “Most Demented Films,” and it is from MEAN Magazine, August 2000. Here are the 10 most demented:

  1. The Fountainhead 1949 **Gary Cooper
  2. The Conqueror 1956 **John Wayne
  3. Skidoo (or, LSD I Love You) 1968 **Otto Preminger. Wow.
  4. Head: The Monkees 1968
  5. Angel, Angel, Down We Go (aka CULT OF THE DAMNED) 1970 **Lou Rawls is in this one! “Drugs, thugs and freaked-out starlets, ritual murder and cannibalism, dedicated to the proposition that all men are created evil.”
  6. The Last Movie (aka CHINCHERO) 1971 **Dennis Hopper
  7. Zardoz 1974 **Sean Connery
  8. The Ninth Configuration (aka TWINKLE, TWINKLE, KILLER ZANE) 1980 **
    William Peter Blatty of Exorcist fame
  9. Human Highway 1982 **Neil Young, Russ Tamblyn (aka, Dr. Jacoby), DEVO!
  10. The Island of Dr. Moreau 1996

I actually would disagree that Head is “demented” – it’s definitely weird, I guess you could say, but it’s not totally twisted and degenerate like some of the other movies in the list. Head is actually adorable because The Monkees are so darn cute and funny, even if they are tripping on acid. I would say that a film is much more demented when drugs are not an obvious influence, but it still remains totally creepy. Granted, drugs can make for some demented filmmaking. But the films that are truly degenerate are those that were intended to be mainstream and ended up straying. Because otherwise you could say that exploitation films like Jess Franco‘s should be on the list, which are intentionally twisted, of course. And if you like such things, do yourself a favor and buy Sleazoid Express. An encyclopedia of the genre.

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~ by atomlattice on April 29, 2008.

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