Film geeks lead a tough life sometimes. You can't find a movie on DVD, you're lucky enough to catch it on Turner Classic Movies ... but before the movie starts, you're subjected to a dry, dull mini-lecture about the film from some professorial type. I worry that this gives everyone, from aspiring film scholars to my mom, the idea that the most knowledgable film buffs are straight-laced older white guys, and that there's no room (or career opportunities) for the rest of us. TCM occasionally appeases the younger crowd with Ben Mankiewicz, or us women with Molly Haskell (who wrote From Reverence to Rape), but there's still a definite trend toward boring.

Finally, however, TCM is offering us a little respite. Who knew they'd hire a film host under the age of 50 with long hair and tats? Our sister site TV Squad has learned that musician/filmmaker Rob Zombie will host a new series called TCM Underground, a late-night program featuring cult horror films. If you've ever seen The Devil's Rejects or House of 1000 Corpses, both written and directed by Zombie, you can tell that he's familiar with a wide range of cinema history: the movies are stuffed with film references and in-jokes from the Marx Brothers to Bride of the Monster, Stalag 17, and Star Wars.

As colorful and fun as I find Zombie, I'm not sure I'll tune in for the premiere episode on October 13, because I can't stand the films: an Ed Wood double-feature of Plan 9 from Outer Space and Bride of the Monster. Fortunately, future episodes will air more watchable double-features like Russ Meyer's roughies Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Mudhoney, Tod Browning's Freaks and Mark of the Vampire, and George A. Romero'sNight of the Living Dead and The Crazies. The trend seems to be to pair a director's well-known film with something a little edgier and more obscure. It's too bad TCM Underground's schedule doesn't include Halloween -- since Zombie is directing the remake, it would be fun to hear him chat about the original film.

Hopefully this will encourage TCM to hire even more diverse hosts -- maybe some non-white film historians, or more women? You might even tempt me to subscribe to the cable service that actually includes TCM, instead of bumming cable TV time off my friends.
categories Features, Cinematical