Synopsis: The final volume of Time Warp digs deep into what makes us laugh over and over again as we reveal the greatest cult comedies and campy classics of all-time.
Stars: John Cleese, David Cross, Joe Dante, Illeana Douglas, Peter Farrelly, John Waters
Director: Danny Wolf
Running Length: 128 minutes
TMMM Score: (9/10)
Review: All good things must come to an end and such is the case with the arrival of the third volume of the Time Warp documentary series. The opportunity to review this epic look into the greatest cult films of all time came right at the beginning of the pandemic that kept us all on lockdown. The timing was perfect. I devoured the series in short order, craving the kind of cinematic comfort food it generously served up on a shiny silver-screen platter.
To recap, Vol. 1 Midnight Madness was all about the movies that you normally would think of when you hear the phrase cult film. So The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Big Lebowski, and This is Spinal Tap were a few of the flicks discussed along with 70s exploitation cinema, 80s underground punk films, and early titles from as far back as the 40s that are still important today. With a panel of moderators consisting of Joe Dante (Matinee), John Waters (Pink Flamingos), Illeana Douglas (Cape Fear), and Kevin Pollak (Indian Summer) that didn’t add nearly as much as interviews with film critics and the actual people involved with the making of the films, this first volume was standard but solid.
The shorter second volume narrowed things down a bit and looked just at the cult films within the Horror and Sci-Fi genre. While it covered some obvious titles like Night of the Living Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Evil Dead, it exposed me to other films I wasn’t as familiar with such as The Brother From Another Planet and Liquid Sky. I’m a fan of these types of movies so I found this volume of particular interest, even if the information and opinions offered weren’t anything revelatory.
So here we are at the gates of Vol. 3 Comedy and Camp and not only is this the longest chapter of the trilogy it’s the most fun. Director Danny Wolf ends things with a bang and creatively gets to have his cake and eat it too by including Camp titles here. Basically, any film that has achieved even marginal cult status over the years that hasn’t fit into any previous volume can be stuck in this category and no one would really blink an eye. That’s why there are segments devoted to The Room and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, both popular for different reasons but neither fitting into any genre offered thus far other than camp.
Back are the moderators who once again offer little to the mix – I still can’t quite understand what Wolf intended to use them for. There’s nothing they are offering up or introducing that couldn’t be done by any of the talking head interviews that pop up when switching between films. If anything, I would have just taken Illeana Douglas as the narrator to tie things together. The movies pretty much speak for themselves, with Showgirls and Fast Times at Ridgemont High needing no introduction. For once, I think the trivia tidbits offered by the interviewees actually told me something I hadn’t already known going in. That’s why you’ll definitely need to tune in to hear director Martha Coolidge explain why Deborah Foreman isn’t on the poster for Valley Girl.
What a fun documentary series and a welcome reprieve from the doldrums of the early pandemic days in colder weather. Writing this from a sunnier day in still uncertain times, I’m grateful for efforts like this which may not give a ton of new information for the hardcore movie buff but still provides easy to swallow entertainment with no hidden bias or agenda. Worth a binge or a watch in small bites.