Millie De Chirico is Manager of Programming at Turner Classic Movies and is responsible for programming TCM Underground, the network’s late night cult movie franchise. She’s on Twitter at @milliedechirico and updates the Underground Twitter account: @TCMUnderground.
At first glance you look at 1975 and realize that pretty much every major director of the era had a film out that year: Kubrick, Altman, Ashby, Lumet, Russell, plus some movie called Jaws.However, I actually found it really hard to narrow down a list of just five titles from all the other stuff that came out. I’m hoping I made the right choices here (although I’ll tell you that having to remove STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER, the best movie title ever, from this list was tough).
Dir: Andrzej Zulawski
I know everyone's go-to Zulawski film is POSSESSION, and with good reason. However, do not sleep on this one! Usually when I find out Fabio Testi is in a movie, it's a done deal…but then you've also got Romy Schneider, Jacques Dutronc, AND Klaus Kinski. A true European arthouse dream team. Plus,there’s no shortage of "passionate grabbing", which is why I love all Zulawski movies.
Dir: Sidney J. Furie
A few summers ago, I became slightly obsessed with Gail Parent's novel about a frumpy, hopeless Jewish girl's romantic misfires in New York City. When I realized there was a film adaptation, I had to track it down. It’s pretty impossible for me to dislike any coming-of-age movie (and anything set in a depressing New York apartment). Someone should put this out on Blu-ray, stat!
Dir: Richard Robinson, David Worth
This movie was a must-see for me since it was filmed in my home state. It's a fairly disturbing Southern exploitation film with an antagonist that is an Elvis impersonator. Also begs the question: Did Shelley Winters come to Georgia in the 1970s justto play terrifying characters in low-budget movies?
Dir: Nick Phillips
When I was in college, my roommates and I found a VHS copy of this at a thrift store for a dollar and watched it without knowing anything about it. So, I have a lot of fond memories of this movie. But it's actually a pretty entertaining (and short) horror film, all about a binge-eating homicidal maniac recently sprung from the looney bin. And it stars Priscilla Alden, whose career was basically this movie and its even weirder sequel (which I also found in a thrift store).
Dir: William Witney
This is another one for the “Please Put This on Blu-rayImmediately” list. It’s a great blaxploitation/action film/musical about an African American female motorcycle gang battling racist police and KKK members. My favorite part is when they have to free The Dramatics (the soul group) from prison so they can perform "What You See Is What You Get," which is a great endeavor (and a great song).