by Stephanie Crawford
With that in mind, documentaries with a sociocultural bent have been a minor addiction of mine since high school. Sure, we're at the mercy of the filmmaker's eye, but enough truth always makes its way into each frame that, at the end of an especially good one, I feel like I've walked around in the living room of some of these subjects. Here are a few of my faves that may appeal to my fellow nosy movie fans.
Trekkies and Trekkies 2
This one is pretty obscure, but I've watched it every October for Halloween since buying the DVD years ago. Hosted by B-movie bombshell Tiffany Shepis, this is a no-budget, shot on video documentary that focuses on the 2004 Chiller Theater convention in New Jersey. It's uncomfortable, funny, oddly charming, very clunky, and now bittersweet as it features the late David Carradine, Zacherley the "Cool Ghoul" and Gunnar Hansen heavily. The best moment is probably the filmmakers catching Hansen ordering a meat lover's pizza to be delivered to his hotel room off camera.
Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea
I picked this up randomly at the library to rent a few years back, immediately perking up to the "narrated by John Waters" on the front cover. I'm thrilled that I did, because beyond Waters' gorgeous, wise voice, this was a fascinating look into a truly legendary piece of West Coast lore -- lore I was just barely familiar with, even though I've lived on this side of the country the vast majority of my life. What began as an accidental man-made body of water created a tiny resort town in the 50s and 60s that rivaled Palm Springs. Sadly, nature eventually bit back and turned the famed vacation spot into a near ghost town. We're talking dead fish, unbearably salty and smelly water, bird disease and natural disasters of every water-related strip. This is a fascinating look into the people who choose to continue living there and how quickly nature can destroy who people were foolish enough to build and hope on.
The Decline of Western Civilization Vol. I-III
Mayor of the Sunset Strip
Lost in La Mancha
Lost Soul where the making of the film becomes an eclipsing epic on its own.