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Interview: SCUM

Cult movie clan SCUM tells Iliyas Ong about its origins, favourite films, and its upcoming – and free! – screening of a Japanese pinku flick

In case its name hasn’t already given it away, SCUM revels in the filthy. And dirty, nasty, or whatever similar adjective you prefer. The Society for Cult and Underground Movies has been regularly screening left-field flicks – anything from Jodorowski’s unfinished Dune to the silat film The Raid 2 – since its reboot last year. And it’s back for more.

We speak to two members of the collective – Herman Ho and the enigmatic ‘Masked Mentor’ (third member Aaron Corbett couldn’t join us) – ahead of their upcoming screening of Female Convict Scorpion: Jailhouse 41, a violent and erotic B-movie that depicts infanticide, rape and other merry pursuits.

'[A cult film] provokes an unusually strong reaction (physically or emotionally), has limited availibility, and your parents hate it even though they have never heard of it.'

Tell us how SCUM evolved since its founding.
When we started SCUM [in 2007], all we wanted was to watch our favourite films on the big screen and share it with people, just for fun. Soon enough, time and money became obstacles and everything came to a halt.

But it’s really hard to brush aside an idea when you have so much passion for it. So in 2014, Ho suggested reviving SCUM, but this time in the form of a website/blog where we post reviews and opinions about the crazy films we watched. And like an itch that you can’t scratch, the idea of doing film screenings soon kept popping up.

How do you guys define a ‘cult film’?
We’d go with the simplest and most instinctive definition: a film that provokes an unusually strong reaction (physically or emotionally), has limited availibility, and your parents hate it even though they have never heard of it.

Tell us about Jailhouse 41.
We first caught it back in 2007, and were immediately blown away by the visuals. It’s gritty. It’s violent. And it’s bloody good. Plus Meiko Kaji was beautiful and yet scary at the same time, something that not many actresses can pull off even today.

What’s been the most controversial scene in a cult film you’ve seen so far?
That baby scene from A Serbian Film is rather disturbing. That horrific rape scene from Irreversible also deserves a mention.

But what is truly disturbing is the fact that 50 Shades of Grey is being packaged as one of the most controversial films of 2015. It just goes to show how lame the mainstream can be. And how boring.

Who would you rather fight in a duel to the death: Alex DeLarge, an Arrakis sandworm, Zatoichi or Werner Herzog?
Arrakis sandworm! The other three are our heroes! And besides, we think the sandworm will deliver the quickest death…

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