The queen of “TCM Underground” on her new e-book and love for cult films

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Millie De Chirico is called the queen of TCM Underground, the Friday late-night present that spotlights cult classics and different hard-to-find, under-the-radar fare. 

The longtime programmer, who has been extolling the advantage of such movies for nearly 20 years now, has partnered with Quatoyiah Murry for the brand new e-book TCM Underground: 50 Should-See Movies From the World of Basic Cult and Late-Night time Cinema,  through which the authors spotlight a few of their very own picks and focus on why these specific films deserve particular consideration. 

De Chirico will learn from the e-book and present clips from chosen movies November 29 at 1:30 p.m. at Kennesaw State College’s Carmichael Scholar Heart. 

TCM Underground
Millie De Chirico grew up in Atlanta and developed a ardour for cult movies.

Launched in October, TCM Underground runs the movie-lovers gamut, from John Waters’ Polyester to the roller-skating extravaganza Xanadu to The Rubbish Pail Children Film to Invoice Gunn’s vampire movie Ganja & Hess.

ArtsATL caught up with De Chirico just lately to ask concerning the origin of the mission, her personal tastes and a few of the titles within the new e-book. 

ArtsATL: How did the e-book come about? 

Millie De Chirico: Since 2006, I’ve been programming this late-night cult-movie franchise. It’s a spot for individuals to look at films that may not seem on TCM throughout the regular hours — bizarre stuff, horror stuff, issues with extra salacious content material. Originally of the pandemic, TCM, who has been publishing books underneath the TCM model for a really very long time, got here to me and requested if I’d be keen on doing a e-book about cult films. 

Quatoyiah Murry was a co-worker in advertising and marketing and she or he got here as much as me the primary week after she began and stated she preferred cult films and can be keen on doing one thing collectively. We grew to become mates and she or he likes actually cool films. When the concept got here round, I feel each of us had been of the “two heads are higher kind of factor” on the subject of the e-book. She had left Turner and moved to France and was in movie faculty. I used to be doing loads with one other job and doing a podcast. Issues had been loopy with the pandemic and we determined to collaborate. 

ArtsATL: How did you develop your specific style in movies? 

De Chirico: I went to movie faculty for school however at the same time as a toddler I gravitated in direction of weirder movies. I used to be at all times into films, all types. Rising up in Atlanta I’d go to the LeFont theaters and the previous video shops. I gravitated to style footage — motion, horror, issues that had been offbeat. All youngsters need to insurgent and are into transgressive issues or stuff that’s surprising and titillating. That’s the way it started and I’ve developed a passion for these type of films. 

ArtsATL: Within the foreword, Patton Oswalt asks if any movie that’s beloved generally is a cult movie? What constitutes a real cult movie? 

De Chirico: What it comes right down to is that cult-movie audiences have a selected love for movie. Movies which might be rejected (as) a standard box-office hit or by critics type of come again into circulation by cult-movie followers. It’s principally a gaggle of people that have taken a movie and located one thing they take pleasure in. There are films which might be beloved however cult-movie audiences are particularly in search of out movies that perhaps want a second (life). 

ArtsATL: How did you two go about collaborating? 

TCM UndergroundDe Chirico: We determined early on that we needed it to be anchored by the franchise. Since 2006, there have been 400 titles to select from. We fairly shortly didn’t need to simply decide the best cult films of all time. That’s such an apparent alternative. This must be about TCM Underground. We had an enormous checklist to select from. We took that checklist and we took 25 every and stated — let’s speak about why we like them, why they’re necessary and why individuals ought to give them one other look.

ArtsATL: Any shock titles? 

De Chirico: I do really feel like there are a few titles that lots of people haven’t heard about. There’s a film I wrote about referred to as Wild Seed. It’s basically a teen-drama movie. At first look, it’s like a Insurgent With no Trigger rip-off. Michael Parks is the star and he was introduced in as a heartthrob, a Montgomery Clift kind. It’s a coming-of-age movie but in addition about practice jumpers. That subculture undoubtedly feels underground. It’s not an enormous horror-genre movie or a camp traditional, however I really feel it belongs on this world. It’s an attention-grabbing movie. 

ArtsATL: I grew up watching Little Darlings (the 1980 comedy with Tatum O’Neal and Kristy McNichol) and have at all times liked it. Why did you two embody it?

De Chirico: The attention-grabbing factor about that film is we picked separate titles however that is likely one of the ones we each selected. It was on HBO on a regular basis. It was a teen-girl movie and about camp but it surely dealt with intercourse in an attention-grabbing and life like means, particularly in the best way the Kristy McNichol character developed. You could have this feminine competitors however neither of the women acquired what they thought they’d get. I noticed it in my late teenagers and thought it is a lot greater than individuals assume it’s. To at the present time, it’s nonetheless not on the market a lot. 

ArtsATL: Would you think about one other version of the e-book? 

De Chirico: I’m fully open to the concept of doing a second quantity. We had so many titles and there are extra titles which have aired since we pulled that preliminary checklist. If they may have us, we’ll do it.


Jim Farmer covers theater and movie for ArtsATL. A graduate of the College of Georgia, he has written concerning the arts for 30-plus years. Jim is the competition director of Out on Movie, Atlanta’s LGBTQ movie competition. He lives in Avondale Estates together with his husband, Craig, and canine, Douglas.


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